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What’s On in the Country? The Culture Diary

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What’s On in the Country? The Culture Diary

Don't miss the best cultural events in the UK during the month...


What’s on this week in the countryside and the UK beyond London? Wonder no more! Find out all the hottest show openings, new art exhibitions, restaurants to book into and more. Here’s your culture guide to the month ahead…

Looking for events in London? Check out our Town Culture Diary

What’s On in the Country this Month?

25 May

Flux: Parian unpacked, Cambridge

Flux: Parian unpacked

Why does history choose to remember some and forget others?  Cambridge’s Fitzwilliam Museum poses the question by showcasing artist and curator Matt Smith’s installation, Flux: Parian unpacked, featuring over 100 Glynn collection parian busts of historical figures. A thoughtful challenge to British colonial notions and a fascinating exploration of history’s constant state of flux. 6 March – 1 July,

26 May

Sergey Ponomarev Exhibition

IWM North

© Jason Lawton, IWM NOR 00005

The power of photography is not to be ignored. As part of its Syria: A Conflict Explored season, IWM North showcases work by Russian documentarian Sergey Ponomarev, who has recorded the human consequences of the Syrian civil war through his penetratingly perceptive lens. 16 February – 28 May.

27 May

Stanley Spencer in Focus, Cookham

Stanley Spencer in Focus

Head to the Stanley Spencer Gallery in Cookham to view the Patron Saints exhibition that boasts an incredible collection of loans, including a work that has not been viewed by the public for over 50 years. The exhibition will examine the complex relationship Spencer had with his patrons and how it shaped his work. 29 March to 4 November,

28 May

Showborough House Sculpture Exhibition

80 local and emerging sculptors are heading down to the annual Affordable garden Art Exhibition at Showborough House this May to display their work. Showcasing over 200 pieces, the exhibition will display works in all different sizes, styles and media; from wood, metal and stone to glass ceramic and resin. All work can be viewed in the natural setting of the magnificent one and a half acre garden. Open every Thursday – Sunday and Bank Holiday Monday’s until 17 June.

29 May

Hay Festival

Ed Vaizey

Head to Wales to join the literati at Hay Festival 2018, where highlights include Margaret Attwood on The Handmaid’s Tale and Rowan Williams on the concept of consciousness. On Sunday 27 May, C&TH will be hosting a debate on the business of creativity chaired by former Minister for Culture, Communications and Creative Industries Ed Vaizey. Book now! 24 May to 3 June,

300 years of Chippendale, Leeds

 Thomas Chippendale

Over the last 300 years, Thomas Chippendale’s furniture has hardly gone out of fashion. To mark his tercentenary, Leeds City Museum brings together pieces from all over the country to illustrate his life and work, which include pioneering the first furniture catalogue. Eat your heart out, IKEA. Until 9 June,

30 May

Compassion in Crisis – 80 years of Volunteering

Marking 80 years of the Royal Voluntary Service, Compassion in Crisis at Wiltshire Museum tells the story of how Stella Reading and her ‘army that Hitler forgot’ quietly changed Britain forever. By volunteering to help on the Home Front and providing compassion during crisis, their simple acts of kindness changed the way the world viewed voluntary service. Expect to see fascinating objects, posters, uniforms and images from the Royal Voluntary Services’ archives, as well as a lecture by Matthew McMurray on 6 June. 7 May – 24 June,

31 May

The Grand Tour, Chatsworth

The Grand Tour Linder Sterling

Fasten your seat belts for a whistlestop tour of the UK’s top art institutions. Start at Chatsworth, where Linder Sterling will take up the post of the country house’s very first artist-in-residence, the fruits of which will inform a major new artist-curated exhibition at Nottingham Contemporary. The Harley Gallery and Derby Museums are getting in on the act too. Until 21 October,

1 June

West Dean Arts and Craft Festival

West Dean Arts and Craft Festival pottery making

For a weekend filled with hand-made crafts, live demonstrations, workshops and artwork, head to West Dean’s Arts & Crafts Festival. The artwork shown will be the winning works from a recent competition at West Dean College of Arts & Conservation and will be displayed inside West Dean House. The four works aim to preserve the legacy of the college’s founder, Edward James, and include Painted Paces by Emma Rimmer, Faust Stoff by Maud Boothby, Vestiges by Chérie Lubbock and A Conversation in Steel by Askild Winkelmann. Tickets cost £10 and can be purchased from West Dean.

2 June

A Universe Full of Stars, Northumberland

Kielder Observatory

Questions of the universe have occupied philosophers and astrologers throughout the ages. Gary Fildes, founder of the Kielder Observatory in Northumberland (which turns ten this year), will show you our unique position in the cosmos through his telescopes – as the third largest protected Dark Sky reserve in the world, it’s the best place for stargazing in the UK. Until 16 November,

3 June

The Duchess of Malfi, Stratford-Upon-Avon

The Duchess of Malf

Whoever said blood was thicker than water can’t have seen The Duchess of Malfi. Sibling rivalry takes on an even darker subtext in John Webster’s macabrely comic tragedy. The Royal Shakespeare Company’s modern dress version, directed by Maria Aberg at the Swan Theatre in Stratford-Upon-Avon, is unafraid to depict the graphic and inventive violence of the original script. 1 March – 3 August,

4 June

A Chef Collaboration Between The Green Room and Carters of Moseley

The Green Room interior

A collaboration with Whatley Manor’s Executive Chef Niall Keating and Brad Carter from the Michelin-starred Carters of Moseley will see the pair cook up a storm at the chef’s table in June. Taking over The Green Room for one night only, the menu will emphasize clean flavours and seasonal ingredients. Diners can expect light and modern dishes full of flavour – not to be missed if you’re in the area… 4 June, Tickets cost £145 and include wine pairing, Bookable through

5 June

Faces of Change: Votes for Women, Nationwide

The National Trust and the Portrait Gallery collaborate to bring paintings, photos and archival documents to Devon, Nottinghamshire and County Down. Until 3 Feb 2019,

7 June

Rhondda Rips It Up! Nationwide

Welsh National Opera will tell a tongue-in-cheek story about the remarkable suffragette, Margaret Haig Thomas in an all-female, music hall production in Newport, South Wales before going on tour. 7 June to 21 November,

8 June

Aldeburgh Festival

Devoted to classical music and co-founded by composer Benjamin Britten, the 2018 line-up is a tribute to Britter, America and a celebration of its 70th birthday.  Expect performances from flautist Claire Chase, violinist Patricia Kopatchinskaja and British composers Simon Holt and Emily Howard. 8-24 June,

9 June

Gloucestershire Festival of Polo

Top-notch polo, fantastic shopping and great food are just a few things to look forward to at Gloucestershire Festival of Polo held at the Beaufort Polo Club. Purchase a picnic spot to ensure a good view of the fantastically fast and furious sport. 9-10 June,

10 June

Processions, Nationwide

The mass participation living artwork will invite women to wear cotton wraps in suffrage colours while walking across Belfast, Cardiff, Edinburgh and London. 10 June,

11 June

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Sheffield

One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest

Dale Wasserman’s adaption of the cult classic will take to the stage at the Crucible in Sheffield directed by Javaad Alipoor. 8-23 June,

14 June

National Theatre Wales and Quarantine open ENGLISH

National Theatre Wales and Quarantine open ENGLISH

June marks the opening of a collaboration between the National Theatre Wales and Quarantine as they launch a brand-new production as part of Festival of Voice 2018. ENGLISH will explore language, migration and identity through analysing how we learn to speak and listen. Directed by Richard Gregory and performed by Jonny Cotsen, the performance is inspired by conversations with migrants in Wales and the UK who learn English for business, pleasure or survival. 14-24 June, Tickets start from £11.25 and can be purchased through

16 June

The Big I Am, Liverpool

The Big I Am

Head to Liverpool for the Biennial and you’ll catch the last performance of The Big I Am, based on Henrik Ibsen’s Peer Gynt. 16 June – 14 July,

18 June

Beyond Time at Yorkshire Sculpture Park

Beyond Time at Yorkshire Sculpture Park

The 18th-century chapel at Yorkshire Sculpture Park will be transformed with 2,000 balls of white wool into an immersive installation, Beyond Time, which draw on the history of the building and honours its architectural elements. Chiharu Shiota’s works reference life, death ad belonging, themes fittingly displayed in an old chapel. 30 March to 2 September,

23 June

Debussy Festival, Birmingham

Debussy Festival 

Celebrate Debussy’s life in music with the increasingly modish City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra. His Spirit lives on 100 years from his death. 16 – 25 March and 23 June,

24 June

Glorious Garden Party at The Gleneagles Hotel

Set to be a truly spectacular British affair, The Gleneagles Hotel is hosting a unique twist on the traditional garden part this June to kick off the summer season. Aiming to recreate the glorious summers of the 1920’s, the event will see former Wimbledon players Xavier Malisse and Henri Leconte as they go head to head with traditional wooden rackets on Gleneagles’ outdoor courts. Don’t miss the chance to try Gleneagles afternoon tea before the match unfolds… 24 June, £150 per person including champagne reception, afternoon tea, entertainment and the tennis match.

29 June

Ledbury Poetry Festival

Malvern Hills overlooking Ledbury

Considered ‘a rare and genuine joining of poetry, place and people’ by Carol Ann Duffy, Ledbury Poetry Festival in the historic Malvern hillside town will be abuzz with big names like Jackie Kay and Michael Palin. 29 June – 8 July,

12 July

Suffragedddon, Sussex

Latitude Festival

The hip hop mini-musical Suffrageddon is a modern retelling of Emmeline Pankhurst and the suffragettes (sound familiar, Hamilton fans?). A good excuse to visit Suffolk’s Latitude Festival. 12-15 July,

13 July

The Great British Garden Party, Oxfordshire

The Great British Garden Party at Blenheim Palace

Celebrate The Great British Garden Party at Blenheim Palace with music, food, drink and fireworks at the UNESCO World Heritage Site. 13-14 July,

18 July

Festival of Hunting, Peterborough

Festival of Hunting, Peterborough

The East of England Showground plays host to the greatest gathering of hounds in the country. Equine showing classes, an inter-hunt relay and hound-judging establish it as a highlight of the countryside calendar. 18 July,

21 July

Leigh Food Fair & Vintage/Classic Car Display

Leigh Food Fair & Vintage/Classic Car Display

Taste and purchase local food and drink from Dorset producers inside Leigh village hall this summer. From Alweston Jam and Chutney Empire, you’ll find an impressive range of spreads, including jams, marmalades curds and chutneys. Grown Up Marshmallows will be serving their fat-free delights and Meat Free Martha’s lovingly made veggie food means there’s something for everyone. An abundance of vintage and classic cars will be displayed and open for visitors to have a peek. All proceeds will go to Leigh Village Hall, The Hub, Yeovil and St Andrew’s Church, Leigh and other charities. 21 July, 10am-4pm, Leigh Village Hall, Adults £2, children under 15 free.

1 September

Braemar Gathering, Aberdeenshire

Dating back 900 years, it is no surprise that The Braemar Gathering is a slick operation of heavy events, piping, dancing and tug of war. If all that spectating has made you peckish there are Scottish delicacies to sate your hunger. 1 September,

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