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Country & Town August Diary: What to Do This Week

Culture /

Country & Town August Diary: What to Do This Week

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


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

17 August

Casamigos Tequila take over at The Intercontinental London

tequila event sky barCalling all tequila lovers! Casamigos tequila will be taking over InterContinental London – The O2’s breath-taking Eighteen Sky Bar for one night only. The bar will undergo a a Mexican makeover for guests to enjoy an array of tantalizing tequila cocktails, finger food and light bites. Live jazz & swing music can be enjoyed throughout the evening whist indulging in this sophisticated rooftop space boasting far reaching views across London’s iconic skyline. Call or email for more information 02084636868 [email protected] ‬

Edinburgh Art Festival

Edinburgh festival
Little bothies all over Scotland await tired explorers to take shelter. Artist Bobby Niven teamed up with architect Iain MacLeod to create a new generation of bothies with a serious design edge where artists and writers can go off-grid and find inspiration in Scotland’s dramatic scenery. For the Edinburgh Art Festival, Bobby has gone solo. Pig Rock Bothy incorporates his signature hand sculptures into this palm house that will act as a temporary workshop, complete with a mud oven, for artists’ residencies, workshops and discussion. 27 July to 27 August. 

Matisse in the Studio


The Royal Academy of Art will be hosting the studio of famous French artist Henri Matisse. The exhibition will offer visitors an intimate look at the Frenchman’s working methods, gathering the objects that lined his studio, his personal collection, as well as the paintings, sculptures and drawings it inspired. All ticket prices include £2.50 for a printed gallery guide (5th August – 12th November)

Weston Sand Sculpture Festival

sand festival

Sand statues carved on the seashore take ‘Topsy Turvy’ for a theme in this year’s unusual festival – after the drama of Banksy’s Dismaland, political expression is soon to run riot on the beach. Until the end of September. 

The Dorchester Ice Cream and Champagne Afternoon Tea

dorchester ice cream tea

For over 85 years, The Dorchester has enjoyed the enviable reputation of serving one of the finest British Afternoon Teas. Now the head pastry chef, David Girard, has created a new Afternoon Tea with a twist. Throughout August, celebrate summer with an Ice Cream Afternoon Tea served with a chilled glass of Laurent- Perrier Champagne and indulge in delicious finger sandwiches and home made French pastries. Priced from £65 per person with Laurent-Perrier NV Champagne


Duck Herding at Ellenborough Park 

duck herding

It takes more than a chocolate on the pillow to appease discerning guests these days. At Ellenborough Park you can learn to herd ducks armed with no more than a trained border collie and four verbal commands. While the Old Coastguard Hotel in Cornwall will take you abroad the Johanna Lucretia, a 1940’s top sail schooner, for tea, cake and a pootle around Newlyn Harbour. (12­­–18 August. )


The Dead Rabbit take over at Claridge’s 

dead rabbit take over

New York’s award winning bar, The Dead Rabbit, is heading to London this summer to create mischief and mayhem in Mayfair as it takes over Claridge’s Bar for one week only. It installs its time honoured tradition of hospitality, a sense of history and young, dynamic staff and turns them into a modern Irish Bar that is accessible, irresistible and fiercely romantic. Complete with nightly ragtime piano playing and Psycho Killer cocktails, the main Claridge’s Bar area will be transformed into ‘The Parlor’ with pub-style banquets, bar stools and fabricated walls mirroring the eclectic artistry of the Dead Rabbit interiors. An event not to be missed this summer.

18 August

The Encounter at The National Portrait Gallery 

the encounter

The creative encounter between individual artists and sitters is explored in this major exhibition featuring portrait drawings by some of the outstanding masters of the Renaissance and Baroque periods including Leonardo da Vinci, Holbein, and Rembrandt. (Until 22nd October)

19 August

Whitby Folk Festival 


Musicians, dancers and ceilidh artists invade Whitby for its annual folk festival, an explosion of music and storytelling – Count Dracula might just call in. 19–25 August.

Food Rocks Festival 

crab at festival

Mark Hix will champion the producers on his doorstep at the Food Rocks Festival in Lyme Regis, from Black Cow cheese (who also produce the world’s only pure milk vodka) to Purbeck ice cream whose locally inspired flavours range from clotted cream to Dorset marmalade. Don’t miss demos from Angela Harnett, Rose Prince and Russell Norman, or Hix’s Saturday night supper club. Proceeds will go to local charities. 19­–20 August. 

The Pigs Smoked & Uncut Festival 

Smoked & Uncut Festival

Smoked & Uncut is more glamour than grunge, and you can expect a line-up of handpicked classic and contemporary artists, including the Noisettes and Dr. Feelgood, home-made street food, local ales and the odd cocktail. Brand new to Smoked & Uncut this year is the Heavy Metal Meat Feasts which will be created by Mark Hix and his team. The three-course feast will be served family sharing style on long banqueting tables. On arrival, you’ll be greeted with a glass of fizz followed by wine which will flow throughout lunch.

21 August

Marc Quinn, Sir John Soane’s Museum

Marc Quinn Sir John Soane

Marc Quinn, All About Love (2017)

The artist who immortalised Kate Moss in gold is back. For Marc Quinn: Drawn From Life, the artist has made sculptures of himself entwined with his dancer wife to be installed at that ultimate esoteric homage to the figurative- the secretive Sir John Soane’s Museum in Holborn. The house is crammed with ancient Greek busts and gilt-framed Hogarths. Now a few more nudes have joined the crowded clan. For this new piece, the couple had to stand for hours in mortar to get the mould just right- fortunately Quinn was hugging his wife when she passed out (twice). Marrying an artist is quite an undertaking. Until 23 September.

23 August

Fever-Tree Gin School

Fever Tree Gin School

Calling all Gin lovers! The Fever-Tree Gin School launches on 23 August for six weeks only in London’s King’s Cross. An immersive tasting, crafting and distilling experience, guests will learn about the different botanicals that make each Gin unique before creating their own bespoke bottle to suit their personal tastes. This celebration of the nation’s love affair with the inimitable G&T makes a great evening experience with friends, and you get to leave with lots of goodies too… You can book tickets here. Until October.

Covent Garden Beautython

Charlotte Tilbury At Covent Garden

A celebratory marathon of all things beauty, skincare and fragrance is running until 3 September in Covent Garden. During the Beautython several workshops, expert talks, offers and fragrance fittings will be available from over 25 of the world’s top beauty brands and top talent– including NARS, Deciem, Charlotte Tilbury, Dior, Clinique, MAC and Miller Harris.

Beautython kicks off with an evening in conversation with Pandora Sykes and Dolly Alderton on Wednesday 23rd August at NARS for 15 guests, tickets £30. Charlotte Tilbury will be holding Hollywood Masterclasses each Thursday, using the new Hollywood Lips. MAC will be offering lip demos from their best-selling lipsticks, paired with a glass of prosecco to those who book in advance. And there are many more, too… Until 3 September

24 August

FREE WOMEN Exhibition, Ibiza

Jaime Winstone by Diana Gomez

Jaime Winstone by Diana Gomez

If you’re headed to Ibiza this season, take a break from hedonistic pursuits and check out Diana Gomez’s exhibition at Pikes Hotel in Ibiza. The FREE WOMEN exhibition is being held to raise funds and awareness for The Teenage Cancer Trust, and features the photographer’s most famous portraits, including Jade Jagger (read Jade’s guide to Ibiza for Country & Town House, here), Rosario Dawson, Daisy Lowe and Gizzi Erskine to name but a few. Taking over the grounds, swimming pool and terraces of Pikes Hotel, FREE WOMEN is a feminist-driven and auto-biographical show consisting of life-size portraits and outdoor installations.

The launch party is set to be one of the highlights of the season, with celebrity hair stylist Lyndell Mansfield bringing her club night event ‘DIY Thursdays’ to the launch party, hosting 2-piece duo DOLLS. Rare Foods UK will be providing bespoke catering, with health drinks from Dr. Niedemaier’s Regulat, cocktails by Black Cow Vodka and Wolford-dressed waitresses. Goodie bags on the night will be packed with the latest Benefit goodies. Find out more at

Last chance to see: Picasso: Minotaurs and Matadors

Picasso Bull's Head Mask Golfe-Juan Vallauris

Picasso with a bull’s head mask, Golfe-Juan, Vallauris (1949)

To Picasso, bulls and red-cloaked matadors were both sources of inspiration and, later, obsession. This exhibition at Gagosian in Mayfair reveals that he would often create almost identical versions of the same piece ten times over, pausing only on Christmas Day, before returning to the same series. Some are intricate drawings of the whole scene- bullring cavalcade and crowds- and others are like a splashed glass of wine- effortless bull silhouettes that only Picasso could conjure. The repetition highlights his sincere passion for the impact of a line; a flick here, a foot slightly more forward than the version the previous day. They also give an insight into the intensity of his other passion: women. Curated by Sir John Richardson, this exhibition is an impressive passion project too. The works have come from all over the world to explore Picasso’s mind and, no doubt, needed Sherlock-levels of investigatory skills to find them, having been privately owned and not loaned for decades. Picasso- ever vibrant, and always open for another look. Until 25 August.

25 August

Indian Art at The Fitzwilliam Museum

indian art
As an opening salvo to a year-long celebration of India and its historic links to Britain, Cambridge’s magnificently out-of-scale Palladian museum The Fitzwilliam Museum presents From Kabul to Kolkata: Highlights of Indian Painting, images from the royal Courts of India in the early modern period – 16th and 17th century. The Emperors of the Mughal ascendancy has swept all before them Warrior kings from the wilds of Asia, descendants of Ghengis Khan and the ferocious Tamburlaine they soon settled to a luxurious life in the languid courts of a more peaceful India. Keen to incorporate the beautiful – and sexy – gods of the Hindu culture into their newly founded art collections, these Muslim rulers had a sequence of delightful paintings commissioned. The dashing hero Vishnu, with a figure like a modern first division player, courts the beautiful Radha in glorious glades of trees and flowers – and in other paintings they lie indoors in bed together Vishnu’s wonderful torso and Rahda’s lovely form on full display. Clearly these Muslims had no fear of depicting the human body for centuries. The powerful kings also show a passion for animals and birds, so elephants are featured with almost comically human faces. A glorious exhibition and a great tease for the marvels of India to come later in the year. Until 3 September.

26 August 

Sea Change Festival  


This music festival run by the Drift Record Shop on the Devon coast. St Mary’s 15th century church, The Barrel House Ballroom and more will sing with the sound of indie band, rock and acoustic guitar. 26 to 27 August. 

28 August

Newlyn Fish Festival

newlynThe sea is integral to Cornwall’s culture, so it’s only natural that Newlyn Fish Festival swims into view every year near Penzance. Cornish folk music will feature alongside theatre and art for children. Aye-aye Captain. 28 August. 

31 August

Aster Scandinavian End of Summer Crayfish and Rosé Fest

Aster Crayfish Feastival

Homing in on their Scandinavian heritage, Aster are hosting a kräftpremiär, a traditional crayfish dinner on the 31st August. Renowned Executive Chef Helena Puolakka, who creates Nordic cuisine using classic French techniques, has created several mouth-watering crayfish dishes to celebrate all things midsummer. The event will be held on their terrace and copious amounts of Provencal Rosé will be provided through the banquet. Tickets cost £52 and are available here

4 September

Dellasposa presents Death of The Dream 

Death Of The Dreams Exhibition

Dellasposa Fine Art Mayfair will be opening its doors to their latest exhibition ‘Death of The Dream’, comprising of new works by contemporary British artist Alexander James. From 4- 17 September, two bodies of work will be shown. First, the new and highly anticipated Death of the Dream of Democracy – the artwork captures two thousand rose and tulip petals depicting the American flag, disrupted by a wave of 24 carat-gold as a representation of world leaders such as Donald Trump whose actions have been provoked by capitalism and a desire for financial gain. Secondly, Transparency of a Dream Illuminated which is a mesmerising and vibrant continuation of the artist’s iconic Swarm series and a symbol of love, regeneration, fortune, freedom, spirituality and death. Until 17 September

5 September

Joy of Living exhibition

Joy Of Living Exhibition Blue Pots.

Charity project Joy of Living returns this autumn at One Poultry, presenting over 150 original artworks to be sold to raise money for Maggie’s Centres. More than 100 designers have united to create a one-off artwork that expresses the ‘joy of living’, utilising only three pieces of differently coloured paper. The signed works will be up for public bid from the 5 – 10 September and are available to see online and at the exhibition. Designers include Jasper Morrison, Fredrikson Stallard, Barber & Osgerby, Tom Dixon, Ross Lovegrove and Eley Kishimoto and Ilse Crawford. A great chance to own unique art, and all for a good cause. 5 – 10 September

14 September

START Art Fair

Start Art Fair

Until 17th September the Saatchi Gallery will be hosting the START Art Fair hosting works of the most exciting emerging artists and galleries from around the world. This year art scenes from Nigeria to Taiwan and South Korea to Argentina will be on display. The Fair will also feature a rare live performance by Chinese artist Liu Bolin, known as ‘The Invisible Man’ who will be painted against a specially commissioned background until he disappears completely. Why don’t you take another look at the image above? Until 17 September

21 September

The Little Mermaid World Premiere

The Little Mermaid World Premiere

Northern Ballet is recreating Hans Christian Andersen’s dark original fable and bringing it to Southampton between 21 – 23 September. Seeking not only a prince’s love but an immortal soul too, The Little Mermaid must make painful sacrifices, including giving up her voice. This magnificent performance will feature spectacular costumes, dance and compositions. Following the World Première, the ballet will be touring across the UK until May 2018. 21-23 September

26 September

Canaletto & the Art of Venice Film in Cinemas Worldwide

Canaletto & the Art of Venice

No artist better captures the essence and allure of Venice than Giovanni Antonio Canal. Canaletto & the Art of Venice travels to the great Italian city to explore the origins of his work, offering unparalleled insight into his pure artistry and the city magnificently captured. The film follows the journey of the collection providing us with behind-the-scenes access to Windsor Castle and Buckingham Palace, where the exhibition Canaletto & the Art of Venice is currently on display.

Goldsmiths’ Fair 2017

Organised by the Goldsmiths’ Company, Goldsmiths’ Fair is a celebration of the best established and emerging British goldsmithing and silversmithing talent. A hub of creativity, design, innovation and outstanding craftsmanship, it’s an event not to be missed. Each year, this unique event draws collectors, design lovers and luxury shoppers to the magnificent Goldsmiths’ Hall where they can browse the latest collections from a handpicked selection of craftsmen. 26th September – 8th October

MORE CULTURE: The C&TH Festival Guide 2017 / Current Exhibitions to See in London

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