UK Outdoor Events To Book For 2021

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From festivals to outdoor theatre, consider this your summer calendar

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The past year has been filled with cancellations – but things are looking up. With lockdown measures slowly easing as we approach the summer, there’s hope some events will be able to return – albeit socially distanced, and undoubtedly different. Below we highlight the outdoor events primed to go ahead in 2021. And if you’d rather stick to virtual, check out our digital events guide.

UK Outdoor Events 2021

London Wonderground

Underbelly London Wonderground

Enjoy live shows, street food, al fresco drinks and vintage rides at London Wonderground, a new ‘festival playground’ coming to London’s Earls Court this summer. Run by Underbelly, the pop-up space will offer activities for all ages, with a programme of circus, comedy and family shows championing the spirit and quality of Edinburgh Festival Fridge. 15 July – 26 September, londonwonderground.co.uk

At Home Farm

At Home Farm

Lamenting the loss of last year’s festival season? Make up for lost time with a trip to At Home Farm, a line-up of outdoor events surrounding music, wellbeing and food. Taking place at Home Farm in Elstree, just 13 miles from London, the festival season will run from May to September and feature live music in the woods, al fresco feasts, open air theatre, circus school, yoga brunch clubs and adventure activities for children. Make the most of it by booking a stay in the glamping fields, which offer furnished bell tents and yurts. May – September 2021, athomefarm.live

Gisburne Park Pop Up

Gisburne Park

Gisburne Park Pop Up led the way last summer, being the first socially distanced festival to hit the UK. It’s back this May for a jam-packed weekend of live entertainment, food and drink, set amid the picturesque grounds of the 1000-acre Gisburne Park Estate. The line-up features everything from Mamma Mia Live to Symphonic Ibiza, with the option of glamping in luxury bell tents complete with double beds, a fire pit and electric power. 27 – 31 May 2021, gisburneparkpopup.com

RHS Hampton Court Palace Garden Festival

Themes of Scandinavian design, sustainability and wellbeing are being explored through the RHS Hampton Court Palace Garden Festival, taking place this July. Also new for 2021: the RHS Cut Flower Garden, featuring an abundance of flowers with different growing combinations for big and small spaces, plus a new space dedicated to growing your own food. 5 – 11 July, rhs.org.uk

Festival of Sport

Festival of Sport

Looking for a family-friendly trip for this summer? The Holkham Estate’s Festival of Sport offers a weekend of activities for all ages, from football to trampolining to climbing. Everything is guided by expert coaches too, so you’ll be rubbing shoulders with sporting legends throughout the weekend – from Olympians to World Cup winners. For adults, meanwhile, there are group runs, cycle rides and yoga classes, plus a dedicated wellness area and an outdoor cinema. Stay in Holkham park itself for the full experience – you can either bring your own tent or book a glamping spot. 13 – 15 August 2021, holkham.co.uk

Film & Food Fest 2021

Film and Food Fest

A new festival from outdoor cinema company Adventure Cinema will tour 15 major city parks across the UK this summer, with an eclectic line-up of films, comedy and food. Each Thursday evening of the festival will see a special showcase of short movies from independent filmmakers, while weekend afternoons will be reserved for family films – think The Lion King and The Greatest Showman. On Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings, meanwhile, there’ll be live comedy and blockbuster movies. And on the food side, visitors can expect everything from gourmet burgers to ice-cream, all from local traders curated by Street Food Warehouse, plus a bar serving beers and cocktails. Various dates from 17 June until 26 September, filmandfoodfest.com

Mamma Mia

Mamma Mia

Just when you thought Mamma Mia couldn’t get any more feel-good, it’s now being performed al fresco in the grounds of Harewood House. The line-up includes Sara Poyzer as Donna, Nicky Swift as Rosie, Helen Anker as Tanya and Richard Standing as Sam Carmichael. Bring a picnic and sing along until your heart’s content. 13 – 30 August 2021, mamma-mia.com

Glyndebourne

Glyndebourne

Every summer, East Sussex comes alive thanks to Glyndebourne, the quintessentially British celebration of all things opera. It’s back this May with a whole host of new productions, including Janáček’s Kát’a Kabanová, Rossini’s Il turco in Italia and Verdi’s Luisa Miller, alongside a revival of Mozart’s Così fan tutte. Also new for 2021 are acclaimed chefs acclaimed chefs Chris and Jeff Galvin (the brothers behind Michelin-starred Galvin La Chapelle), who will be overseeing Middle and Over Wallop restaurant for the next three years. Off stage, visitors will also have the opportunity to explore an exhibition by sculptor Halima Cassell in the Glyndebourne gardens. 20 May – 29 August, glyndebourne.com

The Alfresco Theatre Drive-In

The Alfresco Drive-In Theatre

A brand-new drive-in travelling restaurant is coming to the UK in April, featuring great food, live shows, comedy gigs and movies. Tom Kerridge, Rick Stein and Jason Atherton are all set to feature in the food line-up, alongside comedy from Dara Ó Briain, Nish Kumar, Angela Barnes and more. 28 April – 13 June, thealfrescotheatre.co.uk

The Luna Drive-In Cinema

Luna Drive-In Cinema

Luna Cinema is known for hosting some of the country’s best outdoor film events, and its drive-in offering is no exception. Cruise up to enjoy films on the UK’s highest definition outdoor screens, in-car digital sound solutions and a new click and collect food and drink offering. The movie line-up includes cult classics like Legally Blonde and Grease plus newer releases including Onward, Rocketman and Knives Out. lunadriveincinema.com

Bristol Craft Beer Festival

Bristol

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The Bristol Craft Beer Festival returns this June to celebrate the city’s vibrant independent food and drink scene. The festival will bring together a collection of the city’s best craft breweries, including Wiper & True and Arbor Ales, alongside local food traders such as Two Belly, Asado and Eatchu. 11 – 13 June, bristolcraftbeerfestival.co.uk

Petworth Park Antiques & Fine Art Fair

Petworth Art and Antiques Fair

Dates are yet to be confirmed, but at some point this year a whole host of specialist exhibitors will be heading to the National Trust’s Petworth House for the annual Petworth Park Antiques & Fine Art Fair. Visitors will have the chance to buy period furniture, vintage watches, ceramics, watercolour paintings, lighting and much more, with new faces for this year including Julian Eade Antiques, Burlington and Michael St John. 18 – 20 June, petworthparkfair.com

DISCOVER MORE:

UK’s Best Art Exhibitions 2021 / Boutique Festivals Guide