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Praise be, it’s the weekly Muddy Guide

Lots of things to do in Somerset, for the kids, for you, for the whole family…

Bristol Old Vic Summer School at Hauser & Wirth, Mon 1-Thurs 10 August


This is a brilliant opportunity for young people aged 11-19 to take part in the Bristol Old Vic’s summer theatre school, hosted by Hauser & Wirth in Bruton. Taking Martin Creed’s exhibition ‘What you find’ (currently on at the gallery) as a starting point, students will explore the theme of connection to the modern world (what it means to be yourself, not to be yourself or to try to be someone else) and devise a new play. The course runs weekdays Mon 10-Thurs to 11 August, 10am-5pm,  with a performance within the gallery grounds on the last day. £120.

Hauser & Wirth, Durslade Farm, Dropping Lane, Bruton,  BA10 9NL. Tel 01749 814 06 Hauser & Wirth Somerset.

The Lowland Games, a field in Thorney, nr Langport, Thurs 28-Sun 31 July

crawl-647054_1280Rio has the Olympic, Somerset has the Lowland, Games – take your pick. Now in their 32nd year, the Lowland Games includes the (make your own) Raft Race, Mud Wrestling, Wife Carrying Championship, River It’s a Knockout, Ferret Racing, Children’s Games, Tug of War and the delightfully named Chunder Challenge.  The Games themselves take place on Sunday but over the three-day lead up there are dog shows,  stand-up comedy and live music (Dr and the Medics). For timings and prices see their website.

Games start 11am in a field opposite Thorney Lakes, TA10 0DR.

The Little Lighthouse, The Brewhouse, Taunton, Thurs 28


LittleLighthouse-700x460Come and meet the lighthouse keeper, a retired sea dog who rambles through a vast arsenal of comic stories and anecdotes about kippers, guillemots, oyster smacks and the never ending menace of birds mess! This is an outdoor event. In between shows there’s a programme of animations and stories plus and a hands-on, creative workshop around the theme of the seaside, for 4-12 year-olds.

11.30, 1pm & 2pm. The Brewhouse, Coal Orchard, Taunton, Somerset TA1 1JL. Tel 01823283244.

Be a colossal Celt at Kilve Court, nr Bridgwater, Mon 1-Weds 3 August


This three-day residential course takes 9-11 year-olds back more than 1800 years to the time of the Celts, famed for their Druids, bards and bad-tempered warriors (including King Arthur). The group will build a Celtic village in the woods, make clay figurines of legendary characters and give them a fitting Celtic burial/cremation; be a druid for a day; write stories of super heroes and super villains and ride death-defying chariots downhill at top speed. From Mon 1-Weds 3 August, £155. There are places on their other courses, too, including Go Away, I’m Writing, a week-long residentials for creative writers, The World of Dr Who as well as activity days.

Kilve Court, Bridgwater AT5 1EA Tel 01278 741270.

Wild Art, Hestercombe House & Gardens, nr Taunton, Tues 2 August

lamb-1212934_1280There’s a different theme each Tuesday at Hestercombe throughout the summer holidays. This week’s theme is wild art, where you can join a printing workshop and learn how to make mono prints inspired by Hestercombe’s beautiful gardens, make a clay animal, use paints made from crushed berries and make a nature walk bracelet.

11am, 12pm, 1pm & 2pm. Free with normal garden admission. Hestercombe House & Gardens, Cheddon Fitzpaine, Taunton, TA2 8LG. Tel 01823 413923.

Open Air Theatre, at venues across Somerset, Fri 29 July-Tues 2 August

Much AfoSling a rug, picnic and some bottles into the back of the car: we’re spoilt for choice this weekend for outdoor theatre in Somerset. There’s Much Ado About Nothing at The Bishop’s Palace in Wells and at Tyntesfield House, As You Like It at Hestercombe near Taunton, Forde Abbey in Chard and the Walled Gardens of Cannington.  See my guide to the Best Open Air Theatre in Somerset for more details.

Archery and shooting, Montacute House, nr Yeovil, Mon 1-Tues 2 August

archery-847888_1280You can have a go at Tudor archery and handle replicas of armour, arrow heads and longbows at Montacute House, just outside Yeovil, on 1 and 2 August (and on other days between now and the end of August). You can shoot arrows and pistols at Dunster Castle, Sun 31-Tues 2 August and throughout the summer.

Wild and Deadly Wednesdays, Secret World Wildlife Rescue, Burnham-on-Sea, Weds 3 August

iguana-1057830_1280Nick Wadham’s live Wild and Deadly Show – creepy crawlies – comes to the Secret World every Wednesday until the end of August. In between performances you can handle insects and reptiles, see harvest mice and birds of prey, get your face painted, do some crafts –  and more.

10am-4pm, £4 adult; £2 child, Secret World Wildlife Rescue, New Road, East Huntspill, Highbridge, Burnham-on-Sea, TA9 3PZ.

Footloose: The Musical, Bristol Hippodrome, Mon 1-Sat 6 August

Footloose Dress (Muso)-7Gareth Gates and Maureen Nolan star in hot hit musical based on the 1984 film about the city boy who moves to a rural backwater in the US where dancing is banned. All hell breaks out when he starts to dance but he soon has the whole town (and maybe the Bristol Hippodrome, too) up on its feet.

7.30pm. Weds & Sat matinees 2.30. From £18.50. Bristol Hippodrome, St Augustine’s Parade, Bristol BS1 4UZ.

Finding Dory, cinemas across Somerset, from Fri 29 July


13 years after the original film, Dory’s memory hasn’t improved a jot and she decides to track down the family she can barely remember. Expect a witty script, dynamic effects, a large slosh of sentimentality, a few serious moments– and a brilliant Ellen de Generes. Finding a cinema near you involves clicking here. If you prefer your cinematic fish to have bigger, sharper teeth, Jaws is on Sat 31 July at the Open Air Cinema at the Gooch Pavilion, Ilminster. Take a blanket, picnic (no BBQs), your well-behaved dog and a raincoat – the show goes on even if it rains.

1610 venues across Somerset, throughout the summer

active_kidz.jpg__1600x900_q85_crop_subsampling-2Don’t forget your local sports and leisure centre. 1610 sports centres are running Active Kidz holiday programmes – from gymnastics, multi-sports, Dungeons & Dragons, inflatables, go karts etc – at most centres around the county from Mon 25 July Weds 31 August. To find out what’s on at your nearest centre, click here.  They’re also running an outdoor adventure programme for 7-14 year-olds at Hestercombe House, near Taunton.

Learn to ski or snowboard at the Mendip Snow Centre, throughout the summer


It’s summer, so let’s go completely off piste  – or actually, stay on piste – and learn to ski or snowboard on the 165m slope at the Mendip Snow Centre in Churchill, north Somerset. You can book onto an hour and a half long taster session for just £15, join a scheduled skiing or snowboarding session or course, or book a private lesson. There’s also a Summer Snow Sport School which promises to let you have as many lessons as you need to learn to ski or snow board well enough to pass their course – cost £99 (includes equipment hire). Suitable for anyone over 8 years old. Younger kids can have a tobogganing sesssion from £3.50. Everyone can chill out afterwards (or nurse their bruises) in the apres-ski Alpine Lounge.

Mendip Snow Centre, Lynscombe Drive, Churchill, BS25 5PQ. Tel 01934 834877.

Jim Munnion

Jim Munnion

Arts & Crafts Festival Week, Halsway Manor, Crowcombe, Mon 1-Sun 7 August

Learn how to make a silver ring, a willow basket or a wire and resin sculpture at a series of one-day workshops for adults – or browse the Summer Exhibition of Contemporary Art – at the National Centre for Folk Arts at Halsway Manor in Crowcombe. Workshops 10am-4pm. Sunday 7 August is a family day where kids get creative at artist-led workshops.

Halsway Manor, National Centre for Folk Arts, Halsway Lane, Crowcombe, TA4 4BD. Tel 01984 618274.

BOOK AHEAD (or win a pair of tickets)

Lazy Town, The Brewhouse, Taunton, Thurs 4 August


The rather attractive Mr Sportacus will be running, jumping and flipping to save the day while Robbie is sure to be at his rottenest worst in this stage version of the hit TV show, now on tour of the UK. I’ve got a pair of tickets for the 4pm performance up for grabs.  All you have to do is like Muddy Stilettos Facebook page and post the answer to this question on the page:  What does Sportacus like to eat to give him energy? a) sports candy b) lots of candy c) sports socks. I’ll pick a name out of my Muddy hat on Tues 2 August.

1.30pam & 4pm. £10. The Brewhouse, Coal Orchard, Taunton, Somerset TA1 1JL. Tel 01823283244.

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The Urban Guide to the Countryside - Somerset