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The Muddy Guide: Thurs 17 March – Weds 23 March

LEGO Robotics – girls plus one, @Bristol Science Centre, Bristol,  Sat 19 March


Would your daughter like to learn how to programme this robot?  @Bristol are running girls-only robotic workshops this Saturday, where girls aged 8-13 (plus you or another adult) can explore the basics of programming and complete a robot mission using LEGO Mindstorms NXT software. Workshops run 10.30am and 12.30pm (sessions are 1.5 hours long) and cost £3 with a general admission ticket.  To book a place call 0117 915 1000.

@Bristol, Anchor Rd, Harbourside, Bristol BS1 5DB. Tel 0117 915 1000.

Way Out West- Part 1, Bruton Art Factory, Bruton, Thurs 17 March-Sat 2 April


Alexandra Brown

Five exciting West Country artists share the wall space at the Bruton Art Factory for the next couple of weeks in the Way Out West Part 1 exhibition: Jackie Brooks (curator of Bruton Museum and creator of wonderful paper cut images), Alexandra Brown, automobile artist Kurt Jones, Clive Melbourne and Caroline Walsh-Waring.

12am-4pm, Weds-Sat. Free. Bruton Art Factory, 7 Old Mill Business Estate, Bruton, BA10 0EH. Bruton Art Factory

The History of Fashion in 100 Objects, Fashion Museum, Bath, Sat 19 March to January 2018

fahion museum

Woman’s waistcoat 1610s; Lucien Lelong jacket worn by Vivien Leigh 1948.

I can’t wait to have a mooch around this brand new major exhibition at the Fashion Museum in Bath.  The 100 ‘star’ objects on show include these two jackets, made 300 years apart:  the intricate, glittering waistcoat worn by an Elizabethan aristo and an appliqué embroidered jacket by Paris couturier Lucien Lelong worn by Gone with the Wind actress Vivien Leigh in 1948.  There are delicate Regency dresses, gowns made by the first fashion designers like the House of Worth and Lucile, through Dior, Yves St Laurent right up to the present day with the 2015 Dress of the Year (it’s for a man) from designer Craig Green.

Fashion Museum, Assembly Rooms, Bennett St, Bath BA1 2QH. tel 01225 477789.

Frome Beer Festival, Cheese & Grain, Frome, Fri 18-Sat 19 March


Captain Cactus & the Screaming Harlots

Live music and lots and lots of beer (and grub) at the Cheese & Grain in Frome. Work your way through some of over 30 beers and 10 ciders to the sounds of La Flunch and The Valley on Friday evening, Captain Cactus and the Screaming Harlots on Saturday. Your tenner to get in gives you a souvenir glass and some beer vouchers.

Cheese and Grain, Market Yard, Frome BA11 1BE. Tel 01371 455420.

Explore the new Somerset coastal path, from 15 March

Be one of the first to walk along the newly opened 58 miles of new Somerset coast path, which follows the coast from Brean Down to Burnham-on-Sea before going on to Bridgwater along the River Parrett and ending up in Minehead.  It’s part of the 2,700 continuous England Coast Path being established by Natural England. You can find the route here.

Bristol International Jazz and Blues Festival, Bristol, Fri 18-Sun 20 March


Courtney Pine

A weekend of over 50 concerts, free music in the foyer, a huge Swing Dance, workshops and late night jam sessions at the Colston Hall. This weekend is the 4th Bristol International Jazz & Blues Festival, the city’s biggest celebration of jazz, blues, funk and swing with a long list of artists including Courtney Pine, Ray Gelato, vocalists Claire Martin and Clare Teal, sax player Maceo Parker (famed for his work with James Brown), Lisa Simone (daughter of Nina) and Grammy nominee Melody Gardot.

Colston Hall, Colston St, Bristol BS1 5AR. Tel 0844 887

Circus of Horrors, Frome Memorial Theatre, Fri 18 March

circus_5Someone described the Circus of Horrors like Quentin Tarantino directing Le Cirque du Soleil.  The show that made the finals of Britain’s Got Talent and  was the first circus to appear in the West End for 100 years, now brings its 21st anniversary tour to the Frome Memorial Theatre. Welcome to the Carnevil is set in Victorian London at the time of Jack the Ripper (natch) where a young girl runs away to join the circus and guess what – her dream turns into a nightmare. Expect grisly murders, sensational shocks, a queasy stomach and some of the most bizarre circus acts on earth. Not suitable for children or those of a delicate disposition. If you miss it this time, it’s back 3 May at The Playhouse, Weston-super-Nightmare.

Frome Memorial Theatre, Christchurch St W, Frome BA11 1EB. tel 01373 462795.

Rare Plant Fair, Bishop’s Palace & Gardens, Wells, Sun 20 March

03 MAR Rare Plant FairCome and have a calm and peaceful hour or so at the Bishop’s Palace & Gardens in Wells, where you can wander around more than 20 stalls of rare and unusual plants – perennials, shrubs, trees, alpines, bulbs and exotics – from top nurseries all over the South West. 10am-4pm £5 (includes entry to the Palace & Gardens).

Bishop’s Palace, Market Place, Wells BA5 2PD. tel 01749 988111.

Tadpoles, the egg, Bath, Sat 19-Sun 20 March

M6_TADPOLES_CREEPING-1I’ve yet to meet a child who doesn’t love a superhero. So meet Captain Clever, who’s good at code breaking and problem solving and Captain Conker who’s super-fast and not scared of anything. They’ve got a big problem: a very disgruntled Mission Control. It takes a tadpole catching competition for them to harness their strengths and overcome their differences to save the world. I might try that at home. Age 5 years+. Two performances each day.

the egg, Theatre Royal, Sawclose, Bath, BA1 1ET (entrance on St John’s Place). Tel 01225 448844.

Yeovil Half Marathon, Yeovil, Sun 20 March


Hats off to everyone who’ll be running just over 13 miles in the Yeovil Half Marathon this Sunday (I will not one of them).  The race starts at 9am from South Street in Yeovil and winds around the town centre before heading out to Montacute House and back again, if you want to go cheer them on.

Yeovil Half Marathon

Boris Godunov, Royal Opera House Live Cinema,  across Somerset, Mon 21 March

Boris Marketing Image

Welsh opera star Bryn Terfel is Russian Tsar Boris Godunov who came to power by murdering Dmitri, the nine-year old heir to the throne. Famines –  divine punishment perhaps – lead to rising support for his enemies and a young monk born the same day as the murdered Tsarevich poses as Dmitri in order to seize the throne. Plagued by his dark secret, Boris struggles to hold on to the power as the pretender marches on Moscow. So a lighthearted little number then.

Find a cinema near you.

An American Toy Story, American Museum in Britain, Bath, Sat 19 March-Sun 30 October


This Saturday the American Museum in Britain reopens for 2016 and launches its major new exhibition, which explores the impact the movies had on toy production and the way we play. Check out iconic early 20th century celebrity dolls (like Shirley Temple), early Disney toys, vintage Bond and sci-fi stuff and the Superman costume worn by Christopher Reeve.  On Saturday, come dressed as your fave film character for free entry (normally £11 adults;£6.50 children), bring toys and collectables for a live valuation by Antiques Roadshow experts, watch duelling Jedi on the lawn and check out cars from the movies. If you like this sort of thing, pop into the Montacute TV, Radio Toy Museum sometime; it’s small but crammed with fascinating film and TV memorabilia.

American Museum in Britain, Claverton Manor, Claverton, Bath BA2 7BD. Tel 01225 460503.

Here be Monsters, The Brewhouse, Taunton, Sun 20 March

Here Be MonstersAn interactive musical adventure with the villainous Captain Cutthroat and his fearsome crew based on the best-selling book by Jonathan Emmett and Poly Bernatene. As they sail through monster-infested waters in search of a mysterious island crammed with jewels, the Captain is certain that monsters don’t exist but as they get nearer to the island, the crew aren’t so sure. Age 3+

The Brewhouse, Coal Orchard, Taunton, Somerset TA1 1JL. Tel 01823283244.

Aldon International Eventing, Yeovil, Fri 18-Sun 20 March


The Aldon International Eventing is Yeovil’s answer to the Badminton Horse Trials, combining the skill of dressage, the precision of show jumping and bravery of cross country over three days. If it’s a sunny weekend, a few hours spent watching expert equestrians and their horses going through their paces in the beautiful parkland at Yeovil’s Aldon Hill sounds rather enjoyable – even if you don’t know your fetlock from your forelock. £10 on the gate.

A Midsummer’s Night Dream, Tacchi-Morris Arts Centre, Taunton, Tues 22 March

A Midsummer Night's Dream Tacchi-Morris Arts CentreMerely Theatre take the bard back to basics with their production of A Midsummer’s Night Dream at the Tacchi-Morris Arts Centre – no fussy costumes or props, just the actors, the audience and Shakespeare’s words.  An additional twist is that the company of ten actors, five women and five men have been rehearsing the play in male-female pairs and on a given night,  play either a male or a female role regardless of their own gender. Should get you thinking. Suitable for 10 years+.

Tacchi-Morris Arts Centre, School Road, Taunton. TA2 8PD. Tel 01823 414141.

Walk the levels in winter, Avalon Marshes, Sun 20 March


John Crispen

Rock up (no need to book) and join this guided walk around the Avalon Marshes Ham Wall and Shapwick Health National Nature Reserves. You’ll see wintering wildlife and early spring migrants and possibly even see some bitterns.  The walk’s from 10am-12pm, meet at the RSPB Ashcott Corner Car Park Station Road, Ashcott. For more information, call Mick Ridgard on 01373 463875.

A Long Day’s Journey into Night, Bristol Old Vic, Weds 23 March-Sat 23 April

march-1Eugene O’Neill’s Pulitzer prize winning masterpiece, part of the Bristol Old Vic‘s 250th anniversary season, spans a single summer’s day in the life of the dysfunctional Tryone family. The day, like the one before and the one afterwards, is filled with bitterness, recrimination, fighting and an underlying love – and based on O’Neill’s own life. Sounds gruelling but gripping stuff and considered one of the most powerful American plays of the 20th century. Directed by Sir Richard Eyre and stars Jeremy Irons and Lesley Manville.

Bristol Old Vic, King Street, Bristol, BS1 4EDTel 0117 987 7877.

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The Urban Guide to the Countryside - Somerset