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This week

The Arborealists and Guests featuring Paul Nash, Black Swan Arts, Frome, until Sun 2 Sept

Pond in the Fields, Paul Nash

More than just paintings of trees, even if one of them is by one of the UK’s most famous artists, Paul Nash. An art critic once described The Arborealists ‘as a tonic for calm, it works like a dream, the artistic equivalent of the Japanese practice of forest bathing’. So see you there?


Switzerland, Ustinov Studio, Bath, Weds 1 Aug – Sat 1 Sept

Downton Abbey’s Mrs Hughes aka Phyllis Logan, stars as real-life queen of the psychological thriller Patricia Highsmith (The Talented Mr Ripley, The Price of Salt, Strangers on a Train) in guess what? A psychological thriller.  Set in 1995, Highsmith is now an ageing, vitriolic, alcoholic, eccentric (she kept snails in her bra) living in the Swiss Alps. When a young man turns up to persuade her to write one more book about master manipulator Tom Ripley, it turns out, he’s on a more sinister mission.


Love’s Labour Lost, Ecos Amphiheatre, Frome, Weds 1 Aug

If you missed this last week at Hestercombe, never fear, you can see it here (one advantage of the same shows doing the rounds in Somerset). This time the Folksy folk perform in a atmospheric stone amphitheatre. The King of Navarre and his lords swear off food, women, and sleep in order to study for three years. Then a princess and her ladies in waiting arrive. Ooh-er.


Gin tasting at The White Hart, Somerton, Fri 3 Aug

I’m always up for downing gin. Pop over the Brockman’s pop up for some free tasters. Fave cocktails include the Brockman’s Bramble with Creme de Mure and Curious Blue with blueberry liqueur, lemon juice and blueberry puree. If you go, do let me know what the gin’s like…



The Tempest, Dunster Castle, Dunster, Weds 1 Aug, Dyrham Park, Bath Fri 3 & Sat 4 Aug

Prospero and daughter exiled on an island with sprite Ariel and brutish Caliban, have the chance to wreak revenge on those who put them there. The all male Lord Chamberlain’s Men perform – the Elizabethan way. Open air theatre.

Valley Fest, Chew Valley Lake, Fri 3–Sun 5 Aug

Small, very family-friendly festival set against the backdrop of the glittering Chew Valley Lake. Live music, live animals (and a hobbyhorse gymkhana), swing boats, a Midnight feast and Michelin-cooked Sunday picnic. We went last year – it was cool.


Paloma Faith at the Glastonbury Extravaganza 2018, Glastonbury Abbey, Sat 4 Aug

Glastonbury Town Band, local singer-songwriter Yazzy – and the fabulous Paloma – followed by fireworks, set against the backdrop of the Abbey’s atmospheric ruins.


Frome on Sea, all over town, Sun 5 Aug

Somerset’s smallest, briefest urban beach complete with deckchairs, sand and donkey rides (you’ll have to imagine the sea). But the live music and the usual hoards of stalls – designer-makers, vintage, food and drink and more – are all real at at this month’s Frome Independent Market.


Dreamboys, Bristol Hippodrome, Sun 5 Aug

Like drooling over muscley men? Nah, me neither.


See also the Muddy summer holiday guide.

Find more ideas here

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The Urban Guide to the Countryside - Somerset