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MAY 2019

OUTDOORS: Bristol WalkFest, around Bristol and beyond, Weds 1 – Fri 31 May

Photo: Friends of Trooper’s Hill

Are you a trooper? You might want to go up this hill. Just one of more than 250 walks in the city and surrounding countryside as part of the UK’s largest celebration of putting one foot in front of the other.


DANCE: Beauty and the Beast, Birmingham Royal Ballet, Bristol Hippodrome, Weds 1 – Sat 4 May

Momoko Hirata as Belle with Artists of Birmingham Royal Ballet as the Ravens. Photo Andrew Ross

Love conquers all in David Bintley’s mysterious and magical production, highlighting the darkness of the original 18th century fairy tale. Review to come!



COMEDY: Suzie Ruffell: Nocturnal, Ustinov Studio, Bath, Thurs 2 May

woman with short hair

Suzi’s super anxious about everything – from human rights across the globe, to whether season 2 of The Crown will be as good as the first. The sell out show comes to Bath. Miss her here? She’s on at the Wells Comedy Festival at the end of the month.


SHOP: The Somerset Collective pop up, At The Chapel, Bruton, Fri 3 May

Local indies selling fashion, accessories, homewares, skincare, plants, stationery, gifts, kids clothing and more, with 10% of monies raised going to Yeovil Hospital’s maternity ward. And coffee or lunch while you’re at it?


MUSIC: Concerts in the West: Alasdair Beatson (piano) & Elissa Cassini (violin), Ilminster Fri 3 & Crewkerne, Sat 5 May

woman with violin

The 2019 series of classical and Baroque chamber music mini tours showcasing some of the UK’s best up and coming musicians comes to Ilminster Arts Centre and The Dance House, Crewkerne (, with a programme of Schubert, Faure and Brahms.


ART: Frome Art Fair, around Frome, Sat 4 & Sun 5 May

Art on display and for sale at the town’s three main art venues, Rook Lane, Silk Mill and Black Swan Arts.  Profits from the fair will go to local charity We Hear You, which offers free professional counselling for people affected by cancer and other life-threatening conditions. Artists include Emma Rose (above).

Frome Art Fair


SHOP: Made in Somerset, ACEArts and The Parish Rooms, Somerton, Sat 4 May

collage with jug, soaps and rabbit toysOver 35 unique artisan stalls – hand picked contemporary crafts, gifts and produce – raising funds for local charity Etatu, which aims to improve the lives of children in a small area of southern Kenya.

Made in Somerset


CRAFT: Introducing the Black Swan Guild, Black Swan Arts Centre, Frome, Sat 4 – Sat 25 May

ring with yellow stone

Ring by Eleanor Christine Jewellery

Newly founded Guild’s first show – painting, sculpture, jewellery, textiles, ceramics, print-making and etching.  Preview Fri 3 May 6pm–8pm, all welcome.

Black Swan Guild


MARKET: The Frome Independent, around Frome, Sun 5 May

shop with brightly coloured African print clothing

A plethora of market stalls  – makers, designers, vintage, food and drink – fill the streets, with local indy shops, including Settlers Stores celebrating their second birthday, open too. A great day out.


The Rocky Horror Show, Theatre Royal Bath, Mon 6 Sat 11 May

woman and monster in purple bed

Joanne Clifton (Janet) and Stephen Webb (Frank). Photo David Freeman

Steve Punt (Punt and Dennis, The Now Show), Joanne Clifton (Strictly champ) and pop star Ben Adams (a1) in the iconic musical.


WELLBEING: Yoga for Teens, Balance, the Countryside Gym, Tisbury, Tues 7 May – Tues 18 June

girl doing yoga


A six-week yoga course especially designed for teenagers. It increase flexibility and strength, improve concentration, focus and posture but above all – help to relax.


Matilda the Musical, Bristol Hippodrome, Tues 7 May – Sat 8 June

The story of the girl who, armed with a vivid imagination and a sharp mind, dares to take a stand and change her own destiny.



OUTDOORS: Foraging without fear, Newton Farm Shop, Newton St Loe, Sat 11 May

woman reaching into tree

Professional local forager/food producer Chris Westgate of Heavenly Hedgerows explains what can – and can’t – be eaten from the hedgerows, on a forage around the Newton Park Estate. 10am–12noon;£15/adults; £7.50 (5–15 years). Must book/pre-pay: email or call 01225 873707, option 3.


MUSIC: Martin Kemp DJ set, Cheese & Grain, Frome, Sat 11 May

Spandau Ballet turned EastEnders/The Krays actor takes to the decks to spin 80s club hits.


COMEDY: Radio Active, Macmillan Theatre, Bridgwater, Sat 11 May

Photo Steve Ullathorne

Angus Deayton, Helen Atkinson Wood and Co bring Radio 4’s award winning show to the stage.


KIDS: GROW, the egg, Bath, Sat 11 & Sun 12 May

men looking at flower growing out of seed

The arrival of Spring begins with tiny tendrils of new life peeping out of the ground and ends with a Busby-Berkeley-esque showstopper. A dance performance for younger kids from Indepen-dance, Scotland’s professional inclusive dance company.


COMEDY: Reginald D Hunter: Facing the Beast, The Playhouse, Weston-super-Mare, 12 May

man in blue checked shirt

Photo Kash Yusuf

The funny man in Somerset.


WORKSHOP: Chocolate making course with Gilbert & Swayne, nr Glastonbury, Mon 13 May

selection of 6 chocolatesAward-winning chocolatier Jane Swayne will teach you how to make moulded chocs – tempering, making ganaches and decorating – and you’ll leave with 70+ chocolates you’ve made yourself. The is where the pros (like the head chef at THE PIG-near Bath) come but it’s suitable for all ages/abilities. The day-long course costs £125 and includes everything you need plus light lunch, wine and gift packaging for the chocs. More courses in June. To book: 01458 851253/07786952617 or


FILM: Shorts in Focus, Komedia, Bath, Tues 14 May

film clapperboard

Budding filmmakers: submit your short film – finished piece, a work in progress, or even a glimpse of what’s to come – in a screening in the Komedia Arts Cafe.


WORKSHOP: Fabric painting and printing, just outside Bath, Tues 14 May

printed fabric with tree against coloured background

Paint and screenprint on isles and cottons to make scarves, art works, interior fabrics or clothing with tuition from acclaimed fabric artist Carole Waller in her studio near Bath.  Six-week course. Call 07803 033629.

DRAMA: Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, Theatre Royal Bath, Tues 14 – Sat 18 May

man and women embracing

Photo Marc Brenner

Can you believe it’s 25 years since Louis de Bernières published his best-selling novel, a love story set on the Greek island of Cephalonia against a backdrop of World War II. Read our review.


TALK:  Susie Dent, The Secret Lives of Words, Strode Theatre, Street, Weds 15 May

woman wearing red blouse and opening book

Fascinated by language? So is author, lexicographer and Queen of Dictionary Corner Susie Dent, who will be exploring the surprising, surreal origins of everyday words and answering questions in her ‘word surgery’.


ART: RWA Secret Postcard Auction, Bristol, Thurs 16 May


Image by

Bid on unique postcard-sized works of art by the likes of Tracey Emin, Antony Gormley, Gilbert & George,  Anish Kapoor and Maggie Hambling. You can bid online or in person.


FESTIVAL: Party in the City, around Bath, Fri 17 May

music festival at night

Huge free street party kicking off the 10-day Bath Festival of music and literature (which runs until Sun 26 May), with music of all genres – classical, jazz, pop, punk, folk and choral – across 36 venues and into the night. Details of when and where here.


WELLBEING: Pilates and lunch club, Ilchester Arms, Ilchester, Sat 18 May

Pilates and stretch with fitness expert Natasha Howells (she’s just run the London Marathon – respect!), followed by a yummy plant-based lunch. Call Natasha on 07745 491937 or email


OUTDOORS: The Glitter Run Remix, Wincanton Racecourse, Sat 18 May

Two sparkling bio-degradable glitter stations, two bursting bubble stations and a colourful paint party to finish – oh and that pesky matter of a 5k run along the way. In aid of St Margaret’s Hospice.


FESTIVAL: Shindig Festival, Gilcombe Farm, Bruton, Thurs 23 – Sun 26 May

man on high wire tightrope at festival

Photo Sarah Koury

Four days with a line-up including hip hop queen Estelle, LA 6-piece, Ozomatli ft Chali 2na; Benjamin Zephaniah; family stuff; and comedy. Wanna dress up? The theme is ‘Get Fruit’. Discounts for locals and NHS staff.


COMEDY: Wells Comedy Fest, venues around Wells, Fri 24 – Sat 26 May

comedian on stage with bunting and audience

Stonking stand ups like Nish Kumar, Josie Long, Lost Voice Guy, Nick Helm, Mark Watson, Shappi Khorsandi, Hal Cruttenden, Phil Wang, Jan Ravens, Ed Gamble ( I could go on).


FOOD & DRINK: Beer Festival, Candlelight Inn, nr Chard, Sat 25 May

BBQ and DJ, live 80s music, guest ales and ciders, fizz and gin bar (did someone say gin?!). In aid of local charity St Margaret’s Hospice.


FOOD & DRINK: BBQ Week, The Old Crown, Kelston, Mon 27 – Fri 31 May

lobsters and fish on bbq

BBQs will be fired up every day during International BBQ Week at this atmospheric pub with fab gardens – and own Bee Hotel – on the outskirts of Bath. Lovely walks round about to work off the grub if necessary.


DANCE: Matthew Bourne’s Swan Lake, Curzon Cinema & Arts, Clevedon, Tues 28 May

male dancers swan lake

Photo Johann Persson

Thrilling, witty and emotional (take tissues) version of the gender bending ballet, filmed at Sadler’s Wells.


FAIR: Royal Bath and West Show, Shepton Mallet, Weds 29 May – Sat 1 June

Huge celebration of farming, heritage and the countryside – cheese, cider, livestock parades, sheep shearing, The Wurzels. Oooh arrrrr.

Find more ideas here

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The Urban Guide to the Countryside - Somerset