Cheltenham Music Festival
This fabulous music festival may have launched in 1945 but it doesn’t rest on its laurels. Once again, they have come up with a fantastic programme, ranging from hands-on family concerts to world premieres by the finest performers across the globe. Mingling popular classics with contemporary compositions, enjoy the likes of award-winning siblings Sheku and Isata Kanneh-Mason, the great Royal Liverpool Philarmonic Orchestra and the Brodsky Quartet, who are celebrating their 50th anniversary this year. The New English Ballet is even making an appearance, dancing to a wide range of genres, including Max Richter’s take on Vivaldi’s Four Seasons.
8th-16th July. Various venues around Cheltenham. 01242 850270; www.cheltenhamfestivals.com/music
National Theatre Live: Premie Facie at Bacon Theatre
Killing Eve’s Jodie Comer (who is also a frontrunner to win an Oscar this year) is making her West End debut in the UK premiere of Suzie Miller's award-winning play. And the Bacon Theatre – ‘Cheltenham’s friendliest venue’ – will be streaming this intense, if superb, production on their screen. Tessa (Comer) is a young, brilliant barrister. She has worked her way up from working class origins to be at the top of her game. An unexpected event forces her to confront the lines where the patriarchal power of the law, burden of proof and morals diverge. In the words of the Daily Telegraph: ‘West End debuts don’t come more astonishing than this.’
21st July. Bacon Theatre, Dean Close School, Hatherley Road, Cheltenham, GL51 6EP. 01242 258002; www.bacontheatre.co.uk
As You Like It at Sudeley Castle
One of the UK’s finest touring theatre companies, The Lord Chamberlain’s Men, is coming to magnificent Sudeley Castle. And it’s bound to be a cracker – with the cast taking on Shakespeare’s sparking comedy As You Like It. Rosalind and her dear friend Celia, the noble Orlando and the usurped Duke Senior and his courtiers get banished and set up new lives in the Forest of Arden. Free from the constraints of their former lives, lovers tussle, wits and fools spar, familial bonds are challenged and everyone wrestles with what it really means to be yourself. And, as if that wasn’t enough, don’t miss one of the most iconic lines in history: ‘All the world’s a stage!’
21st July. Sudeley Castle, Winchcombe, Gloucestershire, GL54 5JD. 01242 604 244; www.sudeleycastle.co.uk
The Great British Bake-Off: The Musical at Everyman Theatre
Ahead of its West End transfer, soggy bottoms and showstoppers are rocking up in Cheltenham with the spectacular world premiere of The Great British Bake Off: The Musical. With 16 wonderful new songs written by 'one of musical theatre's most dynamic writing partnerships', Jake Brunger and Pippa Cleary, it’s a brilliant ride through all things Bake Off, following the trials and tribulations of eight amateur bakers. Bursting with laughter and with a stellar cast (led by West End stars John Owen-Jones and Rosemary Ashe), you’ll soon find yourself falling in love all over again with the nation's favourite baking show.
22nd July-6th August. Everyman Theatre, Regent Street, Cheltenham, GL50 1HQ. 01242 572573; everymantheatre.org.uk
Three of the best | Outdoor activities in July
Bicycling with The Bicycle Hub
Be it cycling around the Cotswolds for a week or just pootling around Cheltenham on your own, The Bicycle Hub have got you covered. There is pretty much everything you could want here, from hybrids to Wisper electric bikes to tandems – plus children’s bikes. Need tips on where to go? Pittville Park is brilliant for families, with its off-road cycling route, which passes stunning scenery, including a glistening lake. Or choose the Honeybourne Railway Line cycle path – a lovely flat route, which stretches from the Prince of Wales Stadium to Cheltenham Spa Railway Station.
The Bicycle Hub, 278 Gloucester Road, Cheltenham Railway Station, Cheltenham, GL51 7AG. 01242 231690; www.bicycle-hub.co.uk
Horse Riding at Noverton Farm
You’re in brilliant hands when it comes to learning horse riding at Noverton Farm, just outside Cheltenham. Not only is teacher Chloe Cass a successful dressage rider herself, she has also spent nearly 25 years teaching fledgling riders. Whether it is building confidence or starting from scratch, enjoy group lessons on most weekday evenings and Saturday throughout the day, with the option of private lessons during the week. Plus to make sure you get the full experience – sessions include grooming and tacking up. You can be any age, too – Chloe teaches children from four years old to adults.
Noverton Farm, Noverton Lane, Prestbury, Cheltenham, GL52 5DD. 07771 664813; www.novertonfarmridingstables.com
Swimming at Sandford Parks Lido
One of the largest outdoor pools in the UK, it’s hard to find a better way to spend a sunny afternoon in Cheltenham than Grade II-listed Sandford Parks Lido. Set in magnificent landscaped gardens within verdant Sandford Park, this classic 1930s lido is a family delight with a 50-metre main swimming pool, children’s pool and paddling pool. There’s basketball, volleyball and table tennis available to boot plus a poolside café. Keep an eye out for both their sunset and midnight swim events. The lido even welcomes four-legged friends on ‘Dog Swim’ days.
Open until 8th October. Sandford Parks Lido, Keynsham Road, Cheltenham, GL53 7PU. 01242 524430; www.sandfordparkslido.org.uk