Cheltenham International Film Festival
Returning for the first time since 2019, the Cheltenham International Film Festival is set to wow, showcasing the best of independent films from both burgeoning filmmakers and major directors worldwide. Dame Judi Dench will be in conversation with Jonathan Dean of The Sunday Times Culture Magazine. There will also be a special focus on Ukrainian filmmakers, including Oleg Sentsov, director of Reflection, Olga and Rhino, who has exchanged the red carpet for the muddy fields of war on the front line, – plus keep a look out for a retrospective of thriller The Crying Game on the 30th anniversary of its release.
23rd May to 2nd June. Various venues around Cheltenham. cheltfilm.com
Giffords Circus at Sudeley Castle
A carnival of fun, enchantment and breath-taking skill, Giffords Circus’ is back and thrilling the crowds once more. Directed by comedy genius Cal McCrystal, step into a magical world of jugglers, trapeze artists, aerial dancers, knife throwers, horses, musicians and Tweedy the Clown. Their latest show, ¡Carpa!, is inspired by Mexico’s incredible art, music, history and people – cue a spell-binding production, evoking the sights and sounds of rural Mexico, complete with Mexican performers who have joined the troupe. The circus’ stunning location of Sudeley Castle is the cherry on top.
19th-30th May. Sudeley Castle, Winchcombe, GL54 5LP. 01242 604244; sudeleycastle.co.uk
Sandi Toksvig Live at Cheltenham Town Hall
Following her sell-out 2019 tour of National Trevor, Anglo-Danish comedian, QI presenter and all-round good egg Sandi Toksvig is hitting the road again with her brand-new show: Next Slide Please… Get ready for an evening of warmth, love and laughter as Sandi explores reasons to be cheerful after many long months of ‘coronacoaster gloom’. Laden with laughs, there will be fascinatingly funny facts, silly jokes and a quick-fire Q&A – just don’t expect handstands, ministerial behaviour or impressions of Chris Witty, says Sandy. In the words of The Times: ‘a breath of fresh air… lots of fun.’
22nd May. Cheltenham Town Hall, Imperial Square, Cheltenham, GL50 1QA. 01626 836846; www.craftfestival.co.uk
Great Expectations at Everyman Theatre
Hotbuckle Productions’ brilliant adaptation of Charles Dickens’ timeless novel is coming to Everyman Theatre. And it’s a must-see. One of the great British classics, the book follows orphan Pip’s journey from the marshes of Kent to London, where he aims to further his education and become a gentleman with the aid of a large fortune from a secret benefactor. It is a story of love and loss, of guilt and shame, fear and courage – with some of the most unforgettable characters in all of English literature from terrifying convict Abel Magwitch to jilted bride Miss Havisham to her beautiful but manipulative niece, Estella.
25th-27th May. Everyman Theatre, Regent Street, Cheltenham, GL50 1HQ. 01242 572573; everymantheatre.org.uk
Three of the Best Markets in Cheltenham
Cheltenham Farmers’ Market
This lively farmers’ market, along the Promenade, has won many awards. And for good reason. It’s a gastronomic paradise, celebrating locally-grown and homemade produce from Gloucestershire and the Cotswolds. There’s handmade Gloucester Cheeses from Smart’s Farm in the Severn Vale, fresh pasta, pesto and focaccia from MyPastalicious and Kinder cookie slabs from Humble Crumb Bakery. Look out for delicious booze from Ragged Stone Cider & Perry (try the Rabbit Damage with its slightly toffee-ish taste) and snap up all the fruit and veg you need from Roger and Liz Styan, fresh from their farm in Worcestershire.
Every second and last Friday of the month. The Promenade, Cheltenham, GL50 1PJ. www.cotswoldmarkets.com
Artisan Market at Pittville Pump Room
Set against the splendid backdrop of the Grade I-listed Regency gem, Pittville Pump Room, this lovely artisan market, packed full of local creatives, sings of originality. Grab a coffee or hot chocolate from the art deco-style Heritage café then stroll in a leisurely manner around the stalls. Highlights include Thea’s Room, which sells block-printed homewares, handmade from reclaimed and ethically-produced cotton, exquisite baby dungarees from La Petite Tailleuse, ingenious plant hangers by ‘Vic makes Macrame’ and Two Bird Studios with its brightly coloured statement jewellery. Looking for a gift? The Verzenay candle company is a thing of beauty.
One Sunday a month. Pittville Pump Room, East Approach Drive, Cheltenham, GL52 3JE. 01242 528764; www.cheltenhamtownhall.org.uk.
Cheltenham Craft Market
Bringing together local producers, craftspeople and artists, this buzzy market, on the Promenade, is a treasure trove of delights. Established in 2008, it’s a fixture of Cheltenham’s artistic scene – with brilliant stalls to show for it. Stroud-based Good with Wood hits all the right notes with its beautiful wine racks, chopping boards, rustic garden trugs and shelves, made from reclaimed timber. Or head to Rachel Pritchard Ceramics and snap up one of her highly decorative earthenware pots. Benedict Homer is another must-visit whose unique handmade natural wood sculpture is quite extraordinary.
Every third Saturday of the month. The Promenade, Cheltenham, GL50 1PJ. www.cotswoldmarkets.com