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30+ fabulous things to do locally this June

It's officially summer, and we've got a jam-packed month to celebrate! From Jubilee parties to smash hit musicals, poetry festivals and headline comedy, it's all happening in Northants.

MUDDY’S PICK OF THE MONTH

THEATRE: Rock of Ages, The Castle Theatre, Wellingborough, 7-11 June

rock of ages castle theatre wellingborough northants

For those about to rock! Head to The Castle Theatre in Wellingborough for brilliantly fun smash hit musical Rock of Ages, with miles of skin tight, shredded denim, neon spandex, jet black eyeliner and a soundtrack that you’ll be singing in the shower for weeks. Read our review here and don’t forget to dress up for the occasion. Big hair, don’t care.

JUBILEE EVENTS

jubilee northants

Where better to celebrate Her Maj’s Platinum party than the spectacular Holdenby House? Nowhere, we say and we’ve heard you’re all invited! Built as a palace to entertain Elizabeth I, Holdenby has since belonged to James I, Charles I and Charles II. There’s Royal art, Royal books and other Royal stuff to look at, as well as falconry displays, activities and special Jubilee refreshments. So straighten that crown and head to Holdenby on 2 & 3 June for a glittering celebration.

Then keep the party going at the Big Jubilee Lunch at Delapre Abbey in Northampton on 5 June. with live music, performances, activities and stalls and traditional English picnic grub. The Masque Theatre and Living History re-enactment group are set to give performances in the gardens of the Abbey, plus the will be a Silent Disco and a big screen showing the live broadcast of the Jubilee Pageant, as well as the Vintage Guru Craft Makers Market and food and drink stalls. Advance booking is essential.

Lizzie’s 70-year reign is being brought to life through an augmented reality Interactive Story Trail through the streets of Northampton until 12 June, with augmented reality characters and educational content about Her Maj’s reign, which can be accessed by scanning QR codes in the windows of seven town centre businesses including Abington FX, Bias Gifts, Café Track, O’Neill’s, Playhouse, Saints Coffee and The Sandwich Bar.

SUMMER FESTIVALS

Northants festivals

Grab your sparkly wellies and a blanket and head to Songs By The Lake in the stunning grounds of Culworth House on 4 June for a boutique evening of blissed out vibes, live music, merry making and, of course, food and drink.

Desperate for some hedonistic summer festival fun? Catch Sleeper, The Hoosiers and loads more brilliant acts at The Music Barn Festival near Kettering (17-18 June), for a weekend of hedonism that also raises funds for the Cransley Hospice. Hurry up! To mark her Maj’s Platinum Jubilee there’s a whopping 20 percent off tickets until 5 June.

Northampton Music Fest hits the town on 19 June, with 61 acts set to perform in eight locations throughout the town centre completely FOC! The World Music stage, in the courtyard of The Guildhall, will see a headline performance from T Bone Afrika Allstars, plus Northampton’s own Ivor Johnson Band. Headlining the classical stage, in its new home at Northampton Museum’s Courtyard, will be top trumpeter David Blackadder (he played at Harry and Meghan’s wedding). Plus there’s folk rock at The Black Prince and loads more.

The beautiful Quinton Rectory Garden hosts a Midsummer Garden Poetry Festival this month from 24-26 June. Hear former Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy share her funny and powerful poetry and discover your own writing talents by taking part in a workshop, plus more poetry readings, live music, outdoor yoga and loads more fabulous events throughout the weekend.

STAGE AND SCREEN

Romesh northampton royal and derngate

He’s almost ubiquitous on telly, but don’t miss Romesh Raganathan as he treads the boards at Northampton’s Royal and Derngate this month from 16-19 June bringing his trademark deadpan wit to the stage in his latest stand-up show The Cynics Mixtape. Then on 25 June, Northern Ireland native Patrick Kielty’s on at the Royal with Borderline, a comic love letter to our post-Brexit islands.

Outdoor Cinema returns to the gorgeous grounds of Delapre Abbey this month from 17-19 June, with screenings of Bohemian Rhapsody, The Lion King, Mama Mia, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban and Encanto. There’s food and drink on site and dogs are welcome.Bring your own chairs and blankets to sit on.

23 June see the return of the popular comedy night at Forge Coffee in Culworth. It’s small, but perfectly formed and, compered by the very funny -and quite sweary – Ryan Mould, this month’s slot also features Andy Askins, who is a regular at The Comedy Store. Hurry – tickets sell out fast!

MUSIC TO MY EARS

Pete Tong Heritage Orchester Northampton

The perennially cool Pete Tong and The Heritage Orchestra will play Franklin’s Gardens in Northampton on 24 June for a blissed out night of Ibiza classics. Think reimagined club tracks, stunning visual effects, special guest appearances and the latest in music technology.

26th June sees an evening of jazz from the Jake Leg Jug Band at the gorgeous historic gardens at Kelmarsh Hall. Concert goers can explore the grounds before settling down on chairs (BYO) or blankets to enjoy the music with views across Kelmarsh Lake and beyond. You’re welcome to take a picnic along too.

IN BLOOM

thenford arboretum

Thenford Arboretum near Middleton Cheney, (home to Lord and Lady Heseltine, FYI) is home to over 5000 trees and shrubs, woven throughout the impressive sculpture gardens, water gardens and medieval fish ponds. The gardens are only open to the public for a few dates each year so make sure you book a spot pronto and enjoy them at their best. They’ll be open this month from 16-18 June.

It’s the perfect time of year for basking in gorgeous floral displays and there are plenty of gardens throwing open their gates for the National Garden Scheme this month including various locations in Spratton and Harpole and loads more throughout the month.

FAMILY FUN

carpa giffords evenley wood northants

You won’t want to miss Muddy favourite Giffords Circus, pitching up at Evenley Wood Garden from 30 June – 11 July with its Mexican-inspired ¡Carpa! show. Bright colours, jaunty music, the sights and sounds of rural Mexico — and Giffords’ trademark charming style. We can’t wait.

The Labyrinth Challenge is coming to Whites Nurseries in Earls Barton on 4 & 5 June. It’s a 1000ft long inflatable obstacle course with an inflatable castle for little ones, plus funfair rides and food and drink. Sounds like the perfect way to tire out the kids. Advance booking is essential.

Rockingham Castle are setting up an entire Jousting & Medieval Living History Village, on 19 June, and with sword swinging, gut punching thrills, anything can happen and often does with fantastic audience participation and comedy included!

FOOD AND DRINK

bite street northampton

Bite Street is back at The County Cricket Ground on 2-4 June for their brilliant street food pop-up with amazing world food, beer, house cocktails, cool tunes and great vibes. Pooches welcome too.

Bottomless Mojitos, you say?! For one weekend only from 2-4 June, the Muddled Lime crew will be offering bottomless brunch at their Long Buckby HQ. Pick your food, pud and drink and settle in for a boozy session.

After a loong couple of years on the back burner, Towcester Food Festival is back at Towcester Racecourse on 11 & 12 June to celebrate the gamut of artisan food and drink with loads of exhibitors, chef demos, masterclasses, tasting sessions, kids cookery classes, street food and live music. We can’t wait for what promises to be a fab weekend of good vibes and good food.

Harefields Craft Cidery in Duncote will be celebrating Midsummer on 24 June in true country style with stone circles, fire pits, live music, food and drink, merriment and Glasto on the big screen.

FURTHER AFIELD

To celebrate HRH, Milton Keynes Parks Trust is putting on an event in Campbell Park on 2 June with a ceremonial lighting of the Milton Keynes Beacon. This is part of a huge trail of 1,500 other beacons being lit across the UK — very cool! There will also be live entertainment and food stalls, for that party atmosphere.

Bicester Village has a new pop-up boutique that’s a collab between The Creative Spot and British Fashion Council, promoting innovative and sustainable British design. Showcasing 18 of the UK’s most exciting designers, some of the shop’s gorgeous stock is exclusively available at Bicester Village. So: see you there — no promises for how I’ll behave when trying to grab my size.

Over at the MK Gallery, this month marks the beginning of a landmark exhibition exploring the fascinating work of Vivian Maier, running 11 June – 25 Sept. A professional nanny in New York and Chicago for over 40 years, Maier took hundreds of thousands of stunning photographs. She never published her work, but it was discovered when her belongings were auctioned off in 2007. The photos offer a fascinating exploration of the highs and lows of everyday American life, and a glimpse into the perspective of this reclusive, talented woman. Alongside the exhibition, the MK Gallery is also showing screenings of the 2013 documentary Finding Vivian Maier on 11, 24, and 28 June. See 15 more upcoming photography exhibitions to catch here.

Banbury Museum, from 25 June – 6 Nov has an exhibition on Heroes of the Viking World. This is a neat, engaging idea for a display: all about the real-life ‘celebrities’ of the Viking world, including the charmingly-named Eric Bloodaxe. There is also apparently the chance to immerse yourself in the “smells of the Viking Age” thanks to a replica Viking tent. Hope they’re not trying to sell that as a perfume…

BOOK AHEAD

Cranley Hospice starlight walk

It’s well known that we love any excuse to don fancy dress, but when it involves outdoor disco-ing, cocktails AND raising funds for a brilliant local charity in one of our favourite Northants beauty spots, well, we defo can’t resist. Cransley Hospice Starlight Walk takes place in the magnificent grounds of Boughton House on 24 Sept and you can sign up right here to get involved and raise vital funds to help support those in need of end of life care. There’s a cocktail station, DJ, light show and UV zone and you’re encouraged to get dressed up to the nines – the wackier, the better!

Find more ideas here

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