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Where to make hay in May! 30+ things to do this month

In the mood for fun this month? Head this way for Muddy's curated guide to the best food, festivals, fairs, fun and more happening in our 'hood.

MUDDY’S PICK OF THE MONTH: Northampton Film Festival, The Filmhouse, 16-22 May

The show Alan Moore Northampton film festival

This month sees Northampton Film Festival kicking off from 16-22 May at The Filmhouse, which includes a screening of the legendary Northamptonian Alan Moore’s (V For Vendetta, Watchmen, Swamp Thing…) sinister depiction of Northampton (England’s Broken Heart – sob) in The Show, starring the brilliant Tom Burke.


Lemn Sissay Headfast Northampton

Royal & Derngate and BBC Radio Northampton have come together to create HeadFest (9-15 May), a weeklong festival of talks, workshops, films and comedy along the theme of positive mental health and wellbeing. Expect yoga, drumming therapy and mindful crafting, plus performances from comedians Jonny & The Baptists and Bobby Mair, and the wonderful poet Lemn Sissay (pictured).

National Trust Canons Ashby host a performance of Strictly Sherlock by the wonderfully gothic Don’t Go Into The Cellar theatre company on 14 May under a marquee in their gorgeous grounds with refreshments available.


Seafood feast stonyfield

Stonyfield Wine in Blisworth are kicking off the month in style with a seafood feast at the vineyard on 1 May . You can gorge on a seafood platter with a glass of something fizzy at lunchtime (book in advance), or enjoy just sitting in the vineyard with oysters and wine throughout the afternoon.

7 May sees the inaugural Mixology Masterclass at Muddled Lime in Long Buckby. We rave on all the time about the folks at Muddle Lime and their magnificent skills, but if you fancy knowing how to make the best and most beautiful cocktails for yourself and all your mates, then this is the place to learn (and drink).

Head to Abington Park Museum in Northampton on 21 May for their annual Spring Food Fair with free admission and plenty of gorgeous local produce to sample and bring home. Then hurry up if you want to nab a spot fat the Chefs Table at Burnt Lemon in Woodford on 22 May. Anthony Raffo of Anglo in London will be rustling up a 9 course menu of modern British cuisine.

On 28 May Italian cookery goddess Carmela Sereno Hayes will teach a special Jubilee Sweet Celebration Class at Northampton Museum and Gallery, where you can learn to make jam tarts, amaretti biscuits and a rather fancy sounding Museum Jubilee Cheesecake. Booking is essential.


The Turner Prize nominated Ingrid Pollard: Carbon Slowly Turning continues at MK Gallery. One of the leading figures in contemporary British art, this first major survey of Pollard’s 40-year career looks back across a varied and eclectic work that continues to challenge accepted cultural constructs around race and identity. Read our review here.

Head to the Heseltine Gallery in Middleton Cheney for an open exhibition for emerging and professional artists across South Northants and North Oxon. Then Let There Be Light  at Boughton House is an exhibition of works from South African artist Beezy Bailey, responding to the renowned architecture, collections, gardens and history of Boughton House. Until 31 May.


Wellingborough Waendel Walk

The annual International Waendel Walk returns to Wellingborough this month (13-15 May), an annual event offering various walking distances from 5-42k and suitable for all ages, plus entertainment onsite at the Castle Theatre.


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 with late spring being prime time to have a wander around for a few hours. Upcoming open days are on 11, 12 & 14 and 26 May.

It’s the perfect time of year for tiptoeing through the tulips and there are plenty of gorgeous gardens throwing open their gates for the National Garden Scheme this month including Ravensthorpe Nursery on 1 May, the gorgeous Holdenby House on 15 May and loads more throughout the month.


Twirlywoos Castle theatre wellingborough northants

If you’ve got tiny tots, head to the Castle Theatre in Wellingborough on on 1 May to join the ever beloved Twirlywoos for mischief, music and plenty of surprises as they set sail in their big red boat. Then join Mouse on a daring adventure through the deep, dark wood in a musical adaptation of The Gruffalo at The Core at Corby Cube from 5-7 May.

Delapre Abbey in Northampton are hosting a mini Urban Tree Festival in Northampton on 21 May, with loads of free tree-themed fun on the agenda for families & children, including yoga, crafting, art classes & tree trails to celebrate & support urban trees. 

Rockingham International Horse Trials finally returns to the spectacular grounds of Rockingham Castle on 20-22 May with cross-country, dressage and show-jumping to watch. But, whether or not you’re the horsey type, this is a brilliant family day out with plenty of stalls and delicious food to enjoy, plus a have-a-go dog agility so the family pooch doesn’t feel left out. There’s also a Tudor History Day happening at Rockingham on 29 May, where you’ll get the chance to meet the six wives of Henry VIII and find out what it was really like to be married to one of history’s most infamous kings. Crikey!

On 31 May there are two special Drama Workshops for kids, taking place at the Castle Theatre in Wellingborough, where they’ll have the opportunity to discover more about acting, meet new people and try out new ways of creating theatre, aiming to help develop confidence, creativity and acting and performance skills. There is one session for kids aged 6-11 and another for those aged 11-18.


vegan market

Get your craft fix at Lamport Hall‘s Art, Craft and Design Fair on 1 & 2 May, with demonstrations and artisan crafts to bag, then head to Chester House Estate in Little Irchester on 7 May for another instalment of the fabulous My Little Vintage market, packed with artisan makers and vintage finds.

Northampton Vegan Market returns to the market square on 8 May, featuring a huge variety of vegan street food, artisan bakers, craft brewers, ethical jewellers, small-batch soapers, sustainable chandlers, local artists, zero-waste champions, environmental charities and loads more.


cath bohart royal and derngate northampton

Catherine Bohart‘s brand new stand-up show comes to the Royal and Derngate in Northampton on 6 May, filled with horrendous life advice, cheery nihilism and reluctant self-discovery. Then Northampton’s very own Alan Carr is back on 12 & 13 May with a brand-new stand-up show Regional Trinket, all about finding happiness and joy in the small things and on 21 May Lou Sanders graces the stage with a big dollop of her trademark no-holds barred humour, followed on 22 May by the artist formerly known as Hugo Boss, the ubiquitous Joe Lycett.

Following their sell-out run at the Edinburgh Fringe, Ellie Gibson and Helen Thorn AKA the Scummy Mummies, are bringing their golden catsuits to the Castle Theatre on 19 May to celebrate the (ahem) glamour of parenting, from drinking wine at teatime to hiding from the PTA. We’ve all been there.


music barn festival northants

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. 

Feel the need to rock out? Always. Brilliantly fun smash hit musical Rock of Ages heads to the Castle Theatre in Wellingborough from 7-11 June. Grab your tickets while you can and don’t forget to dress up for the occasion. Big hair, don’t care.

2 comments on “Where to make hay in May! 30+ things to do this month”

  • Joyce May 1, 2022

    In hospital, cant go anywhere but so glad your wonderful information and images have given news of so many events in the County….. Weandal Walk brought back some happy memories of times passed. Thank you an enjoyable interlude spent imagining all those interesting events and hope people are making the most of them.

    • Emma May 5, 2022

      Thank you for this lovely comment Joyce, get well soon. Emma x


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