Five things to do this weekend (June 7-8)

The Cheltenham Science Festival 2014

The Cheltenham Science Festival 2014 - Credit: Archant

Come rain or shine, there’s always something to get up to in the Cotswolds on the weekend. Here are five recommendations from us to you...


This Sunday June 8, the tiny population of Norfolk Island will be observing Bounty Day. The day celebrates the mutineers of HMS Bounty, who in 1789 - inspired by the Tahitian sunshine and exotic women - decided they would rather stay on a tropical island than return to Blighty. After finding safe haven on Pitcairn Island, many of the rascals resettled on Norfolk Island in the Pacific Ocean; most of the current population are descendents of the Bounty mutineers.

Though not quite as replete with palm trees, clear ocean water and sandy beaches, the Cotswolds has plenty on offer for the keen explorer, perhaps enough to inspire a mutiny (how many of the 50,000 Japanese tourists visiting the region annually desert tour groups to live in a little cottage in Bibury, I wonder?).

Here are five reasons to ‘jump ship’ and go exploring the Cotswolds this weekend:

The Cheltenham Science Festival, Cheltenham

June 3-8

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Science has had somewhat of an image revolution in recent years, with pop culture embracing what was previously the preserve of ‘geekdom’. What better time to attend The Cheltenham Science Festival?

Now in its twelfth year, The Cheltenham Science Festival is one of four major events organised by charitable organisation Cheltenham Festivals. This year features the usual bredth of guest speakers, discussions and workshops. Notable speakers include Robert Winston, Michael Mosley, Kate Humble, Richard Dawkins, Dara O Briain, Liz Bonnin, Steve Backshall, among many others.

There’s also The Discover Zone and The Explore Zone, the former of which provides fun, vibrant and interactive science for all ages daily in the Cheltenham Town Hall, with the latter concentrating on materials, technology and cutting-edge research at The Exchange for Age 14+ on Saturday and Sunday.

For more information and to book tickets, visit:

The National Gardens Festival Weekend, UK

June 7-8

Over 500 gardens will open to the public this weekend for The National Gardens Festival, organised by The National Gardens Scheme charity. The Festival aims to raise thousands of pounds for nursing and caring charities, including Macmillan Cancer Support, Marie Curie Cancer Care and Carers Trust.

Open gardens in the Cotswolds include: Blenheim Palace and Gardens, Barnsley House, Batsford Arboretum, Bourton House, Cerney House, Courts Gardens, Hidcote Manor, Kiftsgate Court, Lydney Park, Malmsbury Abbey, Mill Dene, Painswick Rococo, Rodmarton Manor, Snowshill Manor, Spetchley Park Gardens, Sudeley Castle, Westbury Court, Westonbirt Arboretum, Croome Park, Miserdon Park Gardens and many more.

Some gardens participating are hosting special activities during the weekend, such as art and sculpture exhibitions, live music, teas and cakes, picnics and more.

To find a garden involved in the NGS Festival Weekend near you, visit:

SportBeat Music and Sports Festival, Gloucester

June 7-8

The second ever SportBeat Festival takes place this weekend, with fifty bands performing across the event alongside a sports programme of rugby, netball and volleyball. Notable musical acts include Razorlight, Reverand and The Makers, Soul II Soul, Hoosiers, Jaguar Skills, The Ordinary Boys, Matt Cardle, among many others. There will also be a vintage fair, laser tag, zorbing, craft stalls, street art exhibition and as silent disco.

The directors and founders of SportBeat are local professional athletes with an aim to “nurture a culture of positive development in today’s youth and encourage families through an influence of sport and healthy eating by using the platform of positive role models.”

For more information and to book tickets visit:

Hartpury Summer Fair,

June 7

On Saturday, Hartpury College will host a free Summer Fair, featuring family activities, arena displays, rural crafts and more than 60 exhibitors.

Animal lovers can enjoy Jonathan’s Jungle Roadshow, an owl and raptor show, dog agility tests, show jumping, sheep shearing, dressage, and there will be the opportunity to meet a variety of other critters including including rabbits, guinea pigs, goats, chickens, meerkats, llamas and prairie dogs.

Brave attendees can try their hand at windsurfing, or those of a more placid disposition can practice their golf swing. There’s also a chance to test your rugby and football skills. Or if that all seems a little too reserved, jump around manically on the bouncy castle.

There will be circus entertainers and jugglers, welding workshops, tractor and trailer rides, and those who work up an appetite can sate their grumbling stomaches with food from the barbecue or ice-cream van.

For more information, visit:

Sodbury Jazz and Blues Festival, Chipping Sodbury

June 5-8

The Sodbury Jazz Festival began in 2011 and has previously played host to high-profile acts including Kenny Ball, Jacqui Dankworth, Swinging at the Cotton Club and Brian Carrick’s International New Orleans Band and Clare Teal – as well as plenty of jazz acts from across the Cotswolds. This year the organisers have brought blues into the fold, hoping to attract a broader range of musicians and attendees.

Notable acts performing at the festival include Chris Farlowe with The Norman Beaker Band, Zoot Money & Papa George, New Orleans Update with,Sinead McCabe, Thomas Ford, Ambassadors of Jazz, Paul Buck & Cass Levett, Jazz Mass and more. There will be plenty of real ale on tap, too, with two of the venues having been acredited by CAMRA.

For more information, visit: