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Diaries out! What’s on in Essex this month

Stuck for ideas this summer? From quirky art events and open-air cinema nights to fun family days out, we’ve got you covered.

ART: Typewriter Workshop, Wonky Wheel Gallery, 3 August 1-3pm

Calling all aspiring artists! Finchingfield’s super-cute gallery has teamed up with talented local artist James Cook to hold a quirky Typewriter Art (Google it – it’s very cool) Workshop. Cook, whose work has been featured on the likes of BBC and Sky News, will be on hand to teach you the basics as well as imparting his top typewriter tips.

THEATRE: Alice in Wonderland, Mercury Theatre, 2-14 August

Fall down the rabbit hole at this modern-day theatre adaption of Lewis Carroll’s classic novel. Adapted by Mike Kenny, one of England’s leading playwrights, it’s (as expected) a truly weird and wonderful watch. A great, screen-free activity for the sprogs this summer.

EVENT: RHS Hyde Hall Flower Show, 3-7 August

Know your dahlias from your dandelions? Up your green-fingered game at Hyde Hall this August with over 60 nursery and trade exhibits to choose from. Get top tips from the professionals and peruse your favourite blooms while enjoying live music and tasty treats from courtesy of a pop-up BBQ.

MUSIC: Simply Red, Castle Park, 6 August

What could be better than Simply Red coming to Colchester? Erm, only blooming Gabrielle coming with them as their support act! Grab the hubby, your bestie or whoever will blummin’ well come with you. This is a 90s extravaganza not to be missed. *Googles all Simply Red lyrics to belt out in the shower*

FOOD & DRINK: The Glass Slipper After Dark, Mad Dogs & Englishmen, 12 August

Ok, this is pretty cool. The hip Leigh-on-Sea tearoom has teamed up with top local chef John Lawson for a one-off evening experience complete with four-course menu, jazz music and typical Mad Dog surprises. Grab a ticket before they’re gone.

MUSIC: Elbow, Audley End House, 13 August

One for the cool kids. The Manchester-born rock band is heading to Saffron Walden for an eagerly-anticipated, one-off gig in the stunning grounds of Audley End House. From classic anthems to a taster from their new album, expect an all-round top night of musical entertainment.

FITNESS: Morning Yoga, Mark’s Hall Estate, 14 August

Where better to get your zen on than in the beautifully-landscaped gardens of Mark’s Hall. Reset and relax in the shade of the arboretum in the 90 minute-session (suitable for all abilities) run by Little Yoga Studio then head to the Orchard Kitchen Café for a well-earned caffeine fix.

MUSIC: Tom Jones, Audley End House, 14 August

What’s new pussycat? Oh, just the legend that is Sir Tom Jones performing in the grounds of Audley End House & Gardens. As part of this summer’s Heritage Live concerts, the Welsh icon will be joined by The Shires (aka the UK’s best-selling country act) for an incredible evening of music. Get booking while there’s still tickets left!

CINEMA: Bohemian Rapsody, Hyde Hall, 16 August

Grab the picnic blanket and the ‘picky bits’ for an evening under the stars this summer. The Luna Cinema returns to Hyde Hall with its fab open-air cinema evenings and Rami Malek’s performance as Freddie Mercury is not to be missed. Plus, it’s a great excuse to knock back a wine or two while belting out some Queen classics. Just a standard Saturday night, right?

FAMILY: Enchanted Summer Adventure, Audley End Miniature Railway, until 4 September

All aboard the Audley End summer train! From magical fairy and elf walks to bug hunting and story-telling, expect the usual fabulous fun day out at this local family favourite. And, of course, there’s the epic wooden playground to tire out the kiddos before bedtime.  

FAMILY: Writtle Maize Maze, open now

Ok, I’m not ashamed to admit that last year I may or may not have needed a little help getting out of the maze (yes, I am that embarrassing parent). So, this year I will be redeeming myself (I hope) at the cutely-themed butterfly and bumblebee maze. The kids will have a blast navigating their way around and you can chill with an ice cream and a coffee if you don’t fancy the embarrassment.

FAMILY: Dinosaurs in the Park, Hylands, 18 August

A roarsome (sorry, not sorry) event for the Mudlings this summer. Whether they’re a T-rex or Triceratops fan, there’s a dino to delight every aspiring palaeontologist with 35 life-sized, moving and roaring dinosaurs dotted around the park. Anyone else getting Jurassic Park vibes?

ART: The Singh Twins in Conversation, Firstsite, 21 August

The art gallery’s current Slaves of Fashion exhibition has been extended to include a live Q&A with the artists and Emily Hannam, Project Curator for South Asia at the British Museum. From the Empire and enslavement to conflict and luxury consumerism, the Singh Twins will explore the narratives behind their incredible and eclectic show.  

FAMILY: Fireman Sam Live, Palace Theatre, 22 August

Oh Norman! Fireman Sam is coming to Southend City this summer with all your favourite Pontypandy characters. This time, there’s a tiger on the loose (eek) and Fireman Sam has to save the day (and the circus). Little ones can sing, dance and even learn to be a fire fighter-cadet.

CINEMA: West Side Story, Hedingham Castle, 23 August

Spielberg in the grounds of a castle? Erm, yes please. Book a babysitter and watch Tony and Maria fall in love all over again in this modern remake of the classic musical. Top tip: book the VIP tickets for actual seats. *Cue smug face*               

FAMILY: Jurassic Earth Live, Cliffs Pavilion, 24 August

There seems to be a bit of a dino theme happening this summer but we’re here for it. This immersive and interactive show will have the kids (and big kids) out of their seats roaring along with state-of-the-art animatronic life-like dinosaurs. Fun for all the family, it gets a big tick for entertainment and education. Winning at parent life.  

FOOD & DRINK: Brightlingsea Food & Drink Festival, 26-28 August

We love a good food festival and this lovely little local event – now in its sixth year – has something for everyone. Think street food, a real ale marquee (showcasing local breweries), a Prosecco bar, live music, crafts and gifts. Plus, there’s a bouncy castle and ice cream for the kiddos – who get free entry FYI.

FAMILY: Day out with Thomas, East Anglian Railway, 27-29 August

Now, this is a bang-for-your-buck kind of day. From unlimited rides with Thomas, Percy and Daisy and a Rusty & Dusty Show to live story-telling sessions with Sir Topham Hatt, the sprogs will not have time to get bored at this railway event. That’s not all. There’s also a train-themed playground, a miniature railway and other Thomas-themed activities and giveaways. Phew.

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