A cordial invitation to Regency Week

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Immerse yourself in the world of Jane Austen with dances, walks, talks, workshops and more from June 21st to 30th.

Alton Jane Austen Regency Week has been extended to a 10th day by popular demand to allow people to collect costumes ordered for the Summer Ball for the following day or attend a workshop to produce decorative accessories to wear with them.

There will also be a Welcome Reception in the evening to collect tickets, meet the organisers and hear from our Patron and Guest of Honour, Caroline Knight, Jane Austen’s five times great niece, who grew up at Chawton House.

Most of the first weekend will follow the regular pattern; Regency Day on Saturday with the Regency Market in the Town Centre, followed by a Dance Workshop in the afternoon and Summer Ball in the evening.

The Festivities move to Chawton on Sunday morning with a visit to Jane Austen’s house, a walk round the village and a parade to Chawton House for a picnic lunch with Caroline Knight. Tea at the Allen Gallery is followed by Regency Choral Evensong with the renowned St Lawrence Church Choir.

Monday starts with a talk about Embroidered Paper and continues with an afternoon at Wyards Farm, the home of Jane’s favourite niece and regularly visited by her, before ending with a Midsummer evening at Chawton House.

Tuesday it’s on to Gilbert White’s House at Selborne for a sewing workshop and House and Garden tours. In the evening the Allen Gallery will show the 1940 film version of Pride and Prejudice starring Laurence Olivier.

Wednesday brings a bonnet workshop while the more energetic can opt for a guided walk around Alton. Take part in a parasol decorating workshop and enjoy a talk about Mr Darcy from Jessica Bull and Louise Morrish covering Jessica’s new book.

The Lunchtime Regency Organ Concert at St Lawrence Church will wake everyone up after a quiet morning in the library exploring their Jane Austen book collection, followed by a discussion of Northanger Abbey at the Friends’ Meeting House before an evening circular walk around Chawton.

Friday will be spent in Chawton with two hours at Chawton House during the day and Jane Austen’s house will be open during the evening until 8pm.

The morning is divided between Chawton and Alton on Saturday starting with a tour of Jane Austen’s house followed by guided walk of Chawton. At the same time there will be children’s Regency inspired crafts at Alton Library. The increasingly popular Country Dance will be held at the Assembly Rooms in the evening.

The 10th and last day, Sunday 30th, features a guided walk of Alton in the morning and a Book Fair at the Community Centre during the day. The week closes with the popular Regency Supper at Jane Austen’s house in the evening.

Wherefore art thou, Romeo?

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You’ll find him and Juliet in Guildford Castle Gardens and seven other town locations

This summer one of greatest of all love stories will explode onto the streets of Guildford.

For three weeks, June 21st to July 13th, Guildford Shakespeare Company is closing the High Street every evening to bring to life the passion and excitement of Shakespeare’s impulsive star-crossed lovers, Romeo & Juliet. In a society fuelled by greed and entitlement, can their fragile vision of a better world survive their families’ ruthless feud?

Featuring, amongst others, the iconic Guildhall balcony, historic Abbot’s Hospital and stylish Tunsgate Quarter you will follow the action as the story unfolds, ending in the stunning Castle Gardens. You will walk roughly 1,500m from Holy Trinity Church down the High Street to Tunsgate Quarter, and back again. Scenes will unfold as you move with the action. Stewards will be on hand. The second half of the performance will be static in the Castle Gardens, around the Bandstand.

GSC’s professional cast will also be joined by a community ensemble of adults and young people. The Youth Ensemble will form the street of gangs of Montagues and Capulets and come from three local schools and GSC’s own GSC Saturdays. The Adult Ensemble of community actors are the guest at Capulets’ masked ball.

Join GSC for a truly unique telling of Shakespeare’s heart breaking tale, as they continue their 18th birthday celebrations this year.

Romeo & Juliet also has two static performances on June 29th and July 13th. Book tickets at Tickets – Guildford Shakespeare Company.

Fizz fest at The Grange, Alresford

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Hampshire’s world class still and sparkling wines will be showcased at The Grange, Alresford on Sunday, 23rd June

The Vineyards of Hampshire Fizz Fest is back for its 10th year offering visitors the chance to taste more than 20 world class Hampshire sparkling and still wines.

Wine makers and vineyard owners are on hand to showcase their wine portfolio including new vintages. Wine lovers can join a range of masterclasses, tour the vineyard and winery and enjoy Hampshire street food and live music as well as taking your favourite wines home.

This year the event will coincide for the first time with English Wine Week, (15th-23rd June, WineGB) including a range of local celebrations promoting Hampshire wines. The Grange’s winery adjoins Burges Field Vineyard, home to 52,000 vines which produce the award-winning The Grange wines.

“Fizz Fest provides the perfect opportunity to taste all of the best wines to be found in Hampshire and we are very much looking forward to hosting this showcase event and we are all proud for it to have reached its 10th year. We opened our state-of-the-art winery here in 2022, with the purpose of servicing our young vineyard and blending and producing our own wine. This year we are now able to do just that,” says Zam Baring, Managing Partner for The Grange wines.

During the day, the tasting tent will host wines and new vintages from all eight members: Black Chalk in Andover, Danebury Vineyards in Stockbridge, Exton Park, Hambledon and The Grange, Hattingley, Louis Pommery England and Raimes, all Alresford.

Book at Vineyards of Hampshire

Sweet sounds of Concerts in Caversham

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Hear the rich sounds of professional musicians on your doorstep with Concerts in Caversham

Concerts in Caversham are delighted to present two summer concerts featuring the sonorous rich sound of the cello contrasting with the haunting sounds of oboe and bassoon.

Programmes range from the core Romantic repertoire for cello and piano to French and English repertoire for wind and piano.

The versatile cellist, Naomi Watts (Royal Philharmonic Orchestra), will present a programme around the many aspects of love described through music including some beautiful arrangements and quirky pieces by Schumann, Brahms, Debussy and some other ‘surprises’. Accompanied by Alison Rhind on piano, enjoy The Romantic Cello on June 14th at the Baptist Church, Gosbrooke Road, Caversham.

Ewan Miller and Ben Hudson who were BBC Young Musician Finalists in 1996 and 2020, will include the two fabulous wind and piano trios by Poulenc and Madeleine Dring, along with solos by Elgar, Henri Dutilleux, Gordon Jacob and Piazolla. These two engaging artists will not disappoint! Don’t miss them accompanied by pianist Adrienne Black at St Andrew’s Church, Albert Road, Caversham on June 15th.

Attend both concerts and enjoy a saving a £6 on the price of two tickets. See concertsincaversham.co.uk for further details and to buy the ‘Two Concert Bundle’ or individual tickets per concert.

Email [email protected] for more information.

Go on the hunt in Horsell

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Join the garden safari this month and you never know what you’ll track down and all for local good causes

You might not see any elephants or giraffes, but the village of Horsell is once again looking forward to welcoming visitors to the annual garden safari on June 15th and 16th.

It’s a date when people meet up with friends, enjoy the various gardens on offer and relax with a cup of tea and cake! This is their 22nd year and they are looking forward to everyone enjoying the days and celebrating the British love of plants, gardens and gardening.

David Bromley tells us: “We are of course renowned for being the most avid and possibly the best gardeners in the world. Opening this year are some new gardens, some that have been missed as they haven’t opened for a few years and some old favourites. The gardens offer a lovely mix of the new and familiar, the small and the large and all in a range of styles.

“This year amongst many other things there are Koi Carp, operatic themed teas and Tudor buildings on offer. If you haven’t been to the allotments, go and find them on Sunday, 16th June and enjoy the amazing range of flowers, fruit and vegetables – you might well be inspired to grow your own if you haven’t done so before. Visiting the three new gardens to support their efforts will have them open again in the future.”

Brochures, still costing only £8 for entry to all gardens on both days, are on sale in the usual local Horsell High Street shops and businesses, namely Seymours, Premier Store Horsell, Lisa Jones and the Horsell Framing Company. They are also available from participating gardens on the day.

There are 24 different gardens to view, 15 open on Saturday and 15 on Sunday so get your walking shoes on, or pump up the bicycle tyres in readiness and join Horsell for a wonderful outdoor weekend!

“All proceeds are donated to local charities and thanks as always should go to those super folks who open their gardens, Seymours, Hamlyns and Victoria Clinic who sponsor the event, the shops who sell the brochures and of course, the visitors who make the efforts so worthwhile,” adds David. “In the years of the safari it has raised just short of £75,000 for the local charities. Keep up the great work everyone.”

High flying fun at Blackbushe

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Blackbushe Open Day and Fly-In is celebrating all things aviation on Saturday, 15th June with static displays and experience flights among the fun for the whole family

Aviation enthusiasts will be on cloud nine at the annual Blackbushe Air Day with fun and games for all the family, a static aircraft display, live entertainment, a history hub and stalls.

The static display features a wide variety of aircraft, many vintage including those dating from the 1930s as well as fly-in appearances from a variety of aircraft.

There will be limited availability to take part in some flying action, with experience flights on Scillonia Airway’s Dragon Rapide (tickets on the day) and Adventure 001’s Jet Ranger Helicopter when you can enjoy a six-mile flight.

In 2023 more than 84 aircraft attended and over 120 classic cars, including historical aircraft from Blackbushe’s past with some more than 100 years old. A Sherman Tank was among the vehicles on display. More than 150 classic vehicles are scheduled to appear this year, a 25 percent increase on last year with big names such as the Jaguar E-Type, the MGB, and the Ford Mustang, American police vehicles, a bus, along with many others.

New for 2024 will see Aerobility bring their experience in running the Armchair Airshow to a new attraction – Aerobility Live! Watch on a big screen showing some fantastic air displays, with real pilots on stage commentating on the fantastic feats, providing an insight into the skills required.

Another highlight for the day that’ll have you looking upwards, will be the Battle of Britain memorial flight making a flypast complete with a Spitfire and Hurricane.

There’s family excitement with fun and games for all ages to be found around the site. Features include bouncy castles and slides, miniature ‘ride on’ model planes, static displays, live entertainment, the history hub and food stalls.

In addition to the mix of aviation themed stalls and merchandise, shop at the maker’s market for handmade jewellery, art, chocolate and candles among others and when it’s time to stop for food and drink you’re spoiled for choice with fish and chips, pulled pork, burgers, crepes and pizza with wine, gin and beer as well as soft drinks available.

Tickets £18 adults, £8 children, £45 family (2&2). Please book at Tickets — Blackbushe Air Day

Vistas & veggies patches in Bramshott

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Bramshott Open Gardens offer courtyards, terraces, ponds & more to view

The hugely popular Bramshott Open Gardens weekend is returning on June 15th and 16th, to be opened this year by well-known author, broadcaster and comedian Sandi Toksvig.

‘BOG’ as it is affectionately known, is traditionally held every two years, when the residents of Bramshott village in Hampshire, come together to open their gardens and offer a warm welcome to visitors, while raising valuable funds for worthy local and national causes, and the young people in our community. As the largest open gardens event of its kind in Hampshire, there are over 20 private gardens open, covering a huge range and variety, from courtyards and terraces, to veggie patches, to stunning show gardens with beautiful vistas and delightful ponds.

Over 70 residents volunteer over the weekend, for this highly organised two-day event with over 1,000 visitors, free parking, shuttle buses to ferry visitors around the village, loos in convenient places, tea tents, BBQ, plant sale, and tombola, flower displays in 13th century St Mary’s Church, as well as the beautiful gardens. Bramshott is also reputed to be the most haunted village in England, and was home to the late Boris Karloff.

The event in 2022 allowed more than £20,000 to be donated to local good causes.

Tickets £8, covers both days, on sale on the day, and via our website. Children 12 and under, free. Apologies, no dogs, other than guide or assistance dogs. Use postcode GU30 7SQ to find us.

For more info and tickets, visit Bramshott Open Gardens.

Gold fever for Wargrave Festival

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50 years on and Wargrave Festival is still serving up family favourites with more than 40 events making up 19 days of entertainment from June 12th to 30th as Ally Holloway tells us

Fifty years ago in 1974, many villagers thought he was crazy. The idea of uniting the village from the High Street to Highfield Park. They said it wouldn’t work.

The then Vicar, the late Reverend John Ratings, mused in 1974 that a village festival “would be a useful exercise to do something for village unity…” And from that, the first Wargrave Festival was held in 1975. Now it has grown into one of the biggest village festivals in the country. The festival is not-for-profit event, where proceeds go to local community organisations to improve the quality of life in the village through education, sport and culture.

This year’s 50th celebration Gold Fever, starting on Wednesday, 12th June, will feature a host of fun-filled family delights, dazzling formal events, spirited theatre and musical performances, roving culinary delights, a sporting extravaganza, a wonderfully riotous talent show, as well as the traditional Wargrave Festival Parade through the historic village down to the Village Fete opened by Wargrave resident Debbie McGee, celebrating all that makes up this splendid community. The festival will draw to a close on Sunday, 30th June with the popular family BBQ on Mill Green.

For families looking for a variety of entertainment this summer, there is a lot to look forward to. On Saturday 22nd, the Wargrave Bike Fest and Family Sports Day is more than just a bike ride. The 20km family ride will see parents and children cycling through Wargrave and neighbouring villages in search of checkpoints. Back on Mill Green, kids can pick up their Olympic Passport to collect stamps as they complete the 10 Olympic challenges including rock climbing, golf, cricket, rugby, martial arts, wrestling, tennis, rowing and more. There will be soft play for under 5s, an art & craft area to make your own gold medal and a BBQ and bar. The family sports day is free for adults and only £5 for the Olympic Passport for children 13 and under.

In the evening, there will be an enchanting night of dance, fun and family entertainment at Saturday Night Dance Fever. Witness inspiring demonstrations from talented local dancers including salsa, contemporary, ballroom, jazz, Latin and more – join in the fun group classes to learn some moves of your own and show off your fancy footwork. Tickets from £6.

It doesn’t stop there with a kids comedy event, Morris Dancing, a tennis day, the family BBQ and the Wargrave Village Parade and Fete and much more. The big finale is the Wargrave’s Got Talent night that promises to serve up some quality free entertainment, delicious food and a DJ to dance into the evening.

Find out more and book tickets online at Wargrave Festival 2024 Gold Fever

Trinity Concert Band’s Olympics tribute

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Join Trinity Concert Band at All Saints Church and herald the start of the sporting celebration

Get ready to witness the ultimate celebrations of the Paris Olympic Games with Trinity Concert Band on Saturday, 8th June.

The performance will breathe life into the Olympic spirit like never before, creating an atmosphere of unmatched energy and enthusiasm. From the timeless rhythms of Gershwin to the magnificent sounds of Vangelis, the night promises to be a real winner.

Let your senses be captivated by the beautifully renovated All Saints Church in Wokingham as you enjoy an enchanting evening of sensational music celebrating France and the world of sports. Highlights include: Olympic Fanfare & Theme – John Williams, An American in Paris – Gershwin, Chariots of Fire – Vangelis, Les Miserables – Andrew Lloyd-Webber, Olympic Spirit – John Williams and many more.

Be part of the celebration and experience the excitement of the Olympic Games through the prism of the most powerful language: music.

A portion of concert proceeds will go to the band’s chosen charity for 2024, Stepping Stones DS, supporting children and young people with Down Syndrome to fulfil their potential, #TCBMoreThanMusic

Tickets can be purchased online or from the box office by calling 0118 4492099 or at [email protected] 

The Paris Olympics run from July 26th to August 11th.

Frighteningly funny Young Frankenstein

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You’d be mad to miss FAOS Musical Theatre Group’s latest show at Farnham Maltings

Join FAOS for a terrific time in old Transylvania, where the wolves are howling, the scientists are mad, the monster has escaped and everyone is Puttin’ On the Ritz!

Young Frederick Frankenstein (that’s Fronken-steen), returns to his grandfather’s Transylvanian castle with his trusty sidekick Igor (that’s Eye-gore) and with the help of beautiful blonde Inga (that’s buxom) and the slightly sinister Frau Blücher (that’s… enough!) creates a magnificent monster.

However, the brain used isn’t quite to the standard Frankenstein expected, and with the local police inspector and villagers breaking down the door with pitchforks – for a friendly welcome – and a surprise visit from Frankenstein’s fiancée Elizabeth, just as you would expect hilarious chaos ensues.

Young Frankenstein is scientifically proven, monstrously good entertainment, a frighteningly funny show that will leave you in stitches. You’d have to be mad as Frankenstein to miss it.

Performances: 12th-15th June, 7.30pm, 2.30pm on Saturday.

To book tickets, adults £18, under 16s £13, call the box office on 01252 745444 or visit farnhammaltings.com/events/faos-young-frankenstein

Farnham Maltings also offers a pre-show dining option.

FOAS has been part of life in Farnham for almost 100 years. They are always looking for new performers and behind the scenes for help with costumes and make up, props, set-building, lighting, sound engineering, front of house, backstage crew during show week and marketing and publicity.