Enjoy family-friendly summer holidays in Warwickshire


Travel through time this summer holiday with Shakespeare’s England – from a medieval joust to a 1940s tearoom and 2 Tone music scene, right through to discovering how Our Future Moves in a new City of Culture exhibition at Coventry Transport Museum.

The school summer holidays are almost here and with a government announcement expected to lift all Covid restrictions on July 19, it will mean arts, culture, hospitality can resume a near normal service as possible.

Members of Shakespeare’s England, the Destination Management organisation (DMO) for South Warwickshire and the surrounding area have created a host of special events and outdoor fun for the whole family in July, August and early September from futuristic exhibitions, to a teddy bear’s picnic, immersive theatre and an RSC Costume Day.

Chief executive Helen Peters said: “Anybody still feeling disappointed at changes to their original plans this summer should look no further than South Warwickshire, Shakespeare’s England really does have something to offer everyone, young, old, active, sedentary, indoors, outdoors, families, couples, singles. This really is the perfect time to visit us for the first time or #DiscoverYourDoorstep.”

The full list of events includes:

New high wire show Caelum et Terram (Mother Earth and Father Sky), Compton Verney, July 16, 17 and 18 – Coventry’s UK City of Culture’s second big spectacular, following the Midsummer Fire Gardens, co-produced by Remarkable Productions, the Coventry City of Culture Trust and Compton Verney Art Gallery and Park, is a breath-taking performance from a world-leading high wire artist.

Chris Bullzini, one of only a handful of people from across the world who can claim the title of a funambulist – a 19th Century term for a high wire walker, will traverse the Upper Lake in the Compton Verney Park on a 100-metre wire.

The event also includes performances from aerialist Eloise Currie, fire performance from Flame Oz plus pyrotechnics, spectacular lighting, specially commissioned live music and pre-show entertainment from Rimsky and Handkerchief.

Gates open 8pm with licensed bars and street food on offer, with the main performance taking place at around 9.30pm as the light starts to fade. Tickets for the show, which is part of Coventry 2021’s Summer of Surprises, are priced £8 and are available from the coventry2021.co.uk website.

Coventry Transport Museum Our Future Moves – Explore the immersive world of futuristic technology in this new must-see City of Culture exhibition, from driverless flying drones and AI facial recognition cars to exciting space technology and hydrogen cars. Adventure through six experimental themes and unearth a glimpse into the future of transport, technology and a sustainable environment. From July 17.

Book your visit at www.transport-museum.com Free admission for GoCV card holders


The Herbert Art Gallery & Museum, CoventryUnNatural History exhibition – More than 20 international artists and naturalists explore the role of the artist as an intrinsic part of the science of natural history – enabling our modern understanding of ecology, climate change, extinction, and threats to biodiversity. It includes four newly commissioned works responding to the gallery’s own natural sciences collection. Until August 22, theherbert.org 

2 Tone: Lives & Legacies – The first ever major UK exhibition devoted solely to the 2 Tone music scene of the 1970s as part of the City of Culture. Until September 12, theherbert.org 

Family Activities: masterclasses – from oil painting to clay sculptures and screen printing taught by the Learning Team inspired by the gallery’s collections. July 29, August 12 & August 26, theherbert.org 

Summer holiday workshops: Crafting Coventry’s History – Kids can learn about the city’s thriving past and pioneering figures in these popular 90-minute creative family workshops including Lady Godiva, Medieval Coventry, the Tudor Times, the Victorians, World War II and 2 Tone during its year as UK City of Culture year. Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays, theherbert.org 



Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC), Stratford-upon-AvonThe Comedy of Errors directed by Phillip Breen (The Hypocrite, The Provoked Wife, The Merry Wives of Windsor) will be performed outdoors this summer in the Lydia & Manfred Gorvy Garden Theatre, located in the Swan Theatre Gardens, flanked by the River Avon and overlooked by the Swan Theatre.  Tuesday July 13 – September 26. Book here for the play: https://www.rsc.org.uk/the-comedy-of-errors/


Another highlight is the reopening of the Rooftop Restaurant on Tuesday July 13 (more information, including the new menu, available here).


The RSC’s summer families programme – featuring free pop-up performances, interactive workshops and outdoor performances will culminate in a Costume Day on Friday August 20 – a festival style take-over of the Stratford-upon-Avon town centre, celebrating the company’s costume-making heritage, following the reveal of the new Costume Workshop). Tuesday July 27 – Friday August 20. Link for events here.



Warwickshire County Council’s HAF, Holiday Activities & Food (Twitter and Facebook) – Through the HAF Programme, Warwickshire County Council is working with families to provide children/young people who gain benefits-related Free School Meals & free activities during the summer holiday. Click here to find out if your family is eligible for FSM and apply today – http://ow.ly/xdEn50FfGXu


Playful Summer at Rugby Art Gallery and Museum – July 20 – September 4 Prebooking is essential, children must be accompanied by an adult at all times. Most activities are FREE but donations are welcome to help with staffing and materials. The gallery will be closed to the public on August 7 and August 21 10-11am for relaxed sessions. Booking online www.ragm.co.uk


Mallory Court Hotel, Leamington Spa




The Arden Hotel, Stratford-upon-Avon


The Arden Hotel, Stratford


Warwick Castle

  • Terry Deary, of the Horrible Histories series is being invited to launch the all-new Vile Victorian section of the ‘Lost in Time’ Horrible Histories maze on July 24 ready for the school summer holidays. Book a visit https://www.warwick-castle.com/



Fusilier Museum Warwick, At John’s House, Warwick

  • Bringing History to Life – a free outdoor family fun event in the garden with live music from Ruby Ann Sings, Saturday July 17 from 11am – 3pm.

Discover what it was like for the Royal Warwickshire Regiment in the Boer War, First World War and Second World War – meet knowledgeable re-enactors, local bee keepers with an observation hive, honey sales and candle-rolling for children.

Refreshments available – drinks and cakes – plus children’s trail and activities. Come in military themed outfit with a prize for the best dressed child. Tel 01926 491653, www.warwickfusiliers.co.uk


The Game Fair, Ragley Hall, July 23- 25 – Ex-cricketer Lord Ian Botham, farmer and TV presenter Adam Henson and chef James Martin will be guests at this annual event celebrating countryside pursuits, the Great British Countryside and the British summer. Other attractions include camping and glamping, open air cinema, stage, archery, fishing, 4x4s and a main events stage. For further details visit https://thegamefair.org/


Coombe Abbey Hotel – a host of summer and autumn entertainment includes Mediaeval Banquets, Murder Mystery, Speakeasy Blinders, plus look out for further details of another outdoor cinema event in September. For further details visit https://www.coombeabbey.com/product-category/events/



Belgrade Theatre, CoventryRoundabout – part of the Belgrade Theatre’s Coventry UK City of Culture 2021 programme. Four Belgrade Theatre Coventry and Paines Plough productions will be taking place in a pop-up performance tent in the grounds of Moat House Leisure and Neighbourhood Centre, 2 Winston Avenue, Wood End, Coventry, CV2 1EA. Tues July 27 – Sun August 8. They include:

  • Really Big and Really Loud by Phoebe Eclair-Powell – a show featuring ‘a rageful rhino, a very helpful fly called Stephen and some really good songs about chips’ for all the family from award-winning playwright Phoebe Eclair-Powell. Age guidance: 5+. Dates: Tues July 27, Sat July 31 & Sun Aug 1, Tues Aug 3, Wed Aug 4, Thurs Aug 5, Sat Aug 7 and Sun Aug 8
  • Black Love by Chinonyerem Odimba – Roundabout’s first ever musical. A sister and brother look after each other in their small London flat, filled with the memories of their parents’ Black Love. Black Love is an explosion of form busting storytelling, an ode to Black music, and those real stories we rarely hear. Age Guidance: 12+ Dates: Wed July 28, Sat July 31, Wed Aug 4, Fri Aug 6, Sat Aug 7 and Sun Aug 8
  • May Queen by Frankie Meredith, directed by Balisha Karra – May Day in Coventry, 2022. Sixteen-year-old Leigh has been chosen as May Queen. She’s buzzin, as is the rest of the city. The cider is flowing and St George’s flag is flying – but during the day’s festivities something happens. Something disturbing, but maybe… unsurprising. Age Guidance: 12+ Dates: Thurs July 29, Sat July 31 and Tues Aug 3, Thurs Aug 5, Sat Aug 7 and Sun Aug 8
  • Hungry by Chris Bush. Hungry is a new play about food, love, class and grief in a world where there’s little left to savour. Age Guidance: 12+. Dates: Fri July 30 and Sun Aug 1, Wed Aug 4, Fri Aug 6 and Sun Aug 8.
  • To book tickets visit https://www.belgrade.co.uk/


Belgrade Summer School: Play in a Week

Aimed for young people aged eight to 16. This year’s theme is Play in a Week, and challenges participants to create and perform their own brand-new piece of theatre using skills they develop during the week.

Led by an experienced DBS checked practitioner, young people will work towards a pre-recorded sharing of their work, which will be released on the Friday for participants and their families to watch together. No previous drama experience is necessary. Early booking recommended as places are limited.


Dragons and Mythical Beasts, August 5-7 – Enter into a magical world of myths and legends in this fantastical new show for all the family from the creators of the West End smash hit Dinosaur World Live.Book tickets: https://www.belgrade.co.uk/events/dragons-and-mythical-beasts/


Two new café bars: The Belgrade Café and Nineteen 58 Bar – Designed to reflect the original 1950s glamour of the theatre, the new space has a modern yet classic feel. With a great new offering of locally sourced food, the café and bar are open all week. As a charity, every penny you spend with the Belgrade goes towards supporting their work with and for Coventry’s communities.


Shakespeare’s Schoolroom and Guildhall, Stratford-upon-Avon

  • A Child o’ th’ Time: Tudor Childhood in Shakespeare’s Time exhibition – will run this summer marking 450 years since a seven-year-old William Shakespeare began his education at his local grammar school, the King’s New School – now King Edward VI School – in Stratford upon Avon. This family-friendly exhibition, curated by Suzanne Lithgo, will explore childhood during the Tudor period inside and outside the classroom.
  • Visitors can take part in a live Tudor lesson with Master Thomas Jenkins, dress up in authentic Tudor clothes, learn to write with a quill and soak up the atmosphere of the late medieval Priest’s Chapel and marvel at the wall paintings, plus learn about William’s father John and hear many stories about the building from knowledgeable guides.

Tickets can be purchased at www.ShakespearesSchoolroom.org. Email info@shakespearesschoolroom.org



Art Exhibition: Life behind the Landscape, RAGM, Rugby – July 17 – September 4 – Celebrating art, travel and communication find out why artists are inspired by a particular place, and what makes them repeatedly return. Drawn from Rugby Art Gallery and Museum’s renowned collection, this exhibition explores why artists are captivated by the spirit of a place and includes paintings by Prunella Clough, L.S. Lowry, John Minton, and Graham Sutherland. Book your visit online www.ragm.co.uk


The Fourteas, Stratford-upon-AvonThe café’s standard 1940s theme continues after sundown with a brand-new selection of cocktails, each containing a vintage twist and food platters. Dress up smartly, swing and sway to jazz music and enjoy live performances. July features Kitten Von Mew at 8pm on Fridays and guest star Charlotte on Saturdays, also at 8pm. Tel: 01789 293 908 to make a booking.


Hill Close Gardens, Warwick, https://hillclosegardens.com/

  • Heartbreak Productions open-air theatre The Great Gatsby. Picnic in the Gardens from 5pm. Drama starts 6.30pm. Tuesday July 13.
  • Head Gardener’s Walk. July 16 & August 20.
  • Teddy Bear’s Picnic, £4 per child, pre-booking essential. Thursday August 5
  • Summer Pruning Workshop, £25 HCGT/RHS members £20. Tuesday August 10
  • Arts Festival – summer exhibition of arts and craft around the gardens, artist workshops and music. Family arts & crafts workshops, plus children’s activities. Saturday August 21.



Kenilworth Castle – Experience the exhilarating spectacle of speed and skill of the Grand Medieval Joust on August 7 and 8. There’s fun for all the family with a medieval encampment, cookery, crafts, music and the jester’s jokes. Book here: https://www.english-heritage.org.uk/visit/whats-on/kenilworth-castle-legendary-joust-1-8-august/



The British Motor Museum, Gaydon

  • Families are invited to explore nature in their car collection this summer from July 22 – September 2 with the help of enthusiastic costumed explainers. Many car designers and engineers have taken inspiration from nature. Families can explore these fun facts with a ‘nature trail’ to seek out all that blooms, squawks and roars in the museum.
  • A new exhibition, Factor us in, also opens on the 22 July uncovering the fascinating stories behind the motor industry and of the people who worked and lived around it. Pre-booking is essential for all visitors – 10am, 11am, 12noon and 1pm arrival slots available and once at the museum visitors can stay as long as they wish until closing.
  • To find out more about the British Motor Museum Tel: 01926 641188 or visit britishmotormuseum.co.uk/whats-on



Rugby Beach – August 10 & 11 – Pop-up beach in Rugby’s Market Place, complete with deck chairs, bucket and spades and the sound of the sea/seagulls. Booking (TBC) available online at www.therugbytown.co.uk


Compton Verney Art Gallery and Park – two new exhibitions continue in the summer holidays:

  • Mary Newcomb: Nature’s Canvas (until September 5) featuring 50 works of the British natural scientist, farmer and artist whose life and art were rooted in everyday observation and the natural world.
  • Rebecca Louise Law: Seasons (until August 30) is a new commission composed of thousands of preserved seasonal flowers and plants, collected by contemporary artist Law throughout 2019 and 2020.
  • Visit comptonverney.org.uk



The Riverside Glasshouse, Leamington Spa – set on the river bank in Jephson Gardens, this riverside restaurant has been inundated with bookings since it launched Sunday Lunch dining earlier this summer.Their pop-up kitchen returns on September 4. For further information visit www.just-inspire.com


Stratford Butterfly Farm

  • See some of the world’s most stunning and colourful butterflies in a tropical rainforest setting. During the butterfly farm’s closure, the team replanted the outdoor and indoor tropical gardens and gave Minibeast Metropolis a stunning new look featuring a 1000 litre aquarium full of shimmering tropical fish and more.                                                                              For further information and to book advance tickets visit butterflyfarm.co.uk



Warwick Racecourse – Family-friendly events this summer include:

  • Open Air Film & Chill – Thursday August 19, 7.30pm start
  • Warwickshire Family Festival, Thursday August 26 – Sunday August 29.
  • The Warwick Thai Festival, Saturday September 4 and Sunday September 5.
  • Warwick Racecourse’s season starts with a two-day meeting: Monday September 20 and Tuesday September 21
  • For further details visit https://www.thejockeyclub.co.uk/warwick/



Rugby Outdoor Cinema – August 23 – 26 Pop-up cinema in Caldecott Park, Rugby showing 12 different films across four days. Booking (TBC) available online at www.therugbytown.co.uk


Magic Alley, Stratford-upon-Avon – has been transformed into The Enchanted Treasure Trail – an interactive quest for young adventurers involving solving magical riddles and puzzles as in different themed rooms. Tickets can be booked in advance at http://www.magicalleystratford.com/events Pre-booking is needed for weekends and school holidays.



Shakespeare Hospice – Looking for an individual or a team fundraising challenge?

  • Bare it for the Bard is the charity’s new Open Water Swim event at Spot-On Wake, Wootton Park, near Henley-in-Arden on September 12. A 250-metre loop around the lake offers the choice to swim a variety of distances and entry is £10, with a pledge to raise a minimum of £20. For more details and to sign up visit https://bit.ly/3qPYvGA
  • Teams of 12-17 people are invited to take part battling it out to be the champions in the Dragon Boat Race 2021 – a firm favourite on the Stratford calendar on Sunday September 19. No experience is necessary, as full training will be given and all procedures have been reviewed in line with Covid guidelines. Sign up here: https://bit.ly/3crPe0W
  • For cyclists looking for something different, the hospice’s Tour de Shakespeare offers a unique way to cycle around Europe and beyond, while staying close to home…The specially-designed route of 6,657 miles links many of the places where Shakespeare’s plays were set.

For full details and to register a team visit https://bit.ly/3tbQUBH


Rugby Bikefest – September 26 10am – 4pm Rugby town centre is set to welcome back the annual Bikefest. The free family festival includes a ‘ride-in’, bike displays, stalls, live music, children’s activities, funfair, and food – something to keep everyone entertained, bike enthusiast or not. More information available online at www.rugbyfirst.org

VidiGuides – Stratford-upon-Avon Tour – Vidi Guides, in partnership with Shakespeare’s England, has created a Self-Guided Podcast Tour to take visitors around Stratford, see the key places of William Shakespeare’s life, and learn more about one of history’s most important writers.



The tour can be downloaded at any time and takes the listener on points of interest around the town – www.shakespeares-england.co.uk/vidi-guides

For further information about Shakespeare’s England and its members visit www.shakespeares-england.co.uk/events