Five things you absolutely must do this summer…
Shop at Kilver Court
This place is an absolute wonder of incredible luxury brands, without the associated price tag. Think Mulberry handbags for £300. It’s a dream come true for anyone who loves lovely things and needs a day of indulgence. Get there early to beat the rush – though it’s always relatively peaceful – and leave enough time to stop for lunch at their Sharpham Pantry restaurant.
Take: Your wallet / Don’t Take: Your husband
Kilver Court, Kilver Street, Shepton Mallet, BA4 5NF
Find the butterflies at Blenheim Palace
This is such a glorious place to take little ones. Not only are the grounds of Blenheim Palace obviously stunning to walk/crawl/romp around and picnic in, but the Butterfly House has over 200 native and exotic butterflies fluttering about, and is absolutely delightful, if a little hot. We loved seeing the beautiful colours flash past and there was so much to look at Munchkin couldn’t take her eyes off everything.
Take: A picnic / Don’t Take: A coat
Blenheim Palace, Woodstock, OX20 1PP
Get lost in the trees at Westonbirt
Still one of our favourite places to go throughout the year, in the summer Westonbirt is a shady, colourful retreat from the world. Children are free from 20 July to 31 August and there’s lots of event to keep little minds happy – including reading under the trees, and the brilliantly named ‘Secret life of Trees’. We love to walk through the old wood, the original part of the arboretum and search out the Gruffalo, who hides in a shady clearing.
Take: Flat shoes and a camera / Don’t Take: too many photos, it’s addictive
Westonbirt, Tetbury, GL8 8QS
Be delighted at Gifford Circus
A regular summer fix, this extraordinary circus is a feast for the soul and the senses. Delightfully crazy, whimsical and magical this old-style circus takes inspiration from across literature, art, music and theatre and puts together a show filled with such ingenuity, tricks, humour and colour that it’s impossible not to fall in love.
Take: Every little – and big – person you know / Don’t Take: The dog
Minchinhampton 6-17 August / Cirencester 4-14 September
Explore Bristol Gardens
A wonderful initiative from Jo Malone, in conjunction with St Mungo’s Broadway and garden designer Emma Coleman, this beautiful garden in Bristol has been established to offer local homeless people to gain horticultural qualifications through working in the garden, with the hope that it will lead to long-term employment, but also provide therapeutic outlet in the short term. Sales from the yummy limited edition charity candle, white lilac & rhubarb, will go towards the garden which opens in June is free for visitors to potter around. A tranquil quiet space, amidst the soaring ruins of Castle Park it looks to be a wonderful to escape the world for a moment or two.
Take: Mothers, grandmother’s maiden aunts, garden lovers / Don’t Take: Little people
The Castle Park Physic Garden, Broad Weir, Bristol