Out to play: the best things to do around the UK this week

Antonia Wilson
·5 min read
<span>Photograph: Linda Nylind/The Guardian</span>
Photograph: Linda Nylind/The Guardian

Among the Trees, Hayward Gallery, London

One thing many of us discovered during lockdown was an enhanced appreciation of nature. Among the Trees is a multimedia show encompassing 50 years of artists responding to trees and forests and the human failure to protect them. The show’s highlights include Eija-Liisa Ahtila’s horizontal audiovisual portrait of a spruce tree swaying in the wind; Eva Jospin’s vast Forêt Palatine, carved from corrugated cardboard; Giuseppe Penone’s inside-out sculptural trunks, and Kazuo Kadonaga’s 800 reassembled cedar slices, plus casts of trees, underground trees, trees in resin, and even one with “chameleon disorder” covered in feathers. The show had only opened when the gallery had to shut because of Covid-19 earlier this year, but it is now running until 31 October (book ahead, from £12).
southbankcentre.co.uk

Padi diving taster courses, various

There are great dive sites around the UK, and opportunities for newbies to learn on them, too. The Professional Association of Diving Instructors (Padi) runs a Discover Scuba Diving experience, which aims to introduce basic skills. The family-friendly one-day taster offers the chance for children as young as 10 to take their first breaths underwater, before trying a certification course. Also called “Try Dives” (from £25, including equipment), these take place at 200 dive schools around the UK, and are mainly in pools to begin with, though some centres are close to top dive spots, giving the option of an open-water dive: Kraken Diving School, for example, is close to the first world war wrecks at Scapa Flow in Orkney, while Porthkerris Divers runs trips to the sheltered shores around Cornwall’s Lizard peninsula, home to basking sharks and pods of dolphins.
padi.com

Hever festival, Kent

From Romeo and Juliet and The Wind in the Willows to Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club All Stars and the Last Night of the Proms, a fortnight of performance will take place at Hever Castle – part of a bitesize version of its annual summer festival – from 18-30 August. Events will be in the grounds of the medieval country house near Edenbridge, with fewer audience members and shorter show times than normal (tickets £20, family shows £12.50). It’s also worth exploring the grounds, which include Italian, rose and Tudor gardens, mazes, fountains and a lake (discounted gardens access available with show tickets: an extra £11.45 adults/£6.80 children on single tickets, or £11.80 adults/£7.15 children on family tickets). Tickets are still available for this weekend’s outdoor cinema (£15pp, plus £10 cars).
heverfestival.co.uk

Bongos Bingo, Newcastle and Norwich

A bingo rave that’s not for the fainthearted, Bongo’s Bingo is running two new outdoor shows across England’s August bank holiday weekend. Grannies are welcome but this is not your average games night, as traditional bingo is combined with dance-offs and pub quiz-style challenges, confetti, glitter, karaoke, drag and a healthy dose of nostalgia. We’ve included it in this week’s list because booking ahead for these popular parties is advised: dates so far include Norfolk Showground in Norwich on 29 August and the Virgin Money Unity Arena in Newcastle on 30 August, with more eventsto be revealed (£25pp, four per table, 18+, ponchos provided in case of inclement weather).
bongosbingo.co.uk

I-Cann health and wellbeing festival, south London

The I-Cann festival has a feelgood line-up of activities scheduled for the four-day event (15, 19, 22, 26 August): yoga for runners and walkers, pilates for posture, mood-enhancing meditation and family sessions (all classes £10, children free, snacks provided). It takes placeat the Italian garden of Grade-II listed Cannizaro Park in Wimbledon, where there are also sunken, water and rose gardens and an azalea dell. The council-owned park is maintained by the charity Friends of Cannizaro Park, and all event proceeds go back into its restoration.
webcollect.org.uk

Chill Factore snow slope, Manchester

Every night snow falls for four hours in the Trafford area of Manchester, as 14 snow cannons blast out flakes, which are groomed into mounds and dips at Chill Factore, the UK’s longest indoor real snow slope. When it opens on 17 August, options for lift passes for independent slope time go from £27 for one hour and £32 for two up to £100 monthly membership for unlimited visits. The new private Friends and Family group lessons (for members of the same household) will teach skiing and snowboarding from 24 August, tailored depending on ability (ages 6+ on skis, 8+ on snowboards, 50 minutes-1 hour 50 minutes, from £69pp-£189 for four). There’ll also be sledging, sliding and downhill inflatable doughnut racing in the Snow Park (40 minutes, £20). Tickets must be booked in advance, changing rooms remain closed, and although skis, ski boots, snowboards and helmets are supplied, other clothing hire and lockers will not be available.
chillfactore.com

HighRise Hub, Bristol

New outdoor venue HighRise Hub will host DJs, live music and street food throughout the summer. It’s in Broad Plain Boys’ Club in the St Jude’s area, with this week’s music lineup featuring roots, reggae, jungle, drum’n’bass, hip-hop and more, with Channel One Soundsystem, Gutterfunk’s DJ Die, Boomsound Recordings, and live sets from J Man and Datkid (£5pp, with tables of four or six). There’s also an open-air cinema hosting screenings including documentaries on sound system culture, as well as music-related talks and workshops. The organiser HighRise started out in Leeds and has been throwing parties in Bristol for several years, including at Lakota, Trinity Centre and The Boxing Gym, a multi-room sports venue that is transformed at night for parties, helping to raise money for local youth centres.
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