22 things to do this May

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Head outdoors this May with one of these great events

Spring is well underway, and with the weather warming up and the promise of sunshine, it’s time to get out and about in the region with our pick of fun things to do this May…

Ely Food & Drink Festival, Ely, Cambs, 4-7 May

Palace Green, Ely

Rounding up Ely’s Eel Festival is the ever popular two day Food and Drink Festival now in its fifth year. Over 75 artisan and specialist food and drink traders will be showcasing their wares. There’s a great Street Food Scene, plus beer tent and cocktail bar with some easy listening, live music to enjoy. Back on St Mary’s Green is the Kitchen Pantry with a selection of goodies to help stock your pantry and this year’s Cookery Theatre will host celebrity haute cuisine teacher, Rosemary Shrager and the original TV Chef, Brian Turner who will be demonstrating a variety of dishes alongside some of our much loved local chefs. www.elyeelfestival.co.uk


The Hertfordshire Garden Show, 5-7 May

Knebworth House, Old Knebworth Ln, Knebworth SG1 2AX

The event will inspire visitors to make their garden look extra special. Experts will be on hand to share tips, while exhibitors sell quality plants, flowers and furnishings. Make sure you stop by the craft and cut flower marquee! Entry is included with Park & Gardens admission, £9.50 per person. Open 9.30 am to 5pm. www.knebworthhouse.com

Norfolk & Norwich Festival, Norfolk, 11-27 May

Various venues in Norwich

The 2018  programme, which spans performance, theatre, music, visual arts, literature and events for children, includes over 10 world premieres, a large scale art installation, one-off spectaculars, and a host of free events! There’s a jam-packed programme with something for everyone to enjoy. Make sure you catch the opening spectacular from Transe Express as carnivalesque drummers take over the streets and living dolls on stilts transform the city centre into an open-air opera house. www.nnfestival.org.uk

LeGateau Chocolat Icons-Credit-Eli-Schmidt, NNF18

Into the Woods ‘A Pirate’s Ball’, 11-12 May

Thorington, Suffolk

This year the event takes place across two days! Featuring live music this fun and quirky festival offers a fabulous mix of live bands, DJs, interactive shows and cabaret. Join in the fun and dress up as a pirate! www.mauiwauievents.co.uk

The World Food Festival, Welwyn Garden City , Herts, 12 May

Welwyn Garden City Town Centre

A celebration of cuisine from around the world, there’ll be plenty of food to try and buy as well as a cookery demonstration stage and live entertainment for the whole family. www.welwyngarden.co.uk

Essex Fine Food Show, 12-13 May

Chelmsford City Racecourse, Essex

Featuring James Martin and John Torode cooking live, this is a real one for the foodies out there. There will also be some demonstrations from top local chefs including Mick Binnington from The Windmill in Chatham Green, Adam Townsend from The New London in Chelmsford and local master butcher, David Innes. As always, there’ll also be plenty of food to try and buy and of course, live entertainment too. www.2018essexfinefoodshow.apteventspro.co.uk

Suffolk walking festival

Suffolk Walking Festival, 12 May – 3 June

With 125 walks and events, this year promises to be the biggest and the most ambitious festival to date. The Festival spans the whole county with history walks, nature walks, short walks and long walks. You can start your day with a Dawn Chorus and end it on a Twilight Safari. Have a go at Nordic Walking and realise the power in your legs or spend a day discovering GeoCaching and seek out treasures dotted around the landscape. Discover England’s Silk Capital, the Home of Horse Racing and a Valley of the Kings! This year sees the launch of the Festival Fringe, a series of creative events that get you close to nature in the very heart of the countryside. Events include ‘Iconic Images’, a series of photo assignments capturing some of the best-known scenes in the county; ‘Hedgerow Cream Tea’ gathers your very own afternoon feast; and ‘Mindfulness and Nature’ immerses you in the landscape of Dunwich Heath with a meditative experience. www.suffolkwalkingfestival.co.uk

Cambridge Open-air cinema and Night Market, 18-19 May

Cambridge Market Square

Cambridge BID has announced the return of the al fresco family film screenings and Night Markets in Market Square. Delivered under the new ‘Love Cambridge’* brand, in association with the City Council, the Summer season opens with an extra-special two-day event – celebrating both the return of the open-air cinema and Prince Harry’s wedding to Meghan Markle. On Friday 18 May, there will be a showing of animated film, ‘Sing’ at 18:30 followed by the comedy, Meet The Parents at 20:30. Then on Saturday 19 May, there will be a broadcasting of the Royal wedding live from the big screen in Market Square. A street party atmosphere is expected with the square being decorated with patriotic bunting to mark the happy occasion. The events are free to the public.  Limited seating is provided on a first-come-first-served basis – but, owing to the popularity of previous events, people are recommended to come early and/or bring their own portable chairs.

The Continental-style Night Market will once again feature on the Friday night with more than 50 local businesses and pop-ups selling a variety of street food, beverages, clothing and unique gifts. www.cambridgebid.co.uk.

Cambridge open air cinema

 Vintage 1940s, 18-21 May

Lavenham, Suffolk

Celebrate all things from the 1940s at the Lavenham Vintage Weekend. The Swan at Lavenham Hotel & Spa are supporting Friends of Lavenham Airfield (FOLA) to host a series of special vintage events for all ages in and around the village to commemorate the 75th anniversary of US Forces starting to arrive in the East of England in support of World War II. There will be 1940s swing dance, evacuees’ exhibition in Little Hall, a vintage fair and vehicle display, history talks and a sing-a-long vintage afternoon tea at The Swan Hotel. The weekend coincides with the royal wedding of HRH Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, and The Swan will be televising the ceremony at a gala lunch in its Gallery restaurant.

Bury St Edmunds Festival, 18-27 May

Various venues, Bury St Edmunds

The 35th year of the festival is set to be a big one; taking place over 10 days, spread over 14 venues and hosting 59 events. From national musical treasures, Aled Jones and Jools Holland to the Grammy award-winning Ladysmith Black Mambazo to literary legend Benjamin Zephaniah and 80s chart toppers UB40, there’s something for everyone to enjoy! With so much on you may struggle to decide what to come and see! A new Festival feature for 2018 is a series of outdoor concerts in the beautiful landscaped countryside of Nowton Park. www.buryfestival.co.uk


EAT, Cambridge, 19 May

The Guildhall, Market Square, Cambridge CB2 3AD

The annual Eat Cambridge Festival returns on 19 May with a huge foodie fair, followed by two weeks of foodie events. The festival celebrates Cambridgeshire’s delicious independent food scene. Highlights include pop-ups and supper clubs, food and wine tastings, cookery lessons, chef talks and demos alongside plenty of other things to tickle your tastebuds. www.eat-cambridge.co.uk

Lavenham 1940s vintage weekend 18th – 21st May credit Paul Macro Photography

Cromer and Sheringham Crab & Lobster Festival, 19-20 May

The towns are partnering up again this year for their annual Crab & Lobster festival, celebrating the best of Norfolk’s catch, over the weekend of the 19 and 20 May. Enjoy a seaside variety concert at the Famous Pier Pavilion in Cromer, enjoy plenty of crab and lobster, watch cookery demonstrations and enjoy some of Norfolk’s finest food and drink. There’s also a crabbing and crab sandwich competition for those of you who enjoy a bit of healthy competition. www.crabandlobsterfestival.co.uk

Weird & Wonderful Festival, 19-20 May

Haughley Park, Nr Wetherden, Stowmarket

Over 120 artists and crafts people come from all over the country. Demonstrations include carving and sculpture, fine furniture making, musical instrument making, displays by traditional fletchers and bowyers, chain saw carving and more. Workshops, for both adults and children are free and include activities such as archery, den building, tree climbing in nets and more. There’ll be a working mobile sawmill on site, if you want to bring your own tree, it can be cut for you! www.weirdandwonderfulwood.co.uk

Bedford Flea, 20 May

St Paul’s Church, Bedford

Inspired by traditional French brocante markets, the Bedford Flea launches this month with an eclectic mix of quirky collectables, fabulous furniture, pre-loved books, vintage, vinyl, jewellery, clothing and Charles Wells’ beer.  As part of the national Love Your Local Market Week celebrations, the first Bedford Flea ends Bedford Market’s weekend of activity from Friday 18 – Sunday 20 May.  There will be lots to see and do besides the stalls, including fairground rides, children’s craft activities, food tastings and more, plus parking in all council-owned town centre car parks is FREE every Sunday. Bedford Flea will also take place 8 July and 16 September. 11am-4pm.

Pirates Ball

Taste of Sudbury, 20 May

St Peter’s and Market Hill, Sudbury

Sunday 20 May also sees the Taste of Sudbury return for its 6th annual event. Enjoy watching some of Suffolk’s best foodie talent in cookery demonstrations, tuck into great Suffolk produce on Market Hill as it is filled with stalls, stands, funky vans and more selling delicious food and pop into St Peter’s Church to explore over 30 of the finest small-scale artisan producers. https://tasteofsudbury.co.uk/

 Norwich City of Ale, 24 May – 3 June

Norwich City Centre

Norwich City of Ale is a 10-day celebration of local pubs, breweries and real ale taking place throughout the city. BBQs, live music and pub quizzes are among the festivities. cityofale.org.uk

Southend Film Festival, 25-28 May 

Odeon Cinema, Southend

For the festival’s opening gala night, there will be an official 50th anniversary screening of if…. with cast members David Wood, Brian Pettifer, and Richard Everett, plus the production team, joining festival-goers for a unique evening. Indeed, there is an air of nostalgia running throughout this year’s festival with some bona fide British classics enjoying an all-too rare screening, including A Taste of Honey, Thunderball and ground-breaking rockumentary, Slade in Flame. Music fans will also love One Man’s Madness, which closes the festival on Monday 28 May. As the title suggests, this film follows the journey of Lee Jay Thompson, from small-time North London villain to multi-platinum-selling chart-topper with one of Britain’s biggest and best-loved bands of all time, Madness. Other highlights of the four days of the 2018 Southend Film Festival include opportunities to see and hear talks by directors, writers and actors.   www.southendfilmfestival.com 

Southend Film Festival

Framlingham Gala Fest, 26-28 May

Framlingham Castle, Church Street, Framlingham,Suffolk, IP13 9BP

May 2018 will see the Framlingham Gala relaunched as a three-day event called Framlingham Gala Fest. The flower power themed festival will be big, bright and full of energy, colour and music! Exciting new additions to the weekend this year include a team duathlon held on the Saturday morning finishing at Framlingham Sports Club, followed by a BBQ and live music night – Feel free to pitch up your tent and stay the night! Sunday will include more fun by the castle pond, with more music and food, along with the well loved craft fair taking place throughout the day. Monday will be the new and improved parade followed by games, magic, face painting and more music, along with the traditional fun fair on the Castle Meadow. Entry to Castle Meadow on the Monday will be free to all. www.framlinghamgalafest.co.uk

Norfolk & Norwich Open Studios, 26 May – 10 June

Various Norfolk locations

Hundreds of artists will be throwing open their studio doors to the public as part of the event, which is firmly established as one of the biggest open studios schemes in the country. Celebrating its 24th anniversary, more than 420 artists will be taking part this year across 241 venues throughout Norfolk. Throughout the duration of the scheme many of the artists will be holding additional events, demonstrations and workshops. Fifteen Art Trails will be running, allowing audiences to visit a number of artists in a particular area, stopping at studios and local attractions along the way. www.nnopenstudios.org.uk

Hertfordshire County Show, 26-27 May

The Showground, Redbourn

The Hertfordshire County Showground is the setting for many events throughout the year, including the annual Hertfordshire County Show, which traditionally takes place over the late May Bank Holiday weekend. The event attracts up to 38,000 visitors and displays the best of Hertfordshire. Come and see animals ranging from huge bulls to tiny ducks, spectacular displays and educational demonstrations. A fantastic family day out, combining free entertainment, fun, food and shopping. www.hertsshow.com

Beccles Food and Drink Festival, 26 May

Beccles Town Centre

Beccles Food and Drink Festival returns to delight the taste buds with over 50 stalls selling a variety of produce to tempt all. The free event, will take place in the town centre plus there will be stalls nearby in and around St. Michael’s Church, and also in the Public Hall, where East Coast College will be running a Cookery Theatre throughout the event, consisting of a variety of cookery demonstrations and talks. Chet and Waveney Vineyard will be making their first appearance at the event, while from further afield The Chutney Barn, Curry Pie and Mr Bees will be attending. Visitors are encouraged to make use of the Free Park and Ride minibuses from the Festival car park at Beccles Quay. 10am-4pm. www.becclesfoodfestival.co.uk

The Suffolk Show, 30-31 May

Trinity Park, Ipswich, Suffolk

The annual show celebrates agriculture and farming life. It’s renowned for its grand ring displays, amazing animals, spectacular show jumping and local produce. There’s also a dedicated shopping area with fashion from local boutiques, crafts and homeware. www.suffolkshow.co.uk

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