Make the most of the balmy summer weather and extra hours of daylight to enjoy alfresco entertainment at National Trust locations. Pack up a picnic hamper and bring along your family and friends to the Trust’s outdoor entertainment events, from big-screen cinema to theatre and music performances, all set in colourful gardens and parkland.
From comedies and family-friendly performances to classical concerts, there’s something to suit all tastes. Just pick your patch of grass, sit back and enjoy the fresh air and historic surroundings.
Every single visit helps support the National Trust’s work as a charity looking after special places for ever, for everyone. Make it a summer to remember with these entertaining delights:
Kingston Lacy, Dorset
The Tempest, 2 August, 7pm – 9.30pm
Treasure Island, 7 August, 7pm – 9.30pm
What better way to spend a lazy summer’s evening than kicking back on the grass with a picnic and watching a classic play unfold? Explore tales of true love and the human capacity for vengeance and forgiveness in Shakespeare’s classic ‘The Tempest’, or play to his great courtroom drama ‘The Merchant of Venice’. Alternatively if you fancy taking to the high seas, you can join the cast of Treasure Island for a piratical adventure.
Gates open at 6pm, performances begin at 7pm.
Price: Adult £18 (£16 in advance), child £11 (£10 in advance).
Booking essential 0344 249 1895
Dunster Castle, Somerset
Hamlet, 18 August, 7pm- 9.30pm
What better place to experience Shakespeare’s tale of murder, revenge and royal families than against the dramatic backdrop of Dunster Castle? The Three Inch Fools theatre troupe blend wit, originality and plenty of live music in their performance, making this an evening to remember. The BBQ will be fired up but feel free to bring a picnic to enjoy during the performance.
Price: Adult £15, child £10.
Booking essential 01643 821314
Castle Drogo, Devon
Outdoor Theatre: The Hound of the Baskervilles
5 August, 19:30 – 21:30
Castle Drogo will be the venue for a very special performance of ‘The Hound of the Baskervilles’ by Illyria productions. What better place to see this classic story bought to life than at a real castle set amid the atmospheric landscape of Dartmoor?
Price: Adult £13, child £10.
Outdoor Theatre: The Importance of Being Earnest
23 July, 7pm – 9pm
Immersion Theatre invite you to an evening of open-air decadence and hilarity as they present Oscar Wilde’s wittiest comedy. Join foppish bachelors Jack and Algernon on their latest Bunburying exploits replete with mistaken identities, icy women, trivial banter and, of course, muffins. Pack a picnic and spend the evening in the glorious sunshine enjoying one of literature’s most trivial comedies for serious people.
Price: Adult £16, child £8.
Booking essential 0344 249 1895.
Morden Hall Park, London
Outdoor theatre: Wind in the Willows
3 – 6 Aug, 11am and 2pm
Experience the Wind in the Willows like never before with Sixteenfeet Productions. Perfect for the whole family, these performances will have you up on your feet as you follow the actors as they travel through our rose garden on their adventures. Full of high jinks, adventure and camaraderie; see this classic English countryside tale brought to life with an array of truly unforgettable characters.
Price: £12 adult, £8 child.
Scotney Castle, Kent
Outdoor theatre evenings
The Reluctant Dragon – Saturday 4 August, 6pm
Looking for somewhere to relax and unwind during the long summer evenings? Why not head to Scotney Castle, where you can settle down in front of the mansion house as twilight falls to enjoy an enchanting theatre performance. Bring blankets or low backed camping chairs, and don’t forget the picnic hamper.
Price: Adult £13, Child £8, Under 5s free.
0344 249 1895
Emmetts Garden, Kent
Outdoor Theatre: The Tempest
16 August, 7.30 – 9.30pm
This summer, join The Lord Chamberlain’s Men as they perform Shakespeare’s spellbinding masterpiece The Tempest – a play of soaring poetry, high comedy and mistaken identity. The performances will take place in the meadow just outside the visitor centre. Bring a picnic and enjoy the long summer evening.
Price: Adults £15, child £8. Recommended for children 8+.
0344 249 1895
Attingham Park, Shropshire
Outdoor theatre: The Importance of Being Earnest
27 Jul, 7pm – 9pm
Everybody loves Ernest. The only trouble is, he doesn’t exist. Or does he? Pack a picnic and join the Pantaloons for their anarchic take on Oscar Wilde’s comic masterpiece. Expect mistaken identities, trivial arguments and, of course, muffins.
Price: Adult £15, child £10.
Sense and Sensibility
8 Aug, 7pm – 9pm
Join Chapterhouse Theatre Company at Shugborough for their take on one of Jane Austen’s best-loved novels. Follow the tale of the Dashwood sisters as they fall in love, make mistakes and experience heartbreak in their quest to find a balance between sense and sensibility. Bring a rug and a picnic to enjoy a night of magical theatre under the stars.
Price: Adult £14, child £9, under 5s go free.
East of England
27 July: Brave, 6pm – 7.30pm
28 July: Moana, 6pm – 7.45pm and Wonder Woman 8:30pm – 11:00pm
29 July: Alice in Wonderland, 6pm – 7:45pm
Sundown Cinema returns to Wimpole this summer for the fifth year running. Relax in the gardens and enjoy films shown on a special LED daylight screen. Will you join Disney’s Moana on her quest to become a master way-finder, or explore the Scottish highlands with skilled archer Merida in Brave? Feel free to bring a picnic, or enjoy wood-fired pizza and hot drinks for sale.
Price: Adult £10.50, Child (3-14) £5.50, Child (0-2) £2.
NOTE: The estate has been closed recently due to a burst water main (23 July 2018) check with venue before travelling.
Blickling Estate, Norfolk
The Great British Prom
11 August, 7.30pm – 10pm
The prom at Blickling has become one of the biggest occasions on Norfolk’s social calendar. The National Symphony Orchestra will be joined by the Rolls-Royce Spitfire, flown by one of the Rolls-Royce Test Pilots. Enjoy a fantastic celebration of those magnificent men in their flying machines including William Walton’s Spitfire Prelude and Fugue and Eric Coates’s Dambusters March. The evening will be packed with Proms favourites, closing with a spectacular firework display.
Price: Adult £37.50, Child £17.50.
Gibside, Tyne and Wear
Outdoor theatre: Alice in Wonderland
8 August, 6pm – 8pm
Take a trip down the rabbit hole with Chapterhouse Theatre Company to meet Alice and a whole host of colourful characters. From the unforgettable White Rabbit and the madcap Mad Hatter to the terrifying Queen of Hearts, Alice’s journey couldn’t be filled with more adventure. Presented in beautiful Victorian costume and alive with song, dance and original music, this is a production to delight the entire family.
Price: Adult £16, child £10.
Booking essential 01207 541820
Sticklebarn Pub, Cumbria
Live music Fridays
Every Friday between 6 July – 31 August, 7pm – 9pm
After a busy day on the fells, there’s no better place to unwind than a cosy pub. If Sticklebarn’s local drinks and tasty food aren’t enough to tempt you, then why not visit on a Friday night when you’ll also be able to enjoy live acoustic music and outdoor fires. Kick back, relax and share your adventures from the day with fellow travellers.
Price: Free event
Crom, County Fermanagh
Music by the Lake
Hand Me Downs, 11 August 7–10pm
For the past 30 years the National Trust has cared for this 2,000 acre demesne. Help them celebrate with a rocking evening of ‘folkabilly’ tunes by the tranquil shores of Lough Erne in Crom. Bring a rug and a picnic and enjoy a glass of wine on arrival – a sensational summer’s evening awaits.
Price: Adult £10.
Booking essential 028 6773 8118