When you aren’t loafing lazily on a lounger, try these culture fixes.

Few of us spend the whole of the holidays at the beach. Which is just as well, given how much fun there is to be had in the nation’s galleries, theatres and museums. They all have a notable post-pandemic vibe going on, too. It is as though our cultural centres have been sprinkled with sunshine and it is time to capture some of their energy. Here, we’ve picked out the highlights of 2022’s summer calendar.

My Fair Lady

This brilliant revival of Lerner and Loewe’s My Fair Lady – the first in the West End for 21 years – is only until August 27 so you must book your tickets immediately. Directed by Bartlett Sher and starring Harry Hadden-Paton, Amara Okereke and Vanessa Redgrave, the production is divine. The Evening Standard called it: ‘A Rolls Royce of a revival’. Book it here.

Summer Exhibition At The Royal Academy

Inside the Young Artists' Summer Show, 2021 from Royal Academy of Arts on Vimeo.

The RA’s Summer Exhibition has taken place, one way or another, every year since 1769. The show – in which the work of emerging talents sits alongside that of invited artists and Royal Academicians – never disappoints. This year, though, why not consider visiting its offshoot, the Young Artists’ Summer Show? This free exhibition displays the work of students aged four to 19 who are currently studying in the UK. A panel of arts professionals judges the open-submission show and selects works to display online and in the gallery. Only until August 14. Book it here.

Cabaret At The Kit Kat Club

If you didn’t see this multi-award-winning mega hit in its first casting (with Eddie Redmayne and Jessie Buckley), snap up tickets now to check out its second casting (with Fra Fee and Amy Lennox). The performers, the choreography, the design, the music, the direction… It is all spine-tinglingly good. So good you want it to start again as soon as it is over. The Guardian called it ‘a blinder of a show’. Book it here.

Africa Fashion At The V&A

The V&A rarely produces a dud, so it comes as no surprise that reviewers have been raving about its new show, Africa Fashion. Using photographs, textiles, music and the visual arts, the exhibition explores the exuberance and global impact of the continent’s fashion scene. Its colour and vitality are just the ticket this summer. Writing in The Times, fashion director Anna Murphy said: ‘I was made to think, but I was also made to lust, and that seems to me exactly as it should be.’ Book it here.

Giffords Circus

The charming travelling circus is back for 2022. Founder Nell Gifford, who died of cancer in 2019, said: ‘I held the jewel of my childhood up to my eye, and through it I saw ponies and a dressing-up box and a tent, and that was Giffords Circus.’ It is an annual pleasure – whatever your age. This year, Giffords has gone for a sort of Mexican theme and is on in various locations until October 2. Check the website for where the fun will be on your chosen date. Book it here.

Underbelly At The Edinburgh Fringe

From August 3 to 29, the fine city of Edinburgh will be taken over by a riot of performers for the world’s largest arts festival, the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. Underbelly is one of its biggest – and coolest – venues. Year after year, Underbelly is where you want to be to ‘enjoy the best circus, comedy, theatre, cabaret and music, plus buzzing bars and mouth-watering food, in the heart of Edinburgh’. Immerse yourself in its website and pick out the shows for you. Book it here.

Kate Friend At Thyme

In a perfect Cotswold village lies a perfect Cotswold hotel, called Thyme. In the grounds of that perfect Cotswold hotel is a perfect Cotswold barn, called The Tithe Barn. There, the Hibberts, who run the hotel, hang seasonal art exhibitions. We do not use the word ‘exquisite’ lightly in relation to their current exhibition – of Kate Friend’s botanical photography – or the space that houses it. It is open daily until September 25, there is no admission fee and it is hard to drum up a single reason not to visit. Book it here.

By Becky Ladenburg
July 2022

Becky Ladenburg

Features Editor

As the GWG's features editor, Becky has her discerning finger on the cultural pulse. She's also our go-to expert on the property market.