Summer shows and outdoor theatre

‘I love seeing the lawn in front of the house filled with people relaxing on the grass and enjoying a picnic before the show starts. I like to imagine the previous owners enjoying similar performances with their friends and family back in the 1920s.’
- Lisa Davies, staff member at Nymans

Celebrate summer with an outdoor theatre performance at some of our most beautiful places. Invite friends and family, pack up a picnic hamper and enjoy everything from family classics to Shakespeare plays in the grounds of a country estate as the sun sets.

Make it a night to remember with one of these summer showstoppers:

    Belton House, Lincolnshire

    The 36 acres of beautiful gardens surrounding Belton House is the perfect place to relax, explore and to discover more. Come rain or shine, the whole family can let off steam running around and getting lost in the maze, fly kites on bright, breezy days or roll out a rug on the lawns.

    Dragon's daughter, 9 August, 6.30pm-7.45pm
    Enjoy a lively and enchanting brand new performance by Blunderbuss Theatre Company. Suitable for 4 years and over.
    * Advance booking: £11 per adult and £7 per child.
    * On the day: £12 per adult and £8 per child.

    Pride & Prejudice, 30 August, 6pm-8.45pm
    Revel in this love story between Elizabeth Bennet and Mr Darcy at Belton this summer, portrayed by the Chapterhouse Theatre Company. If you arrive early you can also enjoy a BBQ from 5.30pm. Please make sure to bring your own chairs.
    * Advance booking: £12 per adult and £8 per child.
    * On the day: £13 per adult and £9 per child.

    Booking is advisable for these events, please call 01476 566116.

    Blickling Estate, Norfolk

    Blickling Hall is one of England's great Jacobean houses, widely believed to be the home to Henry VIII’s second wife, Anne Boleyn. The beautiful parkland houses a dazzling lake and woodland, offering plenty of places to relax. Let the kids discover the secret garden, ancient temple and smell the wonderful citrus trees in the orangery. The whole family can also hire bikes to explore the park or even play a game of croquet on the lawns.

    Pride and Prejudice, 17 August, 6.30pm-9.30pm
    Take a step back in time with Chapterhouse Theatre Company to meet Elizabeth Bennet and her sisters. Join family and friends for a fun evening as you picnic under a beautiful summer sky and revel in this most renowned of love stories.
    * Advance booking: £13.50 per adult, £9 per child and £40 per family.

    Please bring your own seating and picnics to both events.
    Booking is essential for each event, please call 0844 249 1895.

    Downhill Demesne and Hezlett House, Co Londonderry

    Enjoy lots of fresh air when visiting Downhill Demesne with the family and discover exciting woodlands, gardens, ruins, open grassland and a temple sitting right on the edge of a cliff. You can also let the kids climb trees, hunt for bugs and eat an apple straight from a tree.

    Tales of Peter Rabbit and Benjamin Bunny, 17 August, 2pm-4pm
    This open air theatre production performed within the atmospheric ruins of Downhill House is perfect for families. With live music and all your favourite characters from both Peter Rabbit tales, this delightful new production promises a magical and enchanting experience for young and old alike.
    * Advance booking: £10 per adult, £5 per child and £25 per family.
    * Booking is essential, please call 028 7084 9025.

    Lanhydrock, Cornwall

    At this Victorian style house, you can soak up the atmosphere in the garden which is full of colour all year round, with the roses brightening any summer’s day. The great outdoors space is also perfect for children to have a go at some of the 50 things to do before you're 11 ¾. You can climb a tree, find a geocache, fly a kite and even hunt for bugs.

    As You Like It, 14 August, 6.30pm-8.15pm
    Illyria returns to performs Shakespeare's fun musical comedy. Great fun for all the family to enjoy.

    * Advance booking for both events: £12.50 per adult, £8 per child and £38 per family (standard booking fee of 50p if booked on credit or debit cards).
    * Booking is essential for both, please call 01208 265950.

    Petworth House and Park, West Sussex

    Nestled in the South Downs National Park, Petworth is one of Britain’s finest stately homes and with treasure chests, hand-held interactive guides and spaniel spotting inside the house, there’s plenty of fun for all the family. If you are feeling hungry you can also get one of Petworth’s pre-booked picnic hampers including ploughman’s lunches and a delicious high tea, all from £18.50 for two.

    As You Like It, 23 August, 7.30pm-10pm
    The Lord Chamberlain’s Men stage this wonderful performance of William Shakespeare’s famous play in the delightful surroundings of the pleasure grounds.
    * Advance booking: £15 per adult and £10 per child.
    * Booking is essential, please call 01798 342207.

    Alice - an extraordinary adventure, 25 August, 5pm-8pm
    Heartbreak Productions will be bringing this much loved children’s classic to life in the spacious grounds at Petworth.
    Ticket charge £12 per adult and £6 per child.
    * Booking is essential, please visit

    Gibside, Tyne & Wear

    Escape to the stunning landscape park and nature reserve at Gibside with its forest garden offering fantastic views and perfect wide open spaces to relax in and to spend the evening watching some classic drama.

    Romeo and Juliet, 24 August, 7pm-9.30pm
    Join Heartbreak Productions for Shakespeare’s classic story of star-crossed lovers performed in Gibside’s beautiful gardens.
    * Advance booking: £13.50 per adult, £7.50 per child and £38 per family.
    * A bar will be open during both performances selling hand-pulled real ales, wines, hot drinks, snacks and ice creams.
    * Booking is essential for each event, please call 01207 541820.

    Smallhythe Place, Kent

    Home to renowned Victorian actress Ellen Terry from 1899 to 1928 and containing her fascinating theatre collection, Smallhythe is an exciting setting for some summer drama with its history and very own Barn Theatre within its grounds.

    Dyffryn Gardens, Vale of Glamorgan

    As our newest garden, Dyffryn is a wonderful place to visit, with a whole host of events and family fun days throughout the year. Did you know that there are also 15 statues in the gardens at Dyffryn? Why not see how many you and your children can discover.

    Brownsea Island, Dorset

    Only accessible by boat, Brownsea Island offers a great day out for all the family. You can explore the great outdoors with a family tracker pack, play hide and seek amongst the woodland trees, take a wander on the beach, or follow in the footsteps of the Famous Five by rolling out a blanket and enjoying a Brownsea picnic.