Sunday 16 July 2017

James at Kew Gardens, South London

While most acts in the Kew the Music Festival attract a middle class, middle-aged crowd, Madchester band James draws a slightly more edgy audience. At this performance, there was a smattering of people under 30 and the thirty and forty somethings in attendance were convincingly clinging on to their lost youth - some of them even danced around babies and toddlers sleeping in pushchairs.  To be sure, you still get the picnic rugs, the prosecco and the parma ham. But the more fervent fans crowded into the dedicated dance area in front of the stage and occupied most of the picnic area immediately behind it.

Saturday 8 July 2017

Hampton Court Flower Show, South West London

Although it is run by the distinguished Royal Horticultural Society, Hampton Court Flower Show feels quite commercial, with the generally small show gardens overwhelmed by the numerous stalls selling all kinds of garden paraphernalia. There are also numerous food and drink kiosks, but their fare is expensive and service can be agonisingly slow. Still, you should find some creative ideas and colourful planting, if you can battle your way through the crowds. The marquees, which can be very crowded on the Saturday of the event, are particularly wearing. Soon, you'll need to find a deck chair where you can soak up the sun and the free entertainment. The energetic live music performances make for a fun break from weaving your way through the hordes of middle aged and elderly visitors. And the setting, with the long lake and the distant backdrop of Hampton Court Palace, is undoubtedly picturesque.  Better still, you get to walk back to the station through Hampton Court Palace, which is a real bonus. Ironically, the palace's gardens are both more beautiful and in better condition than many of the temporary offerings at the Show.

Hampton Court Palace and Gardens, South West London