What’s On in Yorkshire during August 2020

PUBLISHED: 13:00 04 August 2020

Ey up Elsie will be part of the Yorkshire Festival of Story

Ey up Elsie will be part of the Yorkshire Festival of Story


Events and entertainment around the county chosen for you by Tony Greenway


August 1–31

Yorkshire Festival of Story

Not surprisingly, the people behind Yorkshire Festival of Story were looking forward to celebrating the Settle-based event’s tenth birthday. It was, after all, a milestone moment – plus the line-up they had secured was second-to-none and included bona fide Yorkshire legends including Festival guest director Joanne Harris MBE, Dame Jenni Murray and Yorkshire Shepherdess Amanda Owen. ‘Then,’ says Charles Tyrer, executive director of the festival, ‘the pandemic struck.’ Disaster loomed.

Cancelling just wasn’t an option, notes Tyrer. ‘This festival was ten years in the making,’ he says. ‘We needed to honour our agreements with artists who had lost work overnight. We figured in these bleak times audiences needed art more than ever.’

It’s so great to report that the festival is still going ahead online and completely free. The line-up features Dame Jenni Murray in conversation; Joanne Harris in conversation; Tracy Chevalier, author of the bestselling novel Girl With A Pearl Earring, talking about her new novel A Single Thread; storyteller Ey Up Elsie (aka Poppy Avison Fell); the family theatrical and interactive experience that is Roald Dahl and the Imagination Seekers; and The Once and Future King, an inventive take on the Arthurian legends and loads more to discover on the website.




Harewood House

Hoorah! Harewood’s grounds, gardens and bird garden have been open again since July 6, with a new temporary natural outdoor play area, shop, plus takeaway food and drink from the Courtyard Café. Plus, part of the House opens from July 20. Don’t just turn up, however: all visitors have to book tickets online (tickets available every Thursday for the following week).

0113 218 1010



Wentworth Castle Gardens, Barnsley

The gardens and parkland at Wentworth Castle Gardens, now run by the National Trust, are open again. Book tickets in advance, released every Friday.



Wentworth Woodhouse, Rotherham

What are you waiting for? The gardens at Wentworth Woodhouse have been open since July 4. Book a ticket online and, of course, observe social distancing.



York Museum Gardens 

The city centre gardens, next to the library, have been reopened since June 25; but the York Museums Trust (who run them) are asking all visitors to follow social distancing guidelines. Unfortunately, the pandemic has resulted in a loss of 70 per cent of York Museums Trust’s income.  Make a donation, via the YMT website. 



Burnby Hall Gardens, Pocklington 

These gorgeous gardens are home to a national collection of water lilies and are now open again on a restricted basis in line with social distancing advice, which means that daily visitor numbers are being limited. Check out the current status on the Burnby Hall Gardens website. 

01759 307125 




The Railway Children Audiobook,York Theatre Royal 

The Railway Children was one of York Theatre Royal’s most celebrated productions – an epic show staged at the York Railway Museum and featuring a real steam train. Beth Lilly and Rosalind Lailey (who played Phyllis and Bobby in the production) have now recorded an unabridged audiobook of the story. It’s a good way to mind the gap. 




The Creative Hub 

A new platform from Sheffield-based Utopia Theatre, which brings African theatre experts together to offer free courses, workshops and events online for people of African origin aged 16 and above. These include intensive weekly classes in directing, stage management, playwriting, dance, drumming, acting, storytelling, voice, movement, improvisation and devising. Running until December. 



Sheffield Theatre Online 

The people behind Sheffield Theatre share some of their favourite links and activities, including John Wilson talking to legendary Sheffield songwriter Richard Hawley; plus, and to be recommended, novelist Matt Haig and comedian Susan Calman in conversation during the stage production of Haig’s Reasons to Stay Alive. 




The International Gilbert and Sullivan Festival, Harrogate  

This should be the month of the International Gilbert and Sullivan Festival. It isn’t, of course, because of Covid-19; but think of gsopera.tv – a new streaming service – as a sort of ‘festival on the go’. This is a library of film from G&S Festivals all over the world, so simply create an account, scroll through what’s available and complete your order. There’s no subscription and no recurring fees, and there are a few items of free content, most notably an omnibus from 1998 called Gilbert and Sullivan: Instant Merriment. 





August 13 

Sherlock Holmes 

At the time of writing, this lively bit of outdoor theatre was still scheduled to go ahead (while following social distancing guidelines with reduced audience numbers). The Pantaloons are a four-person touring company who, in this production, bring their own brand of manic energy to a mystery story about the famous Baker Street sleuth. Unlike anything featuring Benedict Cumberbatch, however, this one features live music and (presumably socially distanced) audience interaction. The Pantaloons website says: ‘There are no guarantees our plan to perform outdoors is going to work as the situation is constantly changing, but we will continue to react in the moment and change course as necessary. Suffice to say, if we can find a way to entertain you, we’ll do it.’ 

Sheffield Botanical Gardens 

0114 249 6000 



August 21

Twelfth Night 

It’s Shakespeare, but not as you know it. That might be because it’s The Pantaloons again, serving up another portion of excellent open-air mayhem. As their website notes: ‘We am to recapture an aspect of Shakespeare’s drama which the modern naturalistic theatre has lost: the riotous energy of the clown.” The performance – which was going ahead at the time of writing – will be following social distancing guidelines. 

Sheffield Botanical Gardens 

0114 249 6000 




Yorkshire Farmers’ Markets

Otley, Wetherby, Harrogate, York, Knaresborough 

These farmers’ markets are reopening in August, so check out the website below for updates. 



August 29 

Coxwold Village Market 

Stallholders include food and drink producers, plus suppliers of items for the home and garden. Check information on the website before you travel. 



Northern Dales Farmers’ Market: Virtual Market 

Check the Northern Dales Farmers’ Market website for re-openings. At the time of writing, markets at Stokesley, Easingwold and Thirsk were back in business. 





Museums Sheffield from Home 

At the time of writing, you can’t go to the Millennium Gallery, Weston Park and Graves Gallery in Sheffield – so they’re coming to you. Museums Sheffield is offering highlights from the city’s collections on its website and social media channels. 






From August 1

The Hepworth Wakefield 

The fabulous Hepworth Wakefield is set to re-open on Yorkshire Day with a range of safety measures in place and its popular Bill Brandt/Henry Moore exhibition extended until November 1 (advance booking available now and strongly recommended). Initially, the gallery will open Wednesday–Sunday, 10am–5pm (last entry 4.30pm). 

01924 247360 



Barnsley Museums 

At the time of writing, it’s unclear exactly when Barnsley Museums will reopen all of its five venues (Cannon Hall, Cooper Gallery, Elsecar Heritage Centre, Experience Barnsley and Worsbourgh Mill). But we know we can expect a phased reopening with two new exhibitions to start with: Allegories of the Senses at the Cooper Gallery and the International Garden Photographer of the Year at Cannon Hall Museum (both due to open in August). Keep an eye on the Barnsley Museums website. 

01226 772500 



From August 5 

National Coal Mining Museum, Wakefield 

The museum is back at the coalface – literally and re-opening on August 5 to pre-booked visitors. 

01924 848806 



World of James Herriot, Thirsk 

The museum dedicated to everyone’s favourite Yorkshire vet has re-opened with a ‘one-way system with two-metre distancing (not one metre) and regular hand sanitisers throughout the attraction.’

01845 524234 



Eden Camp, Malton 

This excellent modern history museum, housed in a World War Two Prisoner of War camp, has re-opened with adherence to government guidelines. So that means pre-booked tickets only. 

01653 697777 



Yorkshire Air Museum, Elvington, York 

The Yorkshire Air Museum, based at the original wartime RAF Elvington, is ready for take-off again with a one-way system around the more confined parts of the attraction (although it’s wide open spaces make social distancing easier). Pre-book your tickets online. 

01904 608595 




The Principal York Hotel Gardens, York 

Operated by the team behind THOR’S tipi bar and York’s Ice Factor – SOL AST will feature a socially distant layout with a table service system where you can pre-order and pre-pay from your seat. ‘We have been keeping abreast with how our industry plans to return and what our future customers will be looking for,’ says co-founder of THOR’S tipi bar, Maria Farrugia. ‘The key things to come out of this are ensuring tables are kept apart in line with social distancing measures, offering free hand sanitiser and an enhanced cleaning protocol that can be easily viewed by anyone visiting us. We’re an outdoor venue, which means we’re already low risk and that will give reassurances to all our customers. All of these measures will be part of our operation from the day we open and we continue to monitor closely any new guidelines set out by Public Health England. Introducing our booking system will allow groups wanting to meet up, the comfort of knowing they have an area reserved for them.’ u

Facebook: @THORSTipi  

Twitter: @THORStipi #THORStipi  

Instagram: @thorstipi #thorstipi  

Advanced bookings: 07483 339119. 



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