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Top five things to do in Gloucestershire this weekend

Struggling to find a method of entertaining the family this weekend? Here's our top pick.

1# Explore Cheltenham's historic architecture at John Dower House, Crescent Place 

PegasusLife will be opening up John Dower House for the general public to visit as part of Cheltenham Heritage Open Days 2018.

Run by the Cheltenham Civic Society, this is a unique opportunity to view the Grade II Listed house, which is part of PegasusLife's Clarence Gardens development.

Recently subject to a significant restoration programme, the Grade II listed building dates back to 1812 and has served as a police station and a hotel.

The restored John Dower House is now complete and forms part of the Clarence Gardens development alongside two new blocks that are due to complete in 2019.

The Cheltenham Heritage Open Days offer a unique opportunity for history fans to view this restored gem before it starts its new life as apartments for the over-60s.

To view the show apartment at Clarence Gardens, visit Crescent Place, Cheltenham, GL50 3RA or call 01242 312133. Prices at Clarence Gardens start from £499,950.

2# Enjoy performances at Gloucestershire's largest theatre festival in Stroud 

The 6th Stroud Theatre Festival gets underway today (Friday) and promises to be the biggest yet.

With 35 companies performing everything from classics, comedies, dramas to new works, spoken word and stand up, this weekend's festival will be the biggest of its kind in Gloucestershire.

There will over 90 performances in eight venues including the Sub Rooms, Lansdown Hall, The Old Town Hall, The Alehouse and the Imperial Hotel.

Amongst the highlights are a new performance of Cassandra from Multi Story Theatre from Devon who have been at every festival so far.

The festival has been supported by Ecotricity and Stroud Festival Arts. "We only receive a small amount of funding and most of the costs for the festival are covered by a ticket levy," explained John.

For full details of everything that is on, brochures are available around the town. Tickets are available from Stroud Tourist Information at the Sub Rooms - phone 01453 760900. For more information, go to 

3# Support an incredible charity at the Midlands Air Ambulance airbase open day 

This Sunday (September 16), the Midlands Air Ambulance Airbase Open Day takes place at Strensham northbound services from 10am - 4pm.

The open day is free to attend and a great opportunity to take a tour of one of the air ambulances and meet the aircrew.

The open day also includes a bouncy castle, trade stalls, refreshments, a raffle and visits from other emergency services including the police and fire service.

At 12 noon, Anthony Stockman, event organiser of the Tewkesbury Classic Vehicle Festival, will be flying in to the Midlands Air Ambulance operational base at Strensham to present a cheque for £6,000 to Roger Pemberton, the chairman of the board of trustees, Midlands Air Ambulance.

4# Browse an exhibition inspired by seasons of the Cotswolds at the Corinium Museum, Cirencester  

An exhibition of oil paintings and sketches of various Cotswold locations by artist and natural mindfulness guide Nick Pike opened at the Corinium Museum in Cirencester last week and will continue throughout September.

The exhibition explores changing seasons with artwork inspired by the surrounding countryside, featuring exclusive new nature paintings from Cirencester-born Nick's studio in Painswick.

Each month Nick hosts a Cotswold Natural Mindfulness walk which embraces all the senses, focusing on perspectives of landscape, art and life.

Nick recreates everyday life into striking scenes with vibrant colours and stirring movement, applying paint with sponges and palette knives to achieve rich textures.

As part of the exhibition, he will be guiding a new walk on Saturday 22nd September at 9.30am from the gates of Cirencester Park, concluding at the exhibition in the museum. An art workshop on nature will also take place during the show at a time to be confirmed.

5# Go on a forest adventure at Westonbirt Arboretum, near Tetbury 

To encourage children to explore Westonbirt Arboretum after school, Forestry Commission England has joined in partnership with Roald Dahl Story Company to create the most marvellous "forest adventure kit".

The kit was launched on Thursday (September 13), Roald Dahl Day to celebrate the much-loved author on his birthday.

In Roald Dahl's bestselling story, James and the Giant Peach, James Henry Trotter escaped from Aunt Spiker and Aunt Sponge by rolling away in a giant peach and going on an extraordinary adventure.

Informed by Roald Dahl's own love of adventure and nature, Forestry Commission England are now inviting children to go on their own special adventure where they can meet their very own insect friends, and learn all about their habitats with the "forest adventure kit".

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