Now in its 5th year, our Warwickshire-based 'rural retreat' promises to be bolder and better than ever before. From 29th June – 1st July, we have over 200 incredible events, including the fascinating, entertaining Salon style talks around big and bold ideas, plus food and drink workshops, and a music programme that moves through mellow to epic, euphoric and emotive, and it’s all set in 50 acres of lake-side Capability Brown parkland.
We’ve been described by the i Paper as 'the festival that promises to blow your mind', and the London Evening Standard says we’re 'the place to be'. Grazia UK flags us as 'the festival you need to know about'. The Metro says you 'owe it to your brain to check it out', DOSE recommends it for 'healthy hedonists', The Independent admires the programming that 'encourages experiences without constraints' and New Scientist loves the thought of 'tea & theoretical physics' - who wouldn't?
You can see our full line-up here, and below you’ll find some of our choice-picks over the festival weekend…
We throw open our gates at 12pm and can offer a lazy afternoon by the lake and a takeaway 'scones and jam' picnic for anyone in the mood. Food historian, Professor Rebecca Earle will invite us to taste our way around the world through the British foods we love. Discover how simple ingredients can be transformed into delicious, health-boosting pickles in an introduction to Fermentation Workshop. Taste your way around the highlands and islands in five different whiskys with BBC Radio 4's Kitchen Confidential broadcaster, Rachel McCormack's Whisky Masterclass, or her tasting tour of the foods around the Northern Coast of Spain. A huge highlight of the Friday night is the chance to travel through the social history of the first half of the 20th Century through cocktails with Jessica Fellowes, author of the wildly successful novel The Mitford Murders.
Friday night in dining is always a chance to kick off the weekend in style and this year we have A Midsummer's Night's Dinner or you can try something more immersive with our Far Out – Astrological Dining Experience. And to set the Friday night alight, Cassia will bring their own brand of calypso-flavoured, tropical rock to ALSO.
We love working with the renowned psychologist and broadcaster, Philippa Perry and we’re so pleased to announce she’ll be leading three events – why not join her for her Saturday morning Philosophy Breakfast where she’ll be tackling the biggest psychological question of all, 'why are other people so awful?' Leading UK Theoretical Physicist, Professor David Tong will be explaining the work and the legacy of his colleague Prof Stephen Hawking. Lucinda Hawksley author of 'March Women March' gives voice to the forgotten women who secured the vote for all women. ‘Dark Net’ and ‘Radicals’ author, Jamie Bartlett and ‘Death of the Gods’ author, Carl Millar discuss the big question of our time – is the internet killing democracy? Margaret Heffernan will present the first of her three mini-manifestos on how to reconcile your life and your work and Prof Sir Nigel Shadbolt explains how we don't need to worry about AI now we are all 'The Digital Ape'. Plus David Attenborough's sound recordist, Chris Watson takes us on an audio journey into the world's most fascinating places, including a midnight nocturnal soundscape of the Maasai Mara desert.
Fancy immersing yourself in something a little different? Have a go at our Gin Tasting and Perfume-Making Masterclass with award-winning perfumier Sarah McCartney. You’ll explore the botanicals used to flavour gin and you'll be using the same materials, with organic grain alcohol, to make a thoroughly wearable fragrance. Or join a neuroscientist and wine broker to better understand how music and wine affect each other. Planet of the Grape's Matt Harris and leading expert on the brain and music neuroscientist, Dr Catherine Loveday will be explaining how to choose the music to drink your wine to.
And if you're looking for an unforgettable, theatrical dining experience, book onto our Saturday night 7-course banquet. We'll be journeying through the 'End of Empires'…
Sunday's programme gives you so much to think about.. Rick Edwards and Michael Brooks present the truth of the science shown on the silver screens with Science (ish); author and broadcaster Natalie Haynes Stands Up for the Classics LIVE; award-winning comedian Robin Ince introduces us to his Pragmatic Insanity; UCL neuroscientist Prof Sophie Scott explains the relationship between the brain and laughter; and LSE anthropologist Jason Hickel explains that we might have to radically rethink the way we consume to address global inequalities. Over on the talks stage, you can find where we are on the journey to cure cancer through gene editing with CRISPR scientist Alastair Russell; the untold story of Christianity with Catherine Nixey, and how to get much more awe and wonder in your life with award-winning writer, Caspar Henderson.
And if you want to try something a little more immersive, why not have a go at screen printing with Underway Studios, or book onto our in-festival book club with author and comedian Viv Groskop – she’ll kindle in you a deep love of Russian Literature. Or you can even experience our gorgeous half-mile lake from a different perspective and book onto one of Suzanna’s guided swims.
With day tickets starting at £49 and weekend tickets including camping for £120 (or if camping is not your thing but you'd like to make a weekend of it, we have a handful of rooms reserved at the 4-star hotel Walton Hall next), grab yourself some tickets to a wonderful summer weekend in the wild here.