To make savings this summer, why not take advantage of this year’s free design events, shows with bargain offers, free entry to museums, holiday events for children, and shows in galleries. There are scores of events for the whole family to enjoy, at very little cost, or no cost at all.
Emperor Hadrian at the British Museum
Great Russell Street, WC1; Wednesdays 20, 27 August and Saturdays 23 and 30 August, 11am to 4pm.
Help build a replica of Hadrian’s villa, make a Vindolanda wooden writing tablet and meet Romans at free drop-in workshops.
Summer fun at Somerset House
The Strand, WC2; Saturdays 23 and 30 August, 2pm to 3.30pm.
Family workshops for children aged from six to 12, accompanied by an adult; no booking. Free Time is a circus-inspired event that runs from 15 to 18 August, with juggling, hula hoop and more. Children can splash around in the fountain or take part in creative workshops, enjoy poetry, acrobatics and circus films.
Call 020 7845 4600, or visit www.somersethouse.org.uk.
“Dress for mess” at Pitzhanger Manor
Walpole Park, Ealing, W5; now, until 28 August, 10am to noon (five to eight year olds); and 2pm to 4pm (nine to 12 year olds).
Thursday children’s art workshops, with all materials supplied. Everyone takes their work home. Tickets are £4 and places must be booked.
Call 020 8567 1227, or visit www.ealing.gov.uk/pmgalleryandhouse.
Play at the V&A
Cromwell Road, South Kensington, SW7; every Sunday in August, 10.30am to 5pm.
Drop-in design sessions where children can make anything from architecture to fancy hats or masks. And on Saturdays 16 and 23 August, from 11am to 4.30pm, there are workshops themed around “design, recycle, reuse”, where children will print digital images on to a bag to take home.
Call 020 7942 2000, or visit www.vam.ac.uk.
For more details on London events, visit www.viewlondon.co.uk.
Design out of town
Isamu Noguchi at Yorkshire Sculpture Park
West Bretton, Wakefield, West Yorkshire; now, until February 2009.
Lovers of modernism should head north to see Isamu Noguchi at the stunning 500-acre Yorkshire Sculpture Park, set in a rolling 18th century landscape.
In the Thirties, Noguchi blurred the boundaries of art and design, working in quantity at affordable prices. Most famous is his 1944 iconic glass-topped circular coffee table on wooden supports.
Noguchi is also loved for his Akari light sculptures with their instantly recognisable shapes made from bamboo frames and mulberry Shoji paper. About 130 of Noguchi’s monumental carvings, in hard stones such as granite, are on display, many outside. Admission free.
Call 01924 832631, or visit www.ysp.co.uk.
Celebration of Craftsmanship and Design
Thirlestaine Long Gallery, Cheltenham College, Bath Road, Chelthenham, Gloucestershire; 16 to 25 August, 10am to 4pm daily.
Buy — or commission — a very special piece of furniture at the 15th Celebration of Craftsmanship and Design, Britain’s largest annual show of bespoke furniture, with more than 250 handmade pieces from 75 designer-makers. Tickets cost £6.
For refreshments in Cheltenham, try Morans wine bar, opposite; or Brosh and Daffodil on Suffolk Parade. Nearby Montpellier Walk has excellent small shops.
Call Betty Norbury at Bespoke Gallery on 01242 238582, or visit www.celebrationofcraftsmanship.com.
International Festival of Glass
Stourbridge, West Midlands; 22 to 25 August.
See a glass garden, glass dresses and glass puppets performing The Tempest at the third International Festival of Glass, in and around Stourbridge — the heart of traditional glass-making country. Lots of family fun, including glass-blowing demonstrations and workshops. Join in walks, exhibitions and talks — and shop for glass at every turn.
The Glass Market is on 23 August, followed by a Glass Fair the next day, with contemporary pieces and antiques. There is a bead fair, too. The Black Country has more miles of canal than Venice: key events will be linked by boat trips. Modern glass must-see is the British Glass Biennale, with 130 contemporary glass works by 81 British-based artists (prices from £200 to £10,000). Download a guide from the internet.
Call 01384 399410, or visit www.ifg.org.uk.
Audley End House and Garden
Saffron Walden, Essex; 23 to 25 August, 11 to 5pm.
Queen Victoria invites you to A Royal Victorian Visit, with games, dancing, music and a retinue of Victorian characters. Tickets cost £10.50 for adults, £5.30 for children, £8.40 for concessions and £26.30 for a family ticket.
To book, call 0870 333 1183, or visit www.english-heritage.org.