Have fun with the locals Have fun with the locals

If you have just moved into your new home by Weston Homes, this is your chance to meet the locals. Everyone loves a browse around a craft market. Our arts and crafts expert Barbara Chandler gets out and about in Weston Homes neighbourhoods and discovers tempting stalls full of homeware and crafted treasures, plus galleries, workshops, bake offs, music, children’s theatre and much more…

Bowfest: Open Studios 2023 Friday 16 June, 6-9pm; Saturday 17 June, 11am-5pm Bow Arts Trust, 183 Bow Road, E3 2SJ; www.bowarts.com

Arty Barking has found a home in the 90 studios in the Bow Road complex where they’re throwing their annual party. Here’s an open intro to painters, sculptors, theatre makers, product designers, performers, jewellers, fashion designers, illustrators and more, all living and working in east London.

Tempting stalls in the Courtyard Makers’ Market are selling art, homewares, fashion, gifts and more, created by Bow Studio residents and local artists. There’s live music on Friday night and a family fun day on Saturday, with free drop-in textile workshops. Right next door is Bow Arts’ flagship Nunnery Gallery. Here, the summer show – Lucy Orta Traces: Stories of Migration – showcases the textile skills of over 80 local residents of Tower Hamlets and Newham, brought together by international textile artist Lucy Orta.

* Follow @bowarts on Instagram and Twitter.

1023 WEST, Brentwood Central
Brentwood Art Trail, 3-27 June; www.brentwoodarttrail.co.uk

This month up to 60 venues in Brentwood, Shenfield & Ingatestone are throwing themselves into art – including many local businesses. For example, Saturday art for kids is in the Chicken And Frog Bookshop and there’s a craft club in Merrymeade Tea Room. Malina Patisserie has an “artful baking” workshop, with Great British Bake Off contestant James Hillery.

Paintings, photography and ceramics by local artists are in pop-up galleries, many with accompanying workshops. For example, Amelia Hart shares stage secrets of scenic art at Brentwood Theatre, and Lucia Hardy leads outdoor painting at Merrymeade House. Take part in seminars or join guided walks, mostly free of charge. “Join in” is the Brentwood Art Trail message – watch out for the jaunty pink window stickers. Each has a number which you’ll find on a downloadable map.

* Check out @BwdArtTrail on Twitter and Instagram.

GUN HILL PARK, Aldershot
Picnic and Pop, Manor Park, Aldershot, GU12 4JU; Saturday 29 July, 12 noon to 10pm, Sunday 30 July, 12 noon to 8pm; www.picnicandpop.co.uk; tickets from around £20, children half price.

This popular festival is a weekend of family fun, with live music across two stages by some of the UK’s top tribute acts as well as the best local bands. There’s a licensed bar and a variety of street food, plus craft and homeware stalls and plenty for the children to enjoy, including a funfair.

Watford Market Lates, Watford House Lane, Watford, WD17 1BJ. Friday 30 June, 6pm-10pm; then subsequently on 4 August, 1 September, and 27 October. 

Watford’s market, bang in the centre of town, dates back to the 12th century, but its quirky, modern makeover spreads over two floors of shipping containers. This is home, indoors and out, to a jolly band of small specialists selling food, fashion, craft, jewellery, gifts and haberdashery, plus watch repairs and more. Laid on for late nights is live music, craft beer, a pop-up bar and tasty street food from around the globe, including Caribbean, Asian and Korean menus. Or have dinner in a covered space.

* Follow @watfordcouncil on Twitter and @watfordtownmarket on Instagram.

London Festival of Architecture; www.londonfestivalofarchitecture.org

This annual June event celebrating architecture and cities runs until the end of the month. The theme this year is “in common” and Penge and Palace is one of seven districts taking part, with around 35 special events These include architectural tours, community fairs, a visit to Brunel’s water tower, explorations of Crystal Palace Park, and the launch of the Craft Not Carbon Pavilion designed by Webb Yates Engineers, featuring an intriguing woven canopy (Thicket Road, London SE20 8DS).

* Follow @londonfestivalofarchitecture on Instagram and @LFArchitecture on Twitter.

Worth a trip to London…
The Global Game: Remapping Collaborations: London Design Biennale 2023, Somerset House, Strand, WC2R 1LA; open now until June 25; tickets from £25; www.londondesignbiennale.com

Allow plenty of time for this ambitious design event – the fourth of its kind – which fills the numerous rooms of historic and capacious Somerset House, spilling out into the fountain courtyard and along the terrace. Over 50 countries from five continents are responding to a basic theme of “international co-operation”. The result is interactive, musical and kinetic, as a bevy of prestigious international designers takes up the challenge in very different ways. See an AI robot take over a design studio, get inside a space pod, bake bread, weave a tapestry, visit a virtual garden – or, say the organisers, simply “find inner peace”.

* Follow @londonbiennale on Twitter and Instagram.

And don’t miss…

Cockpit Summer Open Studios, Cockpit Bloomsbury, Cockpit Yard, London, WC1N 2NP; Friday 23 June 12-6pm; Saturday 24 June 12-6pm; www.cockpitstudios.org; advance tickets £8 (£10 on the door) – book on www.tickettailor.com/events/cockpit

This buzzing biannual event is your chance to visit the usually private studios of more than 100 makers across at least 20 disciplines from ceramics to jewellery, glass-making and leather working, to millinery and fine embroidery.

* Follow @cockpitstudios on Instagram.