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2016 marks the 300th anniversary of 18th century landscape architect Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown, whose birthday (probably) falls this August. His actual date of birth is not known but he was baptised on 30 August 1716 at a time when babies were baptised very soon after birth, so we have declared August as his Birthday Month!

Special celebratory birthday month events

The nationwide Capability Brown Festival celebrates the life, work and legacy of England’s most famous gardener, often dubbed the ‘Shakespeare of gardening’ or the ‘grandfather of landscape architecture’.

This year the Capability Brown Festival has seen a myriad of events including exhibitions, guided walks, musical performances and family friendly events held at many landscapes across England and Wales.

This August, to celebrate Brown’s birthday month there are even more celebratory events taking place, including: Capabili-Teas at Scampston (Yorkshire), a family picnic in Gatton Park (Surrey) and a three-hour bell ringing marathon on Brown’s baptism day at Croome (Worcestershire).

"A man of genius"

Ceryl Evans, Director of the Capability Brown Festival, says: “Brown’s portfolio is impressive – we see examples of his influence from Dinefwr in Carmarthenshire to Chilham Castle in Kent, which back in the 18th century wouldn’t have been easy to manage, whether in terms of the geographical spread of his client portfolio, or the practical difficulties of travelling around the country!

"Brown was not just a landscape architect; he was an engineer, entrepreneur, salesman and an extremely effective businessman too. It was the combination of these skills which led to his success across England and Wales, and what better time to celebrate his accomplishments than in his birthday month.”

For further details, visit: www.capabilitybrown.org

BBQ season is almost upon us and whilst in previous years it was perhaps men that have traditionally worn the macho BBQ crown, this summer actress and chef Lisa Faulkner believes women should reclaim the BBQ reigns.

In the past BBQ food has been synonymous with under done burgers and slightly burnt sausages, but with Brit’s becoming more culinary conscious than ever before, Lisa believes things are set to change and BBQ may be the next big thing in British gastronomy.

Teaming up with Red Tractor, the UK’s largest, not for profit, farm and food standards scheme Lisa has created a series of delicious BBQ recipes that should inspire both men and women to get grilling. Including:

• Steak tagliata salad with truffle oil Lisa Faulkner: Women Should Rule the BBQ in Summer ‘16

• Chicken chimichurri pitta pockets served in pitta bread with lettuce and tomato

• Paneer tikka kebabs

Lisa said “BBQ-ing has always been considered a man’s role, however in my home you are as likely to find me on the BBQ as anyone else. With so much fantastic food on offer these days, BBQ no longer needs to be all about steaks and sausages, which is why I am calling for women as well as men get creative. Nothing beats a good BBQ on a sunny day and Red Tractor’s fantastic BBQ giveaway means everyone has a chance to own their very own Napoleon grill in time for summer.”

She continues, “As a busy mum, I think it is very important to know that the food I serve my family has been produced to a good and safe standard. The Red Tractor logo is a simple indication that the food I am buying has been prepared and checked by independent experts to meet farming and animal welfare standards.”

Additionally, in celebration of BBQ season Red Tractor are launching a BBQ promotion and will be giving away a fantastic Napoleon Grills barbecue worth £500 every single day for an eight-week period during the barbecue season (9th May – 3rd July). To be in with a chance of winning, simply visit www.redtractor.org.uk

A stalwart of the culinary scene and established over 20 years, Tasting Places has relaunched with an updated website featuring tempting new itineraries to the Basque region of Spain (Bilbao, Rioja and San Sebastian); plus the Italian delights of Sardinia, alongside their established portfolio of favourite destinations.

New long-haul options include luxury gourmet travel in China and India, with personalised itineraries offering unique experiences for independent travellers.

The Tasting Places team offers a wealth of knowledge and experience in specialist cooking courses; the world of fine wine; fabulous venues and destinations for private functions.

Whether for a short culinary weekend or longer holiday (perfect for solo travellers wishing to join a small group of kindred spirits) each enquiry is handled on a tailor-made basis, working with a core of partners sharing key values and Tasting Places’ ethos. www.tastingplaces.com 

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Award winning China operator, Wendy Wu Tours, has unveiled a unique way of exploring the ancient city of Xian with a special six-day half marathon package.

Taking place in November 2016, the half marathon allows competitors the opportunity to run along the magnificent city walls of Xian, built during the Ming Dynasty (1368–1644). The walls cover 8.5 miles and stand at 12 metres high.

Held since 1993, the race has attracted runners from around the world and over 4,000 professional athletes have competed. Falling annually on the first Sunday of November, the marathon is now the biggest sporting event in Xian.

Wendy Wu Tours ‘Xian Half Marathon’ package (2 – 8 November 2016) is available from £1,299pp and includes competing in the half marathon, a trip to see the Terracotta Warriors and watching a traditional Tang Dynasty dancing show.

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International flights, domestic transportation, four-star accommodation, race entry fee, most meals and airport transfers are included. Guests have the option of extending their trip with a three-day stay in Beijing including a walk on the Great Wall of China from £199pp.

Full details and bookings: https://www.wendywutours.co.uk/china/tours/xian-half-marathon.

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Bristol Food Connections, produced in partnership with Bristol City Council, the BBC and Great Western Railway, will be returning for its third year from Friday 29 April to Saturday 7 May.

Food Connections aims to connect people to all aspects of their food. From how and where it was grown, to who served it, how it tastes, how it makes us feel and the way it brings communities together.

Over 100 events will take place, from talks on how music affects our perception of flavour to sauerkraut masterclasses and how a food programme gets made. There are city-centre events – an edible education classroom on College Green, a travelling barn that will house practical cooking demos, food business workshops and topical discussions. Not to mention street food and artisan producer markets around every corner.

Food Connections encourages everyone to get involved, roll up their sleeves, learn new skills, gain insight and eat the world better! www.bristolfoodconnections.com 

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