Open-Air Cinema

When your team loses its 100% record on the first afternoon of the season, you’ll have a distinct sense of being Back to the Future. Some of the players, you realise, belong in Jurassic Park – even the one (usually strolling around the midfield) who thinks he is The Greatest Showman. Out in the fresh air all afternoon, why not spend some more time out of doors and take in a showing of the real thing?

Back to the Future Crawley Town Salford City
Back to the Future: a new season dawns, and hope springs eternal

Back to the Future at Crawley (where the away team is Salford 10 Aug)

Jurassic Park at Milton Keynes (Peterborough 24 Aug)

The Greatest Showman at Northampton (Macclesfield 17 Aug) and at Swindon on 11 Aug (Carlisle 10 Aug)

Jurassic Park Milton Keynes Dons Peterborough United
Jurassic Park: could it be your stadium’s new name under a sponsorship deal?

This is a sample of what you’ll find to do (apart from watch the match) when you follow your team around the country. Check out all the destinations at Towns.


There must be a crossover between gaming enthusiasts and football fans. Apart from anything else, footballers clearly love gaming. So if you like to swap the screen for the stadium occasionally, here are the towns and cities with something extra for you this August:

Barnsley Cooper Gallery Kapow! Fulham Charlton Luton
Kapow! Comic Book Art at the Cooper Gallery in Barnsley

Liverpool SunnyCon Anime Expo on 10/11 Aug (where away fans from Norwich 9 Aug might still be in town)

Barnsley Comic Book Art (Fulham 3 Aug, Charlton 17 Aug, Luton 24 Aug); and at Shrewsbury (Portsmouth 3 Aug, Rotherham 13 Aug, Rochdale 17 Aug, Burton 24 Aug)

Manchester Power Up (Chelsea 11 Aug, Spurs 17 Aug, Palace 24 Aug, Brighton 31 Aug) and Salford (Stevenage 3 Aug, Leeds 13 Aug, Port Vale 17 Aug, Orient 31 Aug)

Carlisle MegaCon (Mansfield 17 Aug)

This is a sample of what you’ll find to do (apart from watch the match) when you follow your team around the country. Check out all the destinations at Towns.


Nostalgia may not be what it was, but don’t let that stop you wallowing at an away venue this August. There’s a chance to step back into various bygone Golden Ages near the grounds of:

Stephenson's Rocket Manchester Science & Industry Museum Chelsea Spurs Palace Brighton
Stephenson’s ‘Rocket’ on display at Manchester’s Science & Industry Museum until 8 Sep

Chelsea Wartime (where the visiting teams are Leicester on 18 Aug, Sheffield Utd on 31 Aug); and at Milton Keynes (Shrewsbury 10 Aug, Lincoln 20 Aug, Peterborough 24 Aug); and at Oldham (Crewe 10 Aug)

Derby Magazines & Dressmaking Patterns of the 30s (Swansea 10 Aug, Bristol City 20 Aug, WBA 24 Aug)

Leicester Ladybird Books (Wolves 11 Aug, Bournemouth 31 Aug); and at Reading (Sheffield Wed 3 Aug)

Manchester Stephenson’s Rocket (Chelsea 11 Aug, Spurs 17 Aug, Palace 24 Aug, Brighton 31 Aug)

Morecambe 1940s Revival (Grimsby 3 Aug)

Norwich The 1950s (Newcastle 17 Aug, Chelsea 24 Aug)

QPR Toy Brands in the 50s (Huddersfield 10 Aug, Swansea 21 Aug, Wigan 24 Aug)

Stevenage Design Icons of the 60s-80s (Exeter 10 Aug, Southend 13 Aug, Bradford 20 Aug, Macclesfield 31 Aug)

50s Toy Brands Museum of Brands QPR Huddersfield Swansea Wigan
Toy Brands in the 50s at the Museum of Brands near QPR’s ground

This is a sample of what you’ll find to do (apart from watch the match) when you follow your team around the country. Check out all the destinations at Towns.

Open-Air Theatre

This is something of a long shot. Tickets often go quickly for open-air theatre – to watch a play in the gently cooling evening of a summer’s night is such a treat. But if you were planning to follow your team to one of the following destinations, it might be worth checking availability and adjusting the time of your return accordingly:

Kew Gardens Brentford Hull City Alice in Wonderland Open-air Theatre
Alice in Wonderland at Kew: ‘it’s always tea-time’

Alice in Wonderland at Brentford (where the away team is Hull 17 Aug)
A Midsummer Night’s Dream at Exeter (Macclesfield 3 Aug)
Comedy of Errors at Brighton (West Ham 17 Aug)
Frankenstein at Mansfield (Morecambe 10 Aug)
Gangsta Granny at Shrewsbury (Portsmouth 3 Aug)
Love’s Labours Lost at Northampton (Walsall 3 Aug)
Moby Dick on SS Great Britain at Bristol (Tranmere 20 Aug, Oxford 24 Aug)
Sense & Sensibility at Sheffield on 23 Aug (Leicester 24 Aug)
Theatre on the Square at Accrington (Bury 10 Aug)
The Secret Garden at Gillingham (Blackpool 20 Aug)
Treasure Island at Peterborough (Ipswich 17 Aug)
Twelfth Night at Oxford (Peterborough 10 Aug)

Summer awaydays

If you can remember far enough back you’ll know what a treat it is to be taken to a match, home or away. But you can earn even more gratitude from your kids if you plan an away game around them. You’ll find summer events through to late August in many towns around the country. The list below is a sample; some are the civic events, but adventure parks, heritage sites and shopping malls will often have similar programmes – check out the destinations at Towns

Bournemouth Summer Live Sheffield United Manchester City
Summer Live, Bournemouth – photography by Sirius Art (Guy Wood)

Blackpool (where the away teams are Bristol Rovers 3 Aug, Macclesfield 13 Aug, Oxford 17 Aug, Portsmouth 31 Aug)
Bournemouth (Sheffield Utd 10 Aug, Manchester City 25 Aug)
Carlisle (Crawley 3 Aug, Mansfield 17 Aug, Salford 24 Aug)
Doncaster (Gillingham 3 Aug, Fleetwood 17 Aug, Lincoln 24 Aug)
Hull (Reading 10 Aug, Blackburn 20 Aug, Bristol City 24 Aug)
Plymouth (Colchester 10 Aug, Orient 13 Aug, Salford 20 Aug, Walsall 24 Aug)

Food Festivals

Is the highlight of your matchday experience the pie at half-time? Did you ever suffer the cheese and onion pastie at Harrogate Town and wonder whether life might not have more to offer? Well, it does, and especially for a few lucky sets of supporters.
Food-loving Leeds fans can view the start of the season with particular satisfaction. Their game at Wigan Athletic coincides with a Food Festival and that’s in addition to the justly famous Wigan Tapas. Leeds are also at Stoke during an event called The Big Feast, but that turns out to be an arts and street performance festival. Follow your nose to the following Food Festivals:

Hairy Bikers Bolton Food Festival Towns of Two Halves Football Tourism Ipswich Town
The Hairy Bikers: in Bolton for the visit of Ipswich on 24 Aug

Barnsley (where the away team is Luton 24 Aug)
Bolton (Ipswich 24 Aug)
Wigan (Leeds 17 Aug)

Speciality food events are on the schedule at:
Cheltenham Flyer Fish & Chip Special (Scunthorpe 10 Aug)
Vegan at Coventry (Southend 3 Aug) and at Port Vale (Northampton 10 Aug)

And it would be surprising if food didn’t feature at these exotic carnivals:
Caribbean at Manchester (Chelsea 11 Aug)
Magic of Thailand at Brighton (West Ham 17 Aug)

Music Festivals

The Victorious Festival at Portsmouth, 23-25 Aug

Watching two football teams slog it out on a hot August afternoon doesn’t always feel right. Listening to a live band as the sun goes down, a drink in your hand, will restore things to their natural order. There are music festivals and events up and down the country this August; some will require more commitment and time than others, but there are plenty of options. For example, Macclesfield fans who make the long trip to Exeter City on the opening day of the season will be rewarded by Crazy for Soul at the Corn Exchange. Find the possibility that’s appropriate to you:

Sequences 2019 at Bristol (where the away team is QPR 17 Aug)

GlastonFerret at Preston (Sheff Wed 24 Aug)
Livewire at Fleetwood (Accrington 24 Aug)
Shuffle Shuffle at Bradford (Oldham 17 Aug)
Street Music & Theatre at Preston (Wigan 10 Aug)
Victorious at Portsmouth (Rotherham 24 Aug)
Youth Music Festival at Preston (Sheff Wed 24 Aug)

Moseley Folk & Art Festival: you could go for the whole weekend and take 2hrs off for Birmingham v Stoke

Moseley Folk & Art Festival at Birmingham (Stoke 31 Aug)
Shrewsbury Folk Festival (Burton 24 Aug)

Heavy Metal
Bloodstock at Derby (Swansea 10 Aug)

Indie & Dance
Cool Britannia at Stevenage (Macclesfield 31 Aug)
Feelgood Festival at Rochdale (Doncaster 10 Aug)

Jazz at Port Vale (Forest Green 20 Aug)
Ocean City Blues ’n Jazz Festival at Plymouth (Colchester 10 Aug)

Northern Soul
Crazy for Soul at Exeter (Macclesfield 3 Aug)

Ossy Proms at Accrington (Milton Keynes 31 Aug)
Oxford Proms (Peterborough 10 Aug)

Rock, Blues
Cover Bands Fake Festivals at Manchester (Spurs 17 Aug); Carlisle (Mansfield 17 Aug); Colchester (Port Vale 3 Aug)

Urban beaches

Planning to travel to an away game with the family? You’ll spot some obvious seaside attractions early in the season. If you have a game at Brighton, Southend, Morecambe etc, the promise of an ice-cream on the prom will be part of the appeal. (And don’t overlook Grimsby – the Mighty Mariners’ ground is in Cleethorpes – or Fleetwood, a few tram stops from Blackpool.)

But those aren’t the only possibilities. Since the turn of the century, urban beaches have become popular and they turn up in some pretty unlikely places. Here’s where you might get sand between your toes this August:

Watford Big Beach, in landlocked Hertfordshire from 16-30 Aug

Cardiff (where the away teams are Luton 10 Aug, Huddersfield 21 Aug, Fulham 30 Aug)
Derby (Swansea 10 Aug, Bristol City 20 Aug, WBA 24 Aug)
Leeds (Forest 10 Aug, Brentford 21 Aug, Swansea 31 Aug)
Lincoln (Accrington 3 Aug, Southend 17 Aug, Fleetwood 31 Aug)
Nottingham (WBA 3 Aug, Birmingham 17 Aug, PNE 31 Aug)
Sheffield (Barnsley 10 Aug, Palace 18 Aug, Luton 20 Aug, Leicester 24 Aug, QPR 31 Aug)
Stevenage (Exeter 10 Aug, Southend 13 Aug, Bradford 20 Aug, Macclesfield 31 Aug)
Watford (West Ham 24 Aug)

50th anniversary of Apollo 11

Luke Jerram’s Museum of the Moon is coming to Derby in September and Leicester in October

You can’t have failed to notice that it’s the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11 this month. The first men to set foot on the moon blasted off from the Kennedy Space Centre on 16 July 1969, landed on the moon on 20 July and returned to earth on 24 July.

If you’re fired up by the media and film coverage, there’s a good possibility you’ll be able to combine an interest in the anniversary with a trip to an away match in the early days of the new season. There are special Apollo 11 events and/or exhibitions in August in (or very near):

Bristol (where the away teams are Leeds 4 Aug, Wycombe 10 Aug, Cheltenham 13 Aug, QPR 17 Aug, Tranmere 20 Aug, Oxford 24 Aug, Middlesbrough 31 Aug)
Burton (Ipswich 3 Aug, Rotherham 17 Aug, Bristol Rovers 31 Aug)
Coventry on 23 Aug (Gillingham 24 Aug)
Forest Green Rovers (Oldham 3 Aug, Grimsby 17 Aug, Newport 31 Aug)
Leicester (Wolves 11 Aug, Bournemouth 31 Aug)
Mansfield (Morecambe 10 & 13 Aug, Orient 20 Aug, Stevenage 24 Aug)
Oxford (Peterborough 10 & 13 Aug, Burton 20 Aug, Coventry 31 Aug)
Port Vale (Northampton 10 Aug, Burton 13 Aug, FGR 20 Aug, Cambridge 31 Aug)
Stoke (QPR 3 Aug, Derby 17 Aug, Leeds 24 Aug)

Cricket overlap

Congratulations to England’s 50-over cricket team. But let’s keep a sense of proportion. English sportsmen won World Cups in 1966 and 2003 by outscoring the opposition. The cricketers won thanks to the small print in the Ts&Cs. You’d need the soul of a contract lawyer (or the breathless enthusiasm of a TV presenter) to regard that as a comparable sporting achievement.

Cricinfo’s picture from The Timeless Test, when a draw was an acceptable conclusion

What would have been so offensive about having co-champions? The first ICC Champions Trophy (another One-Day International cricket tournament) was shared by India and Sri Lanka. The result on Sunday at Lords – as, not far away, at Wimbledon – was unsatisfactory for being contrived. Cricket used to be a game in which a draw or a tie was an acceptable conclusion. In the most famous case, known as The Timeless Test, England and South Africa slugged it out over nine days, whereupon they declared the result a draw so that the English players could catch their boat home. At the time England were 654 for 5 in their second innings, chasing 696 to win. Another hour’s play would have been enough, but a draw was in their blood.

If the 50-over white-ball triumph has whetted your appetite, the first six weeks of the new football season overlap with the cricket season. On a Saturday afternoon, football and cricket will usually clash. But if you’re traveling a long way and making a weekend of it, you could take in some top-class cricket. Here are a few examples:

Swansea City at Derby, 10 Aug; T20 Blast Derbyshire v Durham, 9 Aug

Luton Town at Cardiff, 10 Aug; T20 Blast Glamorgan v Surrey, 11 Aug

Liverpool at Southampton, on 17 Aug, T20 Blast Hampshire v Surrey 16 Aug

Bristol City at Derby, 20 Aug; County Championship Derbyshire v Gloucestershire, 18-21 Aug

Plymouth Argyle at Northampton, 31 Aug; T20 Blast Northants v Worcestershire, 30 Aug