Member Newsletter #20: Summer 2023

Rum, music and nectar: it must be our summer edition

WELCOME to your summer member newsletter

Welcome to your member summer newsletter, stuffed with news and offers and more on what you can expect at Dartington over the next few months – including our Summer School & Festival programme with four packed weeks of shared music-making and great concerts. Read on for a gardens update and news from our shops, plus our upcoming Gin & Rum Weekend.

member events

Coffee with the Gardeners

Wednesday 6 September, 11am, The Playhouse
£5 per person

Join Head Gardener Neville Evans and his team for a general update over morning coffee and cake. You’ll hear all about the ways we are future-proofing the gardens at Dartington as well as what post-summer projects will be next on the list to tackle.

There will also be an opportunity to take a tour and hear about current gardens projects including the much-needed restoration of the Playhouse roof (which you can donate towards here).

members gardens event 2


gardens news

nectar garden
nectar garden

The gardens were an absolute delight this spring with the snowdrops and fritillarias putting on a particularly superb show. As we move into summer the Nectar Garden by the Playhouse (above) is taking centre stage and the Sunny Border continues to impress visitors. A reminder too that Gongs in the Gardens can be enjoyed every Thursday from 11am to 1pm throughout the summer months.

Work has been steady with the rejuvenation of many of the overgrown holly trees towards the top of the gardens. These robust trees were taken down, and will sprout again from the base and be managed as a low screen as they were intended when they were first planted. This opportunity has allowed much needed light into dark and gloomy areas, where Head Gardener Neville Evans and his team will be drawing some inspiration from Dan Pearsons’ 2019 Masterplan for the gardens.

Beatrix Farrand fundraiser

Thank you if you attended the Beatrix Farrand fundraiser in May, where we celebrated the 90-year legacy of the pioneer landscape architect’s work at Dartington. We are pleased to say that we have raised over £11,000 towards the Playhouse Roof Restoration as a result.

The Garden Museum in London is also currently showcasing a Beatrix Farrand exhibition highlighting the gardens at Dartington as the only example of her work outside of America. The exhibition is free for visitors and will run until 12 July.

The new Beatrix Farrand at Dartington book, written by Gay Watson with foreword from Dan Pearson, is also available to buy from our Welcome Centre shop for £7 a copy (£6.30 for members), with all proceeds going towards the gardens.

Maintaining and developing these beautiful gardens is an expensive activity so your continued support means a lot to the whole Gardens Team. To help us to reach our £15k target for the Playhouse Roof Restoration, click below.

farrand fundraiser

upcoming events

We’ve picked out some of the key highlights coming up below, but make sure you check out our full events listings too. 

Summer School & Festival 2023

22 Jul – 19 Aug

2023 is a special year as we celebrate 75 years of Summer School (with 70 of those years at Dartington). Artistic Director Sara Mohr-Pietsch has put together another exciting programme: dozens of courses and over 70 concerts in a wide-range of genres, from early music to jazz, and baroque to folk. There is something for everyone, with up to four events per day!

Summer School is a truly unique experience, with four-weeks of courses by day and concerts by night. Our courses are taught by the same incredible artists who you’ll see appearing onstage in our festival. Whatever your age or musical ability, there’s courses and classes in all styles of music.

summer school index

Not sure what to try? How about some avant-pop/electro-folk from Crewdson & Cevanne? Or a blend of painting and music as The Brook Street Band bring to life the music and musicians depicted in 18th-century paintings by Hogarth and Gainsborough, with music by Handel, Corelli and Geminiani.

Looking for something classical? try the Waldstein Quartet playing Haydn & Britten or Faure’s Requiem with TikTok superstar organist, Anna Lapwood.

Or fancy something more off-the-wall? Try Revue-Z, Zoe Martlew’s riotous one-woman-plus-cello cabaret show, or soprano Heloise Werner’s experimental Dream Songs & Recitations.

We’ve also got a series of family events and relaxed morning concerts too – find out more here.

Or if it’s courses you’re after, some spots are still available, with week-long and single course passes on offer – find out more here.


staycation? We’ve got you covered

With great weather heralding a promising summer ahead, why not consider a staycation here at Dartington? We’ve got a spacious campsite with traditional camping pitches and cosy glamping pods, plus hostel-style accommodation as well as our historic courtyard rooms. This summer we’ve also introduced our all-new Deer Park Lodge located in a peaceful rurul setting on the estate.

Browse available accommodation here – and don’t forget that you can get 10% off camping, courtyard rooms and our River Dart Cabin by using the code MEMBSTAY at checkout.


Barn Cinema Summer Family Pick

Elemental [PG]
28 July – 3 Aug, 2pm daily
Member discount applies automatically at checkout

A charming tale of elements connecting across boundaries. Expect heart-warming laughter and spectacular animation in this new Pixar film directed by Peter Sohn. The story takes place in the extraordinary Element City, where Earth, Air, Wind and Fire residents live by just one rule: elements cannot mix. But now, fiery Ember (Leah Lewis) and go-with-the-flow guy Wade (Mamadou Athie) are about to discover something truly elemental – how much they actually have in common!  Book here >


8 July

Join us for a day of young imaginations running wild and free – from puppet theatre to nature crafts, live music and yummy summer treats!

Your member discount applies to several lovely ticketed events (although they are selling fast, so don’t delay). Mischief and Mystery in Moominvalley is an unforgettable journey into the world of the Moomins, bought to you by the superb Get Lost & Found Theatre. You can also get hands-on with two craft workshops for all ages.

In addition, we’ve live music all afternoon on the Great Lawn stage, plus other free activities that young ones will love.

rum on barrell

gin & rum weekend at the cider press centre

8 – 9 July

Come and join us for our Gin and Rum weekend where Cosmo Caddy, founder of Devon Distillery (and great grandson of the Elmhirsts) will be with us on Saturday to talk all things gin – and run a batch of our Elmhirst London Dry on Ginny, their ‘still on the move’.

There’ll be free tastings from local suppliers, music and a bar all weekend, plus a chance to browse our new ranges and displays. Don’t miss our summer fashion and the Toy Shop in its new location on the lower courtyard. Remember, as a member you get 10% discount on your purchases – including the bar!

Short Course Pick: Tree Radicals

14 – 16 July
£280 non-residential (£252 members price)
£395 residential (£355.50 members price)

Tree Radicals is a project initiated by The Woodland Presents and Evolving Forests that aims to pioneer the future of forestry. It will bring together experts and professionals working in any field related to trees to draw together strands of experience and ask what this can bring to our future interactions with British woodlands.You’ll spend the weekend exploring how humans interact with woodland, debating what can be done to impact change.

Members enjoy 10% discount – or book two or more spaces and get 20% discount by using the code TWOTREES at the checkout.


News from The Cider Press Centre

We are delighted to welcome new business The Devon Seaweed Company to The Cider Press Centre for the summer. It’s run by Charlotte and Stuart Jacob, who combine art with education to highlight the importance of our marine ecosystems.

Charlotte was taught to collect and press seaweed by her grandmother. She will be running regular seaweed pressing workshops and an education space alongside selling their beautiful prints, cards, homewares and gifts. For more information about workshops pop in or visit their website.

totnes shop
Lane Room

Hire out spaces

Did you know members get 10% off room hire rates at Dartington? Great if you’re looking to hire a venue for any reason, from our historic courtyard meeting rooms to the light and bright sprung floor studios with lighting rigs and raked seating. There’s soundproof music rooms and workshop spaces too, plus you can even hire out our 150 capacity 15th Century Barn Cinema!

To enquire about hiring these fantastic spaces located in the stunning grounds at Dartington, or simply to find out more about the facilities on offer, click here:




We are pleased to add yet another great benefit to your membership: enjoy half-price entry to Hestercombe Gardens in Somerset with your Dartington Membership card! Hestercombe is famous for its unique collection of gardens which span three centuries of garden history and design, with the formal garden a fine example of the world-renowned partnership between Gertrude Jekyll and architect Sir Edwin Lutyens.

Simply show your Dartington Members card upon entry.


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