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The Muddy Guide

House a mess, kids running wild (searching for Pokemon), washing piling up… ah, we must be knee-deep in school summer hols! Screeching in a tad later than usual, it’s your slightly dishevelled Muddy Guide. Remember I’m (trying) to update and add to the weekly guides. If you know of anything utterly amazing that you think I’ve omitted, feel free to let me know: or just leave a comment below. Right, let’s dive in and do something different!


Play in a Week, The Watermill, Newbury, 8 – 12 August


In this brilliant annual holiday course, kids get to devise, rehearse and perform a play or musical all in a week at The Watermill. A great way for them to gain confidence and new skills and to make friends. No experience necessary, just a willingness to get stuck in! Ages 8-11 9am to 12 noon; Ages 12-16 1pm to 4pm. Price £95.

Archery 4U Have a go session, Wokingham, Tues 9 August, 12 noon to 2pm


I’ve never tried archery, but spotted this and thought it would be a fun and different thing to do with the kids. This have a go session is £10 for adults and £7 for children, includes tuition, equipment and insurance (in case you aren’t the hot shot you thought you were!). The session is held at their outdoor range in Barkham. Suitable for children aged 5+.

The Hollywood Special Effects Show, Theatre Royal Windsor, 8 – 10 Aug


Using more pyrotechnics than any other UK theatre show (for some sequences the audience is protected by bullet proof glass across the stage!) this is definitely one your children will love, and might even be inspired by the sciencey bits too. Onstage infernos, gruesome sci-fi monsters, animatronic dinosaurs, apocalyptic weather and some huge explosions. Awesome fun. Suitable for age 6+. Tickets: £15.

Wild Wednesday – Peter Pan and the pirates, Cliveden, 10 Aug


The author of Peter Pan, J.M. Barrie, was a regular guest at Cliveden and has left some of the story’s clues around the estate. Join Peter Pan and the pirates in walking the plank and flying around Cliveden. Keep an eye out for the tepees, craft your own sword or bow and take part in an epic battle in the fight for Neverland. Pirate costumes fully encouraged, so give it plenty of Swash and Buckle! Drop in session from 11am to 3pm, ideal for children aged 4-11. £2 per child.

Viennese Connections – Summer Concert Series 1, Norden Farm, Maidenhead, Mon 11 Aug


The first of three concerts in the Farm’s summer recital series devoted to works from the Viennese classics with Romanian pianist Florian Mitrea. A scholar from the Royal Academy of Music and winner of numerous awards, he performs recitals all over the world. Tickets £16.

Thérèse Raquin, South Hill Park, Bracknell, 10 – 13 Aug, 7.45pm


Had enough of soft play and chicken nuggets and fancy something a bit more ‘adult’? How about a torrid tale of murder and sexual obsession? This is an adaptation of the Emile Zola novel, Therese Raquin, about a pair of adulterous lovers who attempt to murder the woman’s husband at sea. Tickets £12.50. Contains scenes of a sexual nature so not suitable for under 14s.

Further afield

BBC Countryfile Live, Blenheim Palace, 4 – 7 Aug

A mash-up of the hugely popular BBC programme and all the traditions of the very best UK county fairs AND it’s hosted in the gorgeous grounds of Blenheim Palace. Dip into every aspect of the British countryside with live arena shows, talks, hands-on activities, animal displays, farming in action and shopping with more than 600 food and craft producers and even a great British pub garden. Bound to be a fun and inspiring day in the countryside for all ages. Tickets: Adults £31.35; Children £16.50; Family £87.45. Car park £5. Dogs are welcome.

Latitude Festival Takeover, South Bank, London, 5-7 Aug and free events until 29 Aug


Suffolk’s Latitude festival is coming a little closer this August, taking over London’s South Bank with a mix of music, theatre, dance and literature. Highlights include comic country and western act Tina C; the award-winning Action To The Word’s new production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream; a collaboration between a group of artists and children’s novelist and poet Michael Rosen, musical bingo  and a swing dance class. The Latitude takeover is part of a wider free outdoor festival every Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 29 Jul until 29 Aug at the River Stage outside the National Theatre with theatre, guest DJs, live music in the afternoon and late evening, family activities and more.

Kew Science Festival, at the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, Richmond, 5 – 7 Aug


Your budding Einstein can become a Kew scientist, joining in hands-on experiments and demonstrations throughout the three day festival. They’ll learn about the cutting-edge research on site, get special behind-the-scenes science tours, and find out how the work of the Kew scientists is changing our understanding of plant science around the world. The festival hub is on the Royal Palace lawn, and it’s open from 10am – 5pm each day. A full timetable of event is here.
Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, Richmond, Surrey, TW9 3AB. Tickets: £15 adults, child £3.50, family (2 adults, 2 children) £34.

William Egglestone Portraits, National Portrait Gallery, London, until 23 Oct


The London papers can’t hand out the stars fast enough for this exhibition. 100 of Eggleston’s works, covering his career from the ’60s to the present day — and an unprecedented display of his portraits. As well as his trademark colour photography, there’s also a selection of never-before seen vintage black and white prints from the 1960s.

Book now for later

Griff Rhys Jones: Work in Progress, New Greenham Arts, Newbury, 25 Aug, 8pm


If, you loved Alas Smith and Jones in the 80s (that bit they did at the end sitting face-to-face in white shirts is a hugely nostalgic TV memory for me) then take a ramble down comedy lane with Griff Rhys Jones as he airs thoughts, stories, anecdotes and half-remembered events from a long career with his much missed comedy partner Mel Smith. This is a work in progress with previously unseen footage. Tickets £13.

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