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Surfer Dan Lake Michigan man surfboard ice and snow

Ocean Film Festival, The Hexagon Reading, Fri 4 Oct

Calling all ocean lovers! The annual Ocean Film Festival, by the team behind the Banff Film Festival UK Tour, this collection of short films celebrates divers, paddlers, surfers and oceanographers who live for the sea’s salt spray. Don’t miss Surfer Dan – a film about crazy landlocked ocean-lover Dan Schetter who lives on the shores of Lake Superior in Michigan where, in winter, strong winds create deadly currents, icebergs and… waves (see above).

Muddy Book Club Live, Henley Lit Fest, Henley, until 6 Oct 

Muddy fave Henley Literary Festival (until 6 October) is in full swing – there’s simply too much going on to list but we might just find time to mention that we’re hosting the Muddy Book Club (5 Oct) at Phyllis Court – sorry, shall we shout that a bit louder? THE MUDDY BOOK CLUB, we’re back! We have amazeballs guests – Celebrity Masterchef champion Lisa Faulkner, former ELLE journo Lotte Jeffs and the inspirational Ella Dove. We will be there. There will be wine. It’s £12 well spent.

Windsor Fringe, various locations, Fri 20 Sep – Sun 6 Oct

If you like your arts fresh out of the box, head to Windsor Fringe Festival – the second oldest fringe in the UK after Edinburgh. Expect an eclectic programme of comedy, music, drama, DJs, arts, and more, plus the world reknowned International Windsor Fringe Award for New Drama Writing, sponsored by the legendary Kenneth Branagh.

Ascot Fashion Weekend, Ascot Racecourse, Fri 11– Sat 12 Oct

Need to give the credit card a battering? Ascot Racecourse is hosting an AW19 fashion frenzy. Designers and boutiques will be wafting about like peacocks at the Ascot Fashion Weekend. Whether you just need a trend injection, have a party to go to or your looking for something to see you through the new season, you’ll find it here. Grab the girls, join the stampede and shop till you drop.

Windsor Ghost Tour, Windsor Castle, Sun 13 Oct

Things that go bump in the night. Not Prince Philip falling out of bed, but a ghost tour in the shadow of the Queen’s gaff. Put your big girl pants, knock back a stiff drink and discover the bloody tales of Windsor in this theatrical ghost tour featuring live actors, scary stories and Windsor’s best haunts. Starts at 8.30pm and lasts approximately 75 minutes!

Qipco British Champions, Ascot Racecourse, Sat 19 Oct

It’s the flat season finale! That’s all well and good but, let’s be honest we’re only in it for the cute hats, fashion and the endless supply of bubbles. Race you to the winner’s enclosure and we can trot around the parade ring on race day. Basement Jaxx will be cranking up the choons like it’s an Ibiza closing party.

Worthington’s ‘Remember Together’ Family Raceday, Newbury Racecourse, Sat 26 Oct

Attention! A race day with plenty of umpapah military pomp. It’s the  final meeting of the Flat Season and the launch of the British Legion Poppy Appeal. We can’t promise Richard Gere or Tom Cruise in their whites but there will be plenty of hotties in uniform, fun, fizz and the chance to have a flutter. Free entry for armed forces personnel past and present. Please call 01635 40015 to redeem.



Comedian miranda-hart-at-cliveden Afternoon tea berkshire

Women in Power – Afternoon Tea with Miranda Hart, Cliveden House Hotel Taplow, Thu 17 Oct

She’s conquered TV, radio, drama and comedy, and this month Miranda Hart’s demolishing the pastry section at Cliveden House while talking to a room full of enthusiastic Call The Midwife and Miranda fans. To honour the centenary of Nancy Astor being the first female MP to take her seat in Parliament, Miranda will share anecdotes and stories from throughout her illustrious career on stage, screen and beyond.

Craig Revel Horwood book signing, Rosebourne Aldermaston, Sun 6 Oct

The walking, talking glitter ball that is Craig Revel Horwood, will be Cha Cha Cha-ing from the Strictly Ballroom to Rosebourne Aldermaston this Sunday, to celebrate its first birthday. This gorgeous, snake-hipped celeb is knocking back *ahem* bubbles and signing copies of his book. There’s also 10% off everything in store (exc restaurant). Pop down and get as much backstage goss as you can squeeze out of him.



Whiskey crystal glass wooden floor The Cineyard Whiskey and cheese masterclass

Whisky and Cheese Masterclass, The Vineyard Stockcross, Thu 3 Oct

Gin’s done (although not in my house), it’s all about whiskey – a proper grown-up drink. Here’s a unique opportunity to learn more about whiskey than the perfect measure and how it pairs brilliantly with cheese. The Vineyard’s expert team will reveal the very best combinations – think smoky scotch and strong stilton or mellow whisky with a creamy camembert – perfect for nibbles as the nights draw in. High risk of gout, but a risk worth taking. From £35pp.

Hungerford Food Festival, Town Hall Hungerford, Sun 6 Oct

Stuff yourself silly at the Hungerford Food Festival that spills out of the Town Hall and down the High Street. The festival promises a gatronomic day out with 50+ food stalls, demonstrations, family friendly activities and emphasis on sustainability. Roomy pants on, people, a food coma is guaranteed.



Ascot Racecourse autumn racng and beer festival Berkshire

Beer Festival, Ascot Racecourse, Fri 3 – Sat 4 Oct

Even a vino stalwart like myself will sink a pint of the amber nectar during Oktoberfest! Ascot Racecourse will be transforming the Grandstand concourse into a very special local with a weekend of racing, Oompah music, traditional German grub and, of course, loads of beers. Race you to the finish line – there’s 200 beers, ciders and perries on offer plus 80 gins. Lederhosen optional.

Oktoberfest, Windsor Racecourse, Mon 7 Oct

If you missed Ascot’s beer fest, there’s always a Monday night play date at Windsor Racecourse where the beer will be flowing in a rustic tented Biergarten. Expect lots of Biers, Bratwursts an Oompah band and Lederhosen is preferred. At some point there’s horse racing too.

Bucklebury Beer Fest, Bucklebury Recreation Ground, Sat 12 Oct

For something a bit more rustic, Bucklebury Beer Festival is getting in on the Oktoberfest action with a menu of local craft beers and cider to sample. While you’re getting tipsy in the beet tent’s a dog show and entertainment to keep your kids happy. Everybody wins.

British Beer Run, Alexandra Gardens Windsor, Sat 19 Oct

If you need to burn the calories before your go on a beery bender, then this one is for you. The British Beer Run (5k, 10k, 13,1miles) kicks off in Alexandra Gardens and finishes at Windsor & Eton Brewery where there’s all the beers and an after party for you to swap your trainers for drinking boots.



Comedian Ellie Taylor brunette sat crossed legs in mustard shirt and jeans

Ellie Taylor – Don’t Got This, The Concert Hall Reading, Fri 4 Oct

Fresh from recording her debut Netflix stand-up special, the star of The Mash Report, Live at the Apollo and QI is back with a brand-new show. Join Ellie as she bangs on about life, love and what will happen if one more person tells her “you got this”.

The Great British Take Off, Corn Exchange Newbury, Thu 3 Oct

Comedian and impressionist Jon Culshaw and legendary comedy producer Bill Dare are coming back to Newbury following a sell-out tour last year. Unscripted, unrehearsed, spontaneous comedy as politicians, sports personalities and celebrities are all up for a roasting. You help choose which characters appear and what direction the show takes. What could go wrong?

Abigoliah Schamaun – Do You know Who I Think I Am?, Norden Farm Maidenhead, Thu 3 Oct

Probably the most Googleable comedian on the planet, Abigoliah Schamaun (there can’t be two) is a, hardcore yogi, whiskey-loving comic – it’s all about finding balance. No subject is off limits and she’s not afraid to get down and dirty with it, Schamaun is a brilliantly funny woman who provokes proper belly laughs and mock shock.

Lenny Henry – Who Am I Again?, Norden Farm Maidenhead, Mon 14 and Tues 15 Oct

Sir Lenny Henry is heading out on tour, and Berkshire’s playing guinea pig. This ‘work in progress’ show is a jam session covering puberty, school, friendship, family secrets and unashamed racism. After the gags, Lenny will be interviewed by author, co-writer and friend Jon Canter. Some material will last to his tour, some will survive just one night. Book up, the Sir Lenny isn’t currently booked to perform the polished show in Berks.

Jonathan Pie – Fake News, The Hexagon Reading, Wed 16 Oct

Jonathan Pie has been described as ‘brilliant, brave, raw and analytical without forgetting to be funny’ by Ricky Gervais. He has over 1.2 million Facebook followers and his response to the election of Donald Trump has been viewed more than 150 million times. The frustrated News reporter is back to berate the people in power – and the journalists apparently holding them to account. I doubt this will be a Brexit, Trump, Corbyn free zone, so buckle up.

Al Murray – Landlord of Hope & Glory, The Hexagon Reading, Fri 18 Oct

Time… ladies and gentlemen, please. Al Murray’s pub landlord is back for a lock in to help a nation in crisis with a couple of pints of lager, a packet of crisps and an evening bants.



Murder, Margret and Me, Theatre Royal Windsor, Mon 30 Sep – Sat 5 Oct

Not a whodunnit but a whowouldhavethoughtit, Murder, Margaret and Me is the story of an unlikely friendship between national treasures Agatha Christie and Margaret Rutherford. Their paths crossed when they found themselves at the heart of one of British cinema’s most successful franchises, Miss Marple. It’s a heartfelt story of friendship, identity and the achievement of women in the long-lost world of the silver screen.

Amelie, The Hexagon Reading, Tue 8 – Sat 12 Oct

It’s been a Broadway smash hit and now Amelie is coming to The Hexagon Reading (pictured above). Based on the award-winning 2001 rom-com starring Audrey Tautou, it’s a feel-good musical about a young girl with a big imagination. Get tickets here.

Ten Times Table, Theatre Royal Windsor, Tue 8 – Sat 19 Oct

The agenda is the Pendon Folk Festival, but it might as well be Brexit. Alan Ayckbourn’s classic comedy sounds eerily familiar. The Chairman is a divisive man, his wife has a bone to pick, throw in a Marxist a military dog breeder and a bunch of dusty oldies and you it sounds like your average PMQs. Ten Times Table is a tumultuous comedy by committee, not to be missed.

Still No Idea, South Street Arts Reading, Wed 16 Oct

Lisa and Rachael want to make a show, but there’s a problem: they don’t have any ideas. So who do they turn to? The Great British Public. They make a pact. They’ll go onto the streets, interview people, and whatever story the public come up with – that will be the show. No backing out, no changing what they don’t like. Deal.

Assassins, The Watermill Theatre, now – Sat 26 Oct

One of the most controversial musicals ever written, Assassins is a twisted celebration of America, “a land where any boy can grow up to kill a president” –  and anyone can BE president (*cue Trump eyeroll*). This show explores the motives of nine individuals who attempt to assassinate US presidents, exposing a sinister underside to the American Dream. Compelling, innovative and yet disturbingly funny.

Square Go, South Street Arts Reading, Wed 9 Oct

School boy banter and the playground battlefield. Square Go is about two boys ducking punches and running from bullies, the boys who try to talk tough but feel scared. For the hour you live every minute with them. A raucous and hilarious new play about playground violence, myths of masculinity and the decision to step up or run.

Great Expectations, South Hill Park Bracknell, 23-28 Oct

A inventive and atmospheric adaptation of Great Expectations takes to the stage at South Hill Park. This much-loved Dickens novel delves into the childhood hopes and fears of young Pip, as he begins his adventures in the windswept marshes of Kent, to the haunting cobwebbed lair of Miss Havisham.



Digital image of Roling stones on stage in Havana

The Rolling Stones: Havana Moon, The Hexagon Reading, Thu 17 Oct

With a collective age of 295, The Rolling Stones are probably thinking about hip replacements not thrusts these days. But that doesn’t stop them strutting their stuff. So how do you fancy going back in time and joining 500,000 screaming fans in Havana where rock history was made. A unique, new, immersive, cinematic concert experience and you’ve got front row seats.

James Arthur, The Hexagon Reading, Tue 22 Oct

He’s won The X Factor in 2012, sold more than 25 million records, over 3 billion streams, has a downstairs loo with more awards than toilet roll and has collaborated with the like of Rudimental and Anne-Marie. Now James Arthur is back on tour, keeping it real and coming to Reading.



Tabby McTat Theatre Live man with guitar two actors with cat ears

Tabby McTat, The Hexagon Reading, Sat 5 – Sun 6 Oct

Have you even experienced childhood, if you haven’t read one of Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler’s iconic picture books. Now many of their classics are coming to life in a theatre near you. For lovers of Tabby McTat about a busker and his cat, your time is now. Freckle Productions, the team behind Tiddler and Other Terrific Tales and Zog, will perform this musical story about a cat with the loudest of meee-ews who ditched his human for a fur lady. A story as old as time.

The Big Draw, Windsor Castle, Sat 5 Oct

Leonardo De Vinci was a man who was comfortable with an HB pencil, to mark the 500th anniversary of his death Windsor Castle is hosting a series of events to celebrate his extraordinary talent. The Queen owns more than 200 of the Renaissance master’s drawings, and while they’re on display at Buckingham Palace, you and your kids can create your own at Windsor as part in The Big Draw Festival – the world’s biggest celebration of drawing.

Vintage Concertini with the Polka Dots, Corn Exchange Newbury, Sun 20 Oct

Party like it’s 19… oh god, it’s so far back we don’t know the number. But it’s all those vintage toe-tapping choons, that’s heavy on the brass and get you up on your feet. Take your mini movers to enjoy swing songs, high energy dance routines with a cheeky retro twist!

Tree Climbing, National Trust Cliveden Taplow, Mon 28 and Tue 29 Oct

Harnesses on? Not eaten anything in the last half hour? Then head to the delicious Cliveden for Tree Climbing with The Great Big Tree Climbing Company. Wheeeee!  I humiliated myself doing this once (I will need 3 gins to spill that story) so have a go just for the laughs. Minimum age: 6.

Morgan & West –  Unbelievable Science, Norden Farm Maidenhead, Mon 28 Oct

Mutton chops, waistcoats and mad science. With lots of Victorian style comic banter, Morgan & West present crazy chemistry, phenomenal physics and bonkers biology in this science extravaganza! The risk assessment will give the stage manager chills, but an A* GCSE is practically guaranteed.



Fire Garden mArket Place Newbury balls of fire

Fire Garden, The Market Place Newbury, Fri 11 – Sun 13 Oct

An exhibition so hot it’s on fire! To celebrate 10 years of the Corn Exchange’s amazing outdoor events programme, French fire artists Carabosse will be transforming Newbury’s streets and squares into a magical and mesmeric wonderland of flames. Wander the streets amidst thousands of clay fire pots, suspended illuminations and ingenious kinetic sculptures. Don’t worry if you forget your coat, you’ll be just toasty.

En Vogue, Basildon Park Lower Basildon, now – Mon 18 Nov

Strike a pose there’s nothing to it and saunter up to Basildon Park for a fabulous fashion exhibition. Lady Iliffe graced the glossy pages of Vogue in 1966, with the mansion as the backdrop to Henry Clarke’s stylish portraits. Bringing that shoot to life, you can rifle through her wardrobe and drool over the Dior, Valentino and Chanel. If you missed out on the V&A’s Dior exhibition, this will scratch that fashion itch.

The Wonderful World of the Ladybird Book Artists, The Base Greenham Common, now – Sun 15 Dec

Fancy a literary trip down memory lane? Immerse yourself in the nostalgic world of Ladybird Books told through original artwork, books and objects. We all had them, and bring back the same childhood fuzzies as Space Invader crisps and Willow The Wisp. Explore an unparalleled collection of books, original artwork and artefacts, dating back to the WW2, at The Base.

Anthony Caro, Cliveden House, Berks, until 10 Nov

If you’re heading over the Berks border, this sculpture trail at National Trust site Cliveden is well worth a peek. Around the Grade I listed grounds you’ll find 16 of the iconic ’60s sculptural artist’s famous steel structures.



Windsor Half Marathon River Train Run, Alexandra Garden Windsor, Sun 6 Oct

Sightseeing with a sweat on. Squeeze into your Lycra and take the river trail paths, ticking off the Royal Berkshire landmarks as you go. If you’re sick of pounding the pavement, enjoy the change of scenery.

Maverick Ions-8 Original Trail Trace, Stonor Park Henley, Sat 12 Oct

Now I’m assuming any race that covers 324 square miles of countryside requires a bit of training. Unless you’re Jessica Ellis, of course, in which case best of luck. The Maverick Original Oxfordshire Trail Race kicks off from Stonor Park covering South Oxon, Bucks, Beds and Herts. See the runners off then hit the coffee and cake hard, mooch round the gardens and play in the Wonder Woods. It’s practically community service, just do it.



ART: Frieze Art Fair, Regents Park, London, Thu 3 – Sun 6 Oct

Frieze Art Fair London 2019 sculpture of cartoon like characters and graffIti urban art canvas on wall

Considered the world leading platform for contemporary and modern art, the Frieze Art Fair unites 160 of the world’s leading galleries. You can view and / or buy art from over 1000 contemporary artists, some emerging talent, others more established. Daily events include talks and performances plus there’s Frieze Sculpture and Frieze Masters (showcasing work from the ancient era and Old Masters) in Regent’s Park. If all this culture makes you hungry, there are loads of delish food pop-ups whilst you contemplate the art and what it’s all trying to say.


FAMILY FUN: World Conker Championships, Southwick, Northants, Fri 13 Oct

Watch the experts as they battle it out to see who is the best at playing conkers in the world! It’s a big event with a kids’ conker competition, stalls, guide dog displays, bumper cars, climbing wall, food offerings, a tea and cake tent, Morris dancers, juggling workshops, a ukuleke band and praise be, a bar.



Vogue fashion and portrait photographer Tim Walker‘s enchanting, fantastical, frankly insane work is the subject of a new V&A exhibition (until 8 March). Tilda Swinton, Björk and, er, Sir David Attenborough are among his subjects and he’s also created 10 new works for the show.

Meanwhile this autumn’s big-hitter is William Blake at Tate Britain, below, (until 2 Feb 2020). The visionary painter and poet’s work will be imaginatively displayed – some of it blown up to enormous scale using digital technology, other works in an immersive room that recreates the space in which Blake first showed his art in 1809.

Elsewhere Into the Night: Cabarets & Clubs in Modern Art at the Barbican (4 Oct – 19 Jan) is probably the nearest I’ll get to clubbing this autumn. It’s such a cool concept – a history of cabarets, clubs, dancefloors and party spaces that inspired artists from the 1880s to the 1960s, including the Berlin cabaret scene in Weimar Germany and Harlem’s jazz clubs and lifesize recreations of some of the hotspots.

Then there’s a major retrospective of 88-year-old Bridget Riley‘s life’s work at the Hayward Gallery (23 Oct – 26 Jan), taking in her famous monochrome, makes-your-eyes-go-funny Op Art paintings from the 1960s among its 70 year career span.

And finally, playing “spot the Angel Of The North” as we drive up the A1 to Newcastle is a family ritual in our house (Geordie in-laws, you see), so I’ve got a soft spot for Antony Gormley’s striking sculpture. His new show at the Royal Academy (until 3 Dec) is billed as his most ambitious in a decade and involves six tonnes of steel mesh, eight km of coiled tubing and a gallery flooded with clay and sea water. Blimey!


THEATRE: Lungs, Old Vic theatre, London, 14 Oct – 9 Nov

The Crown alumni Claire Foy and Matt Smith (aka The Queen and Prince Philip, of course) are reunited in Lungs at the Old Vic (14 Oct–9 Nov), playing a couple wrestling with life’s big issues, such as whether to have children, against the backdrop of a world teetering on the edge of environmental and political disaster.


Fright Nights, Thorpe Park, now – Sun 3 Nov

Thorpe Park’s Fright Night boasts more terror than ever before with new horror experiences, attractions, and even more scares. It’s the perfect event to get you in the mood for Halloween, so grab your tickets… if you dare.


FOOD: London Restaurant Festival, various London locations, all month

London’s fantastic restaurant scene is in full celebration mode this month, with great value festival menus at loads of great restaurants, plus foodie events like gastronomic weekends, tasting menus, restaurant-hopping tours, tasting menus with famous chefs, talks, films and art.

Find more ideas here

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