MUDDY’S PICK OF THE MONTH
EXHIBITION: Matisse – Drawing With Scissors, The Base Greenham Common, Sat 8 – Sun 30 Jun
A Hayward Gallery touring exhibition from London’s Southbank Centre, 35 lithographic reproductions of Henri Matisse’s famous cut-outs will go on display at this year’s Muddy Award-winning Art Gallery, The Base in Greenham Common. A brilliant opportunity to see the French painter, sculptor and designer’s vibrant works.
THEATRE: The Importance of Being Earnest, Watermill Theatre Newbury, now – Sat 29 Jun
Kate Budgen’s production of Oscar Wilde’s social satire The Importance Of Being Earnest is a play about (Victorian) 24-hour party people with loose morals, bad manners and a rather low opinion of marriage. Take two bachelors, add two love interests and watch the car crash as they struggle to keep up with their lies. God only knows what these boys would have said and done if they had Tinder in their lives?
DAY OUT: Nature Explorer Week, Wellington Country Park, Sat 1 – Sun 2 June
Running throughout half term, simply collect your Nature Explorer Pack when you arrive at Reception, then use it to explore the Park. Discover birds, mini beasts and then head for the Pop-up Play Area for the Mud Kitchen, pebble painting and crafty stick men (stock up on Persil). Plus there’s a nature drawing competition with prizes up for grabs. Challenge accepted. Winner gets the last Chocolate Club biscuit.
FAMILY FUN: Family Fun Weekend, Dinton Pastures Reading, Sat 1 – Sun 2 Jun
Dinton Pastures’ annual Family Fun Weekend is a brilliant way to have a go at all the watersports and other activities it has to offer, including kayaking, paddle boarding, sailing, powerboat rides, climbing, pond dipping and even human table football! And it’s amazing value too, with each 15 minute session costing just £2 per person. Simply rock up and register for your activities on the day.
FAMILY FUN: Dinosaur World Live, Corn Exchange Newbury, Sat 1 Jun
Why can pre-schoolers reel off the names of flesh eating giants like T rex, Triceratops, Styracasaurus and Baryonyx but can’t say the word gloves? It’s a mystery, but there is no doubt they’ll LOVE the jaw dropping puppetry of these pre-historic superstars as they thud, stomp and roaaaaar onto the Newbury stage.
THEATRE: Wallace and Gromit’s Musical Marvels, Hexagon Reading, Sun 2 Jun
‘Well, this is a fine how-do-you isn’t this, Gromit?’ The loveable Lancashire duo have only gone and snagged their own gig. Wallace is performing his musical masterpiece My Concerto in Eee Lad with help from his faithful canine companion Gromit. The show is followed by a screening of the Oscar winning Wallace & Gromit: The Wrong Trouserswith the soundtrack performed by the orchestra live on stage. Loving the double bubble.
DAYS OUT: Natioanl Treasure – The Search For Sancy Diamond, Cliveden National Trust Taplow, Mon 3 Jun – Sun 1 Sep
Play detective at Cliveden, you say? I’ll be there clutching my pearls in a Miss Marple stylee. Following last year’s crime caper, there’s a brand new outdoor mystery to solve. The Sancy diamond from Nancy Astor’s bejewelled tiara was stolen and hidden in Cliveden’s woodland, with instructions for an accomplice to collect it at a later date – it never was. It’s your chance to bling it on and crack the clues.
COMEDY: Jack Whitehall – Work In Progress, Hexagon Reading, Wed 5 Jun
New material from young Master Whitehall who never seems to be off our screens at the mo. He recently stood in for Graham Norton on The Graham Norton Show, he’s in the new Good Omens alongside David Tennant and Martin Sheen, provides the voice of Rex in The Queen’s Corgi (out this summer) and he’s a regular on A League Of Their Own, but his winning posh boy routine continues to charm in small doses. This is a Work In Progress show..
SHOPPING: Summer Party, Camp Hopson Newbury, Thu 6 Jun
If you’re summer wardrobe’s looking a bit meh, here’s a date for your diary. Camp Hopson Newbury – mecca to fab brands like Whistles, LK Bennett, White Company, Jaeger, Hall Huber and many more – is inviting you to make like Anna Wintour and take your seat in the FROW for fashion shows, fizz, nibbles (keep your strength up) and a fabulous 20% off for Rewards customers when you spend £100 on womenswear and menswear (so sign up here and you’re quids in). Grab your largest shades, book you VIP fashion show seat and shop till you drop.
FILM: Outdoor Cinema, Stonor Henley On Thames, Fri 7 – Sun 9 Jun
Stonor’s outdoor cinema returns for another year. If you’re after a blockbuster location that’s a dramatic as the Hollywood films on the big screen, this should do it. Choose the film(s) you want to see, grab your bezzie mates and enjoy this historic estate, while juggling a G&T hot dog and popcorn. All the food groups represented. Bohemian Rhapsody, Mary Poppins Returns and The Greatest Showman are on the bill. So book up. Doors open at 7.45pm, film starts at 9.15pm.
THEATRE: The Handlebards – The Tempest, Tue 4 and Wed 5 Jun
Check out the panniers on this lot! The world’s first cycling theatre company, The HandleBards, pedal from venue to venue with all the set, props and costume necessary to perform Shakespeare. They pedal into Bracknell and Newbury to perform The Tempest, a tale that sees the Milan court shipwrecked on a mysterious desert island, inhabited by magicians, sprites and monsters. The Tempest will be performed in the outdoor ampitheatre of South Hill Park Bracknell on Tue 4 Jun and on stage at the Corn Exchange Newbury on Wed 5 Jun.
TALKS: Women In Power Lunch – Olivia Falcon and Fiona Golfar, Cliveden House Taplow, Wed 5 Jun
Award-winning Beauty journalist Olivia Falcon and British Vogue’s Editor at Large Fiona Golfar, will be lifting the lid on the beauty industry at Cliveden’s new Women In Power lunches, celebrating the centenary of Nancy Astor being the first female MP. After lunch, Olivia and Fiona will be offering 10-minute beauty consultations. There are limited spaces available for consultations available on a first-come first-served basis, so please book early to avoid disappointment
FILM: Bohemian Rhapsody, Saddleback Farm Shop Brightwalton, Sat 8 Jun
Queen is officially richer than the Queen, according to the Sunday Times Rich List, and it’s all thanks to the epic biopic Bohemian Rhapsody. Rami Malek’s portrayal of the strutting showman Freddie Mercury also snagged him an Oscar for Best Actor and it’s pretty much the biggest pop up cinema movie of the summer. You can see it at Saddleback Farm Shop for a Saturday night at the movies in Berkshire’s blissful countryside. Doors open 7pm for drinks and a BBQ. Film starts 9pm. PLus each ticket doubles as a raffle ticket to win VIP entry to the next open air cinema night on 1 Sep.
COMEDY: Scummy Mummies, Corn Exchange Newbury, Sat 8 Jun
Comedians Helen Thorn and Ellie Gibson are bringing bonkers comedy show to the Corn Exchange in Newbury. Based on the UK’s number one kids and family podcast, the Scummy Mummies celebrate everything from drinking wine at teatime to hiding from the PTA (standard Muddy behaviour). Not to be missed.
KIDS: The Little Welly, Culden Faw Estate Henley, Sat 8 – Sun 9 Jun
Little Welly obstacle courses are all about having fun and getting muddy, so naturally, I’m on board. The 3km obstacle course (the longest for kids in the UK) is popping up in Henley this month along with the accompanying festival which includes – deep breath – kart racing, rope climbing, circus skills workshops, live music, helter skelter, laser tag, climbing wall, pony rides and loads of family activities. Guaranteed to peel them away from the iPads and out into the fresh air (Sat 8 – Sun 9).
FAMILY FUN: Gifford’s Circus, Blenheim Palace Woodstock, Fri 14 – Mon 24 Jun
Gifford’s Circus pitches up its Big Top once again at Blenheim Palace on its summer tour with a brand new show Xanadu– the theme this year is the Summer of Love, set in Hyde park 1973, so expect hippies, hipsters, rock stars and all-out grooviness alongside Nell Gifford’s brilliantly curated circus acts (Thurs 6 – Mon 10). Gifford’s Circus also comes to Windsor Great Park (Thu 11 – Mon 22 Jul) and Stonor Park Henley (Thu 25 – Mon 29 Jul).
EVENT: Water Fest, Forbury Gardens Reading, Sat 15 Jun
Celebrating its 30th year, WaterFest will stretch from Reading’s Abbey Ruins, Forbury Gardens and Blake’s Lock. Expect a party atmosphere in Reading that day with entertainment, fun for the kids, waters activities, boats and more more more. The watch this space because the Abbey Ruins will be the backdrop for outdoor theatre and pop up cinema in the summer months.
FESTIVAL: Stonor Park Food Festival, Stonor, Henley, Sat 15 – Sun 16 June
The beautiful grounds at Stonor will be groaning with food and drink stalls over the Father’s Day weekend (dads go free before midday on the Saturday) for the first everStonor Food Festival. Keep dad happy with the crafts beers and BBQ plus there’s talks, tastings and demos along with the large selection of local and specialist produce. Guests include French fancy Jean Christoph Novelli and Michelin twinkling Ashton Kutcher. Tickets are £10 for adults and £6.50 for kids (under 2s go free) and include entrance to the house, gardens and Wonder Woods Adventure playground.
EVENT: Ladies Night feat. Art Dodger, Windsor Racecourse, Mon 17 Jun
Love a fashion, fizz and the chance to see party on a school night? Hell yes! Windsor Racecourse’s legendary Ladies Night is back. Travel in style and arrive by boat whilst popping a prosecco or two. There’s racing, a Royal Ascot fashion preview, the Best Dressed competition and Artful Dodger will be tearing up the paddock with a floor-filling DJ set. Book now.
CULTURE: Offbeat Festival, Oxford, Mon 17 June – Sat 29 Jun
The brainchild of Oxford arts venues Oxford Playhouse and Old Fire Station, Offbeat Festival, kicks off this month with a cultural extravaganza of never seen before productions. Started three years ago, the festival is like a mini Edinburgh Fringe and only showcases brand new material with a jam packed programme of theatre, comedy, dance, family shows and music. Full line up here.
EVENT: Royal Ascot 2019, Ascot Racecourse, Tues 18 – Sat 22 June
So many fashion rules to remember, but one of the great highlights of the social calendar is here. Royal Ascot has come around again, so grab your hat, keep the hemlines long, the fake tan light and enjoy a day of celeb spotting and apparently there are few horses running too. It’s the perfect place to people watch, just don’t overdo the bubbles for fear of making it on the DailyMail’s sidebar of shame.
MUSIC: Nocturne Live, Blenheim Palace Oxford, Thu 20 – Sun 23 June
The big festival this month within striking distance of Berkshire is Nocturne Live at Blenheim Palace, Woodstock. A festival for people who are too posh for festivals! This is more a series of chichi al fresco concerts in ridiculously elegant surroundings, with Gladys Knight, Ms Lauryn Hill, Tears for Fears and Kylie (sadly sold out) on consecutive summer nights. Having once waited many, many hours for a Ms Hill gig back in the day, I wish all attendees good luck on that front (Thurs 20 – Sun 23).
FOOD & DRINK: Soltice Party – Gin and Sushi, GrapeSmith Hungerford, Fri 21 Jun
Artisan gins from true industry innovators. Come meet the makers, hear their stories and taste a fantastic range of hand-crafted gins. With delicious sushi from the skilled chefs at Taiko.
FESTIVAL: Cheese and Chilli Festival, Maidenhead Town Moor, Sat 22 – Sun 23 Jun
Spice up your life with a brand new Cheese and Chilli Festival held in Maidenhead. There are 100 exhibitors who promise to give your tastebuds a workout, plus a man v food challenge, chilli eating contest and moree. If it all gets too much, you can cool your tongue in the beer tent. Not to worry if your kids haven’t yet reached a level of cheese and spice sophistication, there’s magic show, giant bubbl show, human table football, crazy golf – the list is endless. From 10am-5pm
EVENT: Downton Abbey Live, Highclere Castle Newbury, Sat 22 Jun
As we hotly anticipate Downton Abbey The Movie (out 20 Sept), channel your inner Lady Grantham (with a naughty dalliance with Lord Gillingham in the staff quarters – oh just me?!) head down to the stunning grounds of Highclere Castle where the Chamber Orchestra of London will be performing with the television show’s composer John Lunn on piano. The al fresco concert will be hosted by actor Jim Carter in character as Mr Carson.
DOGS: Windsor Championship Dog Show, Windsor, Thu 27 – Sun 30 Jun
Muddy’s very own Best In Show – Benson the Viszla resplendent in his Chanel jacket (the things he’ll do for fashion). Sadly he won’t be making an appearance at the Windsor Dog Championships (I know, shame), but lots of pimped up poochs will be padding around the show ring, holding their heads and tails high in the hope of being crowned Best in Show. A fun day out if you are barking mad about dogs.
EAT OUT: Queen Victoria at 200 Afternoon Tea, Cliveden House Hotel, Sat 28 Jun
It’s the mother of all birthday parties – as Cliveden celebrates the 200th anniversary of Queen Victoria with a lighthearted and humorous talk from Oliver Everett exploring Victoria and Albert through their collective love of the arts and each other. During this fascinating and engaging talk, Everett also challenges the popular image of Victoria as a melancholy widow. Get the goss, learn some stuff and then tuck into to an elegant Cliveden afternoon tea. Tickets £69.
SPORT: The Boodles, Stoke Park, Tues 25 – Sat 29 Jun
One of my favourite summer events, The Boodles hosted at Stoke Park. I’ve been a few times and apart from getting massively sozzled and trying on jewellery worth more than my house (I checked the exits, they were all covered unfortunately), it’s a brilliant, local, fun and cost-effective alternative to Wimbledon. There’s no confirmed players yet but the line up is always fantastic and tickets sell quick – so you need to move swiftly.
EVENT: Medieval Jousting Tournament, Stonor, nr Henley, Sat 29 – Sun 30 Jun
Here ye, here ye! Put on your best fair maiden impression and cheer on the knights on horseback as they go head-to-head in medieval-style combat against the majestic backdrop of Stonor. Throughout the weekend there’ll also be falconry displays, archery and dancing dragons. stonor.com
EXHIBITION: Anthony Caro, Cliveden National Trust Taplow, now – Sun 10 Nov 2019
If you loved Cliveden’s Lynn Chadwick sculptures last year, then the new installation Anthony Caro exhibition might get you sitting up like a meerkat. This English modernist artist, who assisted Henry Moore in the 1950s, is most famous for his abstract industrial pieces but briefly created figurative artworks too. You’ll find his pieces doted around the grounds. Take a stroll, admire and then pop into Cliveden House for afternoon tea or lunch at the Astor Grill.
If you’re heading for the Big Smoke, there’s tons to do all summer between London and Tower Bridge with the largest outdoor festival in the capital, Summer by the River (until 28 Aug). Outdoor cinema including a HAWT Jason Momoa in Aquaman (4 Jun), a live screening of Royal Ballet’s Romeo + Juliet (11 Jun) as well as concerts, workshops, comedy and quizzes. You can scoff and drink to your heart’s content from the obligatory artisan stalls and then join in one of the fitness events to assuage the self-loathing. Or if you’re heading to Covent Garden, there’s Covent Garden in Bloom (until Sat 15 Jun), with floral artists Fleurs de Villes returning Covent Garden to its roots as the original (or OG, as the kids say) flower market in London. All the retailers and restaurants muck in with botanical window displays, it’s super pretty.
Also this month is the first ever Chilterns Live festival, just over the border in Herts (Sat 29 Jun). Held in Pendley Meadow, Tring, it has a stellar pop line-up of Busted, above, (this got a few squeals in Muddy HQ), Sophie Ellis Bextor and The Feeling. And history buffs, we’ve got you covered too with Chalke Valley History Festival, nr Salisbury– an extensive programme of talks, debates and interactive events and a mega-impressive list of speakers from Dan Snow to Mariella Frostrup, with a jaunt through Al Murray, Harry Enfield, Niall Ferguson and Antonia Fraser in between. Oh, and there’s camping too (24 – 30 Jun).
KIDS: New Children’s Garden, Kew Gardens, London
As if it wasn’t already a prime spot for day tripping, the clever sausages at Kew Gardens have added a brand new Children’s Garden. Two years in the making, the interactive garden (aimed at ages 2 – 12) has over 100 varieties of mature trees, bamboo tunnels, hammocks and in-ground trampolines all under the cover of a huge 200 year old oak tree. kew.org
Must-see exhibitions in the big smoke this month include Beasts of London, above, at the Museum of London, a fully immersive, digital installation exploring the role animals have played in the shaping of London, from the Roman era all they way up to present day. The interactive show uses video projection mapping to bring the beasts, from rats to lions, to life as they narrate a virtual tour of London with the likes of Kate Moss, Brian Blessed and Pam Ferris voicing the animals. Or you can check out the V&A‘s retrospective of iconic 1960s designer and the mother of miniskirts, Mary Quant– over 200 garments, accessories and exclusive unseen pieces from the designer’s personal archive (until Sun 16 Feb 2020); also at the V&A is this year’s biggie, the largest House of Dior collection ever staged in the UK, which traces the history of Christian Dior and the six artistic directors who succeeded him (until Sun 1 Sept). It is sold out but there are a few first-come, first served tickets available from 10am from the Grand Entrance – it’s well worth trying your luck. Or you can see the exhibition by purchasing a membership for the V&A. Also worth checking out is the major Van Gogh show at Tate Britain, with over 45 works, including Starry Night on the Rhône 1888 from the Musée d’Orsay, Paris, and the rarely loaned Sunflowers 1888 from the National Gallery. There’ll also be work by British artist who were influenced by Van Gogh’s work including Francis Bacon and David Bomberg (until Sun 11 Aug).
The Hidden Garden, Henley Royal Regatta, Wed 3 – Sun 7 Jul
If you’re heading down to Henley Regatta this July and want to escape the riff raff (not that Henley does real riff raff, of course) book now for The Hidden Garden. New to the Regatta this year, the luxe but laid-back riverside venue on the Berkshire bank offers brilliant views, VIP hospitality, musical entertainment, gourmet food and – most importantly – lashings of booze (chilled Henriot champagne and local favourite, Mr Hobbs gin to be precise). Pre-booking is a must so grab your other half, bezzies or workies and get organised pronto! findthehiddengarden.com