It’s June! So what’s on in Berks this month?
It's officially summer, and we've got a jam-packed month to celebrate. From wacky circus theatre to arty exhibitions and the West End in the Woods, it's all happening in Berks.
Here’s how to make the most of your time off in June (where did half the year go?). We’ve tapped the barometer, and done a little sun dance for you, but just in case the weather doesn’t play ball, here’s your rain or shine guide to good times in Berkshire this month…
MUDDY’S PICK OF THE MONTH
Royal Ascot, Ascot Racecourse, 15-19 June
Ah, the familiar sound of hooves rumbling across Ascot Racecourse, and that’s just the women in the heels they’ve not worn for over a year. Royal Ascot will be open to 10,000 racegoers each day this year. 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 Daily Mail’s sidebar of shame. Tickets are limited so giddy up.
Alice in Wonderland, South Hill Park Bracknell, 2-6 Jun
Make mine a double gin and I’ll happily disappear down a rabbit hole into the trippy world of Alice in Wonderland. Your kids will love it for entirely different reasons. South Hill Park always put on a damn fine school holiday musical with spectacular staging. They’re a talented bunch. Book in or the Red Queen will be “frumious”. Tickets £22pp. Family tickets (up to 6 people max 2 adults) £15pp.
My House, Shaw House Newbury, 13 Jun
My House is the only timing peeping through a stranger’s windows and doors doesn’t result in a restraining order. Through high technical circus and comedy two artists show us, in a playful way, that it is possible to understand each other even though we are very different. Performances: 11.30am & 2pm.
West End in the Woods, Wasing Estate Aldermaston, 4-5 Jun
The show must go on! If you’ve missed the smell of grease paint and a toe-tapping show tune, then you’ll love Wasing Estate’s latest outdoor spectacular – West End In The Woods. Enjoy dinner and a show in the beautiful Wasing woods and amphitheatre in Aldermaston. Tuck into a delicious three-courses followed by a concert of hit songs from Into the Woods, Lion King, We Will Rock You, Les Mis, Cats, Phantom, Hair, Chicago, Wicked and more. The show will be under the musical direction of Steve Clark and featuring the West End’s leading ladies and men. Tickets from £60pp.
Gifford’s Circus, Blenheim Palace Woodstock, 3-7 Jun
Roll up, roll up, Gifford’s Circus is coming to town! From the imagination of the brilliant late Nell Gifford, the trope’s brand new show The Hooley will feature Celtic dance, fairies, pixies, trolls and a whole host of magical creatures alongside Gifford stalwart (and my all time favourite clown) Tweedy. Adult tickets £15, Kids £10.
The Hound of the Baskervilles, The Watermill Theatre Bagnor, now – 19 Jun
The stunning Watermill Theatre in Bagnor usually puts on an immersive performance amongst its flora and fauna – and now they’ve got the green light to put on a show, they’re pulling their spooky retelling of Sherlock Holmes’ The Hound of the Baskervilles out of the bago. Support the arts, book a table and get your culture fix. It’s elementary, dear Muddy readers, elementary.
Circus of Horrors, The Hexagon Reading, 1 Jun and South Hill Park Bracknell, 12 Jun
Circus of Horrors was the first act of its kind to make it to the Britain’s Got Talent finals and the first circus to appear in a West End Theatre for 100 years. Basically if Quentin Tarantino directed Cirque du Soleil it might look a it like this. There are Sword Swallowers, Fire Eaters, Cross Bow and Knife Throwing Ultra Vixens, Death Defying Aerialists, A Guinness World Record holding diva swinging solely from her hair. You get the picture. Grimly compelling.
The Last Abbot of Reading, Rabble Theatre at the Abbey Ruins Reading, 11 Jun – 3 Jul
On the 900th year anniversary of the Abbey, RABBLE brings to life the extraordinary story of Reading’s Last Abbot. It’s a bit spesh as it will be performed at the historic Abbey Ruins. Hugh Cook is the Last Monk who got an unexpected promotion from King Henry VIII after a chance encounter. Suddenly propelled into a world of intrigue, politics and danger, Hugh must balance his beliefs with the orders of the formidable King. Gripping stuff.
Lucy Porter – Be Prepared, Norden Farm Maidenhead, 12 Jun
Dig out our Brownie uniform, Lucy Porter returns with her latest stand up show and we reckon your tea making badge may come in handy. Despite what Brown Owl told you, an emergency 10p for the phone box and a competent knot, cannot solve everything. Life’s slightly more complicated than that.
Frank Skinner – Showbiz, The Hexagon Reading, 26 Jun
The King of confessional comedy, Frank Skinner is straight out of Covid house arrest and back in tour. Critics have described Showbiz as his best show to date, so clickety click for some long-awaited laughs.
Game Plan – Board Games Rediscovered, The Base Greenham Common, 25 Jun – 5 Sep
Ah, remember when gaming required more than one player and came out of a box? Take a screen break and head to The Base’s new exhibition – Game Plan – Board Games Rediscovered – on load from London’s V&A. It’s not a look and don’t touch exhibition, there’s plenty on display that you can try out and a nice reminder how much fun (and competitive) getting friends and family round a game can be.
Altered States sculpture exhibition, Shaw House Newbury, now – 27 Jun
Practice your arty-farty face and waft around The Orangery Lawn at Shaw House in Newbury. The postponed Altered States Sculpture exhibition opens this month and gives you the chance to discover artworks by top Uk sculptors in this lovely historic setting. Everything’s for sale so, if you find something you love, you can batter the credit card. Just make sure it’ll fit in the car boot.
Wildlife Photographer of the Year Exhibition, The Base Greenham, now – 13 Jun
Wildlife photography requires patience, lightning reactions and a little bit of luck. But when they get the money shot… POW! The results are extraordinary. This year’s world-renowned Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition, on loan from the Natural History Museum, comes to The Base at Greenham Common. The competition receives over 49,000 entries from all over the world. This year’s award-winning images will embark on an international tour that will allow them to be seen by over a million people – and Newbury is the first stop.
Peter Rabbit 2, Norden Farm Maidenhead, 2-3 Jun
Hop to it! Cinema is back, baby, and Peter Rabbit 2 – The Runaway is seeing ticket sales soar. Norden Farm in Maidenhead is screening the sequel during half term – a place where you’ll get quality coffee and snacks rather than a bucket of fizzy pop. Brace yourself for lots of questions as to why the rabbits where tops but no pants. Makes no sense. But perhaps not one to copy on World Book Day. Adult tickets £8, Under 16s £6, Family and Friends (4 people) £24.
Flix Drive In Sit Out Cinema, Madjeski Stadium Reading, 1-6 Jun
Outdoor cinema fun whatever the weather! Put that pac-a-mac away, laydee, book in at Berkshire’s first Drive in Sit Out cinema which allows you to watch the latest Hollywood films come rain, shine or hail storms. Buckle up and drive in where you’ll be designated your very own socially distanced seating area. Eyes peeled for The Little Things, Godzilla Vs. Kong, Wonder Women 1984and Oscar Winner Judas and The Black Messiah as well as family faves Tom & Jerry, Scoob!and Roald Dahl’s The Witches. You can even street food and drinks to be delivered to your zone. Best of all worlds right there. There will be three screenings a day at each venue, with tickets per car (up to six people) costing just £35.
Strawberry Moon Cinemas, Windsor Racecourse
The weather’s been pants, but let’s be honest, it can only get better. If you don’t want to chance rain stopping your play, book in at Strawberry Moon’s Drive In Cinema at Windsor Racecourse. Park up, order tasty posh pizza, ice cream and snacks via the app, sit back and enjoy. You’re given a good quality bluetooth speaker, just make sure you crank your window to avoid steaming up. On the movie reel right now? Tom & Jerry The Movie, Dirty Dancing, Dream Horse, Godzilla V Kong and The Witches. Keep an eye out for Cruella, Peter Rabbit 2, Marvel’s new flick Black Widow, the new Bond No Time To Die and more.
Caversham Court Gardens, Reading
Caversham Courts Gardens is an under-rated riverside park and now it has the Summer Screens cinema too. Balmy evening staring at the big screen? Race you. There are eight films on Caversham movie reel kicking off in June with Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy (24 Jun); The Grand Budapest Hotel (25 Jun) and Mamma Mia! (26 Jun)
BERKS IN BLOOM
OUTSIDE: National Garden Scheme’s Open Gardens, throughout Berkshire, from May
The flowers are out, the roses are blooming, the bees are buzzing. Where better to admire nature’s finest than at Stonor Park, which is taking part in the National Garden Scheme on 8 June. (This means the gardens will open especially to raise money for the scheme’s charities, and indeed, Stonor was one of the first gardens to sign up to the scheme when it was established in the 1930’s). Look out for May-flowering irises, blousy June peonies and heritage roses with that oh so English summer garden scent. Back in Berkshire you can have a nose around Eton College Garden (12 Jun), newbie 7 The Knapp in Reading (9-30 Jun) Deepwood Stud Farm in Maidenhead, Rooksnest in Lambourn (23 Jun) and the opportunity to see nine gardens in one day (and eat 9 cakes) in Swallowfield on the 27 Jun.
KIDS & FAMILY
The Lost Colour, Norden Farm Maidenhead, 4 Jun
A brilliant outdoor event in search of the pinkiest pink on the planet! My kinda gig. Painter and amateur alchemist, Malcolm Brushell, will be cracking rocks, mashing vegetables, and even bottling and fermenting his own cow’s wee. He’s created every colour imaginable…except for that rascally elusive pink, but he won’t give up! A colourful explosion of puppetry, music and comedy.
Concertini with Papa Truck, Norden Farm Maidenhead, 5 Jun
A concert for kids that grown ups enjoy just as much (if not more). Concertini is a MuddyAward-winner, that brings music to the mini masses. This half term they’re bring a a toe-tapping 45 minutes of American Bluegrass with a distinctly British twist. Online streaming tickets are also available.
Horrible Histories Live: Gorgeous Georgians and Vile Victorians, Corn Exchange Newbury, 4-6 Jun
Travel back in time to Georgian and Victorian times with a live stage show by Horrible Histories The production promises to uncover centuries of grisly history – and is perfect for kids with a thirst for all things awful and amusing (so that’s all kids then!!). Adults £16, Kids £14, Family ticket £56.
Noisy Kids: Heroes and Villains, The Hexagon Reading, 13 Jun
Put on your superhero cape and crusade against dastardly villains in this unmissable family concert. A brilliant opportunity to show your kids that there’s more to music than Baby Shark, thanks to the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. Hear the Orchestra perform pieces that celebrate adventurers, daredevils and scoundrels.
Little Red Riding Hood and The Three Funky Pigs, South Hill Park Bracknell, 26-27 Jun
If you’re fairytayled out, this modern musical mash up of Little Red Riding Hood and The Three Little Pigs may just stop you reaching for the Tramadol. One things is for sure, little kids will love it, as Little Red Riding Hood and her Karate Granny head out on an adventure with the Three Funky Little Pigs… just watch out for that cantankerous Mr Wolf.
Market & Feast, CA Belcher & Son Reading, every Saturday
Turn the Saturday shop into a foodie event. Fruit & veg wholesaler CA Belcher & Son, host a regular fresh food market for you to grab super-fresh groceries and invite their foodie producers along to tickle your tastebuds with barista coffee, bacon rolls, cakes, street food and more. The market open 8am-2pm. Come masked up and ready to shop. They also sell veg boxes online for delivery too.
Outdoor Market, Norden Farm Maidenhead, 5 Jun
Norden Farm in Maidenhead is bringing its much-loved outdoor market back. Expect live music, local food and drink producers and plenty of handcrafted goods. We’ll be first in the queue for Como en Casa’s traditional Argentinian treats; Muddy fave Cricketer’s Gin and artisan cheese from The Marlow Cheese Co.
Hungerford Food and Artisan Market, Hungerford, 6 Jun
Hmm the smell of fresh bread and sizzling street food is enough to get me out of bed for a Sunday market, but the Hungerford Food and Artisan Market is much more. Think quality produce, original art, designer crafts, all mixed in with family activities, music and more… From 10am to 1pm at the Croft Field Centre, get up and mooch and grab yourself something unique from Berkshire’s finest.
Newbury Artisan Market, Newbury, 27 Jun
It’s the home of homemade, so whether you’re after fresh foodie produce, street food or handcrafted gifts, you’ll find it during a meander around Newbury’s much-loved Artisan market.