MON 24 – SUN 30 JUNE
MUDDY’S PICK OF THE WEEK
DANCE: Northern Ballet Live – Victoria, Norden Farm Maidenhead, Tue 25 Jun
It’s Queen Victoria’s 200th birthday, and if you’ve seen Jenna Coleman’s portrayal of the old monarch on ITV, you’ll know she’s wearing very well indeed. To celebrate her big year, the very talent Northern Ballet company is doing a live broadcast of its latest production Victoria – all told through the eyes of her youngest child Beatrice.
SPORT: Parkland Run, Basildon Park National Trust, Lower Basildon, Tue 25 Jun
Love running or, if you’re like me, just trying to shift your wobbly bottom a little more this summer, enjoy a change of scenery at Basildon Park in Lower Basildon for a Parkland Run. Every Tuesday, enthusiastic National Trust volunteers lace up and slip into their Lycra for a jog around the park and woodland trails.
WORKSHOP: Floristry 101, Basildon Park, Lower Basildon, Tue 25 – Thu 27 Jun
Learn how to make the best of your bunch at this three hour floristry workshop at the National Trust’s Basildon Park. You’ll be taught how to choose the best flowers from the Basildon Park gardens, arrange them like a pro and those all important conditioning tips to keep them alive (I’ve never been so good at that part). If all that cutting and creativity has worked up an appetite, you’ll have lunch too. How very civilised.
SCREENING: NT Live: Small Island, various locations, Thurs 27 Jun
I love National Theatre Live, it’s such a brilliant idea to democratise West End theatre for non-Londoners, and this week you can see up and coming actress Leah Harvey star in Small Island, based on Andrea Levy’s Orange Prize-winning novel (Thurs 27). Find your nearest screening here.
EXHIBITION: Matisse – Drawing With Scissors, The Base Greenham Common, now – 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.
KIDS: Chores, South Street Arts Reading, Fri 28 – Sat 29 Jun
There are two things that crack my kids up… slapstick and toilet humour. Chores should be right up their street. It tells the story of two young boys playing in their messy bedroom (standard). Suddenly, their mother’s alarming screams rattle the boys back in to acrobatic action. A generous serving of comedy and chaotic acrobatics accompanies every attempt at cleaning their room and doing their chores. Edge of the seat giggles guaranteed.
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.
EVENT: Summer Beach Party, Saddleback Farm Shop Brightwalton, Sat 29 – Sun 30 Jun
All together now.…’Oh we do like to be beside the seaside, oh we do like to be beside the sea…” Knotted hankies, lashing of ice cream and good old fashion, fish and chips. We maybe landlocked but the gorgeous peeps at Saddleback Farm are bringing the seaside to Berks. There will be donkey rides, a giant sand pit and 30 degree sunshine. Slap on the SPF and get ready to partaaay.
EVENT: Gentleman’s Day feat Basement Jaxx, Windsor Racecourse, Sat 29 Jun
Move over ladies in your glad rags, and say hello boys. Windsor Racecourse is hosting a Gentleman’s Day to prove fellas have fashion bragging rights too. There’s racing, beers, bets and a party in the paddock with Basement Jaxx bringing the bangers. Not your bag? Sunday is all about fun with the famalam. So load the little cherubs with sugar, and off they go.
FILM: Bohemian Rhapsody, Cobbs Farm Hungerford, Sat 29 Jun
Another chance to see the epic biopic Bohemian Rhapsody in the great outdoors. Rami Malek’s portrayal of the strutting showman Freddie Mercury 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 Cobbs Farm Shop for a Saturday night at the movies in Berkshire’s blissful countryside.
FAMILY FUN: Hobby Horse Championships, Hurst Show & Country Fayre, Sat 29 Jun
Giddy up! The famous Hobby Horse Championship is making another appearance at the Hurst Show and Country Fayre. Fancy horsing around? We know you’re excited but whoa there! (sorry, we couldn’t help ourselves). Discover the price of your dusty old tat, I mean, hidden treasures at the new Antiques Valuation Show, there’s music, car and bike show, dog show, falconry – in fact, there’s not much this fayre doesn’t have. Don’t forget your trusted steed (husband or hobby horse).
FOOD: Great British Food Festival, Englefield House, Englefield, Sat 29 – Sun 30 Jun
The beautiful grounds at Englefield House will be groaning with food and drink stalls this weekend for Berkshire’s first ever Great British Food Festival. Two days of foodie fun with baking and barbecue stages, amazing food producers as far as the eye can see, chef demos – including Reading’s Michelin star magician L’Ortolan head chef Tom Clarke – and more.
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?
SHOPPING: Hungerford Antiques and Flea Market, Hungerford Town Hall, Sun 30 Jun
Let’s get ready to rummage! Antiques, collectables, vintage, clothing – it’s all here in the village of Hungerford which boasts more antiques shops than Kirsty Allsopp has shoes. Bundle into the Town Hall and you’ll find 30 to 40 dealers touting their wares. Nothing you fancy there? Pop over the road and have a mooch around Hungerford Arcade, or make a pitstop at Eliane for a coffee or a light lunch. The market is free and is open from 10am-4pm
Hungerford Town Hall, High Street, Hungerford RG17 0NF
DAYS OUT: Natioanl Treasure – The Search For Sancy Diamond, Cliveden National Trust Taplow, now – 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.
CULTURE: Offbeat Festival, Oxford, now – 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.
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.
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.
OUTDOOR THEATRE: The History of Everything, Blenheim Palace, Sat 29 – Sun 30 Jun
The Oxford Playhouse Tent pops up on Blenheim Palace’s grounds with The History of Everything– a fast paced, sixty minute hurtle through history, packed with facts, comedy, music and puppets. The show is suitable for kids aged four to eleven and their families.
EAT: Eat Food Fest, Henley, until Sat 29 Jun
It’s the last leg of Eat Food Fest this week which concludes with the Riverside Fiesta- food, drink, live music and floating gin bar (oh hello!) not forgetting various foodie talks and chef demos in Kenton Theatre throughout the week.
NEW EXHIBITION: Manolo Blahnik, The Wallace Collection, London, Mon 10 Jun – Sun 1 Sept
This new exhibit contrasts paintings, sculpture and ornate furniture from the Rococo art movement with Spanish fashion designer Manolo Blahnik’s designs. The intimate collection has been curated by Blahnik himself and features items from his private archives and these gorgeous candy pink shoes designed for Sofia Coppola’s award-winning film, Marie Antoinette. There are also a few accompanying talks, Fashion or Art?, Fashion and Power, The Collector, The Interior World, but if you want to go get a ticket quick as they’re selling out fast. This exhibit is free. wallacecollection.org
NEW EXHIBITION: Keith Haring, Tate Liverpool, Liverpool, Fri 14 Jun – Sun 10 Nov
Spot the little guys! A cool exhibit to check out that’s not over in the Big Smoke is this retrospective of Keith Haring, a legend on the ’80s graffiti, pop art and underground club culture scene. The exhibit will feature 85 artworks including large-scale paintings, posters, photos and video. Very cool. tate.org.uk
FESTIVAL: Summer by the River, London, until 28 Aug
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 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.
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).
THEATRE: The Anastasia File, Theatre Royal Windsor, Wed 3 – Sat 13 Jul
It’s a Windsor Theatre Royal exclusive! If you’re a sucker for a Russian accent, book in to see The Anastasia File – a psychological thriller that questions whether a woman found in a canal and placed in a mental asylum is, in fact, the daughter of Tsar Nicholas II, and heir to the Romanov fortune. Using just four actors – Jenny Seagrove, Andrew Lancel, Richard Winsor and Rose Thomson – playing 30 parts between them, in a play loaded with tension. Half time double vodka, essential.
DAYS OUT: Gin Festival, Newbury Racecourse, Thu 4 Jul
The beauty of lighter evenings (sunshine or not) is that the opportunities to put on a nice shoe and totter out for the night are seemingly endless – and Newbury Racecourse does not disappoint with gin and gee gees. It’s hosting its legendary Gin Festival with 30 different varieties to sample, live musicians great racing. Thursday is still the new Friday, so get your gang together and make mine a double.
EVENT: 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