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This week

MON 27 MA7 – SUN 2 JUN


FAMILY FUN: Tree Climbing, National Trust Cliveden Taplow, Mon 27 and Tue 28 May

The Big Tree Climbing Company will help kids scale the Cliveden canopies over Easter – an hour activity for 6+, bookable here and promising gorgeous views with a zip line back down to the bottom. Wheeee!


EVENT: The Highclere Country Show, Highclere Castle, Mon 27 May

Highclere Castle Downton Abbey Lord and Lady Carnarvon Hampshire Estate Near Newbury

The usual dog shows, bouncy castle, birds of prey and ferret racing and a new Countryside Arena, but I’m particularly liking the look of the gold panning in the hope that Lord Carnarvon might have mislaid an Eqyptian treasure. Under 16s go free – result!


EVENT: Yattendon and Frilsham Fete, Yattendon, Mon 27 May

Ah the brilliantly bonkers May fete. Where else can you enjoy men dancing with handkerchiefs, steel bands, dog shows, Christmas tree tossing and a slightly dodgy Punch and Judy show with copious amounts of cider? Yattendon and Frilsham Fete (yes I’m biased, it’s my local) is on today. Race you to the hog roast or escape the madness in the Royal Oak’s stunning new garden. Fun starts at 1pm.


DAY OUT: Remarkable Rainforest, The Living Rainforest Hampstead Norreys, Mon 27 May– Sun 2 Jun

Living Rainforest Hampstead Norreys Black Goeldi Monkey

The Living Rainforest is celebrating the beauty of living things half term with lots going on including special guided tours of the rainforest with their experts, animal feeding sessions and talks, children’s craft workshops, rainforest music workshops and more.


GARDENS: Frogmore House, Windsor Great Park, Tue 28 May

Frogmore House Royal Collection Trust © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2018, photographer Philip Craven_Fotor

Frogmore House Royal Collection Trust © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2018. Photographer Philip Craven

A rare opportunity to snoop around the gardens of royal party palace Frogmore House – it’s hosted not one but three wedding shindigs in the last 12 months. But the empty bottles of Champers have finally been cleared from under the rose bushes, so you can take a gander around the stunning grounds. You never know you may even bump into HRH Baby Archie.


EXHIBITION: Anthony Caro, Cliveden National Trust Taplow, Wed 1 May – Sun 10 Nov 2019

Anthony Caro Cliveden National Trust red industrial sculpture on woodland walk

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.


Nature Explorer Week, Wellington Country Park, Mon May 27 – 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.


SPORT: Go Paddling Week, Advenure Dolphin, Pangbourne Sat 25 May – Sun 2 June

Did you know that hundreds of events and challenges are being organised nationwide to help encourage people give paddle sports a go? Nope, me neither – but we do now, so there’s absolutely no hiding behind the sofa! National Go Canoeing Week is being celebrated at Adventure Dolphin in Pangbourne with canoeing, paddle boarding and kayak trials on Weds 29 and Thurs 30 May for just £5. Check out their website for details.


Victoria and Albert 200, Windsor Castle, Sat 25 May – Sun 2 Jun

Child and boy dress up as Victoria and Albert at Windsor castle

I think Queen Victoria would be chuffed to bits with her Jenna Coleman makeover as we celebrate what would have been  her 200th birthday. While we’re busy blowing out all the candles and knocking back a celebratory champers, your kids can get stuck into the Windsor Castle fun – dress up, enjoy storytelling, falconry and more every day of half term.


COMEDY: Adam Kay – This Is Going To Hurt, Hexagon Reading, Wed 29 May

Adam Kay This is going to hurt doctor in scrubs wit a keyboard

After sell-out shows at the Edinburgh Fringe 2016, 2017 and 2018, Adam Kay’s bestselling book is now being turned into a BBC Series. His hilarious and sometimes stomach-churning observations on his time as a junior doctor are certainly causing a stir and if you missed him the first time, Adam’s back this week at The Hexagon Reading.


KIDS; Duckie, Norden Farm Maidenhead, Wed 29 May


The Ugly Duckling just gotta makeover – applying all the glitter and adopting a swagger and strut never seen before. I think Hans Christian Andersen would approve. Underneath the grease paint, it’s still a classic tale of identity and belonging, but with a dollop of cabaret glamour. Don’t miss the chance to see Le Gateau Chocolat break out of his shell as Duckie, in his first work for children.


KIDS: Sing-A-Long Concertini, Corn Exchange Newbury, Wed 29 May

Little girl Frozen Elsa costume ear defenders and man playing the guitar Concertini Norden Farm

Take a break from the constant requests for food (just mine?) and wave your jazz hands at a Concertini sing-a-long. The Concertini band will be performing songs from Mary Poppins, Matilda, Frozen and more. The 11.30am show is a relaxed performance – ideal for children with SEND.. Tickets £8


EXHIBITION: Our Stories, Bray House Maidenhead, Wed 29 May

black and white image of a bearded man working on a film a film projector ≠ The Photographic Angle exhibtiion

Image: Abhijit Chakraborty

Better than a social media scroll, see how the pros do it, be inspired to up your Insta game and discover how you tell a story in one image. Our Stories is an exhibition devoted to documentary photography – simple curiosity in a frame. If you’re into photography, or fancy a  culture fix, go and see.


DANCE: Swan Lake, Theatre Royal Windsor, Thu 30 May

Corp de ballet ballet theatre buk Swan Lake sea of white tutus

Let’s be honest, it’s the costumes and general ethereal elegance that attracts us to ballet. This is how I wanted to look as a child. I was a little more Dawn French in her French & Saunders  sketch with Darcey Bussell in the style and grace department. So I think it’s best to leave it to the pros –Ballet Theatre UK will perform a new version of the classic in Windsor this week.


COMEDY: Seann Walsh – After This One I’m Going Home, Corn Exchange Newbury, Thu 30 May

comedian seann walsh curly hair suit

Returning from his run in America, where Seann Walsh made his USA television debut appearance, this disheveled, fiery, animated, fiercely idle, millennial man child is returns to Newbury with his show After This One I’m Going Home… something he probably should have done before snogging the face off his Strictly dance partner.


COMEDY: Lucy Porter – Pass It On, Norden Farm Maidenhead, Fri 31 May

Lucy Porter brunette comedian in blue sparkly top show Pass It On

What has been lovingly passed down to you from the family old guard? For me, it’s a love of gin, shoes and dodgy knees. Thank you Granny (Two out of three ain’t bad). in a brand new stand up show, the utterly brilliant Lucy Porter’s muses on what we receive from our ancestors and what we pass on to our own kids. Can she do better? 

FAMILY FUN: Family Fun Weekend, Dinton Pastures Reading, Sat 1 – Sun 2 Jun

young boy paddle boarding on lake

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

giant dinosaur puppet of a t rex stage show Dinosaur World Live

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 Trousers with the soundtrack performed by the orchestra live on stage. Loving the double bubble.
FESTIVAL: Blenheim Palace Food Festival, Sat 25 – Mon 27 May For a foodie family day out, there’s Blenheim Palace’s sixth annual Food Festival– a gastronomic weekender packed with talks, demonstrations, family activities and a hearty sprinkling of celebrity chefs, including Raymond Blanc OBE, Jean-Christophe Novelli and Celebrity MasterChef champion, Angellica Bell. There’ll also be up to 160 local and regional foodie and drink stalls with artisan bakers, craft brewers, gourmet burgers, international cuisine and, new for this year, the Vegan & Veggie Garden. Go stuff yourself silly.



Mary quant exhibition V&A Mary Quant clothes on white mannequins in front of black and white 1960s images

Must see exhibitions in the big smoke this month include the V&A’s retrospective on 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). The exhibit is sold out (*boo*) but there are a few first-come, first served tickets available from 10am (from the Grand Entrance) and it’s well worth trying your luck. Or you can see the exhibit by purchasing a membership for the V&A (plus you get loads of added extras like sneak previews, a magazine subscription and access to the members room). Also worth checking out is the new major Van Gough exhibit at Tate Britain- over 45 works by the artist from public and private collections including Starry Night on the Rhône 1888 from the Musée d’Orsay, Paris, and the rarely loaned Sunflowers 1888 from the National Gallery, London. 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).


DAY OUT: Warwick Castle, War of the Roses Live, Sat May 25 – Sun 2 Jun

This spectacular castle just over the border is always a winner with Muddy and they are very good at luring us back. Not only is there the return of the live action show, War of the Roses (more stunts and tricks than you can shake a stick at) but there’s a new family-friendly challenge – The Escape Room. Set in an underground prison, actors lead castle visitors as they battle the clock to set a knight free through puzzles, clues and stories. Think Crystal Maze meets The Krypton Factor. Add the regular birds of prey demos, the mighty trebuchet, archery and ramparts to rampage and it’s good value. (Top tip: if it’s a sunny day it might be worth your while to bring a picnic, you can queue for ages for food).


EVENT: Roman Gladiator day, Chiltern Open Air Museum, Sun 26 – Mon 27 May

Muscly men running around in tiny shorts. Nope, it’s not the rugby but, erm, Gladiators. Criminals, barbarians, prisoners and disgraced soldiers fight to the death to be crowned champion in full Roman costume. The event is run by Britannia, one of the oldest and largest re-enactement groups in the UK, who have worked on tons of TV projects from Ridley Scott’s Gladiator to kids’ favourite CBBC’s Horrible Histories. You’ll also be able to buy replica weapons, if that’s what floats your boat.


FAMILY FUN: 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 just in time for May half term. 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.


DAY OUT: Beasts of London, Museum of London, Fri 5 May – Sun 5 Jan 

Beast of London exhibition

This looks amazing- a fully immersive, digital installation (see above for a sneak preview) 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. There are some major British celebs involved too, with Kate Moss, Brian Blessed, Pam Ferris and more voicing the beasts.


DAY OUT:  Great Brick Safari, ZSL Whipsnade Zoo, Beds, until Sun 2 Jun 

I’ll be a few of you have a LEGO obsessive under your roof. At Easter Whipsnade Zoo introduced its Brick Safari, with one million bricks’ worth of beasts and animals dotted around the mammoth zoo (it’s the biggest in the UK doncha know), as well as hands-on family activities. It’s included in entry price and running throughout this month.



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.


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!


KIDS: The Little Welly obstacle course and festival, Henley, Sat 8 –  Sun 9 June 

This is all about getting Muddy so we are IN! A 3km hop, skip, jump and dash through 30 challenges, taking in streams, trails, mud and woodland The Little Welly’s obstacle course is the largest  in the UK for kids and is always popular so book now. There’s also an accompanying festival with – deep breath – kart racing, rope climbing, circus skills workshops, live music, helter skelter, laser tag, climbing wall, pony rides and loads more. I think it’s such a fantastic idea – get them away from screens, into the fresh air and doing some exercise.

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