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FESTIVAL: Wilderness, Cornbury Park Oxford, Thu 1 – Sun 4 Aug

Pink green and purple balls above the crowd at Wilderness Festival Cornbury Oxon

Pic: Andrew Whitton

One of summer sizzlers, Wildernes. It’s possibly the coolest local-is festival of them all. A heady mix of right-on hippiness (lots of yoga) combined with impressive big-name music bookings including Groove Armada, Robyn, Bombay Bicycle Club and Tom Odell. A huge line up of family activities to get stuck into too.


SHOPPING: Antiques & Collectors Fair, Newbury Showground, Mon 29 Jul

My favourite antiques fair rolls into town – Newbury Antiques & Collectables Fair. It’s massive! Take a friend, pretend you’re on Bargain Hunt and get competitive with your rummaging. You’ll find everything here from foxy antiques – furniture and jewellery – but lots and lots of collectable and vintage finds. There’s something for everyone and every pocket. Kirsty Allsopp’s been spotted here,  so sharpen your elbows. Entry £10pp from 8am-9.30am; £5pp thereafter.


FAMILY FUN: Gifford’s Circus, Stonor Park Henley on Thames, Mon 29 Jul

Giffords circus acrobat in leotard hanging from siiks

Last chance to see Giffords Circus brand new show Xanadu at Stonor Park. 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.


KIDS: Summer Circus Week, Norden Farm Maidenhead, Mon 29 Jul– Fri 2 Aug

striped circus tent and illuminated circus sign

The summer hols feel like a circus – you’re juggling and climbing the walls and the kids are causing more mayhem than a couple of clowns in a comedy car. Now you can pack them off to the big top (or Norden Farm) and get the pros to teach them how to walk on stilts, ride a unicycle, walk the tightrope and perform on a trapeze. Fear for your light fittings.


EXHIBITION: Bears, Rivers and Rowing Museum Henley On Thames, 

Going on a bear hunt illustration

The lovely River and Rowing Museum, in Henley, has a new children’s exhibition Bears! where kids can learn about history’s favourite teddies – Rupert, Winnie the Pooh and friends – as well as explore original artwork and manuscripts from We’re Going on a Bear HuntThe Bear and The Piano and Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials. Every Fri during the hols there’ll be bear-themed games and crafts in the galleries, and on 8 Aug, there’ll be a Teddy Bear’s Picnic.


OUTDOORS: Midsummer Night’s Dream, Shaw House Newbury, Tue 30 Jul


Tis the season to dodge the rain and enjoy some outdoor thespian action so grab your rug, brolly and, of course, a sneaky hipflask for Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream in the grounds of Shaw House in Newbury with lots of magic, flying fairies and Bottom. *Sniggers at the back*.


WELLBEING: Create Your Miracle Morning, Hurley House Hotel, Tue 30 Jul

Change your life before breakfast. Join Miranda Lewis for a unique workshop where you will practice a morning routine based around the six principles of the book Miracle Morning. You’ll practice meditation, affirmations, visualisation and yoga, and use that power to help you reduce stress, fulfil your dreams, or manifest that Chanel handbag.


THEATRE: Wife Begins At Forty, Theatre Royal Windsor, Tue 30 Jul – Sat 3 Aug

Wife begins at forty Theatre Royal Windsor

Mid-life and no return – like the brilliant 2012 movie This Is 40 starring Paul Rudd and Leslie Mann, Wife Begins At Forty could make for hilarious and uncomfortable viewing as a seemingly happily married couple are about to split, but not without hubby George’s drastic steps to rejuvenate relationship. The mind boggles.


OUTDOORS: Wind In the Willows, National Trust Cliveden Taplow, Tue 30 – Wed 31 Jul

Wind in the willows Qauntum Theatre Cliveden NT Toad ratty and mole in car
Poop poop! One of my favourite children’s books ever (inspired by the riverbanks of Berkshire) pops out of the page and into grounds of Cliveden, thanks to Quantum Theatre’s energetic production of The Wind In The Willows . Pack a picnic, it starts at 2.30pm so perfect timing for littlies.

Then on Sat 3 Aug, the Cliveden Water Garden is the setting for Three Men In A Boat, a comic play about a boating trip from Kingston upon Thames to our neck of the woods, Oxford, and back again.


FAMILY FUN: Tour De Berkshire, Cottage Inn Upper Bucklebury, Sat 3 Aug

Who needs the Bore de France when we have the Tour de Berkshire? Yes, Colombian Egan Bernal has been crowned the youngest winner in Paris, but surely his next, and even greater, challenge should be a cycling tour of West Berkshire pubs. Raising funds for Cystic Fibrosis Trust, squeeze into your Lycra and wheeze your way around this 20 mile loop – there are shortcuts. Wink wink..


FESTIVAL: BBC Countryfile Live, Blenheim Palace Woodstock, Thu 1 – Sun 4 Aug

BBC Countryfile Live Blenheim Palace presenters sat on hay bales

The Countryfile crew will be on hand throughout the weekend along with some special guests including SAS hottie Ollie Ollerton, England rugby player James Haskell, JLS’ JB Gill and England hockey player Sam Quek. There’ll be heaps of activities across the long weekender with a pop-up nature reserve, theatre hosted by the National Trust, dog show, kayaking lessons, offloading experiences and more. You can camp too (erm, I’ll give that bit a miss).


FILMS: Outdoor Cinema, Shaw House Newbury, Fri 2 Aug

Sunset outdoor cinema Shaw House Newbury Berkshire

Another stonking location! This time we’re off to Shaw House in Newbury for Mary Poppins Returns, starring Emily Blunt riding fairground ponies and dancing across London’s rooftops. Too saccharine for your tastes? Then there’s always the brilliant Remi Malek as Freddie Mercury in Bohemian Rhapsody.


THEATRE: Aliens Love Underpants, Corn Exchange Newbury, Fri 2 – Sun 4 Aug

Aliens wear underpants STAGE PRODUCTION

The headline family show this summer is Aliens Love Underpants showing at the Corn Exchange Newbury. Based on the bestselling children’s book by Claire Freedman and Ben Cort, you’ll laugh your pants off at this fantastically fresh and funny production.


FILMS: Outdoor Ciinema, Stubbings Nursery Maidenhead, Sat 3 – Sun 4 Aug

Jurassic Park Steven Spielberg film t rex smashed car and man with red light

Steven Spielberg’s epic dinosaur blockbuster, is back on the big screen. If you have dino mad kids, or want to enjoy a nostalgia fest with Jeff Goldblum and the late, great Richard Attenborough, book in to see Jurassic Park at Stubbings Nursery this summer. If the giant, angry lizard creatures don’t grab you, there’s always another opportunity to see Bohemian Rhapsody. Doors open at 7pm, film starts at 8.45pm.


KIDS: Pirate and Mermaids Weekend, Wellington Country Park Riseley, Sat 3 – Sun 4 Jul

Wellington Country Park kids play area brand new Pirates Ship wooden adventure play area Berkshire family attraction

Eye patch and fish tails at the ready, and set sell on the good ship HMS Duke Of Wellington for a seafaring weekender. It’s Pirates and Mermaids weekend at Wellington Country Park near Reading, with storytelling, treasure hunt and workshops – plus the park’s pirate ship – new for 2019.  It’s a guaranteed hit for those with younger children.


MUSIC: Battle Proms, Highclere Castle, Sat 3 Aug

crowds of people waving flags gather in front of the palatial stately home Highclere Castle

Who needs the Royal Albert Hall when you have Highclere Castle Battle Proms. Pack up the hampers and champers, drape yourself in a Union Jack and party in the park to the Land Of Hope And Glory, Jerusalem plus a Spitfire display to Elgar’s Nimrod, The Red Devils parachute team freewill demo and groundshaking live fire from over 200 cannons!


COMEDY: Comedy In The Bewery, Windsor & Eton Brewery, Sat 3 August

Comedy + beer – what could possibly go wrong? Head to the factory floor of Windsor & Eton Brewery for a unique night of laughs and heckling as four up and coming circuit comics take to the stage. Dinesh Nathan, James Ellis, Red Richardson and Matt Smith will be bringing the craft comedy, the brewery’s got the craft beers nailed, you just need to bring the laughs. Doors at 7pm Comedy starts at 8pm.


WORKSHOP: Vlogging and iMovie, Norden Farm Maidenhead, Sat 3 Aug


TV and film is soooooo last decade, it’s all about YouTube, baby. So if you’re kids want to be the next Zoella, Dan TDM or PewDiePie, then book them in for a crash course in filming, editing and cool video creation. Before you know it, they could have millions of subscribers and be more than a Saturday shift in Tammy Girl.



EVENT: Friday night pop up bar, Douai Pavillion Woolhampton, throughout July

Picture the scene: balmy summer evenings, unspoilt countryside, kids happily playing games without the need for you to referee the perpetual bickering, while you enjoy a blissful Friday night sundowner. This utopia is a reality at the Summer Pop Up Bar at Douai Pavillion in Woolhampton. Running every Friday night from 6pm, it’s a great place for the whole family to let off steam. Winner! 


FAMILY FUN: Maize Maze, Bucklebury Farm Park, Sat 20 Jul – 30 Sep

Maize Maze Bucklebury Farm Park Newbury Berkshire scarecrow

If you’re looking for covert and creative ways to lose your kids for a five minutes over the school holidays, there’s always Bucklebury Farm Park’s Maize Maze. New for 2019, your kids will run wild, answer clues and discover the homes of Stanley the Stag, Freddie Fox, Mary Mouse and Ola Owl. Don’t miss the grand opening on Sat 20 Jul – join the Walking Theatre Company live from the Maze, live music,  family bushcraft, BBQ and Bar.



THEATRE: Shakespeare’s Rose Theatre, Blenheim Palace, Woodstock, 8 Jul – 7 Sept


Tis the season to dodge the rain and enjoy some outdoor thespian action so grab your rug, brolly and, of course, a sneaky hipflask as Europe’s first pop-up Shakespearean theatre is pitching up at Blenheim Palace with MacbethA Midsummer Night’s DreamRichard III and Romeo & Juliet– the 13-sided scaffolding theatre, with three tiers of covered seating and open courtyard for ‘groundlings’, will be accompanied by a Shakespearean Village selling local ales, ice cream and side shows.


CULTURE: Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Edinburgh, 2 – 26 Aug 

Edinburgh’s cultural fandango kicks off this month and is well worth the trip way (way, way) up north with the whole city buzzing with creativity, comedy and theatre, arts, crafts and street performances. Far too many shows to list in detail (over 1,200 groups perform across the city each day!) but highlights include Ian Stirling (of Love Island voiceover fame), Russell Howard, Frank Skinner, plus loads more familiar faces. Full programme here.


NEW EXHIBITION: Sweet Harmony: Rave exhibition, Saatchi Gallery, West London, until 14 Sept 

Photo by Dave Swindells

Rave on! This new photo exhibition explores the new world that emerged from the acid house movement in the ’80s and ’90s and the beginnings of rave culture. Photographers Tom Hunter, Vinca Petersen and Dave Swindells will be on hand at the Saatchi Gallery to explain the stories behind their iconic shots.



Exhibitions still on the go this month include a collection of Manolo Blahnik‘s work curated by the iconic shoe designer himself at The Wallace Collection (until Sun 1 Sept). Also on the fashion front is the Mary Quant retrospective at the V&A (Muddy’s been, it’s really cool), featuring over 200 of the seminal ’60s designer’s pieces (until 16 Feb). Or, also at the V&A is the largest House of Dior collection ever staged in the UK, a handful of tickets for evening slots have been added so snaffle quick if you want to go as it’s super popular (until 1 Sept).

Keith Haring

Other exhibitions include the family-friendly Beasts of London, at the Museum of London, a fully immersive, digital installation exploring the role animals have played in the shaping of London with the likes of Kate Moss, Brian Blessed and Pam Ferris voicing the animals which are brought to life using video projection mapping; the major Van Gogh show at Tate Britain with over 45 of the artist’s famous works including Starry Night on the Rhône and Sunflowers; if you’re heading up north, check out the  Keith Haring exhibition at Tate Liverpool, a legend on the ’80s graffiti, pop art and underground club culture scene, the exhibit features 85 works including large-scale paintings, posters, photos and video. Very cool.



FESTIVAL: Retro Festival, Newbury Showground, Fri 9 – Sun 11 Aug

Retro Festival Newbury west berkshire three girls in floral print dress sat on an old car surrounded by hay bales and a bell tent

Practice your Victory Rolls and slick on the perfect red lip it’s time to party like it 1940-something. Retro Festival at Newbury Showground will roll into town for a turn back time three-day event with live music, air displays, vintage cars, fair ground, retro shopping and a hair salon for those of us who need a little help to look like a pin up.


THEATRE: The 39 Steps, Theatre Royal Windsor, Mon 12 – Sat 17 Aug

The 39 Steps poster Theatre Royal Windsor

A cultural rite of passage, Hitchcock’s comic-thriller, The 39 Steps, is an must-see classic – screenwriter Robert Towne (Mission Impossible) even claims, “All contemporary escapist entertainment begins with The 39 Steps.”A cast of four will take on all the roles as handsome hero Richard Hannayencounters dastardly murders, double-crossing secret agents, and devastatingly beautiful women. It’s fast, funny and farcical.


FAMILY FUN: Wellington Country Fair and Horse Trials, Highfield Farm Heckfield, Sat 24 – Mon 26 Aug

Wellington Country Fair and Horse Trials Pimms Buss

If you love things that are a little bit country, a little bit rock ‘n’ roll, then we reckon this is going to be right up your street. It’s a country fair with family fun front and centre. No experience of horses, Hunter wellies or Barbor jackets necessary, it’s just an awesome day out, with live music, brilliant food and drinks stalls, shopping and our four-legged friends competing for best in show. Kids go FREE and we have we quote MUDDYB2019 for buy one get one free adult tickets.



CULTURE: Muddy Stilettos Book Club Live, Phyllis Court, Henley, Sat 5 Oct 

It’s back, baby! The Muddy team are returning to Henley Lit Fest (28 Sept – 6 Oct) this year with ashings of Prosecco, plenty of pizzazz and a panel of brilliant authors: actress, Celebrity Master Chef winner and Meant to Be author Lisa Faulkner, former deputy editor of Elle and How to be a Gentlewoman author Lotte Jeffs, and Five Steps to Happy debut novelist Ella Dove. Get your tickets pronto, last year was a sell out!

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