MON 5 – SUN 11 AUG
MUDDY’S PICK OF THE WEEK
MUSIC: Shergar Cup and Concert, Ascot Racecourse, Sat 10 Aug
Like an older, sensible sibling, Royal Ascot, is fun but familiar, whereas the Shergar Cup, with its four-hour party in the paddock, is its trailblazing younger sister, scorching the racecourse turf. It’s fast becoming one of the events of the summer season and with Jessie J headlining this year, followed by a DJ set from Tinie Temper. Advance tickets from £49, under 18s are.
EXHIBITION: Brick City, The Base Greenham Common now – Sun 8 Sep
Don’t want to fork out £100 on Legoland tickets? Muddy Award-winning The Base in Greenham Common is putting on some brilliant exhibitions, the latest is Brick City, a mini collection of iconic Lego brink buildings by artist Warren Elsmore, from New York’s skyscrapers and gondolas in Venice to medieval Japanese castles and Las Vegas. Pop to the Brick Den afterwards to to the Brick Den and create your own masterpiece.
THEATRE: Kiss Me Kate, The Watermill Newbury, now – Sat 21 Sep
From the BBC ballroom to the Watermill rehearsal studio, the talented Oti Mabuse is shaking her sequinned dance skills as choreographer of The Watermill’s latest production, Kiss Me Kate. Expect this Cole Porter classic to have all the razzle dazzle when its stars Olivier award-winner Rebecca Trehearn and David Ricardo take to stage this week.
FAMILY FUN: T Rex Experience, The Lexicon Bracknell, now – Sun 26 Aug
Get set for a rooooooaaarsome August. The Lexicon Bracknell will become Berkshire’s answer to Jurassic Park, as the UK’s largest animatronic dinosaur (18m long and 8m tall) comes to life. Turn back time and head out on a Dino Hunt, attend Dino School, storytelling, there’s special screenings of the Steven Spielberg pre-historic classics and more.
THEATRE: The King’s Speech, Theatre Royal Windsor Tue 6 – Sat 10 Aug
Actors who take on The King’s Speech have mighty big shoes to fill after Colin Firth and Geoffrey Rush’s big screen performances. But before it reached Hollywood, it was a play, and here David Seidler’s writing gets a fresh chance to shine at the Theatre Royal Windsor. The play brings the audience face to face with Bertie, Duke of York as he is thrust onto the world stage as King George VI following his brother’s abdication.
Retro Festival, Newbury Showground, Fri 9 – Sun 11 Aug
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.
EXHIBITION: Bears, Rivers and Rowing Museum Henley On Thames
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 Hunt, The 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.
FAMILY FUN: Summer of Fun, Wellington Country Park Riseley, throughout Aug
Let your littlies let off steam at Wellington Country Park near Reading. With 350 glorious acres to explore, adventure playground, splash pad and themed weeks – pirates and mermaids, unicorns, fairies and pixies, dinosaurs, and a bouncy castle bonanza – it’s a guaranteed hit for those with younger children.
WORKSHOP: Kite Workshop, Norden Farm Maidenhead, Weds 7 Aug
Parent like your Mary Poppins and get involved in kite making. Should keep the mudlets busy for a bit. The Community Kite Project is running a drop in workshop at Norden Farm so you and your kids can create a Patang Kite – the Indian Fighter Kite – or a classic Trapezoid Kite. Make it, decorate and fly it at the Kite Festival in Boyn Grove Park on Sun 1 Sep. Workshops are also running Sat 11 and 18 Aug. Altogether now… Let’s go fly a kite, up to highest heights… Too much?
DRINKS: Friday pop up bar, Douai Pavillion Woolhampton, Fri Aug
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!
ART: Counterpoint, Stanley Spencer Gallery Cookham, now – 28 Nov
A celebration of British creativity and originality, Counterpoint is a collection of works by legendary local artist Stanley Spencer and his contemporaries. Amongst those represented are: Barnett Freedman, C.R.W. Nevinson, Edward Burra, Mark Gertler, William Roberts, Jacob Epstein and Henri Gaudier-Brzeska.
KIDS: Maize Maze, Bucklebury Farm Park, now – 30 Sep
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.
KIDS: The Maidenhead Beach, Norden Farm Maidenhead, now – Sun 31 Aug
This way to the beach. And no it doesn’t involve a motorway queue, windbreaker or an umbrella. Norden Farm’s sandpit of fun is open for business. Head to Maidenhead with the kids. They can enjoy this laid back tropical Goan paradise, fun activities, an indoor sensory space while you say kick back at the Beachside cafe. It’s totes freeee and open from 10am-4pm.
MUSIC: Classic Ibiza & Ministry of Sound, Windsor Racecourse, Sat 10 Aug
Beautiful sunset, balmy 30 degrees, overpriced vodka & tonic and a cracking choon – nope, not your typical night in San Antonio, put your hands in the air for Windsor’s answer to the White Island. The Urban Soul Orchestra conducted by Stephen Hussey will banging out th Ibiza anthems, with live DJ and vocalists. Bare some flesh and party till dawn (*cough* I mean 10pm) – He Maj needs her beauty sleep.
WORKSHOP: Colour Lino Printing, Jelly @ Broad Street Mall Reading, Sat 10 – Sun 11 Aug
It’s play time for grown ups – pinny on, the inks are coming out and you can create something worthy of your walls. Printmaker and illustrator Linda Newcombe is running weekend course at Jelly Reading covering the techniques of reduction linocut printmaking and you’re invited to get creative. Suitable for beginners and experienced artists.
FILM: Mamma Mia, Cobbs Farm Hungerford, Sat 10 Aug
If you’re longing for a cinematic cheesefest, Mamma Mia! (the one without Cher) should do the trick on Sat 10 August. Stunning countryside location, the grill will be fired up, bar’s open and then clear your throat and practice your high notes for an Abba-fest. Doors open 7pm, film starts at 9.15pm.
THEATRE: Shakespearean Rose Theatre, Blenheim Palace now – Sat 7 Sep
There’s Europe’s first pop-up Shakespearean theatre at Blenheim Palace, Woodstock above – the 13-sided theatre, with three tiers of covered seating and open courtyard for ‘groundlings’ is showing Macbeth, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Richard III and Romeo & Juliet (until 7 Sept) and will be accompanied by a Shakespearean Village selling local ales, ice cream and side shows.
SPORT: Thames Punting Championships, Maidenhead Rowing Club Taplow, Sun 11 Aug
What happens when a gentle punt down the River Thames gets competitive? Well, armed with a long pole and narrow boat there is a high probability of someone getting wet. Load up on Cornettos and head to the riverbank to see enthusiastic punters giving it their all. Fun starts at 10am downstream from Brunel’s famous railway bridge.
ANIMALS: Rihno Month, Cotswold Wildlife Park, nr Burford, throughout Aug
Cotswold Wildlife Park, nr Burford, is a guaranteed hit with kids who love all things furry, creepy and crawly. It has the little fellas – penguins, lemurs and reptiles – as well as the big guns, including lions, rhinos (FYI Aug is Rhino month with daily talks) and giraffes (try out the Giraffe Walkway where you can stroll up to eye-level with the animals). There’s also a cute railway, adventure playground and children’s farmyard.
CULTURE: Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Edinburgh, now– Mon 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, 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 and Jarvis Cocker, plus loads more familiar faces. Full programme here.
SPORT: Summer of Sport, Waddesdon Manor, Aylesbury, Wed 24 Jul – Fri 30 Aug (Wed – Sun)
Waddesdon’s gorgeous grounds above will play host to a variety of sporting activities over the summer break including three sporty-themed trails, workouts, orienteering, football, badminton, table tennis and the National Trust venue is even putting on its own Tour de Waddesdon. Follow it up with a trip to artisan ice cream from local supplier Oliphant and Pomeroy who’ll be on site for the summer.
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.
DAY TRIP: Dragon Slayer, Warwick Castle, various dates in Aug
Looking for something to entertain kids aged 8+? This is Warwick Castle’s first night-time experience telling the tale of 10th century warrior Guy as he battles monsters and dragons in a bid to gain a knighthood and win the heart of his one true love Princess Felice, daughter of the Earl of Warwick. It’s an explosive epic tale depicted over the course of an evening using live action, animation, equestrian acrobatics, fire and pyrotechnics. Boom! There’s also the regular birds of prey demos, the mighty trebuchet, archery and ramparts to rampage for day time fun.
FAMILY FUN: Zip Now London, Archbishops Park, Lambeth, until Sun 15 Sep
Is it a bird? Is it a plane? Nope it’s a human torpedo whizzing down a 738ft wire, 100ft (9 double decker buses!) above Archbishop’s Park at 50mph. Beats the tube any day of the week. What we’ll do to avoid our faces been wedged in someone’s sweaty armpit. Get yourself down to South Bank, climb to the top the tower and wheeeeeeee. Suitable from 8+.
THEATRE: Kids Week, various London locations, throughout August
This August, children aged 16 or under can get FREE theatre tickets to selected performances across London (when accompanied by a paying adult). There is a huuuge selection of shows to choose from including Peter Pan at The White City Theatre, which features spectacular aerial acrobatics, live music from an on-stage band – and no shortage of magic and mischief. Hop over to the Theatre Royal Haymarket, Where Is Peter Rabbit? comes to life on stage with beautifully handcrafted puppets for 5+ year olds. Or for older kids, Everybody’s Talking About Jamie at the Apollo Theatre is a modern-day fairytale, based on the true story of a 16 year-old with a secret to tell – and aspirations to make true.
FAMILY FUN: Underbelly Festival, London
There’s loads going on between Southbank Centre, Jubilee Gardens and the London Eye this summer, part of Underbelly Festival, including comedy, circus, cabaret, family fun and one of the biggest outdoor bars in London (oh hello!). The big draw for the little people is CBeebies’ Twirlywoos first ever stage show (3 – 31 Aug) featuring your 1+ year old’s favourite spherical characters Toodloo, Great BigHoo, Chickedy and Peekaboo (nope, me neither), plus live puppetry and songs. It will be nice for them to watch something on stage, rather than the telly, right?
OUTDOOR CINEMA: Film4 Summer screen, Somerset House, London, throughout Aug
If you can make it into London, head for the popular Film4 Summer Screen at Somerset House. Featuring a mixture of premiers, old classics and recent hits, the venue’s fountain courtyard is a corker of a setting on a balmy summers evening in the capital. This year’s highlights include The Matrix on 12 Aug, 7pm (who saw Hollywood hottie Keanu Reeves in the latest YSL campaign?), horror/sci-fi back to back of Get Out & They Live (17 Aug, 7pm), cult classic Clueless (18 Aug, 7pm) and Film4Summer’s 200th screening which will be celebrated with Ryan Coogler’s Oscar-winning, superhero spectacular Black Panther (9 Aug, 7pm).
WELLBEING: MammerTime Day Retreat, Kintbury West Berkshire, Wed 14 Aug
Frazzled mums rejoice! If the school summer holidays are taking their toll, or you’re in an endless cycle of sleepness nights and nappy changes, call time out. MammerTime Day Retreat is coming to the rescue in the nick of time, with eight hours of R&R. A It’s a day dedicated to you – luxury beauty treatment, yoga class, delicious food (cooked by someone else), make up tips, business coaching, wine and more. Book up.
THEATRE: The 39 Steps, Theatre Royal Windsor, Mon 12 – Sat 17 Aug
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 Hannay, encounters 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
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: Henley Literary Festival – featuring Muddy Stilettos Book Club Live, Phyllis Court, Henley, Sat 5 Oct
It’s back, baby! We’re returning to Henley Lit Fest (28 Sept – 6 Oct) this year with lashings of wine, plenty of pizzazz and a panel of brilliant authors: actor, 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. More info here. Get your tickets pronto, last year was a sell out.