MON 8 – SUN 14 APR
MUDDY’S PICK OF THE WEEK
THEATRE: Amelie, Watermill Theatre Bagnor, Wed 11 Apr – Sat 8 May
It has been a Broadway smash hit and now it will make its UK premiere at The Watermill Theatre. Amelie is a musical based on the award-winning 2001 rom-com starring Audrey Tautou, tells the story of an astonishing young woman who lives quietly in the world, but loudly in her imagination. A feel good musical filled to the brim with colourful observations and whimsical wonderings. A must see.
EVENT: Season Opener, Windsor Racecourse, Mon 8 Apr
Fancy a day at the races? Spring heralds the start of the Flat Season, so grab your squad for a fun day out of food, fizz and flutters on horses including your favourite colour or the name of your first pet. Windsor Racecourse is one of the prettiest I have been to, has a slightly hipper vibe with an emphasis on having fun.
KIDS: Inside The Royal Wardrobe, Windsor Castle, now – Sun 13 Apr
It’s almost a year since Harry and Meghan’s I dos, but that doesn’t stop you, I mean the kids, channelling their inner prince and princess and play Royal dress up at the castle. There’s an Easter activity trail and an art workshop inspired by royal fashion throughout history.
EASTER EGG HUNTS
Every venue across Berkshire is going chocolate crazy but my top tips include The Cadbury Easter Egg Trail at Basildon Park (Sat 6 – Tue 23 Apr), and Cliveden (Sat 6 – Mon 22 Apr) and Pinkney’s Green (Sat 20 Apr, 11am-2.30pm) – skip through the Spring flowers, solve the clues and, ta-da, chocolate reward (£3 per egg); Highclere Castle‘s Easter Egg trail (Sun 21 April), through ‘Downton’s’ exquisite Capability Brown gardens and woodland in aid of The Murray Parish Trust; Bucklebury Farm Park‘s Great Easter Egg Hunt throughout the park, with giant decorated eggs to find (not sure of the catch, it sounds well easy!) with lamb feeding and Wellington Country Park‘s Mega Easter Egg Hunt (Sun 21 Apr)– just a great excuse to enjoy the grounds.
FAMILY FUN: Easter Fun, Rosebourne Aldermaston, now – Mon 22 Apr
Wanna meet the Easter Bunny? Hop to it. He’s rampaging all over Berks. Rosebourne in Aldermaston‘s running an Easter Bunny hunt (don’t panic, it’s not as sinister as it sounds), find the hidden rabbits, collect letters, unravel the word and win a prize. The big bunny will also be in da house on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays from 11am-3pm.
KIDS: The Enormous Turnip, Norden Farm Maidenhead, Mon 8 – Fri 12 Apr
The only way I’ll get my kids to enjoy veg, is by watching it on stage. Totally counts towards their five a day. The Enormous Turnip is a childhood classic, and the book is brought to life using puppets, live music and a massive dollop of charm. Suitable for ages 3-10.
KIDS: Mini Chefs, The Jelly Lounge Windsor,
Possibly the coolest kids play centre ever, book your littlies in for a cook off in the mini kitchen. Lots of dates throughout the Easter hols, with sausage rolls, macarons, brownies and mac and cheese bites on the menu. Suitable for 2+ years, £15. If cookery’s not your kids’ bag, there’s Slime Club and Arts and Crafts too. Oh and there’s a creche too, if you want to drop and shop for a couple of hours.
ACTIVITIES: Super Quest Camp, The Little Gym Windsor, Mon 8 – Fri 12 Apr
Where do kids get the energy, sometimes it feel like I’m raising a Duracell bunny. The Little Gym to the rescue. The brilliant team will take your 3-8 year olds off your hands, send them on exciting missions around the gym – running, rolling, swinging. Think Lara Croft or Indiana Jones without the jeopardy and with more story time, crafting and snacks. Plus when you book 3 camps, you get 1 FREE!
THEATRE: Room On The Broom, Corn Exchange Newbury, Tues 9 – Wed 10 Apr
Iggety ziggety zaggety zoom! It’s time to book tickets for Room on the Broom. (What can I say, I’m a poet). This classic picture book by the legendary Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler is a HUGE fave with my boys and now we get to see it brought to life in this Olivier-nominated show. Tall Stories’ magical, musical adaptation follows the witch and her cat – and a whole host of hitchhikers – on a mission to defeat the dragon. A lorra lorra great songs, belly laughs and scary fun.
EAT OUT: Laurent Perrier Supper Club, Bel and the Dragon Reading and Cookham, Wed 10 Apr
Champagne’s on ice. What are we celebrating? Lighter evenings, sunshine, do we need a reason? Bel and the Dragon in Cookham and Reading are once again hosting a Laurent Perrier Supper. Each delicious course comes with a different glass of Laurent Perrier Champagne. Pop the corks, and books in for this bubblicious dinner party.
GARDENS: NGS Rooksnest, Lambourn Woodlands, Wed 10 Apr
If you’re garden’s still in a post winter slump (*ahem*), pop along to Rooksnest near Lambourn from some serious landscape envy. Set you peepers on 10 acres of fine traditional English garden. Rose garden, herbaceous garden, pond garden, herb garden, fruit, vegetable and cutting garden, and glasshouses. Most of it has been designed by award-winning international garden designer Arabella Lennox-Boyd. Not sure my ‘do or die’ approach will ever reach this kinda uplevelling.
SCREENING: NT Live – All About Eve, various locations, Thurs 11 Apr
I’m a huge fan of Gillian Anderson, and Lily James for that matter after her brilliant performance in Mamma Mia 2, and you can catch them both at this National Theatre Live screening of All About Eve at Stowe. I love NT Live – it’s such a great initiative for opening up London theatre to the ‘shires, without all the associated cost and travel. This new production from director Ivo van Hove (Network, NT Live: A View from the Bridge) explores our fascination with celebrity, youth and identity. Plus music from double Mercury Prize-winner PJ Harvey.
KIDS: In The Night Garden, Hexagon Reading, Wed 10 – Thu 11 Apr
Not gonna lie, you’ll need to self-medicate to get through this one, but dinky dot, little kids will go nuts for Iggle Piggle, Upsy Daisy and Makka Pakka (its bottom totally looks like a boob BTW, check it out) and the rest of the In The Night Garden crew. A brand new show will be on at The Hexagon at very child friendly times. Book up, have a snooze, polish your halo. readingarts.com
ART: Nick Sharatt’s Right Royal Draw-A-Long, Corn Exchange Newbury Thu 11 Apr and Norden Farm Maidenhead, Mon 15 Apr
Nick Sharratt has illustrated close to 260 books. They range from board books for babies to novels for teens. He’s worked with top authors including Julia Donaldson, Michael Rosen, and Dame Jacqueline Wilson. Up your doodle game, and join Nick for a fun draw-along, as he reveals the secrets to drawing Tracy Beaker and Timothy Pope, kings and cats and all kinds of crazy creatures. cornexchangenew.com and norden.farm.
DRINKIES: Gin Club, Corn Exchange Newbury, Sat 13 Apr
The first rule of Gin Club? Don’t talk about Gin Club. So shhh, I’m only tell you lot. I’m quite partial to a G&T, so when I discovered Gin Club, how could I not share it with you lovely lot. I know, it’s like a public service. Those clever (slightly tipsy) lot at the Corn Exchange are hosting a gin evening. You’ll get four premium gins, tonics and garnishes to sample in a bid to introduce you to new flavours and combos. No expertise required. Just a love of gin. Hic!
COMEDY: Andrew Maxwell – Showtime, South Street Arts Reading, Sat 13 Apr
Live From The Apollo fave – and the devilish voice of MTV’s Ex On The Beach if you’re under the age of 25 – Andrew Maxwell will be swooping into Maidenhead with a cocktail of personal stories, eagle-eyed political observations and the odd surprise foray into character cameos. He’s one of the hottest comedians on the circuit. Giggles guaranteed or your money back (joking).
EAT OUT: Pop Up Kitchen, The Swan At Streatley, Sat 13 Apr
While we are all waiting for The Swan’s mega makeover to be unveiled and the Coppa Club to open, enjoy the epic riverbank view over a relaxed meal and a one or two glasses (make that a bottle) of wine. Pray for good weather because the Pop Up Kitchen is an alfresco dining event with Quince & Clover. Thoughtfully curated menu includes delicious sharing starters plus 2 courses. Race you.
FAMILY FUN: Vintage funfair, Prospect Park Reading, Sat 13 – Mon 22 Apr
Scream if you wanna go faster! If you love a funfair with its distinctive aroma of diesel, hot dogs and candy floss, then get yourself down to Prospect Park. Carters Steam Fair rolls into Reading with its spinny whizzy rides dating back to the 1890s, and traditional games. Plus it’s free to enter and there’s a free fireworks display on Saturday night.
KIDS: Legoland, Windsor
Kids rejoice! Legoland reopened last month and is launching its new ride this Easter, on Sat 13 April, called The Haunted House Monster Party. Man of the house Lord Vampyre, Mummy and Monster Rocker will also be there for photos.
They’re also running themed holiday workshops at its brand spanking new pop-up iLab in Paddington where kids can become mini engineers for the three day sessions. The Wonders of the World camp runs Mon 8 – Wed 10 Apr whilst Planes, Trains and Automobiles runs Mon 8 – Wed 10 Apr and Mon 15 – Wed 17 Apr.
KIDS: The Chocolate Wonderland, The Lexicon Bracknell, Fri 12 – Sat 20 Apr
There’s a chance to shop and keep the ankle biters happy. The Lexicon’s having a Willy Wonka moment creating their own chocolate craft workshop – no need to spary tan your kids first. Simply book a slot, decorate an Easter egg box with a delicious chocolate egg inside, then face the Golden Ticket hunt. Suitable for children aged 3-12 years.
SHOPPING: Spring Food, Home and Craft Fair, Windsor Racecourse, Sat 13 – Sun 14 Apr
If you’re all about the artisan, and love to sampling foodie freebies, channel your inner Kirsty Allsopp and get yourself down to Windsor Racecourse for the Spring Food, Home and Craft Fair. It’s one way to get the kids out of the house and off their iPads (without having to smash them up, Kirsty) – and you probably won’t have to buy them lunch. Woohoo.
DAYS OUT: All About Dogs, Newbury Showground, Sat 14 – Sun 14 Apr
Woof! The Reading Festival for pooches who like to party. The All About Dogs Show is two days full of barking mad furry fun. Expect exciting arena displays, expert advice, shopping and lots of have-a-go activities. Take Fido this weekend and you all the treats and belly rub in return.
MUSIC: Family Silent Disco, Norden Farm Maidenhead, Sun 14 Apr
If you hate your kids taste in music, and they’t not feeling yours, the silent disco is your Saturday night saviour. OK, so it’s Sunday and the party starts at 2pm, but I reckon we could pull an all nighter and show the kids how it’s really done. norden.farm
EXHIBITION: Matilda at Thirty,Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre, Great Missenden, until Sun 2 Jun
To celebrate Matilda’s 30th birthday, the Lower Babbling Room has a mini exhibition of eight new drawings by Roald Dahl’s illustrator Quentin Blake, each showing a different version of a grown-up Matilda. The museum is also piling on the activities for the Easter period (Sat 6 – Mon 22). Kids can make crazy glasses and kaleidoscopes at Matilda’s Phizz-whizzing Eye Tricks workshop (try saying that after a couple of gins), mould their own villainous Miss Trunchbull out of clay, learn about opposites at Miss Honey’s Science School and more.
KIDS: Underbelly Festival, Southbank London, Fri 5 Apr – Sun 22 Sept
Underbelly Festival is back! If you’ve never been, then make a beeline for Southbank this Easter. Brilliant for littlies, teens and grown ups, the line up is a superb mix of top comedy, cabaret, kids theatre and eye popping circus acts. There’s a real festival atmosphere with street food and crafty drinks. It’s an absolute must visit.
EXHIBITION: Mary Quant, Victoria & Albert Museum, London, from Sat 6 AprThis is going to be awesome! The iconic 1960s designer and the mother of miniskirts, Mary Quant, gets her own exhibit at the V&A with over 200 garments, accessories and exclusive unseen pieces from the designer’s personal archive.
Warner Bros. Studios, Herts, from Sat 6 Apr
Just when you think the Harry Potter hype is finally over, Warner Bros figure out another way to get us through the door. On Sat 6 Apr, the studios unveil their biggest expansion to date, Gringotts Wizarding Bank full of with crystal chandeliers, original film props and, er, a gallery of goblins. The new set will be a permanent addition to the tour.
Great Brick Safari, ZSL Whipsnade Zoo, Beds, now – Sun 2 Jun
More Lego! New for Easter, Whipsnade Zoo introduces its Brick Safari- there’ll be loads of LEGO brick beasts and animals around the mammoth zoo (it’s the biggest in the UK doncha know) made from over one million bricks, as well as hands-on family activities. Included in entry price.
KIDS: The Falconers Quest & Horrible Histories Maze, Warwick Castle, from Sat 6 Apr
It’s a jam-packed Easter over at Warwick Castle with the brand new Falconer’s Quest – the biggest birds of prey show in the UK, with 70 majestic birds taking to the skies and doing all sorts of aerial acrobatics. Plus the world’s largest siege machine fires twice a day in a brand new show as well as the first Horrible Histories adventure maze featuring fun challenges, Terrible Tudors, Vicious Vikings, Storming’ Normals and more.
KIDS: Southbank Centre, London, now – Mon 22 Apr
Free fun by the bucketful if you’re heading to London this Easter with music from Camp Bestival regulars Dizney Rascal, cool folk singer London Rhymes and comedy theatre group Mrs H and the Sing-Along Band. Paid events include giant musical sandpits, an immersive colourful performance called Kaleidoscope and the brilliant Tabby McTat (Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler) Freckle Productions, the team behind Tiddler and Other Terrific Tales and Zog.
MUSIC: Heather Small, Wycombe Swan, Fri 12 Apr
The giant-lunged, double BRIT Award-winner, star of a cameo turn in Miranda and M People frontwoman performs at Wycombe Swan on the third date of her UK tour.
FESTIVAL: BFI & Radio Times Television Festival, London, Fri 12 – Sun 14 Apr
Forget trashy telly (Love Island I’m looking at you), there are some mega Brit TV celebs attending htis. The British Film Institute and Radio Times team up for the largest television festival in the UK with talks from the likes of Joanna Lumley, Jamie Oliver, Big Narstie (ask your teens), Suranne Jones and Dame Helen Mirren. You’ll also get an insight into what goes on behind the silver screen with The Bodyguard creator Jed Mercurio (we couldn’t get enough of this in Muddy HQ), Derry Girls doyenne Lisa McGee and more, as well as loads of showings from the BFI archives. There’s a young adult programme too (for 16 – 25 year olds) all at £5, including a Q&A with the cast of BBC 3’s university drama Clique. Full programme here.
ART: Chihuly Trail, Kew Gardens, from Sat 13 Apr
Run free my pretties but watch out for the delicate glass sculptures. Iconic artist Dale Chihuly’s stunning pieces are on display at Kew Gardens from Easter weekend, but I fear it’s an accident waiting to happen. Kids smashing the place up, children skewered on a giant flower. A true test of your parenting skills… but an Insta winner.
EXHIBITION: Van Gogh and Britain, Tate Britain, London, until Tues 27 Aug
This new major exhibition will be the first to explore the artist’s relationship with Britain and the literature, art and culture that inspired his work. 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.
EXHIBITION: Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams, Victoria & Albert Museum, London, until Sun 14 July
This exhibition, the largest House of Dior collection ever staged in the UK, has been HUGE- it is sold out 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). Tracing the history of Christian Dior and the six artistic directors who succeeded him, it’s based on the a Parisian exhibition but with a new section exploring Dior’s fascination with British culture. A highlight is the Christian Dior dress worn by Princess Margaret for her 21st birthday celebrations, on loan from the Museum of London.
THEATRE: Avenue Q, Hexagon Reading, Tue 23 – Sat 27 Apr
Avenue Q is Sesame Street for grown ups – introducing Trekkie Monster, Lucy the Slut, Christmas Eve and many more. It’s like the puppets’ PG rebellion while tanked on the tequila. Robert Lopez, Jeff Marx and Jeff Whitty’s homage to the puppet TV shows of our childhood is unashamedly frank, exploring the lives, hopes and dreams of an eclectic mix of characters in downtown Manhattan. You’ll appreciate the smutty humour. Suitable for 14+.
THEATRE: High School Musical, South Hill Park Arts Centre, Bracknell, Wed 17 – Mon 22 Apr
The first High School Musical film came out 13 years ago… THIRTEEN YEARS!!! It means two things 1) we’re all really old and 2) if your children were born in the 2000s, some of you may not have seen it. Guilty as charged. Anyway the Hollywood blockbuster is coming to Bracknell and in the creative hands of director Mark Hooper (Madagascar, Suessical), it’s set to be a corker.
THEATRE: Rain Man, Theatre Royal Windsor, Mon 29 Apr – Sat 4 May
I really want to see this one. Based on the Oscar winning blockbuster, the brilliant Paul Nicholls (Eastenders, The C-Word, Death in Paradise, Bridget Jones 2) and Chris Fountain (Hollyoaks) star as the road-tripping brothers in this touring show.
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. 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 of family activities. I think it’s such a fantastic idea – get them away from screens, into the fresh air and doing some exercise.