Find your fun in Berkshire this week
September is almost over but there's still fun to be had (*ahem* while we can), from a royal wedding exhibition and jousting tournament to drive in opera. Go Go Go!
EXHIBITION: HRH Princess Beatrice Wedding Dress, Windsor Castle, Thu 24 Sep – Sun 22 Nov
No fuss, no pomp or ceremony, on the 17 Jul 2020 Princess Beatrice quietly married Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi at Royal Chapel of All Saints in Windsor wearing her ‘something borrowed’ vintage Norman Hartnell borrowed from Granny. It helps she’s the Queen. Now we get to see this masterclass in craftsmanship up close when it does on display at Windsor Castle later this month. The queen famously wore this gown to the premiere of Lawrence Arabia at the Oden Leicester Square in 1962. It was nothing short of perfection.
WORKSHOP: Creativity On Slate, Stanlake Park Wine Estate, Twyford, Thu 24 Sep
Find your creative groove (and nail thoughtful Christmas/ wedding gift giving this year) by designing a personalised cheese/charcuterie slate platter. Thistwo-hour creative workshop explores the art of lettering using faux calligraphy, taught by Michelle from Mint Lettering. Plus, you’ll get to sample Stanlake’s delicious English sparking wine, learn a bit about the estate and its award-winning wine. The slate platter you create is yours to take home and do not pass GO without buying a bottle of vino from the Cellar Shop. All that effort deserves a reward. £60pp.
DAY OUT: Medieval Jousting Tournament, Stonor Park Henley, 26-27 Sep
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 horseback stunts, falconry displays, archery and a mouthwatering meat feast. It’s a brilliant day out – 10am-4pm.
FESTIVAL: Picnic in the Park, Higginson Park Marlow, 25-27 Sep
No need to get down in the dumps about this year’s cancelled Pub In The Park. Tom Kerridge has pulled out all the stops to bring you Picnic In The Park – a socially distant mini festival of live music and comedy with lashings of posh piccalilli. Performing live will be Rick Astley, Jack Savoretti, Dara Ó Briain, Tom Allen, Josh Widdicombe, Mark Watson, Reginald D Hunter, Desiree Burch and Angela Barnes. While Tom, Atul Kochhar and Paul Ainsworth will be firing up the grill. Tickets go on sale Fri 4 Sep.
ARTS: A Night At The Louvre – Leonardo Da Vinci, Norden Farm Maidenhead, Thu 24 Sep
Order in fine Champagne and French cheeses and pretend you’ve been whisked off for a naughty weekend in Paris. A Night At The Louvre is a special film shot after hours that takes you on a private guided tour of the Leonardo da Vinci exhibition. The is an opportunity to see Da Vinci’s work up close and free of thousands of tourists holding their cameras and phone in front of your face. In French with English subtitles.
BOOKS: Henley Literature Festival, online, Sat 26 Sept – Sun 4 Oct
We love a literature festival at Muddy, so are pleased to hear that instead of postponing, Henley Lit Fest is heading online for the first time. Speakers this year include Bake Off‘s breakout star Nadiya Hussain, Michael Morpurgo (tickets for his talks sell like hotcakes so be quick off the mark), social media stars Candice Brathwaite, Florence Given & Bryony Gordon, Fern Britton, plus Russell & Laura Brand who’ll be reading from Judith Kerr’s The Tiger Who Came to Tea for the little people.
FAMILY FUN: Circus Berlin, Ascot Racecourse Car Park, 23 – 27 Sep
Roll up, roll up, the circus in town. Continental Circus Berlin will be pitching its Big Top in Ascot Racecourse’s car park to bring you a mash up high energy acts including aerialist’s, quick-change artistes, high-wire walkers, the rotating wheel of destiny, Hula Hoop queens, whirlwind acrobats & the death defying Globe of Death with riders traveling a G force speeds inside a mesh dome.
EXHIBITION: Quentin Blake and John Yoeman – 50 Years of Children’s Books, The Base Greenham, now – Sun 6 Dec
Just like wine and cheese, Quentin Blake and Roald Dahl trip off the tongue. But a new exhibition at The Base in Greenham Common reveals Quentin Blake’s longest collaboration was in fact with the author John Yeoman. House of Illustration’s 50 Years of Children’s Books exhibition is the first to celebrate this partnership. It features the original drawings for A Drink of Water, and 10 other projects – from picture books and short novels.
DAYS OUT: Windsor Castle, Windsor
The Queen’s weekend hangout, Windsor Castle is the oldest and largest occupied castle in the world – pretty impressive, right? Inside the castle you can see a collection of WWII pantomime pictures, painted as backdrop for the shows Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret performed to raise funds for troops at the front (they’re usually covered by portraits), or outside you can take a family tour of the Castle’s secret gardens nestled below the round tower (every Thurs). Booking essential. Adult tickets £23.50, child £13.50, under 5s go FREE.
EXHIBITION: Open Air Sculpture, Shaw House Newbury, now – Sun 27 Sep
Practice your arty-farty face and waft around The Orangery Lawn at Shaw House in Newbury. The postponed Altered States Sculpture exhibition opens this month and gives you the chance to discover artworks by top Uk sculptors in this lovely historic setting. Everything’s for sale so, if you find something you love, you can batter the credit card. Just make sure it’ll fit in the car boot.
EXHIBITIONS: Reading Museum reopens, Reading
Courtesy of President Macron, the Bayeux Tapestry will be on loan to the British Museum in 2022. Jeez, who wants to wait two years? No one in Berkshire because we have Britain’s full-size Victorian replica of the Tapestry on display in Reading Museum – which reopens this week and it’s absolutely FREE to visit. It was created in 1885 by the Leek Embroidery Society who went to great efforts to make it as accurate as possible, with one teeny tiny difference. The French embroidery has several ‘ding dong’ naked men, while the British version will spare your blushes, popping on a pair of pants!
MUSIC: Drive & Live Opera – La Boheme, Alexandra Palace London, 22-27 Sep
Slip a pack of tissues into the glove box, and pull up to the bumper for Puccini’s weepy operatic masterpiece. Let’s face it, it’s going to be a while before English National Opera gets back to the London Coliseum so they have become pioneers of drive-in opera at Ally Pally – something they were planning to do even before 2020 took its unexpected turn. You can buy a ticket for your car, or if that’s not the way you roll there are distanced bicycle spaces and, in a partnership with Uber, 10 vehicles are available for pedestrians to book.
ART: Arrivals + Departures by YARA + DAVINA, Somerset House, now – 10 Oct
A particularly poignant outdoor installation, considering the year we’ve all had, this open air interactive piece at Somerset House invites visitors to add names of those they’ve lost (or gained!) in 2020 in the form of an airport arrivals and departures board. Every Wednesday until 10 October, artist duo YARA + DAVINA will be inviting specialist speakers to take over the installation, with talks on the subject of lockdown births, grief, and race and social justice.
EXHIBITION: Electronic: From Kraftwerk to the Chemical Brothers, The Design Museum, London, until 14 Feb
From underground raves to the pioneering sounds used in Dr Who, this exhibition explores the history and culture of electronic music throughout the ages.
EXHIBITION: Ai Weiwei: History of Bombs, Imperial War Museum, London, until 24 May 2021
Part of Refugees, a free season of exhibitions, artistic commissions and immersive events taking place across IWM London and IWM North, this exhibition draws on renowned artist Ai Weiwei’s ongoing investigation into politics and power.