FRI 16 – SUN 16 SEPT
FESTIVAL: Reading on Thames Festival, various locations Reading, now – Sun 16 Sep
It’s baaaack! Reading on Thames Festival made quite a splash last year when it launched on Reading’s cultural scene – and this year it hopes to be even b better. Using Reading’s rivers as a backdrop, you can enjoy theatre, music, cultural walks, film, writing, debate and exhibitions inspired by the local H2O. We can’t wait to see and Cirque Bijou (see above) fresh from London Lumiere and their unique mix of traditional circus skills and modern technology.
EVENT: Greenham Cold War Experience, Greenham Control Tower, now – Sun 16 Sep
After a ton of Heritage Lottery Funding and hard work, the Greenham Control Tower has had a makeover not seen since Sharon Osborne revealed her last facelift. The Grade II listed building will now be open as a visitor attraction celebrating its historical and environmental importance. Rather than a aimless mooch, immerse yourself in the drama with this Cold War experience. Journey back to the 1980s (Hell yes. Wham! on the Sony Walkman) and experience the Greenham Common Decontamination Suite, Control Tower and Peace Camp in an immersive theatre event. The three scenes are linked by a walk across the Common and a Q&A. ‘You have been contaminated. Follow the red arrows on the floor.’ Resist the urge to chain yourself to the fence.
THEATRE: The Snail & the Whale, Corn Exchange Newbury, Fri 14 – Sun 16 Sep
An absolute bedtime reading fave in our house. A snail with an itchy foot who wants to see the world. In the theatre show, the story is seen through the eyes of a young girl and her seafaring dad (bit of artistic licence, but we’ll allow it). Don’t miss the chance to see this Julia Donaldson children’s classic brought to life by the brilliant Tall Stories theatre group. They’re Olivier Award nominated, dontcha know. If you loved The Gruffalo, you’ll love this.
THEATRE: Peppa’s pig Adventure, Hexagon Reading Sat 15 – Sun 16 Sep
Whoever invented Peppa Pig is getting very wealthy. As one of the many branches of Peppa branding, you can join everyone’s favourite cochon for a camping trip to the woods with her school friends, including Pedro Pony, Suzy Sheep and Gerald Giraffe. Games, laughter, live music and just a hint of Tramadol.
SPORT: Blenheim Palace Horse Trials, Thurs 13 – Sun 16 Sep
Tally-ho! The 28th annual Blenheim Palace International Horse Trials return this week, a three day event over four days (maths isn’t my strong point but um?) featuring dressage, cross country and show-jumping. It’s very horsey as you can imagine – the trade stands are rammed with tweed, leather boots and strange equine fashion, but you get great views of the competition (nearly so close you can touch in some instances), and it’s a slickly run event in stunning surrounds. Displays, demonstrations, children’s activities, shopping, food, bars and entertainment. Horsey heaven.
ART: Cookham & Maidenhead Arts Trail, Tue 11 – Sun 23 Sep
Always wondered what artist’s do all day? Now’s your chance to find out. Join the Cookham and Maidenhead Arts Trail and have a nose around the studios of the talented creatives working in the area and even buy, it you like. I’m loving the work of the amazing figurative artist, Harriet Brittaine, swing by and see her work in the Nicholson Centre. Head over to Cookham and mooch around the Stanley Spencer Gallery, then grab a bite at the Bel & The Dragon.
FAMILY FUN: Rock Painting, Top Treats Newbury, Sun 16 Sep
Love on the rocks! Not euphemism for saucy shenanigans at the seaside, this is a creative craze sweeping the nation whereby you paint a rock, hide it, and those who find one can pick it up, take it away or just take a photo and leave it for someone else to discover. Sweet, right? Well it gets even sweeter because Tops Treats in Newbury is running a Rock Painting Session (rocks and materials supplied) for kids. They’re happy, you get to finish the first hot drink in weeks (and it’s free). So book your nippers in (£6 pp), spaces are limited.
EVENT: The Maidenhead Show, Maidenhead, Sat 15 Sep
Barking, baking, making and growing are not just for village folk, y’know. Berkshire’s townies love showing off their skills too. Cute dogs, great bakes and enormous, rude looking veg (aubergine emoji will come into its own) will be judged to be crowned best in show. All the fun of the fair will happen at the new Amphitheatre, around the Library, and the Town Hall lawn from 10am-3pm.
EXHIBITION: RRM Turns 20, River and Rowing Museum, Henley, now – Sun 28 Oct
Muddy fav, the River and Rowing Museum, has just opened this new exhibition to celebrate 20 years of its existence. It charts the history of the museum plus there’s a timeline containing photographs and other memories donated by the public. The museum is a lovely place to mooch about with a stylish cafe and easy access to the river and delights of Henley so if you’ve yet to go, now is a great time to learn all about it.
SHOPPING: The Great Antique & Vintage Car Boot Fair, Stonor Park, Sun 16 Sep
I’m not sure how Stonor Park polices what qualifies as vintage and antique but this sounds like the kind of event where you could find a real bargain or two. Tickets are £7 between 9am and 10am and only £3 from 10am onwards, so if you’re serious about snaffling that masterpiece, get there early! Otherwise meander around until 4pm at your leisure.
FESTIVAL: Windsor Fringe Festival, various Windsor locations, Fri 21 – Sat 6 Oct
If you like your arts fresh out of the box, head to Windsor Fringe Festival – the second oldest fringe in the UK after Edinburgh. Expect an eclectic programme of comedy, music, drama, DJs, arts, gin tasting and more, plus the world reknowned International Windsor Fringe Award for New Drama Writing, sponsored by the legendary Kenneth Branagh.
ARTS & CRAFTS: The Handmade Fair, Hampton Court, Fri 14 – Sun 16 Sep
I can’t even sew labels onto school clothes so this kind of event is way out of my comfort zone. However, you may be au fait with a with needle and thread, sewing machine, knitters and fabric scissors, in which case fill your boots at this slick annual offering from Kirstie Allsopp. There’s the chance to try something new in the interactive workshops – from calligraphy to wirework, machine sewing to screen printing – with experts in their fields such as Annie Sloan. Since no respecting event is complete without food these days, the expert cooks from Olive Magazine will be on hand to let you in on the latest foodie trends plus there will be plenty of stalls to buy arts, crafts, materials for crafting and bespoke products.
DESIGN: London Design Festival, various London locations, Sat 15 – Sun 23 Sep
Celebrating London as a powerhouse of design, loads of events are on offer across the capital including workshops, demonstrations and launches. As always, the V&A will be at the forefront with show-stopping installations and across the city, there are 5 major trade shows, the commercial pillars of the festival, where you can meet designers, buyers, sellers and manufacturers and discover new products and design trends.
FASHION: London Fashion Week and Festival, Fri 14 – Sun 23 Sep
If your invitations to the main catwalk shows got lost in the post (yours too, eh?), mere mortals can buy tickets to the London Fashion Week Festival with designer and trend shows on the catwalk, talks with various industry figures such as ex-fashion ed turned interiors blogger Erica Davies, and pop-up shopping with over 150 top British and international brands. Totter along in your Jimmy Choos (or Zara sales bargain in my case) and return home looking absolutely fabulous, dahling.
ART: Aftermath, Tate Britain, London, Mon 10 – Sun 23 Sep
A short but fascinating, haunting and moving exhibition on how artists reacted to the aftermath of World War One, recording its scars but also looking to the future and the birth of new movements such as dadaism and surrealism.
THEATRE: The Merry Wives of Windsor, Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon, now – Sat 22 Sep
Fiona Laird, who has worked with some of the biggest names in British theatre from Benedict Cumberbatch to Dame Judi Dench, not only directs but has composed the music for this new fun-filled RSC production, which has something of a TOWIE feel to it (yes, really). It’s a glam suburban comedy about wealthy wives and over-inflated egos, with a strong female cast including Katy Brittain, Beth Cordingly, Karen Fishwick (Juliet in the RSC’s current Romeo & Juliet), Rebecca Lacey, Sakuntala Ramanee, Ishia Bennison and Charlotte Josephine. The performance on Sep 12 will be broadcast live in cinemas nationwide.