FRI 31 AUG – SUN 2 SEP
Rain Man is 30 years old! God that makes me feel old, but it is and for the first time ever it has been produced for theatre starring Gavin & Stacey’s Mathew Horne and Downton Abbey‘s Ed Spellers. Horne takes on the Dustin Hoffman role, playing autistic numbers genius Raymond. While Speleers is the Tom Cruise of this production as slippery salesman Charlie. Be the first to see at Theatre Royal Windsor before it tours the UK.
EVENT: Reading Pride, Napier Road Reading, Sat 1 Sep
It is the 50th anniversary since homosexuality was partially decriminalised in England and Wales, so join the LGBT community and celebrate love in an explosion of colour and glitter. The Pride Parade will weave its way through Reading before finishing at the Pride site off Napier Road for the ultimate party with Tara McDonald – she’s collaborated with David Guetta, Snoop Dogg and Todd Terry – headlining on the main stage.
DOGS: Fest of Chihuahaus Mexico Fiesta, Windsor Racecourse, Sat 1 Sep
TOUR: Conquer the Tower, Windsor Castle, until 30 Sep
To the tower! On this occasion you’ll keep your head. The iconic Round Tower dominates the Windsor skyline, and now you can take the 200 steps (wheeze… one too many ice creams this summer) to check out the epic view from the top. While the Queen’s holidaying in Balmoral, poke around her gaff and see St George’s Chapel, Long Walk, Windsor Great Park and the London skyline.
FAMILY FUN: Kite Festival, Boyn Grove Park Maidenhead, Sun 2 Sep
Find your inner Mary Poppins and go fly a kite at Boyn Grove Park for the first ever Community Kite Festival (1pm-4pm). It’s free (good job as we’re all broke by now) and join in the kit flying fun on the hill. You can join a kit making workshop at Norden Farm on Sat 1 Sep, or bring a shop bought kite. The pros will be there to provide the wow, plus there’s pizza and beer.
KIDS: The Big Berkshire Beach Gig, Norden Farm Maidenhead, Sat 1 Sep
Say goodbye to summer with the sand between your toes, wearing a sweater, probably a raincoat and a party at Norden Farm. The Big Berkshire Beach Gig is back with 5 local bands, plus 3 acoustic acts while you relax in a hammock Norden Farm’s Goan inspired beach. Load up an cocktails and you won’t even notice the drop in temperature.
WEDDINGS: Temperley Bridal Trunk Show, Black Swan Bridal Studio, Wallingford, Sat 1 – Mon 10 Sep
These trunk shows are a brilliant way of introducing brides to designer gowns that aren’t necessarily already in the area, with the added bonus of delicious discounts available during the event. With wedding dresses costing around the £2,000 mark, these are savings worth having, right? You can bring a posse with you (Black Swan suggest under four guests, so it doesn’t get to distracting or stressful for the the bride), have a couple of glasses of bubbles, and try on lots of different styles. One thing I can promise you – there’ll be no saccharine meringue dresses to avoid, just foxy Temperley frocks at every turn.
CAR EVENT: Festival of Transport, Mon 27 Aug, Salon Prive, Fri 31 Aug to Sat 1 Sep, Classic and Supercar Show, Sun 2 Sep, Blenheim Palace, Woodstock, Oxon
Blenheim has gone car mad. Get your posh frock on for this fancy smancy garden party on the south lawn at Blenheim Palace. Supercars, hypercars and classic cars will be parked up for your perusal plus a luxury retail village and top notch nosh. Friday is Boodles Ladies Day (where you can oogle the jewellery) and Sat 1 sees a tribute to 70 years of Porsche. If you just want to see the cars without all the VIP extras, you can head to Blenheim on the Sunday where you can get close to the cars and watch the Pirelli Prestige & Performance Competition in the Great Court, featuring 80 sensational super and hypercars built from 1976 to current day with a Winner’s Parade later in the afternoon.
FOOD & DRINK: Chilli Festival, Waddesdon Manor Bucks, Sat 1 – Sun 2 Sep
Spice up your life with this festival held in the grounds of Waddesdon Manor. There are 65 local exhibitors who promise to give your tastebuds a workout, with chilli sauces, jams, beer and chocolate. If it all gets too much, you can cool your tongue at the frozen yogurt stand. Not to worry if your kids haven’t yet reached a level of spice sophistication, just settle them down at the crafts table or the face-painting. From 10am-5pm
THEATRE: Little Shop of Horrors, Regents Park Open Air Theatre, now – Sat 15 Sep
This off-beat musical about a florist shop assistant who pines for his work colleague but doesn’t know how to win her heart or what to do to sate the appetite of a human-eating plant looks great fun. Matt Willis from Busted fame, drag queen Vicky Fox, Jemima Rooper and Marc Antolin star in the OTT show that seems perfect for summer in the lovely setting of Regent’s Park (Brucie bonus – the theatre boasts the longest bar in the West End!).
FAMILY FUN: Dragon Slyer, 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.
ART: Scoop: A Wonderful Ice Cream World, The British Museum of Food, London, until Sun 30 Sep
Finally! A valid excuse to stuff my face. The British Museum of Food returns with its first major exhibition Scoop: A Wonderful Ice Cream World. Dedicated entirely to the frozen treat, explore memorabilia from the world’s largest collection of ice cream paraphernalia, discover the neuroscience behind it and try scoops of bygone eras, from daffodil to all-day-breakfast flavour (hmm). Other highlights include ice cream-flavoured weather (vanilla fog!) and a glow-in-the-dark concoction that you can eat in a futuristic luminescent cave. Pass the ladle, I’m going in…
FAMILY FUN: Zip Now London, Archbishops Park, Lambeth, until Sun 9 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 Sound and Sourcery at The Vaults, an immersive music concert experience inspired by Disney’s Fantasy. Under Waterloo station, collect your headphones at the door and step inside the tunnels where you will dance with a funky hippo, walk in a prehistoric wasteland, seek out the fairies in a magic forest and sneak into the Sorcerer’s lair. Over at the National Theatre, the Star Seekers need help saving their space station in this interactive 50 minute show for 3 – 8 year olds. Or for older kids, Pressure at the Ambassador’s Theatre is a funny and tense play about the D-Day landings.
Fame The Musical, Hexagon Reading, Mon 3 – Sat 8 Sep
Fight your way into your leg warmers and leotards, and leap off your bed because Fame… I’m going to live forever, er, too much? Anyhoo, Fame The Musical based on the 80s TV series is coming to Reading! Featuring the Oscar-winning title song and a cast of outstanding dancers, singers, musicians and rappers as they transform from star struck pupils to superstars.
Tractor Ted Little Farm Live, Stonor Park, Sun 9 Sep
After six weeks of the school holidays my kids are practically feral. If you’r trying to tame your wild thing simply throw them in with the farm animals at Tractor Ted Little Farm Live. Plus there’s a giant Tractor Ted bouncy castle? Out my way, young children, I’m all over it. TV’s favourite farm engine arrives at Stonor Park in early September, testing my legendary digger ‘scooping skills’ and welly wanging, and thrilling the Under 7s if they can get anywhere near the equipment. Don’t miss out – 10% off advance tickets.