FRI 1 – SUN 3 NOV
MUDDY’S PICK OF THE WEEKEND
FIREWORKS: Family Fireworks Spectacular, Ascot Racecourse, Sat 2 Nov
Fireworks night is so last decade, make a day of it, entertain the kids for FREE and do your bit for charity. Ascot Racecourse is offering a full day of racing, white knuckle fun fair rides, gentler ones for littlies and pop-up laser tag (free until 4pm, then £1 per ride). They’ll also be showing Toy Story, finishing with an enormous fireworks display. Under 18s go free (and can eat for free too) with a fee-paying adult – all proceeds go to local charities. Only want to ooh and aah at the fireworks? Enter at 4pm. Talk about bang for your buck. Fnar.
Other fireworks displays: Thu 31 Oct: Halloween (Low Noise) Fireworks, Deanwood Park Gold Club Newbury. Fri 1 Nov: Bricktacular Fireworks , Legoland Windsor. Sat 2 Nov: Windsor Greatest Show Fireworks Extravaganza, Royal Windsor Racecourse; Sparks In The Park, Swallowfield Park Reading; Wellington College Charity Fireworks; Lions Fireworks Spectacular 2019, Newbury Racecourse; Bricktacular Fireworks , Legoland Windsor; Upton Court Park Fireworks, Slough; Boyn Hill Cricket Club Fireworks Display, Maidenhead; Wokingham Fireworks Spectacular 2019, Cantley Park Wokingham; Sun 3 Nov: Thameside Firework Extravaganza, Mapledurham Lock, Purley On Thames.
Read about Berkshire’s biggest and best displays, here.
THEATRE: Rumpelstiltskin and the Snail of Destiny, South Street Arts Reading, Fri 1 Nov
Widdershins theatre comes to Berkshire with it’s new show Rumpelstiltskin & the Snail of Destiny (a snail dressed up in sequins with a crystal ball for a shell, perhaps?), a twist on the Grimm’s classic, performed with puppets.
THEATRE: The Tiger Who Came To Tea, Corn Exchange Newbury, Fri 1 Nov
First up is Judith Kerr’s tea-guzzling tiger, direct from its West End stint, it’s directed by children’s theatre stalwart David Wood OBE (BFG, The Witches, Meg and Mog) so bound to be brilliant.
KIDS: Hallo’welly’ween, Wellington Country Park Reading, Fri 1 Nov
A week of spooktacular fun for the kids at Wellington Country Park – New for 2019 is the Giant Hale Bale Hunt, pumpkin science, potion making and witches supermarket, alongside the annual spooky storytime, rocket show, Big Foot show, spooky disco, magic shows, a creepy craft room, scary face painting, a haunted Halloween train ride, pumpkin carving and much more! You;re gonna be busy.
FAMILY: Halloween Half Term, Fri 1 – Sun 3 Nov
Stonor are going for it this year with their Spooktacular Halloween. Your kids can run amok round the grounds to search for secret messages and riddles to win a prize, carve or decorate pumpkins, wear creepy fancy dress and explore the Wonder Woods adventure playground. Plus they’ve reeled in the big guns – Mud Guts will be running a workshop on Wed 30 Oct and famous Oxford ghost tour guide and storyteller, Bill Spectre, will be reading horror stories on Sun 3 Nov.
KIDS: Where’s Wally? The Bog Museum Hunt, MERL Reading, now – Sun 3 Nov
Kids driving you nuts? The Where’s Wally Big Museum Hunt should kill a few hours, and give you a break from the moaning, bickering and demands for food. Head to the Museum of English Rural Life in Reading and get your brood to play hide and seek with the bespectacled cartoon character. It’ll be as maddening as those Magic Eye 3D pictures.
FOOD: Introducing Tom Scade Supper, The Vineyard Stockcross, Fri 1 Nov
Grab your gilded fork and slip into your big pants, we have a new gastronomic guru in the Berkshire ‘hood. Chef Tom Scade turned his back on the bright light, big city vibes of The Ritz to take over The Vineyard’s fine dining kitchen. He’s worked with one of the world’s best chefs, so this week’s five course taster menu, each dish perfectly paired with one of the hotel’s 30,000 wines, is set to be a corker.
COMEDY: The Scummy Mummies, Norden Farm Maidenhead, Fri 1 Nov
Comedians Helen Thorn and Ellie Gibson are bringing bonkers comedy show to the Norden Farm in Maidenhead. Based on the UK’s number one kids and family podcast, the Scummy Mummies celebrate everything from drinking wine at teatime to hiding from the PTA (standard Muddy behaviour). Not to be missed.
COMEDY: Justin Moorhouse – Northern Joker, Norden Farm, Fri 1 Nov
He’s no Joaquin Phoenix, but comedian Justin Moorhouse is stepping out from the Hollywood star’s shadow to play the Joker. Well sort of, but a lot less dark. Justin, who you may recognise under all that slap from Phoenix Nights, brings his show to Maidenhead to tackle all the important issues… not Brexit, the Cold War reboot or ISIS… he’s starting to feel redundant as a parent.
KIDS: Halloween, Bucklebury Farm Park, Fri 1 – Sun 3 Nov
This October half term wave your magic wand to whisk you of to Bucklebury Farm Park for free pumpkin to carving, creepy crafting, ghoulish face painting and hurry through the trick or treat maze to find the witches belongings. All included in the £12.95 entry price.
HALLOWEEN: Hellfire Caves, Wycombe, Fri 1 – Sun 3 Nov
Hellfire Caves are a brilliant venue for spooky activities – I mean, the clue’s in the name. Plus, for Halloween, the caves are decked out to the nines with macabre props, lighting, creepy music and characters. There’ll also be free games, colouring, fancy dress competitions and more in the courtyard, plus face painting for a small fee. Between 28 Oct – 1 Nov kids can also sign up to Hellfire School of Witchcraft & Wizardry with broomstick races, potion making and, erm, werewolf banishing (nope, me neither).
SHOPPING: Christmas Fair, St Andrew’s School Pangbourne, Sat 2 Nov
Not on the high street? You’re nowhere near one and and I’m loving it. No expensive parking, plenty of little people to carry your bags (err, maybe not) but there will be over 50 stalls popping up at St Andrew’s School near Pangbourne for a shopping frenzy. Whatever you’re after, you’ll find it here: arty-crafty bits, homewares, bling, cards, clothing, toys, decs, food and drink, skincare and many more! If only they had a wrapping station… I’d be in nirvana.
EVENT: Maidenhead Zombie Walk, The Maiden’s Head Maidenhead, Sat 2 Nov
The annual fright night is almost here. Ditch trick or treating (it’s so 1980s) a, it’s all about the zombie walk. A chance to dress up, go crazy with the face paints, spill your guts (literally) and drag yourself round the streets of Maidenhead.
EXHIBITION: En Vogue, Basildon Park Lower Basildon, now – Mon 18 Nov
Strike a pose there’s nothing to it and saunter up to Basildon Park for a fabulous fashion exhibition. Lady Iliffe graced the glossy pages of Vogue in 1966, with the mansion as the backdrop to Henry Clarke’s stylish portraits. Bringing that shoot to life, you can rifle through her wardrobe and drool over the Dior, Valentino and Chanel. If you missed out on the V&A’s Dior exhibition, this will scratch that fashion itch.
EXHIBITION: The Wonderful World of the Ladybird Book Artists, The Base Greenham Common, now – Sun 15 Dec
Fancy a literary trip down memory lane? Immerse yourself in the nostalgic world of Ladybird Books told through original artwork, books and objects. We all had them, and bring back the same childhood fuzzies as Space Invader crisps and Willow The Wisp. Explore an unparalleled collection of books, original artwork and artefacts, dating back to the WW2, at The Base. thebasegreenham.co.uk
OUTDOORS: Anthony Caro, Cliveden House Taplow, until 10 Nov
If you’re heading over the Berks border, this sculpture trail at National Trust site Cliveden is well worth a peek. Around the Grade I listed grounds you’ll find 16 of the iconic ’60s sculptural artist’s famous steel structures.
SHOPPING: The Country Homes & Interiors Christmas Show, Stonor Park Henley, Thu 21 – Sun 24 Nove
The Country Homes & Interiors Christmas Show at Stonor Park, Henley is a surefire way to sort out your Crimbo shopping. I’ll be at the mulled wine stand from Thu 21-2Sun 4 Nov (with small sleep breaks, obvs).
EVENT: Muddy + Bicester Village shopping & styling spectacular!, Bicester Village, 14 Nov
We hate to use the C word just yet but here at Muddy this is the year when we’re finally getting organised with our Christmas shopping and planning. No more dashing around shops on 23 Dec, no sirree! With this in mind, we’ve concocted an amazing Christmas shopping and styling event with Bicester Village for Muddy readers. A ticket will include a talk from Muddy founder Hero Brown on how to buy the perfect gifts, a guide to tablescaping and bringing festive chic to your home by renowned interior designer/florist Willow Crossley (google her gorgeous Cotswolds pubs), expert styling advice from Muddy’s Kerry Potter, brunch/ afternoon tea provided by Soho House, 10 percent discount for all participating Bicester Village stores throughout the day and a luxury goodie bag. Because self-gifting is a valid part of Christmas, right?! Tickets here
ART: The Contemporary Art Fair, Windsor Racecourse, Fri 8 – Sun 10 Nov
How cool is this? It makes a bold statement but perhaps not one for the kids’ bedrooms. Sculptor Steve Yeates’ fabulous figurative works will be on display at The Contemporary Art Fair, alongside more than 160 artists, printmakers, photographers, ceramicists and independent galleries from all over the UK and Europe. Have a mooch, chat to artists and, if you find something you love, prices start at just 40 quid.
COMEDY: What’s In A Name, Theatre Royal Windsor, Mon 4 – Sat 9 Nov
Looking for laughs? The Inbetweeners Joe Thomas and Miranda’s Bo Poraj star in this comedic play about egos, childish resentment and unspoken feelings. This will be the first UK tour for the show which has been adapted from award-winning French film and stage show Le Prénom by Brit theatre director Jeremy Sams. Looks like a goodie.
THEATRE: Lungs, Old Vic theatre, London, now – Sat 9 Nov
The Crown alumni Claire Foy and Matt Smith (aka The Queen and Prince Philip, of course) are reunited in Lungs at the Old Vic (14 Oct–9 Nov), playing a couple wrestling with life’s big issues, such as whether to have children, against the backdrop of a world teetering on the edge of environmental and political disaster.
ART & EXHIBITIONS
Vogue fashion and portrait photographer Tim Walker‘s enchanting, fantastical, frankly insane work is the subject of a new V&A exhibition (until 8 March). Tilda Swinton, Björk and, er, Sir David Attenborough are among his subjects and he’s also created 10 new works for the show.
Meanwhile this autumn’s big-hitter is William Blake at Tate Britain, below, (until 2 Feb 2020). The visionary painter and poet’s work will be imaginatively displayed – some of it blown up to enormous scale using digital technology, other works in an immersive room that recreates the space in which Blake first showed his art in 1809.
Elsewhere Into the Night: Cabarets & Clubs in Modern Art at the Barbican (4 Oct – 19 Jan) is probably the nearest I’ll get to clubbing this autumn. It’s such a cool concept – a history of cabarets, clubs, dancefloors and party spaces that inspired artists from the 1880s to the 1960s, including the Berlin cabaret scene in Weimar Germany and Harlem’s jazz clubs and lifesize recreations of some of the hotspots.
Then there’s a major retrospective of 88-year-old Bridget Riley‘s life’s work at the Hayward Gallery (23 Oct – 26 Jan), taking in her famous monochrome, makes-your-eyes-go-funny Op Art paintings from the 1960s among its 70 year career span.
And finally, playing “spot the Angel Of The North” as we drive up the A1 to Newcastle is a family ritual in our house (Geordie in-laws, you see), so I’ve got a soft spot for Antony Gormley’s striking sculpture. His new show at the Royal Academy (until 3 Dec) is billed as his most ambitious in a decade and involves six tonnes of steel mesh, eight km of coiled tubing and a gallery flooded with clay and sea water. Blimey!
EVENT: Fright Nights, Thorpe Park, now – Sun 3 Nov
Thorpe Park’s Fright Night boasts more terror than ever before with new horror experiences, attractions, and even more scares. It’s the perfect event to get you in the mood for Halloween, so grab your tickets… if you dare.
FOOD: London Restaurant Festival, various London locations, all month
London’s fantastic restaurant scene is in full celebration mode this month, with great value festival menus at loads of great restaurants, plus foodie events like gastronomic weekends, tasting menus, restaurant-hopping tours, tasting menus with famous chefs, talks, films and art.