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This weekend

FRI 11 – SUN 13 OCT


ART: Fire Garden, The Market Place Newbury, Fri 11 – Sun 13 Oct

Fire Garden mArket Place Newbury balls of fire

An exhibition so hot it’s on fire! To celebrate 10 years of the Corn Exchange’s amazing outdoor events programme, French fire artists Carabosse will be transforming Newbury’s streets and squares into a magical and mesmeric wonderland of flames. Wander the streets amidst thousands of clay fire pots, suspended illuminations and ingenious kinetic sculptures. Don’t worry if you forget your coat, you’ll be just toasty.


THEATRE: Amelie, The Hexagon Reading, Tue 8 – Sat 12 Oct

Amelie the musical in front of large fans and musicians playing violins

It’s been a Broadway smash hit and now Amelie is coming to The Hexagon Reading (pictured above). Based on the award-winning 2001 rom-com starring Audrey Tautou, it’s a feel-good musical about a young girl with a big imagination. Get tickets here.


THEATRE: Ten Times Table, Theatre Royal Windsor, now – Sat 19 Oct

Ten Times Table Rehearsals Theatre Royal Windsor

The agenda is the Pendon Folk Festival, but it might as well be Brexit. Alan Ayckbourn’s classic comedy sounds eerily familiar. The Chairman is a divisive man, his wife has a bone to pick, throw in a Marxist a military dog breeder and a bunch of dusty oldies and you it sounds like your average PMQs. Ten Times Table is a tumultuous comedy by committee, not to be missed.


SHOPPING: Ascot Fashion Weekend, Ascot Racecourse, Fri 11– Sat 12 Oct

Need to give the credit card a battering? Ascot Racecourse is hosting an AW19 fashion frenzy. Designers and boutiques will be wafting about like peacocks at the Ascot Fashion Weekend. Whether you just need a trend injection, have a party to go to or your looking for something to see you through the new season, you’ll find it here. Grab the girls, join the stampede and shop till you drop.


FAMILY FUN: The Big Draw, Windsor Castle, Sat 12 Oct

The Big Draw Leonardo Windsor castle

Leonardo De Vinci was a man who was comfortable with an HB pencil, to mark the 500th anniversary of his death Windsor Castle is hosting a series of events to celebrate his extraordinary talent. The Queen owns more than 200 of the Renaissance master’s drawings, and while they’re on display at Buckingham Palace, you and your kids can create your own at Windsor as part in The Big Draw Festival – the world’s biggest celebration of drawing.


THEATRE: Assassins, The Watermill Theatre, now – Sat 26 Oct

ASSASSINS THE WATERMILL THEATRE Cast on stage with stripe floor stars hanging from ceiling

One of the most controversial musicals ever written, Assassins is a twisted celebration of America, “a land where any boy can grow up to kill a president” –  and anyone can BE president (*cue Trump eyeroll*). This show explores the motives of nine individuals who attempt to assassinate US presidents, exposing a sinister underside to the American Dream. Compelling, innovative and yet disturbingly funny.


EVENT: Crafts and Laughs, Craft Coop Maidenhead, Sat 12 Oct

Crafting macrame

With Kate. William, Harry and Meghan putting their royal mugs to the latest NHS mental health TV campaign, mindfulness is super hot right now. Great timing for Craft Coop’s Crafts and Laughs workshop. Get your craft on this weekend, have a laugh and give your mind a well-deserved break.


TOUR: Windsor Ghost Tour, Windsor Castle, Sun 13 Oct

What ghostly shape in autumnal woodland

Things that go bump in the night. Not Prince Philip falling out of bed, but a ghost tour in the shadow of the Queen’s gaff. Put your big girl pants, knock back a stiff drink and discover the bloody tales of Windsor in this theatrical ghost tour featuring live actors, scary stories and Windsor’s best haunts. Starts at 8.30pm and lasts approximately 75 minutes!


EVENT: Bucklebury Beer Fest, Bucklebury Recreation Ground, Sat 12 Oct

WestBerkshire Brewery x Donnington Valley Hotel newbury beer Tasting BOttles of West Berkshire Brewery craft beers on wooden shelves

For something a bit more rustic, Bucklebury Beer Festival is getting in on the Oktoberfest action with a menu of local craft beers and cider to sample. While you’re getting tipsy in the beet tent’s a dog show and entertainment to keep your kids happy. Everybody wins.


EVENT: Stonor and Papakata Open Weekend, Stonor, Henley, 12 – 13 Oct 

Ding dong! Is that wedding bells I hear? Wedding and events tent specialists Papakata are pitching up (quite literally) at Stonor to show off their giant tipis and Sperry tents. There’ll also be accompanying suppliers that cover every stage of planning your wedding.


SPORT: Maverick Ions-8 Original Trail Trace, Stonor Park Henley, Sat 12 Oct

Now I’m assuming any race that covers 324 square miles of countryside requires a bit of training. Unless you’re Jessica Ellis, of course, in which case best of luck. The Maverick Original Oxfordshire Trail Race kicks off from Stonor Park covering South Oxon, Bucks, Beds and Herts. See the runners off then hit the coffee and cake hard, mooch round the gardens and play in the Wonder Woods. It’s practically community service, just do it.


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.


EXHIBITION: Anthony Caro, Cliveden House, Berks, until 10 Nov

Anthony Caro Cliveden National Trust red industrial sculpture on woodland walk

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.


THEATRE: Lungs, Old Vic theatre, London, 14 Oct – 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.


FAMILY FUN: World Conker Championships, Southwick, Northants, Fri 13 Oct

Watch the experts as they battle it out to see who is the best at playing conkers in the world! It’s a big event with a kids’ conker competition, stalls, guide dog displays, bumper cars, climbing wall, food offerings, a tea and cake tent, Morris dancers, juggling workshops, a ukuleke band and praise be, a bar.



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!


THEATRE: Lungs, Old Vic theatre, London, 14 Oct – 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.


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.

Find more ideas here

Things To DoThis Weekend

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