Roll up, roll up, for a right royal circus. In the year that marks the 200th anniversary of Queen Victoria’s birth, disappear down a rabbit hole to a time of bonnets and top hats at a fun-filled family festival. Enjoy falconry and horse-riding displays, storytelling from the team at the Shakespeare Globe, musical performances, and the chance to play dress up, as well a Victorian circus troupe (courtesy of the Lost In Translation Circus), inspired by the travelling menagerie that visited Windsor Castle in 1847.
DRINKIES: Gin & Rum Festival, Great Hall Reading, Fri 13 – Sat 14 Sep
Has gin had its day? (Not judging by Muddy consumption) Is rum the next big thing? Hedge your bets and head for the UK’s largest Gin and Rum Festival, making its Reading debut this month. With over 60 gins and 60 rums to sample in an amazing venue, plus DJ, boozy masterclasses and a goodie bag, a taxi is essential and a hangover almost certainly guaranteed. Hic.
DANCE: Blues & Burlesques, South Hill Park Bracknell, Sat 14 Sep
Following sell-out shows in in Edinburgh, Blues & Burlesque is back at South Hill Park this weekeend with all the feistiness and fun you’d expect. Call the fire brigade, this is going to hot – no, seriously, those hands are a fire hazard. Lady Beau Peep will taking class at the very saucy School For Scanda,. Full of bare bottoms and flirty dancing, detention could get interesting.
ARTS: Cookham and Maidenhead Arts Trail, various locations, Sat 14 – Sun 15 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 photographer Robert Barker, textiles of Helen Jenkins and the amazing figurative artist, Harriet Brittain. While you’re in the hood, have a mooch around Cookham –the Stanley Spencer Gallery, check out The Little Bookshop, Sweet Marie’s and The Old Butcher’s Wine Shop, before grabbing a bite at the Bel & The Dragon.
COMEDY: Russell Howard & Friends, Theatre Royal Windsor, Sun 15 Sep
Fresh from Edinburgh Fringe, Russell Howard – a man never too far from a TV camera – is returning to the Theatre Royal Windsor to test out new material in this work-in-progress show. Some jokes will last to his tour or TV shows, some will survive just one night. Regardless, it’ll be fun. Tickets selling fast.
CULTURE: Windsor Festival, various locations, Sun 15 – Sun 29 Sep
Let them eat cake – GBBO judge Prue Leith
For its 50th anniversary, Windsor Festival is pulling out all the stops. The doyenne of the Great British Bake Off (and romance novelist) Prue Leith will be hosting a literary tea; the brilliant Lucy Worsley will be talking about Queen Victoria, alongside AN Wilson, Simon Heffer, Anna Pasternak and Robert Hardman. Not strictly a literary festival, there’s also a programme of music, exhibitions and tours.
THEATRE: Kiss Me Kate, The Watermill Newbury, now – Sat 21 Sep
Programme Name: The Greatest Dancer – TX: 05/01/2019 – Episode: The Greatest Dancer – Generics (No. n/a) – Picture Shows: Oti Mabuse – (C) Syco/Thames/David Ellis – Photographer: David Ellis
From the BBC ballroom to the Watermill rehearsal studio, the talented Oti Mabuse is shaking her sequinned dance skills as choreographer of The Watermill’s latest production, Kiss Me Kate. Expect this Cole Porter classic to have all the razzle dazzle when its stars Olivier award-winner Rebecca Trehearn and David Ricardo take to stage this week.
TOUR: Conquer the Tower, Windsor Castle, until 30 Sep
Windsor Castle Royal Collection Trust © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2018. Photographer Peter Packer
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.
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: Counterpoint, Stanley Spencer Gallery Cookham, now – Fri 28 Nov
Stanley Spencer – At the Chest of Drawers, 1936. Oil on canvas, 657 x 810 mm © Estate Stanley Spencer. Bridgeman Images, London. Courtesy of the Stanley Spencer Gallery
A celebration of British creativity and originality, Counterpoint is a collection of works by legendary local artist Stanley Spencer and his contemporaries. Amongst those represented are: Barnett Freedman, C.R.W. Nevinson, Edward Burra, Mark Gertler, William Roberts, Jacob Epstein and Henri Gaudier-Brzeska.
EXHIBITION: Maurizio Cattelan, Blenheim Palace, Woodstock, now – Sat 27 Oct
Italian conceptual artist Maurizio Cattelan is taking residence at Blenheim Palace, Woodstock. You may want to book a three-minute slot to see his piece ‘America’ – an 18-carat gold toilet, which will be hidden inside the palace. Over 100,000 people queued at New York’s Guggenheim to see it in 2016 (12 Sept – 27 Oct). Just don’t, erm, get caught short.
NEW EXHIBITION: William Blake, Tate Britain, London, 11 Sept – 2 Feb 2020
Poet, painter and printmaker William Blake has created some of the most iconic images in British art. This new exhibition, the largest of Blake’s work for almost 20 years, will feature over 300 original works, as well as an immersive recreation of the small domestic room in which Blake showed his art in 1809. Other pieces will be digitally recreated on an enormous scale. tate.org.uk
POP-UP: The Modist, Bicester Village, Bicester, now – 24 Sept
Dubai-based luxury online brand The Modest pops up in Bicester Village this summer with its first European boutique (I need that pink dress, like, immediately). The brand will have pieces from contemporary labels as well as from its own brand LAYEUR. bicestervillage.com
EXHIBITION: Sweet Harmony: Rave exhibition, Saatchi Gallery, West London, until 14 Sept
Photo by Dave Swindells
Rave on! This new photo exhibition explores the new world that emerged from the acid house movement in the ’80s and ’90s and the beginnings of rave culture. Photographers Tom Hunter, Vinca Petersen and Dave Swindells will be on hand at the Saatchi Gallery to explain the stories behind their iconic shots.
FAMILY FUN: Zip Now London, Archbishops Park, Lambeth, until Sun 15 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+.
ART: Fresh:Art Fair, Ascot Racecourse, Thu 19 – Sun 22 Sep
This is MAJOR. Alongside mega-hits by Tracey Emin, Hockney, Banksy and Damien Hirst, this Chris Levine portrait of Her Maj will be on display at Fresh:Art Fair at Ascot Racecourse. Some of the best galleries (Muddy Award-winning ones among them) in the UK and Ireland, will bring more than 6,000 pieces, priced from £500 to £5,000 (19 – 22 Sept). Check out 12 artists to keep an eye out for here. Snag yourself a FREE ticket to the private view (free wine music and first dibs), plus you ticket is valid all weekend – quote MUDDY at checkout.
CULTURE: Henley Literary Festival – featuring Muddy Stilettos Book Club Live, Phyllis Court, Henley, Sat 5 Oct
It’s back, baby! We’re returning to Henley Lit Fest (28 Sept – 6 Oct) this year with lashings of wine, plenty of pizzazz and a panel of brilliant authors: actor, Celebrity Master Chef winner and Meant to Be author Lisa Faulkner, former deputy editor of ELLE and How to be a Gentlewoman author Lotte Jeffs, and Five Steps to Happy debut novelist Ella Dove. More info here. Get your tickets pronto, last year was a sell out.