FRI 16 – SUN 18 AUG
MUDDY’S PICK OF THE WEEKEND
MUSIC: Madness – Live After Racing, Newbury Racecourse, Sat 17 Aug
Hot on the heels of Tom Jones’s gig at Newbury Racecourse, we’re going back to 80s with Madness. Welcome to the house of fun… as Suggs and his ska band take to the stage to belt out classic hits like Our House, Baggy Trousers and It Must Be Love. Warning! Madness dance moves can resemble a drunk uncle at a wedding. Just give them space, people.
THEATRE; The 39 Steps, Theatre Royal Windsor, now – Sat 17 Aug
A cultural rite of passage, Hitchcock’s comic-thriller, The 39 Steps, is an must-see classic – screenwriter Robert Towne (Mission Impossible) even claims, “All contemporary escapist entertainment begins with The 39 Steps.”A cast of four will take on all the roles as handsome hero Richard Hannay, encounters dastardly murders, double-crossing secret agents, and devastatingly beautiful women. It’s fast, funny and farcical.
SPORT: Reading Dragon Boat Festival, Thames Valley Park Nature Reserve Reading, Sun 18 Aug
Fancy paddling a boat to the beat of a drum? Enter your crew (max 20 people) and race your Chinese style dragon boat with a drummer at the helm at this popular spot in Thames Valley Park Nature Reserve. No previous experience is needed so be prepared to get wet. Or you assume the position of spectator, hit the bar, BBQ and scream if your wanna go faster on the fun fair rides.
ART: Counterpoint, Stanley Spencer Gallery Cookham, now – 28 Nov
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.
THEATRE: Kiss Me Kate, The Watermill Newbury, now – Sat 21 Sep
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.
EXHIBITION: Brick City, The Base Greenham Common, now – Sun 8 Sep
Don’t want to fork out £100 on Legoland tickets? Muddy Award-winning The Base in Greenham Common is putting on some brilliant exhibitions, the latest is Brick City, a mini collection of iconic Lego brink buildings by artist Warren Elsmore, from New York’s skyscrapers and gondolas in Venice to medieval Japanese castles and Las Vegas. Pop to the Brick Den afterwards to to the Brick Den and create your own masterpiece.
EXHIBITION: Bears, Rivers and Rowing Museum Henley On Thames
The lovely River and Rowing Museum, in Henley, has a new children’s exhibition Bears! where kids can learn about history’s favourite teddies – Rupert, Winnie the Pooh and friends – as well as explore original artwork and manuscripts from We’re Going on a Bear Hunt, The Bear and The Piano and Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials. Every Fri during the hols there’ll be bear-themed games and crafts in the galleries, and on 8 Aug, there’ll be a Teddy Bear’s Picnic.
THEATRE: Shakespearean Rose Theatre, Blenheim Palace now – Sat 7 Sep
There’s Europe’s first pop-up Shakespearean theatre at Blenheim Palace, Woodstockabove – the 13-sided theatre, with three tiers of covered seating and open courtyard for ‘groundlings’ is showing Macbeth, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Richard III and Romeo & Juliet (until 7 Sept) and will be accompanied by a Shakespearean Village selling local ales, ice cream and side shows.
FAMILY FUN: Unicorns, Fairies & Pixies Weekend, Wellington Country Park Riseley, Sat 17 – Sun 18 Aug
Let your littlies let off steam at Wellington Country Park near Reading. With 350 glorious acres to explore, adventure playground, splash pad and themed weeks – unicorns, fairies and pixies – it’s a guaranteed hit for those with younger children with a sprinkling of magic dust and glitter..
FAMILY FUN: T Rex Experience, The Lexicon Bracknell, now – Sun 26 Aug
Get set for a rooooooaaarsome August. The Lexicon Bracknell will become Berkshire’s answer to Jurassic Park, as the UK’s largest animatronic dinosaur (18m long and 8m tall) comes to life. Turn back time and head out on a Dino Hunt, attend Dino School, storytelling, there’s special screenings of the Steven Spielberg pre-historic classics and more.
KIDS: Kite Workshop, Norden Farm Maidenhead, Sun 18 Aug
Parent like your Mary Poppins and get involved in kite making. Should keep the mudlets busy for a bit. The Community Kite Project is running a drop in workshop at Norden Farm so you and your kids can create a Patang Kite – the Indian Fighter Kite – or a classic Trapezoid Kite. Make it, decorate and fly it at the Kite Festival in Boyn Grove Park on Sun 1 Sep. Workshops are also running Sat 11 and 18 Aug. Altogether now… Let’s go fly a kite, up to highest heights… Too much?
KIDS: Maize Maze, Bucklebury Farm Park, now – 30 Sep
If you’re looking for covert and creative ways to lose your kids for a five minutes over the school holidays, there’s always Bucklebury Farm Park’s Maize Maze. New for 2019, your kids will run wild, answer clues and discover the homes of Stanley the Stag, Freddie Fox, Mary Mouse and Ola Owl.
KIDS: The Maidenhead Beach, Norden Farm Maidenhead, now – Sun 31 Aug
This way to the beach. And no it doesn’t involve a motorway queue, windbreaker or an umbrella. Norden Farm’s sandpit of fun is open for business. Head to Maidenhead with the kids. They can enjoy this laid back tropical Goan paradise, fun activities, an indoor sensory space while you say kick back at the Beachside cafe. It’s totes freeee and open from 10am-4pm.
SPORT: Family cycling day, Blenheim Palace, Woodstock, Sun 18 Aug
Pedal power! Blenheim’s annual cycling event offers two routes around the pretty parkland of the World Heritage Site- one around Queen Pool, the other around the Park perimeter. Bring the fam, your bikes, and don’t forget your helmets. blenheimpalace.com
ANIMALS: Rihno Month, Cotswold Wildlife Park, nr Burford, throughout Aug
Cotswold Wildlife Park, nr Burford, is a guaranteed hit with kids who love all things furry, creepy and crawly. It has the little fellas – penguins, lemurs and reptiles – as well as the big guns, including lions, rhinos (FYI Aug is Rhino month with daily talks) and giraffes (try out the Giraffe Walkway where you can stroll up to eye-level with the animals). There’s also a cute railway, adventure playground and children’s farmyard.
CULTURE: Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Edinburgh, now – Mon 26 Aug
Edinburgh’s cultural fandango kicks off this month and is well worth the trip way (way, way) up north with the whole city buzzing with creativity, comedy, theatre, arts, crafts and street performances. Far too many shows to list in detail (over 1,200 groups perform across the city each day!) but highlights include Ian Stirling (of Love Islandvoiceover fame), Russell Howard, Frank Skinner and Jarvis Cocker, plus loads more familiar faces. Full programme here.
NEW EXHIBITION: Sweet Harmony: Rave exhibition, Saatchi Gallery, West London, until 14 Sept
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. saatchigallery.com
Exhibitions still on the go this month include a collection of Manolo Blahnik‘s work curated by the iconic shoe designer himself at The Wallace Collection (until Sun 1 Sept). Also on the fashion front is the Mary Quant retrospective at the V&A (Muddy’s been, it’s really cool), featuring over 200 of the seminal ’60s designer’s pieces (until 16 Feb). Or, also at the V&A is the largest House of Dior collection ever staged in the UK, a handful of tickets for evening slots have been added so snaffle quick if you want to go as it’s super popular (until 1 Sept).