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This Weekend

FRI 16 – SUN 18 AUG


MUSIC: Madness – Live After Racing, Newbury Racecourse, Sat 17 Aug

Madness black and white ska band leaning back into each other

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

The 39 Steps poster Theatre Royal Windsor

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 Hannayencounters 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

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

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.


THEATRE: Kiss Me Kate, The Watermill Newbury, now – Sat 21 Sep

Kiss me Kate Watermill Newbury Berkshire musicians on stage woman violin man double bass trumpets flute and sax

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.


EXHIBITIONBrick 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

Going on a bear hunt illustration

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 HuntThe 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 MacbethA Midsummer Night’s DreamRichard 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

Wellington Country Park kids play area brand new Pirates Ship wooden adventure play area Berkshire family attraction

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

Fish kits on a boat mast flying in blue skies

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

Maize Maze Bucklebury Farm Park Newbury Berkshire scarecrow

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

white sands, blue sea and a rainbow of chairs to sink into and relax

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.


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 

Singer Songwriter Jarvis Cocker tweed jacket black speccs

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 

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.



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).

Keith Haring

Other exhibitions include the family-friendly Beasts of London, at the Museum of London, a fully immersive, digital installation exploring the role animals have played in the shaping of London with the likes of Kate Moss, Brian Blessed and Pam Ferris voicing the animals which are brought to life using video projection mapping; the major Van Gogh show at Tate Britain with over 45 of the artist’s famous works including Starry Night on the Rhône and Sunflowers; if you’re heading up north, check out the  Keith Haring exhibition at Tate Liverpool, a legend on the ’80s graffiti, pop art and underground club culture scene, the exhibit features 85 works including large-scale paintings, posters, photos and video. Very cool.


DAY TRIP: Dragon Slayer, 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.


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+.


OUTDOOR CINEMA: Film4 Summer screen, Somerset House, London, throughout Aug

If you can make it into London, head for the popular Film4 Summer Screen at Somerset House. Featuring a mixture of premiers, old classics and recent hits, the venue’s fountain courtyard is a corker of a setting on a balmy summers evening in the capital. This year’s highlights include The Matrix on 12 Aug, 7pm (who saw Hollywood hottie Keanu Reeves in the latest YSL campaign?), horror/sci-fi back to back of Get Out & They Live (17 Aug, 7pm), cult classic Clueless (18 Aug, 7pm) and Film4Summer’s 200th screening which will be celebrated with Ryan Coogler’s Oscar-winning, superhero spectacular Black Panther (9 Aug, 7pm).



OUTDOOR CINEMA; Top Gun, Douai Pavilion Woolhampton, Sat 24  Aug

I feel the need, the need for speed! Tom Cruise, Kelly McGillis, Anthony Edwards and Meg Ryan star in this 1986 classic. Great soundtrack, gratuitous volleyball scene. Hmmm. Don’t deny yourself a night with Mav and Goose – they’ve got that loving feeling. If Tom before he had his teeth done and discovered Scientology, floats your boat, book up. It’s a fab family day out with food, fully loaded bar and the perfect film night. Tickets on sale now.


FAMILY FUN: Wellington Country Fair and Horse Trials, Highfield Farm Heckfield, Sat 24 – Mon 26 Aug

Wellington Country Fair and Horse Trials cross country going over the fence into water

If you love things that are a little bit country, a little bit rock ‘n’ roll, then we reckon this is going to be right up your street. It’s a country fair with family fun front and centre. No experience of horses, Hunter wellies or Barbor jackets necessary, it’s just an awesome day out, with live music, brilliant food and drinks stalls, shopping and our four-legged friends competing for best in show. Kids go FREE and we have we quote MUDDYB2019 for buy one get one free adult tickets.


ART: Fresh:Art Fair, Ascot Racecourse, Fri 20 – Sun 22 Aug

Queen Elizabeth I crown fur teimmed white coat pearls with eyes closed Christ Levine Artist

Berkshire’s answer to London’s Frieze Art and Affordable Art Fairs, it’s a great opportunity to ogle (and buy) big names like Emin and Hirst and cool, ccollectable artists like Chris Levine (above). Some of the best galleries (Muddy Award-winning ones too) in the UK and Ireland, will bring more than 6,000 pieces, many priced from £500 to £5,000.Quote Muddy for free tickets.


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 Chefwinner 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.

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