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FRI 24 – SUN 26 MAY


COMEDY: Daniel Sloss – X, The Hexagon Reading, Fri 24 May

Comedian Daniel Sloss blonde quiff

Daniel Sloss is one of Scotland’s biggest comedy exports. He holds the record for the most slots on the Conan show, he was only 14 when Frankie Boyle used some of his material on Mock The Week, he performed his first Edinburgh Fringe show at 17, he’s star of two Netflix hit, DARK and Jigsaw and critics around the world LOVE him! So don’t miss the chance to see his ground-breaking 10th solo show NOW.


DRINKIES: Wine Tasting, Draco Floristy Newbury, Sat 25 May

Draco Floristry shop Parkways Newbury black sign floral hoop display

Feeling fragrant? Fancy a glass of vino in beautiful and slightly unusal surroundings? Yes you do! Draco Floristry is a boutique by day and will become a wine bar by night. For those who love to lounge and sip fines wines, Draco’s wine bar won’t disappoint.


EXHIBITION: Anthony Caro, Cliveden National Trust Taplow, Wed 1 May – Sun 10 Nov 2019

Anthony Caro Cliveden National Trust red industrial sculpture on woodland walk

If you loved Cliveden’s Lynn Chadwick sculptures last year, then the new installation Anthony Caro exhibition might get you sitting up like a meerkat. This English modernist artist, who assisted Henry Moore in the 1950s, is most famous for his abstract industrial pieces but briefly created figurative artworks too. You’ll find his pieces doted around the grounds. Take a stroll, admire and then pop into Cliveden House for afternoon tea or lunch at the Astor Grill.


THEATRE: A Belly Full, Mill at Sonning, Thu 2 May – Sat 15 Jun

It’s a world premiere of a brand new show that could be as funny and heart-warming as Calendar Girls. A Belly Full follows the lives of seven women who join a local belly dancing class. Friendships, bellies will wobble, crop tops will be revisited and we’re expecting Turkish Delight during the interval.


OPEN AIR CINEMA: Newbury Racecourse, Fri 24 – Sun 26 May 

Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga star in A Star Is Born embracing on stage with guitar

The latest version of A Star Is Born is so hot it needs to come with its own fire extinguisher. Bradley Cooper plays a washed-up country singer who takes a shy newbie with a giant voice, played by Lady Gaga (unrecognizable when not wearing a dress made of meat or a lobster hat), under his wing and *ahem* his duvet. Naughty. Keep the music vibes going with a retro throwback to original high school musical, Grease and the awesome Bohemian Rhapsody – the perfect Sunday night movie. Doors open at Newbury Racecourse at 7.30pm, film screens at 9pm.


ART: Open Studios 2019, The Base Greenham Common, Sat 4 – Sat 25 May

Julie Parker artist hairy stilettos made fro human hair

From Muddy Stilettos to, er, hairy ones. We haven’t lost our minds and our luscious locks, this is the sculptural creation of Julie Parker who is taking part in Open Studios. It’s an opportunity to drop in and see artists across West Berkshire and North Hampshire throughout May – and it’s totally free Simply go to the Open Studios website, find an artist and pop along for a nose. The main exhibition is INSIGHT will be held The Base at Greenham Common.


CULTURE: Newbury Spring Festival, various locations, now – Sat 25 May

Ballet Central dancers in tights leap and standing with full leg extensions

This whopping festival has grown over the last 41 years to now attract the very best in classical, jazz and world music acts. The events will take place this year from Sat 11 to Sat 25 May in some glorious venues, including The Base, Englefield House, Highclere Castle, Shaw House and the Corn Exchange Newbury where you can catch the elegant Ballet Central (above), the BBC Big Band, musical farce Lucky Stiff and a talk on Queen Victoria by AN Wilson.


EVENT: The Highclere Country Show, Highclere Castle, Sun 26 – Mon 27 May

Highclere Castle Downton Abbey Lord and Lady Carnarvon Hampshire Estate Near NewburyThe usual dog shows, bouncy castle, birds of prey and ferret racing and a new Countryside Arena, but I’m particularly liking the look of the gold panning in the hope that Lord Carnarvon might have mislaid an Eqyptian treasure. Under 16s go free – result!


FESTIVAL: The Red Sky Festival, Padworth Lane Berkshirie, Sat 25 – Sun 26 May

Red Sky Festival psychedelic illustration of stage and crowds

Dig out the snow washed denim Daisy Dukes, blue eyeliner and back comb your hair until it’s biigger than th sun, we’re going retro this weekend at the Red Sky Festival – T’Pau and Doctor and the Medics are headlining, plus silent discos and  a line up of tribute acts to keep the 80s vibe going all weekend.


DRINKIES: Gin Festival, The Newbury Pub, Sun 26 May

The Newbury Pub Berkshire Distillery private dining gin still metro tiles and large 16-seat table

Gin your tipple? Then you’re in for a treat. The Newbury Pub is hosting its first ever Gin Festival – and with a gin distillery on site (137 Distillery), you can sample the most local of gins, alongside other artisan brands. There are 60 gins on the pub’s menu… taaaaxxxxxi!


LIVE: Matthew Bourne’s Swan Lake, Corn Exchange Newbury, Sun 26 May

Matthew Bourne's male Swan Lake male dancer in feathered trousers

Matthew Bourne’s menacing, witty and unique production of Swan Lake has won tons of awards and rightly so. It’s best known for the all male corps-de-ballet – unheard of in the ballet world before – but it’s an all-round winner even if you’re not a ballet fan. See it live from the Sadler’s Wells Theatre.



FESTIVAL: Lechlade Music Festival, Lechlade-on-Thames, Cotswolds, Fri 24 – Sun 26 May 

This Cotswolds weekender is a family friendly affair- Brit indie-pop crew The Feeling are headlining, plus there’s yoga, woodland skills workshops, storytelling, performances from local talent and schools.


EAT: Food Festival, Blenheim Palace, Woodstock, Sat 25 – Sun 26 May 

Blenheim‘s sixth annual Food Festival is promising a gastronomic weekender packed with talks, demonstrations, family friendly activities and a hearty sprinkling of celebrity chefs, including Raymond Blanc OBE, Jean-Christophe Novelli and Celebrity MasterChef champion, Angellica Bell. There’ll also be up to 160 local and regional foodie and drink stalls with artisan bakers, craft brewers, gourmet burgers, international cuisine and, new for this year, the Vegan & Veggie Garden. Go stuff yourself silly.


KIDS: TarzannaThe North Wall, Oxford, Sat 25 May 

A fun new take on the jungle classic, Tarzanna is about a young girl who is magically transported to the rainforest. Live puppetry, interactivity and cool aerial acrobatics, the show is suitable for littlies aged 3-8.


EVENT: Sleepover at Stowe, Stowe House, Sun 26 May 

To celebrate Queen Victoria’s 200th birthday, Stowe House will be holding it’s very first sleepover- you’ll find out about the beautiful 18th century house’s history, play Victorian games, crafts, dance and the Queen will even pop in to say hello. The sleepover is for children aged 7-11 and all children must be accompanied by an adult.


COMEDY: Julian Clary, Wycombe Swan, Sun 26 May

Stick your minds in the gutter and brace yourselves for a “tsunami of smut” from the grande dame of filth. In Born to Mince Julian will murder a few songs, read you a sneak preview from his next memoir A Night At the Lubricant and make withering remarks about punters foolish enough to sit in the FROW.



FLOWERS: Covent Garden In Bloom, Covent Garden, London, until Sat 15 Jun

Miller Harris window display

Following their London debut in Covent Garden’s iconic Central Avenue last year, floral artists Fleurs de Villes will return to showcase the best floral designs in the Big Smoke and return Covent Garden to its roots as the original (or OG, as the kids say) flower market in London. Covent Garden retailers and restaurants are all mucking in with botanical window displays, exclusive products and spring collections,  bespoke cocktails and dishes made with herbs and ingredients from Covent Garden’s veggie garden.


KIDS: New Children’s Garden, Kew Gardens, London 

As if it wasn’t already a prime spot for day tripping, the clever sausages at Kew Gardens have added a brand new Children’s Garden just in time for May half term. Two years in the making, the interactive garden (aimed at ages 2 – 12) has over 100 varieties of mature trees, bamboo tunnels, hammocks and in-ground trampolines all under the cover of a huge 200 year old oak tree.


NEW EXHIBITION: Beasts of London, Museum of London, Fri 5 May – Sun 5 Jan 

This looks amazing- a fully immersive, digital installation (see above for a sneak preview) exploring the role animals have played in the shaping of London, from the Roman era all they way up to present day. The interactive show uses video projection mapping to bring the beasts, from rats to lions, to life as they narrate a virtual tour of London. There are some major British celebs involved too, with Kate Moss, Brian Blessed, Pam Ferris and more voicing the beasts.



Must-see exhibitions in the big smoke this month include the V&A‘s retrospective of iconic 1960s designer and the mother of  miniskirts, Mary Quant– over 200 garments, accessories and exclusive unseen pieces from the designer’s personal archive (until Sun 16 Feb 2020); also at the V&A is this year’s biggie, the largest House of Dior collection ever staged in the UK, which traces the history of Christian Dior and the six artistic directors who succeeded him (until Sun 1 Sept). It is sold out but there are a few first-come, first served tickets available from 10am from the Grand Entrance – it’s well worth trying your luck. Or you can see the exhibition by purchasing a membership for the V&A. Also worth checking out is the major Van Gogh show at Tate Britain, with over 45 works, including Starry Night on the Rhône 1888 from the Musée d’Orsay, Paris, and the rarely loaned Sunflowers 1888 from the National Gallery. There’ll also be work by British artist who were influenced by Van Gogh’s work including Francis Bacon and David Bomberg (until Sun 11 Aug).



The Hidden Garden, Henley Royal Regatta, Wed 3 – Sun 7 Jul

If you’re heading down to Henley Regatta this July and want to escape the riff raff (not that Henley does real riff raff, of course) book now for The Hidden Garden. New to the Regatta this year, the luxe but laid-back riverside venue on the Berkshire bank offers brilliant views, VIP hospitality, musical entertainment, gourmet food and – most importantly – lashings of booze (chilled Henriot champagne and local favourite, Mr Hobbs gin to be precise). Pre-booking is a must so grab your other half, bezzies or workies and get organised pronto!


KIDS: The Little Welly obstacle course and festival, Henley, Sat 8 –  Sun 9 June 

This is all about getting Muddy so we are IN! A 3km hop, skip, jump and dash through 30 challenges, taking in streams, trails, mud and woodland The Little Welly’s obstacle course is the largest  in the UK for kids and is always popular so book now. There’s also an accompanying festival with – deep breath – kart racing, rope climbing, circus skills workshops, live music, helter skelter, laser tag, climbing wall, pony rides and loads more. I think it’s such a fantastic idea – get them away from screens, into the fresh air and doing some exercise.

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