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This weekend

FRI 26 – SUN 28 JUL


EVENT: Qipco King George’s Day, Ascot Racecourse, Sat 27 Jul

TV presenter Dermot O'Leary sat next to record run table

Worship at the feet of Dermot O’Leary! TV’s Mr Safe Hands, author, DJ and all round top bloke, I’d happily sink a few jars with him as name drops his way thorough the alphabet. He’ll be cranking up the choons at Ascot after party at the prestigious Qipco King George race day. Definitely the dish of the day.


COMEDY: Reading Fringe Festival, various locations, Fri 26 – Sun 28 Jul

Reading Frindge Festival 2019 Crayola the queen head to toe greeN and green background

No need to schlep to Edinburgh for the Fringe, some of the finest comedy shows are being performed in Reading now. One of my favourite events of the year, there’s loads of cool stuff for grown ups and kids to see. I’m liking the sound of A Very Crayola Fringe Show (above) on Sat 27 Jul in which the Queen of Crayola will be bringing her campy, cartoonish, lady clown LOLs to the occasion. Grab your chance to see our up and coming comic stars without the ridiculous price tag (many performances are just £8). Bargain!


THEATRE: Giffords Circus: Xanadu, Stonor Park Henley On Thames, now – Mon 29 July

Giffords circus Xanadu circus acrobat performing in giant hoop

Giffords Circus pitches up its Big Top once again at Oxford’s University Parks on its summer tour with a brand new show Xanadu– the theme this year is the Summer of Love, set in Hyde park 1973, so expect hippies, hipsters, rock stars and all-out grooviness alongside Nell Gifford’s brilliantly curated circus acts. The show then rolls up at Stonor Park Henley on Thames, Thu 25 – Mon 29 July.


FAMILY FUN: Bouncy Summer Fun, Saddleback Farm Shop Brightwalton, Sat 27– Sun 28 Jul

young girl yellow hat eating ice lolly

All children are free from the shackles of school. Breathe deep, and panic not. Saddleback Farm Shop will help them burn off some energy, and bounce into the summer holidays with a fun weekend. Set in beautiful open countryside, there will be bouncy castles, giant sandpit, face painting and a Jude’s ice cream stand. Perfect for a heatwave. You get to sit in rural splendour and enjoy the view.


KIDS: The Maidenhead Beach, Norden Farm Maidenhead, now – Sun 25 Aug 

This way to the beach. And no it doesn’t involve a motorway queue, windbreaker or an umbrella. Norden Farm’s giant sandpit of fun is open for business. Head to Maidenhead with the kids. They can enjoy this laid back paradise, Bollywood dancing, Harmony The Mermaid, fun activities and more. It’s totes freeee and open from 10am-4pm.


THEATRE: Dangerous Corner, Theatre Royal Windsor, Fri 26 – Sat 27 Jul

Dinner party danger! Too much wine, too much boastful chatter and too many opportunities to put your tootsies in it. Been there, done that, got the t-shirt. J B Priestly’s Dangerous Corner is should be a goody. Set in the Caplan’s stylish country retreat, their evening turns to kaka when an ill-considered remark spark off a relentless series of revelations and other, more dangerous, secrets are painfully exposed. Awkward.


THEATRE: Kiss Me Kate, Watermill Theatre Newbury, Thu 25 Jul – Sat 21 Sep

Strictly Oti Mabuse choreographs Kiss Me Kate at The Watermill Theatre Newbury

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.


KIDS: Brick City, The Base Greenham Common, now – Sun 8 Sep

Brick city the base greenham common newbury berkshire lego model of London Olympic stadium and sculpture and slide

There’ll be a few of you who have a LEGO obsessive under your roof. The Base is showcasing iconic Lego brick buuildings by artist Warren Elsmore. You’ll take in lively celebrations in Rio through to New York, tall towers from Copenhagen to Venice, and imaginative castles from medieval Japan to modern Las Vegas. Then pop into the Brick Den and create your own masterpiece.


COMEDY: The Comedy Cellar Edinburgh Preview, South Hill Park Bracknell, Fri 26 Jul

Mary Bourke long dark hair wearing crown

Edinburgh Fringe is fast approaching and all the top acts are polishing their gags before they head north. So a great opportunity to see the best perform in Berkshire. This week it’s the turn of comedian Mary Bourke with her topical show I Want an Irish Passport and Patrick Monahan’s smart and funny observations on a new-found, middle-class lifestyle with ski holidays, through the prism of poor, immigrant, living-in-a-caravan roots.


FAMILY FUN: Tree Climbing, National Trust Cliveden Taplow, Fri 26 Jul

Harnesses on? Not eaten anything in the last half hour? Then head to the delicious Cliveden for Tree Climbing with The Great Big Tree Climbing Company. Wheeeee!


KIDS: Dinosaur Weekend, Wellington Country Park Riseley, Sat 27 – Sun 28 Jul

Wellington Country Park play area with dinosaur

It’s gonna be roooooooarsome! If know some one who’s dino mad, head to Wellington Country Park this weekend, because the beasts are back! Rex the T Rex, Terrance the Triceratops, Richie the Raptor and the baby dinosaurs will be roaming the grounds. I know you thought they were extinct, but they’ve just been hiding out on the Wellington Estate since they stomped off Spielberg’s Jurassic World set in 2015.


EVENT: Jane Austen Day, Abbey Ruins Reading, Sat 27 Jul

Portrait of Jane Austen

Looks like Jane Austen’s been doing the FaceApp challenge – she was 18 when this portrait was painted. Poor Jane. Time to turn the clocks back and channel your inner history nerd for a tour inside the newly restored medieval Abbey Gateway and learn about its links with Jane Austen, visiting royalty and the Abbey monks.


FILM: Open Air Cinema – The Greatest Showman, Cobbs Farm Hungerford, Sat 27 Jul

I think I am the only person on the planet not to have seen The Greatest Showman. If you want a soundtrack free zone, head to my house. But it’s still going strong on the open cinema circuit. You’ll be able to sing your heart out at Cobbs Farm on Sat 27 July. Doors open 7pm, film starts at 9.15pm.


THEATRE: Private Lives, Mill at Sonning, now – Sat 3 Aug

Noel Coward's Private Lives Mill at Sonning

Champagne corks are popping and the windows are steaming up in Noel Coward’s classic comedy Private Lives takes to The Hexagon stage in Reading. Full of razor-sharp wit and quick-fire dialogue it’s a battle of politeness over passion when 2 newly-married couples occupy adjoining honeymoon suites in the same hotel.


FAMILY FUN: Kite Workshop, Norden Farm Maidenhead, Sat 11 and 18 AugustFish kits on a boat mast flying in blue skiesParent like your Mary Poppins and get involved in kite making. Should keep the mullets 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 7, 14 and 24 Aug. Altogether now… Let’s go fly a kite, up to highest heights… Too much?


EVENT: Friday night pop up bar, Douai Pavillion Woolhampton, throughout July

short glass tumbler gin and tonic lemon slices rosemary sprigs and ice

Picture the scene: balmy summer evenings, unspoilt countryside, kids happily playing games without the need for you to referee the perpetual bickering, while you enjoy a blissful Friday night sundowner. This utopia is a reality at the Summer Pop Up Bar at Douai Pavillion in Woolhampton. Running every Friday night from 6pm, it’s a great place for the whole family to let off steam. Winner! 


FAMILY FUN: The Big Camp, Cliveden National Trust Taplow, Fri 26 – Sun 28 Jul

The Big Camp Cliveden Natioanl Trust taplow Canvas bell tent

The perfect weekend away. The family sleep under canvas in the five-star gorgeous grounds. They’ll discover wildlife, play games, explore the nearby Play Trail and be taken on a bat walk through the woods before marshmallows round the campfire. You, on the hand, need to be checking in to the hotel, enjoying a nightcap and star-fishing in a giant bed. Everyone gets to have an adventure. It’s just one as a luxury bathroom and the other doesn’t. Also running: Fri 19 – Sun 21 Jul and Fri 26 – Sun 28 Jul.


SPORT: The International Day, Royal County of Berkshire Polo Club, Sat 27 Jul

Royal county of Berkshire Polo Club International Day formerly Cartier International Polo rider with mallet on horse

Rub shoulders with royalty, rock stars and the Hollywood A list at polo’s fancy pants International Day (formerly the Cartier International) held at the Royal County of Berkshire Polo Club in Winkfield. Polo is actually a fun spectators sport with a large dollop of social fun thrown in for good measure. Once the competitive bit is over, swap chukkas for Mahiki and party into the small hours. You may need the stamina of a polo pony.


FAMILY FUN: 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. Don’t miss the grand opening on Sat 20 Jul – join the Walking Theatre Company live from the Maze, live music,  family bushcraft, BBQ and Bar.



OPERA: Garsington Opera Season, Wormsley Estate, until Fri 26 Jul

It’s your last chance to check out Garsington Opera this year. Baroque and Classical chamber orchestra, The English Concert will make their debut at the bucolic Wormsley Estate for the season’s final three performances, performing Monteverdi’s Vespers of 1610.


FESTIVAL: Truck Festival, Steventon, Oxon, 26 – 28 Jul 

Full marks to Truck Festival, Steventon, Oxon, for nabbing indie favourites and local lads Foals for their first Oxon show in five years. They’ll be joined by Wolf Alice and Kate Nash (side note: have you seen her acting chops brilliant in Netflix series Glow?). This veteran South Oxon festival in a farmer’s field hits all the right notes too with its family-friendly feel and decent food.


OUTDOOR THEATRE: Sense and SensibilityWest Wycombe Park, Wycombe, Thurs 27 Jul

West Wycombe Park’s outdoor theatre on the East Lawn returns for another year with Jane Austen’s bonnet-fest Sense and Sensibilityamongst the gorgeous Palladian backdrop of the house and grounds.


NEW EXHIBITION: ROBOT, Bucks County Museum, Aylesbury, 27 Jul – 31 Aug 

Bucks County Museum is being taken over by robots, cyborgs and androids for its new exhibition ROBOTincluding full-sized robots from classic sci-fi films and TV shows.


NEW EXHIBITION: Sweet Harmony: Rave exhibition, Saatchi Gallery, West London, 12 July – 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



Must-see exhibitions in London this month include a new collection of Manolo Blahnik‘s designs at The Wallace Collection, which contrasts the designer’s work with paintings, sculpture and ornate furniture from the Rococo art movement. The intimate collection has been curated  by Blahnik himself and features items from his private archives (until Sun 1 Sept). Or you can check out 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.

Muddy visited the Mary Quant retrospective (until 16 Feb) above at the V&Arecently and it’s definitely worth checking out- over 200 items from the iconic ’60s designer’s career, from miniskirts to her make up range, accompanying images and a strong feminist undertone (girl power!) Also at the V&A is the the largest House of Dior collection ever staged in the UK, it’s sold out but there are a few first-come, first served tickets available from 10am from the Grand Entrance, or you can see the exhibition by purchasing a membership for the V&A (until 1 Sept). The major Van Gogh show at Tate Britain is also worth a gander, 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 (until 11 Aug). And finally, if you’re heading up north, there’s the new 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.




THEATRE: The 39 Steps, Theatre Royal Windsor, Mon 12 – 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.


THEATRE: War Horse, New Theatre, Oxford, Thurs 22 Aug – Sat 7 Sept

The brilliant War Horse comes to New Theatre next month- set in WW1, this spectacular production is theatre at its best with the puppetry so clever that after a while you forget about the operators and models- a must see.

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