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EVENT: #Loveunites Reading Pride, Kings Meadows Reading Sat 31 Aug

#LoveUnites Reading Pride 2019 rainbow steps Reading Station

Reading Station’s stairway to Pride heaven.

The LGBT community celebrate love in an explosion of colour and glitter. The Pride Parade will weave its way through Reading before finishing at the Pride site off Napier Road for the ultimate party with local musicians taking to the Pride aLive stage for a FREE festival. Singer-songwriters Eleanor Knight and Amya Ray will perform alongside Buildings On Fire, Stuart Hutton  and EJ the Elton John Tribute act.


COMEDY: Bill Bailey: Larks In Transit, The Hexagon Reading, Fri 30 Aug

comedian bill bailey bald head beard and green map background

From the Far East to Reading, Bill Bailey’s hilarious observations of two decades as a travelling comedian with music, storytelling and banter has kept audiences from Vietnam to Shanghai in stitches and now its Reading’s turn.


FASHION: Basildon Park En Vogue, Basildon Park Lower Basildon, now – Mon 18 Nov

Christian Dior label Basildon Park En Vogue exhibition

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.


THEATRE: The Lady Vanishes, Theatre Royal Windsor, Tue 27 – Sat 31 Aug

Corrie co stars Gwen Taylor and Andrew Lancel The Lady Vanishes Theatre Royal Windsor

Hitchcock’s The Lady Vanishes is a masterclass in mystery, comedy and suspense, set in an age when hats and fur collars were a must and train carriages resembled your nan’s living room. BAFTA-nominated Gwen Taylor and ‘Villain of the Year’ Andrew Lancel reunite for the first time since Corrie for this classic whodunnit, as they try to unravel the mystery of a woman’s disappearance on a train, bewildered that their fellow passengers deny ever seeing her. We feel the same trying to find the buffet car.


THEATRE: Grimm Tales, South Hill Park Bracknell, now – Sun 1 Sep

Grimm tales south hill park bracknell striped foot into glittery shoE

First produced at the Young Vic Theatre in 1994 to critical acclaim, poet laureate Carol Ann Duffy’s adaptation of the Grimm brothers’ famous fairytales comes to life on stage at South Hill Park in Bracknell. From the family drama of Hansel and Gretel, to the touching tale of Cinderella, and other magical stories, Grimm Tales is one to see this summer suitable for ages 7+).


TOUR: Conquer the Tower, Windsor Castle, until 30 Sep

Windsor Castle view from the round tower of St george's Chapel on Harry and Maghan's wedding day

Picture: Royal Collection

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.


SPORT: The Big Tree Climb, Cliveden, Fri 30 Aug 

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!


OUTDOOR THEATRE: National Trust Cliveden Taplow, Fri 30 Aug

italianate garde 1 list mansion Cliveden House Hoteal and parterre lawn

Cliveden Water Garden‘s beautiful formal gardens are the setting for Noel Coward’s comedy of manners Private Lives, about a divorced couple who end up in adjacent rooms on honeymoons with their new spouses- awks!


FOOD & DRINK: Friday pop up bar, Douai Pavillion Woolhampton, Fri 30 Aug

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! 


KIDS: The Maidenhead Beach, Norden Farm Maidenhead, now – Sat 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.


DOGS: Fest of Chihuahaus Summer of Love, Windsor Racecourse, Sat 31 Aug

Festival of Chihauhas Summer of Love

Peace and love love, baby. Nope you’ve not been taking too many mind-altering drugs, that is a small dog wearing a flower garland. It can only mean one thing – the Fest of Chihuahuas Summer Of Love is back. It’s all in aid of dog charity Chihuahuas Rescue UK and Wild At Heart Foundation – expect lots of cuteness, dog outfits, doga (dog yoga), live music and the much anticipated Chi Idol with special celebrity owners entering the parade ring.


EXHIBITIONS: 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.


Bears, Rivers and Rowing Museum Henley On Thames

Bears River and Rowing exhibition Henley gif

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.


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.


SPORT: Colour Rush, Prospect Park Reading, Sat 31 Aug

People partying at a festival throwing bright coloured powder in the air

Become a family of unicorns with a 5K Colour Rush fun run in aid of Sue Ryder Hospice. As someone who looks like a raspberry after a run, I’m thinking that becoming a walking or running rainbow could be a bonus. Suitable for all ages and abilities, so colour crazy before and say bye bye to summer.


FAMILY FUN: Kite Festival, Boyn Grove Park Maidenhead, Sun 1 SepLong line of fish aeroplane kites flying in the sky
Find your inner Mary Poppins and go fly a kite at Boyn Grove Park for the first ever Community Kite Festival (1pm-4pm). It’s free (good job as we’re all broke by now) and join in the kit flying fun on the hill. The pros will be there to provide the wow, plus there’s pizza and beer.


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.


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.



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.


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.


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

Giddy up for the return of the brilliant War Horse to Muddy Award-winning New Theatre Oxford this week. 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, trust me, it’s a must see.


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.


SPORT: Summer of Sport, Waddesdon Manor, Aylesbury, Wed 24 Jul – Fri 30 Aug (Wed – Sun)

Waddesdon’s gorgeous grounds above will play host to a variety of sporting activities over the summer break including three sporty-themed trails, workouts, orienteering, football, badminton, table tennis and the National Trust venue is even putting on its own  Tour de Waddesdon. Follow it up with a trip to artisan ice cream from local supplier Oliphant and Pomeroy who’ll be on site for the summer.


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, now – 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+.


THEATRE: Kids Week, various London locations, throughout August

Everyone's Talking About Jamie cast dancing in scholl uniform on stage

This August, children aged 16 or under can get FREE theatre tickets to selected performances across London (when  accompanied by a paying adult). There is a huuuge selection of shows to choose from including Peter Pan at The White City Theatre, which features spectacular aerial acrobatics, live music from an on-stage band – and no shortage of magic and mischief.  Hop over to the Theatre Royal Haymarket, Where Is Peter Rabbit? comes to life on stage with beautifully handcrafted puppets for 5+ year olds. Or for older kids, Everybody’s Talking About Jamie at the Apollo Theatre is a modern-day fairytale, based on the true story of a 16 year-old with a secret to tell – and aspirations to make true.


FAMILY FUN: Underbelly Festival, London

There’s loads going on between Southbank Centre, Jubilee Gardens and the London Eye this summer, part of Underbelly Festival, including comedy, circus, cabaret, family fun and one of the biggest outdoor bars in London (oh hello!). The big draw for the little people is CBeebies’ Twirlywoos first ever stage show (3 – 31 Aug) featuring your 1+ year old’s favourite spherical characters Toodloo, Great BigHoo, Chickedy and Peekaboo (nope, me neither), plus live puppetry and songs. It will be nice for them to watch something on stage, rather than the telly, right?


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).



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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