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What’s on this weekend

FRI 25 – SUN 27 MAY

 

Chelsea Flower Show, Chelsea London, Tues 22 – Sat 26 May

rusted metal staircase surrounded by white and pink flowers Royal Wedding floral exhibit created by Hillier Gardens

Nope I haven’t lost my marbles or taken a Google Maps detour, it’s Chelsea’s annual flower fest and this year is set to be beauty thanks to Hillier Gardens. I love a mooch around their Newbury and Sunningdale garden centres. Not only does Hillier hold the world record for gold medals (72, since you ask), but the team was also asked to create a show-stopping floral exhibit (never been done before) at the entrance. So it seems fitting that it’ll celebrate the wedding of Harry and Meghan. Pass the tissues and a Pimms, it’s going to bloomin’ gorgeous. hillier.co.uk

 

Lynn Chadwick, Cliveden National Trust Taplow, Wed 1 May – Oct 2018

Lynn Chadwick metal work sculptures of human form at Cliveden House

If you loved the Benar Venet sculptures at Cliveden last year, then the new installation of English sculpture and artist Lynn Chadwick’s awesome abstract metal works inspired by the human form and natural world. His big, bold sculptural pieces are doted around the grounds. Take a stroll, admire and then pop into Cliveden House for afternoon tea or lunch at the Astor Grill. nationaltrust.org.uk/cliveden

 

 

Friday Night Pop Up Bar, Douai Pavillion Woolhampton, Fri 25 May

bottles of gin lined up on 2 wooden shelves in a bar

Fancy sitting in the sunshine with stunning views across the Berkshire countryside, while your kids safely run feral outside playing games? Sign me up, baby. I’m thinking chilled rosés and gin and tonics and bit of food. This utopia is a reality. Throughout the summer, the lovely team at Birch Associates Events will be running a pop up bar at Douai Pavillion in Woolhampton every Friday night. If you’re in the area, pop in and pop that cork. douaipark.org.uk

 

 

Newbury Spring Festival, various locations Sat 12 – Sat 26 May

Sting musicians using violin bows to attack the bass man Graffiti Classics

This whopping music festival has grown over the last 40 years to now attract the very best in classical, jazz and world music acts. Over 40 concerts will take place this year from 12 to 26 May in some glorious venues, including Englefield House, Highclere Castle, Donnington Priory and the Corn Exchange Newbury where you can catch saxophonist YolanDa Brown and Graffiti Classics (above). www.newburyspringfestival.org.uk

 

Wedding Bells of Windsor Music Festival, Moat Garden Windsor Castle, Sat 26 May

Three young girls playing dress up in royal court clothes Windsor Castle

The Wedding celebrations are gonna be geeked out until autumn, I reckon. A week after the I dos, Windsor Castle will celebrate royal wedding past and present with a music festival in the Moat Garden. Take part in special wedding-themed storytelling sessions, picnic beneath the Round Tower and listen to live music throughout the day. Perfect opportunity to catch up on some zzzz in the sunshine. royalcollection.org.uk

 

Sonning Regatta, Sat 26 May

tow path walk in Sonning, Berkshire, with the river running past and an old red brick humpback bridge surrounded by willows

If you’re going to mess about by the river in a Wind In The Willows styles, then you can’t beat the Sonning Regatta. It’s a fun, family event with races for all ages and all rowing abilities – from aspiring Redgraves to novices. You can also try a dongola or a katakanu. Er, no clue – but the beer tent and BBQ sound right up my street. sonningfestival.co.uk

 

 

Colourscape, Waddesdon Manor, Sat 26 May – Sun 3rd June

For the fourth year in a row, the spectacular Colourscape returns to Waddesdon with 56 interlinked chambers for the trippiest experience outside of Glastonbury. There’s a new structure to fit the Aviary glade with long views of intense colour and light plus music and dance performances inside the larger spaces. To be honest, the performances are a bit bonkers but you can easily whizz off down another bouncy tunnel if they’re just too, erm, ethnic, for you. Obviously, it’s great for kids too so although the queues are often daunting, persevere as it’s one of the most unusual experiences around. Waddesdon.org.uk

 

Common People, Oxford, 26-27 May

commonpeoplefestival

Hurray for a city centre festival that it’s easy to get home from. Based in the pretty South Park, this is Bestival founder Rob da Bank’s latest venture which is now in its third year. It’s brilliantly organized, the bands are good (this year’s performers include The New Power Generation of Prince fame, Boney M, Morcheeba and Tiger Mendoza, to name but a few), ditto the kids’ area. And tent refuseniks will be pleased to hear there’s no camping on site. South Park, Oxford oxford.commonpeople.net

 

Open Studio: 30 Years, West Berks and North Hants, Tue 1 – Thu 31May

Mixed media art colourful pledges Sarah Moorcroft textiles

Amazing art in open studios and private spaces across West Berkshire and North Hampshire throughout May and totally free! Simply go to the Open Studios website, find an artist and pop along for a nose. The main exhibition is INSIGHT at Arlington Arts Centre where 123 artists will show their pieces. My faves include Tom Cartmill’s drawings at his Burghfield studio and textile artist Sarah Moorcroft (she’s worked for everyone from Monsoon to Missoni) at Lower Way Farm Thatcham. openstudios.org.uk

 

Midsummer Night’s Dream, Watermill Theatre Bagnor, now – Sat 16 Jun

Midnight blue background and purple neon A Midsummer Night's Dream Watermill Theatre Bagnor

The Bard is back! Following on from the huge success of Twelfth Night and Romeo + Juliet, it’s the turn of A Midsummer Night’s Dream to be performed by the Watermill ensemble. The staging’s always clever, fusing actor musicianship with one of Shakespeare’s greatest comedies. watermill.org.uk

 

Alice in Wonderland, Cornerstone Arts, Didcot, Sun 27 May

Here I am dressed as the Easter Bunny jumping for joy as it’s Bank Holiday Sunday…ahem. Those clever dancey types at Let’s All Dance are performing Alice in Wonderland with two to eleven year olds and special needs kids in mind. Looks thoroughly charming. Cornerstone-arts.org

The Design Museum, London, from Thurs 10 May to Sun 7 Oct

Fascinating exhibition of the sculptor turned couturier, Azzedine Alaïa, who found fans in Michelle Obama, Rhianna and Grace Jones, with his flair for couture and refusal to stick to fashion week deadlines. designmuseum.org

 

BOOK NOW FOR

Chalke Valley History Festival, Church Farm Nr Salisbury, Wilts, 25 June – 1 July

child dressed as roman soldier charging with wooden sword and shield at Chalke Valley History Festival Wiltshire

If you and your kids love Horrible Histories, dressing up and a game of spot the celeb then book up for the Chalke Valley History Festival nr Salisbury in wiltshire. It is absolutely HUUUUUUGE! This 7 day summer jaunt is dedicated entirely to history in the UK, it’s set across 70 acres with enactments, sword school, a trench experience and more more more. It’s an awesome day out – A* in History almost guaranteed. cvhf.org.uk

 

Open Air Cinema, Douai Pavillion Woolhampton, Sat 22 July

La La Land Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone dancing

Ah Ryan Gosling, you gorgeous specimen of man. Sorry, he stars in La La Land with Emma Stone. Yes it’s a musical of the old school variety, yes it is romantic and if you haven’t seen this Oscar winning hit, now’s your chance. Go, just for Ryan. He’s, I mean it’s, magic. Birch Associates Events are hosting at the idyllic Douai Pavilion in Woolhampton – £15 ticket price includes a deckchair. There’s a full bar, hog roast, burgers, hot dogs, candy floss, popcorn, ice creams. Doors open at 5pm for a 7pm viewing. Fab night out with family and friends. birchassociates.co.uk

 

The Little Welly Adventure Course, Culden Faw Estate Henley, 9-10 June

Little Welly adventure course pool of foam

Give it some welly and book now for this summer’s much-loved Little Welly kids’ obstacle course (even the most iPad-obsessed nippers can’t resist). It’s 9 and 10 June just over the border in in Henley. Go, go, go! Snap up your tickets. thelittlewelly.co.uk

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