The Muddy Guide: Thurs 24 – Weds 30 March
Visionary Painter of the Natural World, Stanley Spencer Gallery, 24 March to 31 October
This new exhibition opens today in the Stanley Spencer Gallery in Cookham. I popped in to see the last exhibition with Mr P a few weeks ago and we really enjoyed it, it’s a gorgeous little gallery with a lot to see in a small, stylish space. And there are lots of lovely places to eat and visit in the village including Bel & The Dragon, the Deliciously French deli and the newly refurbished White Oak – read my review – plus lots of walks too so you can easily make a day of it. This latest exhibition will be highlighting Spencer’s depictions of the natural world, exploring the artist’s consummate skill in a series of exquisitely executed flower paintings, garden vistas and landscapes. The works include lush plants and flowers, together with gardens, green spaces, landscapes and river scenes and will include some of Spencer’s most memorable works. The gallery is open every day from 10.30am to 5.30pm, admission £5; free for accompanied children.
Stanley Spencer Gallery, High Street, Cookham SL6 9SJ. Tel: 01628 471 885. www.stanleyspencer.org.uk
13 The Musical, South Hill Park, Bracknell, Thurs 24 March, 2.30pm and 7.30pm
This amateur production of the Broadway smash ’13’ is all about becoming a teenager. Growing up in New York, Evan Goldman, finds his life turned upside down when he is forced to move to the middle of nowhere – Appleton, Indiana. This fast moving, funny show deals with relationships, getting things wrong (and right) and proves that being 13 is a pretty unsettling ride (uh, surely being the parent of a 13-year old is far more unsettling?!). A large talented cast, great music and lots of fun, this looks like a good one whether you’re 13 or beyond! Tickets: £15; Dinner/Theatre £30.
Wilde Theatre, South Hill Park, Ringmead, Bracknell RG12 7PA. Box Office: 01344 484123. www.southillpark.org.uk
Baby Big Top Circus, Wellington Country Park, Fri 25 to Mon 28 March
Welly, as its affectionately known in our family, is a firm favourite with my two mudlets – Wellington Country Park is situated in 350 acres of beautiful parklands and is located just off the A33 between Reading and Basingstoke, on the Hants/Berks border and we’ve been going since they were diddy. Lots of open space and stacks to do and there are always loads of events going on. I’d say the facilities and attractions are suited to children up to the age of about 8 to 10. And next week, roll up, roll up because the circus is in town! Now don’t go expecting Cirque Du Soleil – this is a more modest affair – but there’s plenty of talent, and it will certainly entertain younger children with is jugglers, plate spinners, acrobats, unicyclists – the whole shebang. Shows at 11am, 1pm and 3pm included in your general admission price, No need to book but the shows do get busy so definitely rock up as early as you can. Park admission: Adult £8.00, Child (3-15 years) £7.00 Child 2 and under free.
Wellington Country Park, Odiham Road, Riseley, Reading RG7 1SP. Tel: 01189 326444. www.wellington-country-park.co.uk
Daffodil Trail, Basildon Park, Lower Basildon, nr Reading, until March 30
Follow the pushchair friendly Daffodil trail around the beautiful gardens and discover signs of spring, testing your knowledge along the way. The trail has been running throughout March so you can just catch it in its final week. It costs £2 and is suitable for children of all ages. Don’t forget to pick up your prize at the end. Dogs are welcome on short leads and there’s water and dog biscuits waiting for them back at the café, and cake for all you daffodil hunters.
Basildon Park, Lower Basildon, Reading, RG8 9NR. www.nationaltrust.org.uk/basildon-park
Bayeux Tapestry Tour, Reading Museum, every Saturday, 2.15pm
There are a number of replicas of the Bayeux Tapestry in existence, and one is *donk* right on our doorstep, at The Reading Museum. Through the collaboration of William Morris (whose 182nd birthday today is marked with a Google Doodle) with textile manufacturer Thomas Wardle, Wardle’s wife Elizabeth, who was an accomplished seamstress, embarked on creating a reproduction in 1885. She organised some 37 women in her Leek School of Art Embroidery to collaborate working from a full-scale water-colour facsimile drawing provided by the South Kensington Museum. The full-size replica was finished in 1886 and is now exhibited in the museum. Factoid: The naked figure in the original tapestry is depicted wearing a garment to cover their modesty unlike the original where they are *ahem* free and easy. The museum does a guided tour of this now famous full-sized tapestry. No need to book, it’s every Saturday in the Bayeux Gallery, suitable for all ages from 2.15pm to 3pm. £2 suggested donation.
Reading Museum, The Town Hall, Blagrave Street, Reading RG1 1QH. Tel: 0118 937 3400. www.readingmuseum.org.uk
Celebrating Forests, Living Rainforest, Hampstead Norreys, nr Newbury, 25 March to 13 April
I’ll forgive you for not knowing this, but International Day of Forests is celebrated worldwide every year on 21 March (you did know? My humble apologies!). The Living Rainforest will be celebrating the rich ecological and cultural heritage of our rainforests with events that show how rainforests provide a home to a huge range of plants and animals, invertebrates and fungi. And I for one am up for combining a day out with some sneaky extra-curricular learning! Enjoy rainforest tours led by knowledgeable guides, children’s craft workshops, animal feeding sessions and the ever-popular rainforest music workshops with local musician Max Hunt. All events are free with normal entry which is: Adult £9.95, Child (2-14) £8.45, under 2 free.
The Living Rainforest, Hampstead Norreys, nr Newbury RG18 0TN. www.livingrainforest.org
Spring Watch Paddle, Dinton Activity Centre, Hurst, Sun 27 March
Enjoy a relaxing morning canoeing and spotting water birds up close on the lakes at Dinton Activity Centre, before enjoying a coffee and a slab of cake (now you’re talking). 10.30am to 12.30pm. Suitable for 4+ years. £8 adults, £6 child, booking essential.
Tap Factory, Corn Exchange, Newbury, Sun 27 March, 2.30pm and 7pm
If you can tear your eyeballs away from his rather tremendous biceps for a moment, I’ll explain… Tap Factory is coming to the Corn Exchange in Newbury for one day only, this Sunday, and features some of the world’s best tap dancers and international musicians in a cool and dynamic show blending art, dance, percussion, comedy, and cirque acrobatics. An amazing fully choreographed spectacular, it features mind blowing live percussion, and some easy-on-the-eye male dancers and acrobats. With urban, tap dance, hip hop, comedy, and aerial acrobatics it really is a fun, high octane show that would be perfect to see with a gaggle of girlfriends, and has had sell out tours across Europe and the States. Tickets £24, shows at 2.30pm and 7pm on Sun 27 March.
Corn Exchange Newbury, Market Place, Newbury RG14 5BD. Box Office: 0845 5218218. cornexchangenew.com
Arty Family Fun with The Creation Station, Eddie Katz, Newbury, Mon 28 March
Oh joy! Here’s a way to avoid glue and carnage on our own kitchen tables and let someone else take the hit! The Creation Station is setting up shop at Eddie Katz in Newbury for the day (Mon 28 March) for some fun arts and crafts. With plenty of sequins, sparkles and glitter to go around it’s sure to be a creatively messy session for grown ups and children alike. £7 per child, £5 per sibling, includes a free play at Eddie Catz after the workshop. Suitable for children aged 2 to 7 with their parents. For more info email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Tel: 0844 874 7361. www.thecreationstation.co.uk
Bumper Muddy Easter What’s On Guide (try saying that with a mouthful of chocolate eggs!)
Don’t forget throughout the Easter holidays to refer to our Bumper Muddy Easter What’s On Guide for loads of ideas on what to do and where to go with the kids across Berkshire and beyond. Right, I’m off to bite the head off a chocolate rabbit! Happy Easter x