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This weekend

FRI 10 – SUN 12 AUG

MUSIC: Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup, Ascot Racecourse, Sat 11 Aug
British singer Rota Ora bobbed hair black top arms stretched above her head on pink background
Like an older, sensible sibling, Royal Ascot, is fun but familiar, whereas the Shergar Cup with its four-hour party in the paddock is its trailblazing younger sister, scorching the racecourse turf. It’s fast becoming one of the events of the summer season and with Rita Ora, Example and DJ Wire, Soul II Soul and Scott Mills taking to the stage this year. Advance tickets from £49, under 18s are.


ART: Streetscapes exhibition, Green Park Reading, Fri 10 – Sun 12 Aug

Snap happy I am – iPhone clamped to my hand, snapping away, cropping, adding filters and posting one decent image from a gazillion. But when you come across the pros, it goes from amateur hour to art. Streetscapes is the latest touring photographic exhibition by The Photographic Angle capturing a visual post it note of urban life. Don’t miss it. Puts my feeble efforts into perspective. Free entry.


EVENT: A Vow To A Kill,  St Laurence’s Church Reading, Sat 11 Aug

A Vow to a kill murder mystery treasure hunt bridal bouquet wedding rings

There are days when I would happily throttle Mr Muddy, but our wedding day wasn’t one of them. The team behind A Shot I the Saddle and A Dish To Die For are back with a new murder mystery treasure hunt. Grab your smartphone, solve the clues and play detective on the streets of Reading. The story brings are whole new meaning to tying the know. Brilliant event for tech obsessed teen and wannabe Miss Marples.

FESTIVAL: Retro Festival, Newbury Showground, Fri 10 – Sun 12 Aug

Retro Festival Newbury west berkshire three girls in floral print dress sat on an old car surrounded by hay bales and a bell tent

Practice your Victory Rolls and slick on the perfect red lip it’s time to party like it 1940-something. Retro Festival at Newbury Showground will roll into town for a turn back time three-day event with live music, air displays, vintage cars, fair ground, retro shopping and a hair salon for those of us who need a little help to look like a pin up.

FAMILY FUN: Summer of Fun, Legoland Windsor, now – Sun 2 Sep

Legoland Windsor Sand Sculptures mark the beginning of the summer of fun berkshireThis way to the beach… As the Lego figures wrestle with their Love Island style short shorts and high cut wedgie swimwear, your kids can go wild at Legoland Windsor’s first ever Beach Party with pop music, activities, challenges, sandy beach, splash safari and drench towers.

THEATRE: Cliveden Outdoor Theatre, National Trust Cliveden Taplow, Wed 8 – Fri 10 Aug
The beautiful oriental-inspired garden with its six-sided Chinese pagoda is the setting for this year’s theatrical offerings at the ever elegant Cliveden. Bring a picnic or purchase nibbles from The Doll’s House cafe and enjoy have your hanky ready for a magical adaptation of E Nesbit’s The Railway Children on Weds 8 Aug. Or get the hairs standing up on the back of your neck with a spooky retelling of Sherlock Holmes’ The Hound of the Baskervilles on Thurs 9 Aug and Fri 10 Aug.

FILM: The Beatles: Yellow Submarine, Norden Farm, Wed 8 – Thu 9 Aug

Yellow Submarine psychedelic animated film starring The Beatles 50th anniversary

This is basically a public service film for all those curious kids out there wondering if the drugs really do work. Spoiler alert! They certainly did back in 1968. The Yellow Submarine film – a pre-Pixar psychedelic tripfest – is going to mess with your mind 50 years after it was first screened. Paul, John, Ringo and George are out to save Pepperland, 80,000 leagues under the sea, from an army of blue Meanies intent on draining it of all colour and hope. Nuff said. and on 18-19 Aug


FAMILY FUN: ‘Tracing their Footsteps’ High Wire Walk, Blenheim Palace, Sat 11 – Sun 12 Aug

Great Scott! Blenheim Palace steps backs in time to when the famous high-wire walker Carlos Trower scaled great heights above the estate’s lake in 1886. The incredible Bullzini Family will attempt to recreate this historic moment (hope the chap in the picture has got his swimming shorts on) alongside performances from Victorian strong man acrobats, jugglers, stilt walkers and a scattering of vintage fairground rides.


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 Sunday 2 September. Workshops are also running Sat 11 and 18 Aug; plus Sat 1 Sep. Altogether now… Let’s go fly a kite, up to highest heights… Too much?


SPORT: Thames Punting Championships, Maidenhead Rowing Club Taplow, Sun 12 Aug

What happens when a gentle punt down the River Thames gets competitive? Well, armed with a long pole and narrow boat there is a high probability of someone getting wet. Load up on Cornettos and head to the riverbank to see enthusiastic punters giving it their all. Fun starts at 10am downstream from Brunel’s famous railway bridge.

THEATRE: Help! Get Me Out of This Musical, South Hill Park Bracknell, Fri 10 – Sun 12 Aug
A teenagers worst nightmare? Apart from hanging out and having a conversation with their parents, having their life turned into a musical would be right up there. Help! Get Me Out Of This Musical is about a school bully who wakes to find his world has been turned into a song and dance theatrical nightmare. Strap yourselves in, Luke Sheppard’s (The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Aged 13 ¾, Matilda) direction brings fast-paced, side-splitting comedy. Take your teen and how the what embarrassing really looks like.

MUSIC: Alistair McGowan – Introduction to Classical Piano, Norden Farm Maidenhead, Sat 11 AugBritish impressionist Alistair McGowan staring out of a window in a suitBest known for voicing a who’s who of stars and, er, politicians, Alistair McGowan is the human equivalent of a mockingbird. But after a YouTube tutorial binegathon (joke), he has mastered Chopsticks at the age of 49, released a debut album and is now touring a new show which brings together all of his talents. Expect lots of piano action, a bit about each piece of music, the composer and an impression or two thrown in for good measure.

KIDS: The Maidenhead Beach, Norden Farm Maidenhead, now – Sun 2 Sep

Footprints in sand on beach

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.



Ant-Man and The Wasp, from 3 Aug

The newest marvel blockbuster and the first in the franchise to name a female character in its headline, sees Scott Lang struggling to balance being both a Super Hero and a father (it’s not that hard Scott – us mothers do it every day!). A new mission finds the Ant Man fighting alongside The Wasp to uncover secrets from their past. I’m sure it’s cooler than it sounds.


The Meg, from 10 Aug

Have you watched Jaws recently? It’s laughable how scared we used to get by such terrible 80s graphics. But that is definitely not the case with new $150 million horror The Meg. After escaping an attack by a 70-foot shark, Jonas Taylor played by Vin Diesel – because no action film is complete without the him – must confront his fears to save those trapped in a sunken submersible.


FAMILY FUN: Dragon Slyer, 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.

CULTURE: Disney in the West End Summer Pop-Up, Convent Garden, now – 26 Aug

If you’ve got a child with mini jazz hands, they will go nuts for this free pop-up experience in London’s Covent Garden. See the masks, costumes and puppets from The Lion King and step inside Aladdin’s cave to get a photo with the legendary lamp. There will also be events taking place each day, including a Mac make-up demonstration, a puppetry display, plus singing and dancing workshops.

ART: Scoop: A Wonderful Ice Cream World, The British Museum of Food, London, until 30 Sep

Finally! A valid excuse to stuff my face. The British Museum of Food returns with its first major exhibition Scoop: A Wonderful Ice Cream World. Dedicated entirely to the frozen treat, explore memorabilia from the world’s largest collection of ice cream paraphernalia, discover the neuroscience behind it and try scoops of bygone eras, from daffodil to all-day-breakfast flavour (hmm). Other highlights include ice cream-flavoured weather (vanilla fog!) and glow-in-the-dark concoction that you can eat in a futuristic luminescent cave. Pass the ladle, I’m going in…


FAMILY FUN: Zip Now London, Archbishops Park, Lambeth, until 9 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

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 Sound and Sourcery at The Vaults, an immersive music concert experience inspired by Disney’s Fantasy. Under Waterloo station, collect your headphones at the door and step inside the tunnels where you will dance with a funky hippo, walk in a prehistoric wasteland, seek out the fairies in a magic forest and sneak into the Sorcerer’s lair. Over at the National Theatre, the Star Seekers need help saving their space station in this interactive 50 minute show for 3 – 8 year olds. Or for older kids, Pressure at the Ambassador’s Theatre is a funny and tense play about the D-Day landings.


FILM: Film4 Summer screen, Somerset House, London, Thurs 9 – Weds 22 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. Highlights include the opening night premiere of The Wife introduced by Glen Close, Call Me By My Name on 20 Aug and Selma on 21 Aug.


ART: All Too Human: Bacon, Freud and a Century of Painting Life, Tate Britain, London, until 27 Aug

Paulo Rego, Bride 1994.

This fascinating exhibition All Too Human celebrates the painters in Britain who have tried to capture human figures, their relationships and surroundings, in paint. With works by Lucian Freud and Francis Bacon(including 3 of his works which have not been shown in Britain for decades) amongst others, the intimate representations of reality make for a powerful experience. Catch it while you can.

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