The Urban Guide to the Countryside
Bucks & Oxon Edition

Category: Days out

The Top 6 Bluebell Woods

28 Apr 2016

Uh-oh, I have a feeling this list will be highly contentious… We’re so lucky to have the most incredible number of bluebell woods in Oxon and Bucks, so I’ve drawn up this list really as a prompt as the blubells don’t last long and the May Bank Holiday is nearly here – a great opportunity to go and enjoy the view. If you think there is a horrific omission, a crime against nature no less, let me know and I’ll put it on the list!

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Have you been to Stonor Park? Put it on your Visit List

13 Apr 2016

Interesting times afoot at Stonor Park, one of the few privately owned stately homes in the area. It’s probably not been at the top of your must-see venues – Blenheim Palace and Waddesdon are the big beasts of the area – but it’s worth knowing about Stonor because they’re massively upping their offering this summer.

The manor house dates back more than 850 years and incredibly still in the same Catholic family, despite a turbulent Tudor history that saw its lands reduced as the family sought to survive.

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Up the highest tower in Oxford. Fancy a look?

29 Feb 2016

Went into Oxford last Monday to take my kids to the Andy Warhol exhibition at The Ashmolean Museum – because those bratlets will be cultured, goddamit. But I entirely forgot that all the museums are closed on a Monday (even in half term which seem a bit daft). Cue some quick thinking and a change of plan.

Which was a scurry up St Michael in the North Gate tower, on the corner of Cornmarket and Ship Street.

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Get your skates on

8 Dec 2015

You’ve booked the panto, and taken the kids to visit Santa, but – ah –  have you broken your wrist in time for Christmas yet? Here are the best venues for sliding, gliding, wobbling and hopefully not falling on ice.

Windsor on Ice, Alexandra Gardens, Windsor, 28 Nov – 3 Jan

Watch with awe as Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip perform their famous take on Bolero around at this local ice rink.

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Stay here: The Wild Rabbit, Kingham

25 Nov 2015

Well, this is a no-brainer. Anyone who lives in or near the Cotswolds has no doubt already heard of The Wild Rabbit, the super-chic 12 room boutique hotel that revolutionised the humble inn with its pretty stone,  Farrow & Balled ledges, and gorgeous reworking of rural luxury.

This one of those rare glorious features where the photos will do most of the talking – yeah baby, I’m gonna rest my fingers right here!

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A beautiful walk in Burnham Beeches

10 Nov 2015

Just a quickie really to let those of you who aren’t in South Bucks know about Burnham Beeches, one of the loveliest, most family-friendly spots for woodland walking I’ve come across around these ‘ere parts. The image above was taken by me, no filters or funny tricky photoshop stuff. This is really what it looks like!

I’ve driven past the sign for Burnham Beeches scores of times, but I’m usually tanking it elsewhere in the car so never get around to detouring off for it.

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REVIEW: *Brilliant* family getaway near Bath

17 Oct 2015

I always get a tingle when I find something I know Muddy readers will love too and whoa, I’m feeling it big style on this one. If you’re looking for a family break with younger kids, this is totally it. Last weekend I went down to Woolley Grange, about 6 miles from Bath with the Muddy clan and it pretty much ticked every box. A triumph of relaxation frankly.

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KIDS: River & Rowing and a fab lunchy

7 Sep 2015


You can always rely on the River & Rowing Museum to provide gloriously silly fancy dress with their holiday activity program. Having elbowed several children out the way to get at the goods (don’t get sniffy, at least one of them was mine) , I threw on this polyester gold lame number.

This little piece of Tutenkhamun loveliness is part of the Epic Egypt family exhibition that’s been running all summer.

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Try this: Cool camping in Longridge, nr Marlow

10 Aug 2015

Excited to tell you about this because it is a great option for low-hassle camping – and lord knows in the not-very-tent-friendly Muddy family we like the sound of that!

I’ve wrote a few weeks ago about the children’s activity days at Longridge (nr Marlow) that run through summer (see my post here), but it’s also worth telling you about the Family Activity Weekend I just went on with the Muddy ankle-biters.

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Day tripper: Muddy visits Gerrard’s Cross

7 Aug 2015

Gerrard’s Cross is one of those places that you feel like you should have visited, even if you never have. Close to the larger, slicker Beaconsfield, GC is actually the closer to London (and don’t the estate agents know it!), and has an air of cheerful Home Counties commuter-belt wealth, despite the dull brick facades and busy road on the high street.

I visited in April and again last month, and if you tend to shop in nearby Amersham, Beaconsfield and Marlow it’s worth a detour, even with kids in tow, because when they start whining about how shopping is so borrrrrrrrrrring there’s a fantastic 32 hectare central public park, Gerrards Cross Common to boot them into (above), with play facilities, plus Bulstrode Park Camp, a preserved area of land which was an Iron Age fortified encampment.

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The Urban Guide to the Countryside -
Bucks & Oxon Edition