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What’s on this week in Bucks & Oxon

Sofa surfing, or fancy a local jaunt? I've got both covered in my curated guide to the week handily split into outdoor and online fun.


WELLBEING: ParkFit, Stonor Park, nr Henley, 22 Jul

Stonor ParkFit

With the gyms still closed until later this month, Stonor has spotted an opportunity and, gotta say, I’m loving their work on this one. Their new Stonor ParkFit programme is made up of post-lockdown, socially-distanced fitness classes aimed at cardiovascular health and overall strength, run by Cynergy personal trainers and set in the beautiful gardens and deer park. Beats staring at an unflatteringly-lit gym mirror, doesn’t it? Kick off for the one-hour sessions starts at 9.15am every Wednesday and all abilities are welcome. Each session costs £15 or you can block book 10 sessions for £120. Plus, £1 from every session goes to Patagonia Action Works, so it’s a feel-good workout in more ways than one. Book here

EVENT: Car Park Party, Newbury Racecourse, Berks, 24 – 25 Jul

Safe and socially distanced night out ahoy! Car Park Party is parking up at several locations across the Muddy counties including just over the border in Newbury. Entertainment includes comedy nights (world-famous Comedy Store are supplying the laughs), live theatre (award-winning Birmingham Stage Company is performing kiddie favourite Horrible Histories: Barmy Britain, which seems rather apt in these times!) and karaoke (choose from 1980s, family movies and musicals). Book tickets here.

EAT: Giffords Circus Sauce Restaurant pop-up, Stonor Park, nr Henley, 24 Jul – 9 Aug

While magical travelling show Giffords Circus may not be throwing up its big top any time soon, its famous Circus Sauce restaurant is setting up home at Stonor this summer. From Fri 24 July to Sun 9 August, it will serve up rustically extravagant three-course feasts on Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday evenings, with adults costing £35 and kids £25. The menu changes weekly (all the more excuse to visit several times 🍕), but if you can’t make the evening, the vintage pizza van will be slinging freshly-cooked ‘za from midday to 4pm on Thurs-Sun, and until closing time on Wednesdays. Book your tickets here.

WELLBEING: Buzz Gym re-opens, Westgate Oxford, 25 Jul

Roof terrace Westgate

Buzz Gym finally has a reopening date of Sat 25 July (hooray!), but in the meantime the team are running Outdoor Bootcamp sessions on The Roof Terrace for members, so you can get your sweat on before your shopping sesh. Classes take place on Mondays, Wednesday and Friday, and must be pre-booked via the Buzz Gym app or on the ‘Members Area’ on its website.

DRIVE-IN CINEMA: Luna Cinema, Blenheim Palace, Woodstock, until 28 Jul 

The ever-popular Luna Cinema is back with a drive-in makeover. Expect giant HD LED screens, state-of-the-art digital in-car speakers and stunning backdrops. We love the sound of the Luna Bar – order food and drink from your car by scanning the QR code on the in-car speaker you’re given and hey presto, they’ll roller-skate it over to you. Toilets and medics are on site too (just in case you get overwhelm from a 30ft Bradley Cooper). At the 18th-century stunner this week you can watch Jurassic Park, Grease (sing-along), Rocketman (sing-along), Dirty Dancing and Swan Lake.

EXHIBITION: Nick Knight: Roses from my Garden, Waddesdon Manor, until 25 Oct 

Isn’t this just beautiful? The image was taken by legendary fashion (Jil Sander) and celebrity (The Queen, Lady Gaga) photographer Nick Knight. He’s coming up roses with an exhibition at Waddesdon Manor, which features manipulated photographs of roses inspired by the work of 16th- and 17th-century still life painters like Jan Brueghel the Elder and Jan van Huysum. Read our interview with Nick here.

KIDS: Escape Hunt, Westgate Oxford

Been pulling your hair out trying to keep the kids busy during lockdown? Try sealing them in a room! We jest (sort of). Escape Hunt has re-opened its doors, which means you can keep your offspring aged 8 and up entertained for at least an hour with their escape rooms. Take your pick from Alice in Puzzleland, official Doctor Who (with a Jodie Whittaker voiceover) or Magic Portal, an outdoor game.

DRIVE-IN CINEMA: Tom Kerridge’s Drive & Dine Theatre, Henley Showground, until 26 Jul 

With Pub in the Park cancelled this year, the Michelin-starred Marlow marvel chef has instead organised a drive-in cinema experience, complete with a top-notch foodie offering (we wouldn’t expect anything less). There are loads of films on the movie reel including Jaws (22 Jul), defining Eighties classics Back To The Future and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (25 Jul, 4.30pm and 8.30pm respectively) and Baz Luhrmann’s Moulin Rouge (26 Jul). See the full line up here.

EXHIBITION: International Garden Photographer of the Year Exhibition, Blenheim Palace, Woodstock, until 19 Aug 

Wanna see some pretty pictures? This outdoor exhibition features unusual earthy shots of gardens, flowers, plants and botanicals printed on large display boards next to the Rose Garden. The palace, park and gardens are now all open for visitors.

ONLINE EXHIBITION: Young Rembrandt, Ashmolean Museum, Oxford

If you didn’t get the chance to scope out the Ashmolean’s major newYoung Rembrandt exhibition before lockdown hit, you can access the exhibit online – there’s an introductory video by the museum’s curator, plus a step by step visual tour.

MUSIC: Invisible Music, The North Wall, Oxford, until 14 Aug 

This free online streaming performance combines experimental new music from Pete Flood (Bellowhead’s arranger and composer) with striking projections by digital artist Barret Hodgson (Fatboy Slim; Motionhouse) exploring themes of hearing loss, drawn from personal experiences.

THEATRE: The Contagion Cabaret, The Theatre Chipping Norton

Three cheers for Chippy’s brilliant local theatre for giving us a few laughs during this stressful time! A collaboration between The Theatre Chipping Norton and the Diseases of Modern Life team at University of Oxford, this pre-recorded show is an irreverent historical look at lockdowns, plagues and pandemics featuring extracts from plays, poems, journalism and music throughout history. You can also watch a Q&A with the creative team here.

MUSIC: Garsington Opera online

The bucolic Wormsley Estate, above, (home to Garsington Opera) may be closed for now but you can still get your opera fix online with three of the iconic opera company’s full length shows: Les nozze di Figaro, The Turn of the Screw and opera on ice (yep, really!), The Skating Rink. There’s also a brand new documentary series on YouTube which explores opera’s connection to art and literature, presented by Garsington’s Johnny Langridge and art historian Dr Imogen Tedbury.

EXHIBITION: The Art of Advertising, The Bodleian Library, Oxford, until 31 Aug 

How cool is this print? The Bodleian’s The Art of Advertising has gone online; a whistle-stop tour through British advertising from the mid-18th century to the 1930s, you can see prints from the Bodleian’s renowned John Johnson Collection of Printed Ephemera.

THEATRE: Neon Dance, Dancin’ Oxford, until 31 Dec 

Missed Dancin’ Oxford’s annual festival earlier this year? You can now watch Neon Dance’s striking performance set in the stunning Oxford Museum of Natural History online. Watch it here.

EXHIBITION: Kiki Smith: I am Wanderer, Modern Art Oxford, until 10 Aug 

Modern Art Oxford is still closed for now but you can see the quirky Kiki Smith show ‘I Am Wanderer’ over on the gallery’s website with a virtual tour that takes you on a mythological and folkloric journey through her huge tapestries and exquisitely-fashioned gold shells – all from the comfort of your sofa.


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