Your social life sorted: The Muddy Guide 10-16 August
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Oxford Art Fair, North Hinskey, Sat 11 – Sun 12 August
I think this one’s a goody. The Oxford Art Fair takes place this weekend in the beautiful gardens of Oxford’s much-recommended The Fishes country pub, featuring 40 emerging artists and hundreds of paintings, multi-media thingies and sculpture. I’ve been dying to get to The Fishes for ages – the pub is set in 3 acres of wooded grounds leading down to the banks of a street and sounds just idyllic. You can order a picnic from the bar and find your perfect spot for a lazy lunch. Throw in some kids entertainment and a bit of sunshine, and there you have it – a weekend masterpiece.
Saturday from 11am-8pm, Sunday 11am-5pm. The Fishes will be open till 11pm.
The Fishes, North Hinksey, OX2 0NA Oxford. Tel:01865 861778.
Wilderness Festival, Cornbury Park, Charlbury, Oxfordshire Fri 10- Sun 12 August
Yes, yes, I know I’ve been bleating on about this festival for a while but it really is the best one in the area by a country mile this summer and finally it’s here! There are still tickets available for the event which includes a masked ball, live music from Wilco and Spiritualised, yoga, talks from The Idler Academy and Granta, hot tubs, cool cafes and bookshops, bushcraft, cricket, horseriding, cabaret, fly fishing, zumba, jewellery making, gardening, theatre…. you name it, it’s there. A brilliant day out.
Wheels on the Bus, Oxford Playhouse, Oxford, Mon 13 – Wed 15 August
I’ve never quite got over taking my son to see Hi Five (remember them?) when he was three. It cost me £8 for a spinning light that he broke within the first ten minutes. Then he nodded off during the interval and I had to stagger out of the theatre with him snoring in my arms. Nevertheless, taking toddlers to the theatre is just one of things you have to do as a mum, so if you have little ones of your own, Wheels on the Bus might be a good option. The show is for 2+ (babies of 18 months or younger can go for free and sit on your lap) and runs for 90 minutes – plenty of time for Buster the big red bus to drive you totally nuts with If You’re Happy And You Know It and Heads, Shoulders, Knees and Toes. A nice touch is the free kids toys available in the circle bar after the show. Get your children settled, then head straight for the spirits to restore your equilibrium.
Adults £11, children £9. www.oxfordplayhouse.com
Ballet Essentials workshop with the English National Ballet, Windsor, Fri 17 August
This is an early heads up on this event as it’s bound to be terrifyingly oversubscribed. There’s an opportunity for diddy ballet dancers between 4 and 7 years old (awww!) to participate in a two hour workshop with the ENB at The Windsor Arts and Culture Centre. There are three days of pre-workshop ballet lessons with the wonderfully-monikered Miss Lucy of Blossom Ballet School (you only need to participate in one) between 14-16 August before the ENB Ballet Essentials workshop on 17 August. But before you imagine a kind of junior dysfunctional Black Swan scenario, fear not – it’s all sweet and benign with music, props and ballet stories helping to improve your little one’s movement and dance technique.
Ballet Essentials Workshop 1 for 4.5 – 5 years 10am-12pm; workshop 2 for 5.5 – 7 years 1-3pm. All classes £24. For more info, email [email protected]
Head for the coast
This could be the final hurrah for summer so I’d leg it on down to the seaside for the day. I’m not a pebble beach fans so anyone who likes to contort themselves on a stony mattress had better avert their eyes now! A few weeks ago we went back to our favourite beach Mudeford, near Christchurch in Dorset (see previous review here) and it was just lovely. I’d also highly recommend the National Trust-owned Studland Beach & Nature Reserve (several beaches, one with a sweet cafe), Lyme Regis Town Beach for the pretty crescent beach in front of the Cobb, right in the heart of the town; Sandbanks beach in Poole – huge swathes of golden sand, plus the fab Sandbanks Beach Cafe, a BBQ facility on the beach and watersports facilities. Or if you really can’t be bothered to battle through the traffic to hit the hot spot on the coast, why not cheat? The Cotswold Water Park has some of the best watersports facilities around, plus the largest inland paddling beach in the UK next to a picnic area. www.cotswoldcountrypark.co.uk