Bumper Muddy Guide 1 – 7 Aug 2014
Hmmm, you’ve reached an older feature - let’s get you up to date! Read our latest What's On features here.
Onwards we rumble, into August. So much stuff going on, it almost makes be relieved not to be going off to a glamorous Riviera beach. Nearly.
Toad’s Magnificent Country Show at the River & Rowing Museum in Henley will be fun, with a fancy dress competition, arts, crafts and an appearance by Toad. Put down your visor and charge towards Blenheim Palace’s Jousting Tourney from today until Sunday. Knights, steeds, falconry, hunks of meat. family ticket £59. Feeling thirsty? Mr Darcy! Oh hang on, that’s the other one. This production is an outdoors production of Sense & Sensibility, by Chapterhouse Theatre Company at Waddesdon Manor. Gates open at 6.00pm and the performance at 7.00pm (tickets £14 adult/£10 kids/family £42).Off you go to Cogges Manor Farm’s Beer and Cider Festival – live music, stalls, food, and 40 beers and ciders from local breweries. Bought your tickets for Wilderness yet? The premier Oxfordshire-based festival starts next Thursday, but you’re not too late to book yourself a shot of Burt Bacharach, Shakespeare’s Globe, Angela Hartnett, V&A and all sorts of festivally-type wonders. Don’t forget that from today kids go free into Waddesdon for the whole of August (except for special events). Gruffalo Trails are available for 2-6 year olds at Wendover Woods – grab your leaflets from the cafe.
Saturday 2 August
Fancy a nibble? The delectable Jean Christophe Novelli is the headline star of The Eden Centre’s Food Fair in High Wycombe today, cooking up a culinary storm in pop up kitchen with demonstrations at 12pm, 1pm and 2pm. There’s also a Big Bucks Bake Off with JCN judging, plus The Courgettes (yes seriously) playing ska, jazz, swing and rock n roll. Sounds like fun. Alternatively, head to Henley’s Town & Visitors’ Regatta with a picnic (try The Quince Tree‘s awesome creations) and on the magnificent lawns owned by the Royal Regatta. There’s a licensed bar, rides on the umpire launches, 3-abreast racing and around 200 crews from clubs. Free entry to the riverside enclosure and no dress code.
Peel your kids away from the technology with a Family Activity Day at Longridge for £16 per person for 3 activities (8+) or ogle at the outrageous skills of John Lill, who happens to be one of the best pianists on the planet. He’s performingBeethoven for a crazy £20 with the Oxford Philomusica tonight. If you haven’t been to Jane’s Cream Teas in Kirtington yet, you are missing out on something incredible. Only open every other weekend from 12pm – 5pm, combine your cake troughing with a walk beforehand. Outdoor Theatre performs Alice Through the Looking Glass at Waddesdon Manor. Gates open at 5.15pm and the performance starts at 6pm. £14 adults/£10 kids/family ticket £42. The culturally diverse Art in the Park free festival in Milton Keynes starts today, with tug of war, facepainting, a healthy food cook off (grrrr), henna art design, and fairground. From 1pm – 7pm. Watch the second night of Macbeth from Creation Theatre in the gorgeous grounds of Lady Margaret Hall (until 13 Sept).
Sunday 3 August
Ah, here’s Mr Darcy! The stunning lakeside setting of West Wycombe Park is the backdrop for an outdoor performance of Pride & Prejudice at 6.30pm. Bring a picnic and a rug and dare I suggest some insect repellent! £16 adults/£12 kids. Heros at Highclere is a commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the First World War at the stunning Highclere Castle,and supports a number of armed forces charities. Serious stuff that sounds seriously fun with a Bombay Sapphire Gin Garden, a Reading Football Club Beat the Goalie, Alexandra Burke and The Red Devils. Didn’t make it to Jane’s Cream Teas yesterday? Here’s your last chance for the next two weeks to experience the quirkiest, most romantic, hypnotic river tea house in the UK. Get active at Willen Lake Camping – wakeboarding, sailing, golf, kayaking, canooing etc. I’m exhausted just writing it. Last day to visit the culturally diverse Art in the Park free festival in Milton Keynes starts today, with tug of war, facepainting, henna art design, and fairground. From 1pm – 6pm. Summer Rumpus at The Story Museum for 0-3 year olds, starting with Where the Wild Things Are (£2.50) at 10.30, then Circus Skills 11am-2pm for all ages, followed by a screening of Spike Jonze’s Where the Wild Things Are (£2 on the door).
Monday 4 August
Jazz hand kids? Put On Macbeth In A Week with Creation Theatre – week-long courses for 6-8, 9-12 years (both at Summer Fields School) or 13-16 year olds (at Lady Margaret Hall). £170 for the week. Can’t make it to the coast? Head to The Beach in the Oxford Castle Quarter, where thirty-two tonnes of sand, palm trees, deckchairs, volleyball nets, peep boards, and cocktail umbrellas are making another welcome appearance within the historic site of Oxford’s former jail and prison. Great family option at the National Trust-owned Stowe Gardens, where the house is open during the Summer holidays (usually it’s part of the school). Check out the restored Egyptian Hall, and join in some Egyptian family craft activities. You can walk the House at your own pace. No need to book and suitable for all ages.
Tuesday 5 August
The first of Chiltern Open Air Museum’s Terrific Tuesdays, crafts games and activities to entice children into the fresh air. Today’s theme is Survival so it’s just dreamy for your kids learning about bushcraft and wildlife. They also hold a Holiday Club on Terrific Tuesdays, 11am-4pm. Children are fully supervised by Museum staff and can take advantage of all of the Terrific Tuesday activities. The cost is £22 per child, with booking essential and the deadline for each Holiday Club applications is 5 pm on the Friday before each Holiday Club date. Do you have budding hiphoppers at home? Groove on Down the Road hiphop show starts today, from the award-winning ZooNation Dance Company. It re-imagines the classic story of The Wizard of Oz but funked up with music by Stevie Wonder and Justin Timberlake. Sickage! Ages 5+, Tickets £27 adults/£22 kids. Early in the week is prime fruit-picking time, and both Peterley Manor Farm and Rectory Farm have new cafes, entertainments and more fruit than you can shake a stick at. Book your tickets for One Man, Two Guvnors, coming to Aylesbury Waterside from the West End next Monday 11 Aug.
Wednesday 6 August
Love the sound of Children’s House Tour at Waddesdon Manor, where kids 8-12 years get to see the gorgeous rooms close-up, and find out what it was like to be in a 19th century house party. No adults allowed (yay, time for a coffee!), £5. Each Wednesday through August. Beale Park has a Meet the Bugs day each Wednesday throughout August from 1.30-3.30pm in its newest area ‘Bertie’s Bugs and Beasts’ where you can see giant insects, meet a snake, stroke a Giant African Snail and get close to a tarantula. There’s also Wild Wednesday at Cliveden where kids (4-11 yrs) can have outdoor adventures while you recline with a cappuccino. Also Family Fun Wednesdays at Bletchley Park (above) with craft and spy workshops for all ages, children’s guided tours, trails, quizzes and handling collections. Be adventurous – check out some lesser known but cool museums such as the free Bate Collection of musical instruments next to Christchurch meadows, Museum of the History of Science on Broad St (both Oxford)
Thursday 7 August
Make a Willy Wonker top hat from willow and tissue paper at the fabulous Roald Dahl Museum in Great Missenden (6+, £2.50 plus Museum entry). Pre-booking advisable .Explore the architecture and art at Windmill Hill, Waddesdon’s new archive building, open most Thursday afternoons 2pm to 4pm. Old Thatch Gardens, where Enid Blyton lived and worked, is open every Thursday (plus Wednesdays and Sundays) until 31 Aug and is sooooo pretty, truly. Wilderness, arguably the best Oxfordshire-based festival starts today and goes through until Sunday. Go book yourself a shot of Burt Bacharach, Shakespeare’s Globe, Angela Hartnett, V&A and all sorts of festivally-type wonders. Horsewyse is running the first of four Activity Days throughout this month (others are on 12, 19, 26 Aug) to teach kids about horses, and improve their skills. My kids have been on these before and love them.