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Bumper Muddy Guide 8 -14 August 2014

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How are you finding the Muddy Guide’s holiday format as a daily listy thing? Hope it’s helping you navigate your way through the Summer hols OK. Anyhoo, in the absence of any wailing and stamping of reader’s feet at the Guide over the last few weeks, off we sashay further into August then, armed with chutzpah, confidence and just a small hipflask of mother’s courage.

Friday 8 August


The Taming of the Shrew comes to the lovely Harcourt Arboretum today and Saturday courtesy of Folksy Theatre who had a success here last year with Romeo and Juliet. £15 on the ‘door’, £12 pre-booked, 7pm start. At Waddesdon Manor there’s a Zoolah Animal Handling Workshop for kids at 10.30, 12.00, 2.00 and 3.30 pm. £5 per child, suitable for 5+ and pre-booking essential. Loved Forty Years On (1968), The Madness of George III (1991), The Lady in the Van (1999) or The History Boys (2004)? Then you’ll no doubt be interested in seeing Alan Bennett’s literary papers, newly on display at the Bodleian Library for free until 7 September in the year of his 80th birthday (9am – 5pm).

Single, love literature and want to meet someone like-minded? Off you to Page Turners Single Night at Oxford’s The Story Museum between 6.30-8.30pm (£12 per person) where you bring your favourite book as a conversation starter Tip: leave American Psycho or 50 Shades until your second date. And I love the sound of the evening Salacious Gossip Tours at Hampton Court Palace, where you have to be 18+ due to the racy nature of the stories at court from the 17th and 18th century. There’s a champagne reception and bedrooms to retire to if all gets too exciting. I’m making that last bit up, but wouldn’t that be fun?! Tickets £25. In Stonor, The Quince Tree‘s family BBQ nights continue (4-8pm) utilising that natty new wine bar. Rack em the sausages (and um, the sauvignon).

Saturday 9 August


My favourite teenage movie, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, comes to the Phoenix Picture House. I wanted to be Ferris’s girfriend sooooo bad *sigh*. I saw it the other night on telly bizarrely and it’s still fantastic. A good family outdoor theatre option is The History of Britain by the Pantaloons Theatre Company at Waddesdon at Waddesdon Manor. It sounds a bit Horrible Histories, with songs, sketches and jokes aimed at Britain’s famous historical figures. Adult £14, Child £10, Family ticket (2 adults/2kids) £42. 6pm. As part of its family-based summer entertainment, Blenheim Palace has a petting zoo on today and tomorrow, free with normal entry into the palace grounds between 11am-3pm.

At Hampton Court Palace, enjoy A Georgian Family day, which focuses on the luxury Georgian food, fashions and pastimes, as part of The Glorious Georges festival. In Waterloo, London’s first indoor skate park, The House of Vans, opens this weekend, a cool space that includes an art gallery, music venue, cinema, cafe, and a skatepark with a huge concrete bowl, mini-ramps and courses. Sessions are available to skate or BMX and must be booked in advance for 8+.

Sunday 10 August

Kew gardens Plantasia

Kew gardens

Check out the interactive Dinosaur gallery at the Oxfordshire Museum, with hands-on activities like meeting a life-size Megalosaur, feeding the dinosaurs, and exploring the new gardens full of Jurassic period plants. Last day to visit the Blenheim Palace petting zoo today, free with normal entry into the palace grounds between 11am-3pm. Learn Bushcraft in the lovely Hughendon Manor grounds with a morning (9-12pm) or afternoon (1-4pm) course which includes – but of course! – den-making for £25. Been to the Plantasia summer festival at Kew Gardens yet? Experience everything from a barefoot Walk and Tai Chi sessions to a Gin and Tonics Garden (hellooo!), plant family croquet and horticultural displays. It’s an Open Air Cinema night at Hampton Court Palace, with Casablanca steaming up the screens. Bring a rug and picnic, or just rock up and buy your food and drink on the night. (£16.50 adults/kids 5-15 £12.50).

Monday 11 August


One Man, Two Guvnors comes to Aylesbury Waterside Theatre, as part of its national tour, and Barry from EastEnders has joined the cast (!). First night tonight but it’s here until Saturday night. £40 tickets. Take your Tramadol and off you go to Odds Park Farm where there are more animals, playbarns, ride-ons and now daily for the summer holidays, Circus performers than is strictly healthy for adult minds. Your kids will love it though. Today is the first day of the Working With Animals week at Woburn Safari Park for 14-17 year olds interested in, well, working with animals (come on, keep up). £360 for the week (11 – 15 Aug, lunch not included which seems a bit miserly but at least your children can learn to make their own bloody sandwiches!).

Tuesday 12 August


Awesome Animation! at the River & Rowing Museum for 7-11 year olds. Kids can create their own animation using 2 and 3D cartooning between 10.30-12.30pm for £8.50 (yup, cheaper than a childminder). The second of Chiltern Open Air Museum’s Terrific Tuesdays is on today, chocful of crafts games and activities to entice children into the fresh air. Today’s theme is Magical so all about quests and challenges. They also hold a Holiday Club on Terrific Tuesdays, 11am-4pm (oh sweet Jesus, yes please, take em!) where kids are fully supervised by Museum staff and can take advantage of all of the Terrific Tuesday activities (£22 per child, with booking essential, deadline for each Holiday Club applications is 5 pm on the Friday before each Holiday Club date.).

The inspirational Horsewyse is running the second of its four Activity Days throughout this month (others are on 19 and 26 Aug) to teach kids about horses, and improve their skills. Fancy a pop up meal? The Secret Supper Society, based near Bicester, is having another dinner party. I haven’t been to one of these yet so can’t vouch personally but word is they’re very good. Raymond Blanc seemed to like it anyway. Troll Swap at the Roald Dahl Musuem sounds great for littlies 3+, where author and illustrator Leigh Hodgkinson will read from her book Troll Swap, shortlisted for the Roald Dahl Funny Prize 2013. Kids can meet the trolls, and then make their own troll puppet to help retell the story. £3 per person plus museum entry.

Wednesday 13 August


Owzat! Go and support the England womens cricket team as they slug it out against India in the bucolic setting of Wormsley Manor. A 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, £5. 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.

Thursday 14 August

I’ve heard that this little local activity day is really lovely at Ewelme Watercress Centre, and includes a treasure trail, BBQ, and quizzes at £5 a head. There’s no website, so email or call on 01491 833649 The rather good Buckinghamshire County Museum has a whole raft of family activities this summer (10am – 3pm), and today kids can make a birds house. Squawk! Send your kids up a tree while you do your supermarket shopping (joking, sort of) at Cliveden between 10.30am-5pm today or tomorrow. Need some me time? Hello to Happy Hour on the TVC roof terrace in central Oxford. Look at the spires until they go all skewy.

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1 comment on “Bumper Muddy Guide 8 -14 August 2014”

  • Angelique Bull August 10, 2014

    Kew Gardens is on our list of things to do with Grandad (perhaps not tomorrow as originally planned if this rain continues) I didn’t know about the gin and tonics garden so might have to slip off leaving the boys with grandad for that one! Terrific Tuesdays at Chiltern Open Air Museum looks good too.


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