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Reader Treats Just For You!

Fancy going out this week?

High heels on but nowhere go to? Meh, relax, your next week’s fun is covered, dusted, buffed and positively frou-froued. You look lovely, out you go and don’t do anything I wouldn’t do.

Mirren Kessling, ‘The Body Can Be Made and Remade’, Modern Art Oxford, Tues 6 – Sun 25 Sept

modern art ox

Mirren Kessling exhibits at Modern Art Oxford as part of the ‘Platform’ project that exhibits local rising artistic talent across the South East of England. Since 2012, Platform has selected some of the most ambitious and enterprising art graduates to display work in local venues. This year’s artists at Modern Art Oxford includes artists from the Ruskin School of Art, Oxford Brookes and University of Reading. Worth a peep.

Thomas and Friends, Bucks Railway Centre, Quainton, Sat 3 – Sun 4 Sept

DOWT L FC and Thomas wide2

Is your child Thomas obsessed? Mine used to be and I still have about 60 wooden trains to prove it,  begging to be ebayed. Anyway, the nation’s favourite steam train is in Quainton this weekend. You can ride behind Thomas, meet the Fat Controller, ride on the miniature steam railway, have your face painted, do some colouring and badge making, and you may even be inclined to let your kids have a go too.

Zoorassic Park at Whipsnade Zoo, until 4 Sept


Your last few days to catch the life-size animatronic dinosaurs at Whipsnade before they get blown up by a giant asteroid (or something). The dinosaurs are part of an immersive exhibition so there’s plenty of dino-themed fun with fossil digging activities, daily shows and an education trail for the little ones.

Kids go free, Oxford Castle unlocked, until 2 Sept

OX castle unlocked
If you’re into your history and are looking for something different to do with in Oxford, with or without bratlets in tow, the Oxford Castle experience is a good one – the tour includes climbing up St George’s Tower which dates from Saxon times, wandering round the spooky 900 year old crypt, seeing the remains of the 18th century Debtors’ Tower Wing and the prison block. Afterwards, you’re free the grounds and climb the former mound of the old 11th century castle. Kids go free until 2 Sept.


Village Fete at Greys Court, 4 Sept


It’s a bit late in the day to hold a village fete – most were over months ago – but we’ll make an exception for 60th annual Rotherfield Greys village fete held every year for the last 60 years at the beautiful Greys Court near Henley. The usual villagey things apply with a bottle tombola, dog show, a pop up stall from the local pub and all that jazzaroo. The house is closed but you can enjoy the lovely grounds at your leisure.

Fete from 12.30 – 4pm; Greys Court open from 12 – 5pm.

Chilli Festival, Waddesdon Manor, 3-4 Sept

Creative edit abstract of stuffed green chilli olives at the French Market in Bicester. March 2014

Into its 10th year, the annual Chilli Festival at Waddesdon is promising more than 50 handpicked exhibitors, all passionate about chilli (I know, the mind boggles). Everything from jams, pastes, pickles, chutneys, oils, relishes, beers and chocolate are on offer, with cooling frozen yoghurts, beers, ciders and icecreams at the ready when the heat threatens to singe your eyebrows.

10am to 5pm, Aviary Glade. Free with Grounds admission. Adult £10, Child £5, Family £25

Much Ado About Nothing, Cliveden, Sat 3 Sept


The last hurrah for outdoor Shakespeare this summer, this performance of Much Ado About Nothing comedy is in the lovely Water Garden at Cliveden. Performed by the Lord Chamberlain’s Men so an all male cast, it’s a non-seated event so bring your chairs,  rugs, blow up settees and picnic from 6pm before the show starts at 7pm.

Pittfest: Archeology, Pitt Rivers Museum, Oxford, Sat 3 Sept

pitt rivers

This annual free event is a real treat for kids, as the day is designed with children in mind. On the Museum lawn there’s object handling, detective digging and lessons in how to light a fire. You can mummify yourself, make a wattle and daub wall, make a clay grotesque, and have a go at a bronze age replica wheel. Frankly there’s way more than I can give space for here but I’m pretty confident your kids will love it, and then you’re bang in the centre of Oxford for some punting or eating or wandering. A dead cert.

11am – 6pm.

Beer and Cider Festival, The Perch, Sat 3 – Sun 4 Sept

perch inn.jpg 3

The fourth outing for The Perch’s beer and cider festival and worth the mention as it’s such a lovely thatched pub with a great garden. There’s a lovely walk across Port Meadow to The Perch so you can take your dogs along, listen to some music, go to brew school (no kidding, there’s a paid course you can try on the Saturday) and let your liver soak up the atmosphere.

 Exhibitionism: The Rolling Stones @ Saatchi Gallery, until 4 Sept

It feels like the week of endings, rather than the beginning of Autumn but I should mention or you might miss it for good. The much-acclaimed if pricey Rolling Stones exhibition, taking over the entire two floors of the Saatchi Gallery in London, ends this Sunday. There are 9 thematic galleries, 500 original Stones’ artefacts, never before seen dressing room and backstage paraphernalia, rare instruments, original stage designs and poster/album cover artwork, iconic costumes, rare audio tracks and video footage, personal diaries. The only thing missing is yesterday’s undies but there, you can’t have it all.

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The Urban Guide to the Countryside - Bucks & Oxon