Muddy Guide 10 – 17 July 2014
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Fancy trying something new with your spare time? I’ve been scouring Oxon, Bucks and beyond day and night (well, sort of) all week to deliver a delicious soupson of cool stuff for kids, adults and families. I know, don’t you just want to tickle me under the chin? Anything you try, pleasey please let me know about your experiences, good, bad or indifferent – as you know, anything less than brilliant on Muddy is utterly forbidden!
Longridge on the Lakes, Westhorpe Farm, Bucks
A great idea from fab family adventure park Longridge, which has been trialling a new area on a nearby lake with new activities including Dragon Boating, Rafting and Team Games. Only tomorrow (Friday) is still available to book, but the good news is that it’s already been confirmed again for next year. At the main Longridge site in Marlow, the Family Fun Days and Give It A Try days are a great bet – get in early as apparently they get booked up early.
Westhorpe Farm House Westhorpe Marlow Buckinghamshire SL7 3RQ. £40 per day, 10am – 4pm. 01628 483252. www.longridge.org.uk
The Spin Club, Oxford, Thurs 10 July 2014
As you know, I’m a big fan of this tiny little jazz venue. Often they schedule guitarists which isn’t quite my bag, but this gig with Stuart Henderson on trumpet and Anatoli ‘Tolly’ Vycaheslavov on tenor sax sounds fab – between the two of them they’ve worked at most of the top venues in the UK – Ronnie Scott’s, the Jazz Cafe, the Barbican and the Royal Festival Hall. Both players are deeply rooted in bebop and groove (it, um, says here), and I’m betting it will be a great evening. Combine with dinner out in Oxford if you really want to push the boat out as music doesn’t start til 9pm.
Jazz party, Upton Manor and Gardens, Sat 12 July
I’m treating the jazz as pleasant background noise as I suggest this event (there is a dance demonstration but that kind of participation has me running for the hills). The National Trust-run Upton Manor and Gardens are lovely, and you can bring a picnic, let the kids off the leash and enjoy the champers and Pimms available while the Charleston Five give it some shimmery tassles.
Adults £15 (£17 on the gate). Child £7. Special Group rate: 10 adults pre-booked for the price of 9. [ is anyone ever this organised?!]. More info
The Battle Proms, Blenheim Palace, Woodstock, from 4pm Sat 12 July
And while we’re on the subject of English picnics in grand estates, Blenheim Palace is celebrating 10th Battle Proms Picnic Concert on 12 July with all the bombast it can muster. Come early from 4pm to set up your picnic and check out the traditional fairground, then get in the military spirit with 150 re-enactors skimishing as part of the Battle of Waterloo, the mounted cavalry charging on the battlefield in First World War regalia, live classical and Forties music, an evening gun salute, a Spitfire display and then – of course – Tschikovsky’s 1812 Overture and Beethhoven’s Battle Symphony. Interestingly, The Battle Proms is the only place in the world where you can hear this symphony performed as Beethoven intended, with a full complement of 193 cannons, plus musket fire and fireworks. Ka-boom!
£17.00 adult: £35 if booked online, £40 if you get a ticket on the day. battleproms.com
A Midsummers Nights Dream, Oxford Castle Unlocked, Oxford, until 19 July
My 11 year old son blithely informed me yesterday that ‘Shakespeare is rubbish’, having not read or seen a single play. Well now’s your time to suffer my love, this one’s got your name all over it! Locally-based Tomahawk Theatre returns this summer to this fantastic central Oxford space for Shakespeares much-loved comedy about fairies, magic and mistaken identity, and promise singing and dancing amidst the rhyming couplets. Begads! Meanwhile, 5 minutes down the road at The Old Firestation, Madcap Theatre lets rip with Twelfth Night on both Saturday 11 and Sunday 12 July. Make your children suffer and do both.
Midsummer Night’s Dream: £15 adult, £12 kids/concessions
Twelfth Night: £12 adult, £10 concessions
Victorian Weekend, Hughenden Manor, Nr High Wycombe, 12-13 July
The third annual weekend of living history and entertainments set in the picturesque gardens of Hughenden Manor, Benjamin Disraeli’s country home. This looks good fun for a couple of hours entertainment, with Punch and Judy, redcoats from the Zulu War, military displays, croquet and Victorian FA football (the rules are different and you can be part of a mini match if you’re so inclined). Fashion, travel and medicine all included in theday and Disraeli ‘himself’ will be around the Manor. Do you dare to tweak the facial hair?
Lee Evans, New Theatre, Oxford, 15 July
Taste in comedians is very personal isn’t it – I’m one of few women in the UK, so it seems, to dislike the horrifically shouty Rhod Gilbert. I’m going off that toothy Liverpudlian (John something??) who seems to be everywhere now, but I won’t have a bad word said against Jo Brand, Eddie Izzard ever. Lee Evans? Meh, I can take or leave him, but I don’t want to second guess what tickles you in all the funny places, so if you want to see his tour ‘Work In Progess’, here’s your chance.
Hampton Court Palace Flower Show, until 13 July
Last weekend to see flowers and gardens galore in the gorgeous setting of Hampton Court and its 35 acres of beautiful gardens and flowers.
Tickets £18.50. More info
Rare Flower Show, Stonor Park, Sun 13 July
Love the sound of this genteel rare flower event, although you have to be 16 or over to attend this Rare Flower Show which I think is a bit pants. True, my youngest son at 5 years old loves to spend his spare time grappling with roses, tearing their heads off and stamping on their weeping hearts but under my fascist guidance is perfectly capable of behaving himself. Discuss! Anyway, if you love gardening and are looking for a great way to enhance your natural spaces, boot the kids into touch and walk this way.
Nicole et Martin, North Wall Theatre, Oxford, 10-12 July
Award-winning family circus Nicole et Martin arrive in Oxford for this weekend only. Choose from three separate shows, all with fairy tale themes under a gorgeous white canopy tent in the grounds of St Edmund’s School opposite, but don’t expect bad clown jokes or baleful tigers – it’s a very intimate, acrobatic, musical, theatrical event. By all accounts, this family touring circus is every bit as brilliant (and whisper it, half as expensive!) as the homegrown Gifford’s.
The Bremen Town Musicians (1.30pm, Thurs 10 July); Hansel & Gretel (1.30pm, 6.30pm, Fri 11 July); The Fisherman and his Wife (6.30pm, Sat 12 July). Family ticket £42 (2 adults/2 kids, or 1 adult/3 kids). Adult tickets £14, concessions £10.
Village Festival in Soho, London, Sat 12 July
Bring out the studded leather bunting! This is the 40th Soho Village Fete, a chance to watch the waiter’s of Soho race about with trays full of breakables, see a puppet troupe, have a tug of war, spaghetti contest and a horn blowing competition. It’s quirky, a bit mad and lots of fun as you’d expect.
St.Anne’s Garden, Wardour Street, Soho, London W1. More info
Tech Mummies, The British Museum, until 30 Nov
An amazing opportunity to see eight mummies from ancient Egypt and Sudan with the assistance of modern technology to see into the past like never before. If your little ones are brave enough there’s even a sleep over next week.
The British Museum, Great Russell Street, Bloomsbury, London WC1. Ages 6+
Additional research: Georgina Ellison