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Reader Treats Just For You!

The cool stuff on nationally this week

Feel like exploring somewhere new? Muddy tenticles cover the South of England and who better to know the cool stuff that’s hard to unearth than our brilliant regional Muddy editors (all national journalists in their own right) who are constantly scouring their counties for the best arts and cultural highlights? Whether you’re day tripping or planning for longer, here are some of the treats in store for you.


Street Food Pop-Up, Swan at Streatley, Thurs 2 Feb

January is done and for all of you who managed the whole month detoxing (yes, I know not me), this is your reward. For the rest if us, pah, who needs an excuse, but you’ll probably need your biggest pants. The Swan at Streatley is hosting a cool street food event – Wandering Kitchen will be serving their gourmet game burgers, American pancakes from Hack the Stack and live music from the Young Women’s Project, plus cocktails in the Swan’s new bar and terrace right by the river.

More insider tips on what to do this week in Berkshire


Linguamania, Live Friday, Late Night at Ashmolean, Fri 27 Jan

I love Live Fridays at the Ashmolean – the free events that invite us to experience the museum after dark (which means fewer school kids and tourists and a more sophisticated crowd) with an imaginative programme of music, theatre and talks. It’s a neat reminder that we’re lucky enough to have a creative, cool, forward-thinking city on our doorstep. The theme this month is Linguamania, in conjunction with Oxford-led research programme Creative Multilingualism, and its aim is to bring alive the museum through the art and science of language (er, yeah, whatever). There are a whopping 30 activities to sample  – live music, theatre performances, story telling, opportunities to learn Russian or Old Norse or to crack hieroglyphic codes. And once you’re feeling sufficiently cultural, may I recommend a cocktail at the ever-chic Ashmolean Dining Rooms on the top floor? It starts at 7pm, goes through to 10.30pm and while it’s free you definitely need to book, as it’s a popular Friday night spot.

Ashmolean, Beaumont St, Oxford,

More insider tips on what’s happening this week in Bucks & Oxon


he Ruisi Quartet, The Old Divinity Hall, St John’s College, Thurs, 2 Feb

Kettles Yard Events - Ruisi Quartet

Winners of the Royal Philharmonic Society award for Young British String Players the Ruisi Quartet has quickly established a reputation as an exciting, expressive ensemble, delivering performances that have been described as strikingly immediate, committed and direct (Chichester Observer). The quartet perform regularly throughout the UK and Europe, including leading venues such as the Wigmore Hall, Royal Albert Hall and Kings Place, and In Cambridge, as part of the Kettle’s Yard event programme, they will perform one of Mozart’s most famous pieces, the Dissonance Quartet as well as movements from Haydn and Mendelssohn’s string quartet. The Old Divinity Hall, St John’s College, Cambridge CB2 1TP,

More insider tips on what’s happening this week in Cambs


Rose Hilton & Friends 50 Years in Cornwall Exhibition, Tremenheere Sculpture Gardens, Sat 28 Jan – 26 Feb

This is the first exhibition to be held in the new gallery space at Tremenheere. Rose Hilton is a much-admired artist living in West Cornwall for the past 50 years. On the upper floor you’ll find Rose’s paintings, including some of her signature nudes, interior studies and marine landscapes, while downstairs will be an exhibition of work selected by Hilton – by artists who inspire her and by her friends.

More insider tips on what to do this week in Cornwall


Craig Charles Funk & Soul Club, The Factory, Petroc, Barnstaple, Fri 27 Jan

Corrie’s loss is our gain, as actor Craig Charles has swapped the cobbles for the decks and he’s bringing his vinyl to The Factory, in Barnstaple.  If his Funk N Soul Show on BBC 6 Music is anything to go by, this night promises to raise the roof of the warehouse; sounds a pretty cool way to see the back of January, to me.Tickets £15. 

More insider tips on what to do this week in Devon


Behind the scenes at the museum, Tring, Thurs 26 Jan

The Natural History Museum in Tring is a fascinating place, with one of the main attractions being the fleas dressed in outfits knitted by nuns. This is a look at the bird collection, and, as you can imagine, you will learn more than you ever thought you needed to know about ornithology. Tickets are £10 and you need to book.

More insider tips on what to do this week in Herts


366 Portraits, Trinity Theatre, Tunbridge Wells, until Jan 29

Photographer Sarah Clark set herself the task of publishing one portrait per day for the whole of 2016. She wanted to capture people when they were least expecting it (on the street not in the shower!) to get the most natural expressions. The public response was overwhelming and attracted far more attention than anticipated, so she is now exhibiting the project in its entirety at Trinity Theatre.

More insider tips on the best things to do in Kent


Swan Lake, Theatre Royal, Norwich – Sat 28 Jan:

The greatest romantic ballet of all time is brought to life by Tchaikovsky’s haunting and unforgettable score at the Theatre Royal Norwich. From the impressive splendour of the Palace ballroom to the moon-lit lake where swans glide in perfect formation, this compelling tale of tragic romance has it all. Two performances: at 2.30pm & 7.30pm.
More insider tips on what to do this week in Norfolk


78 Derngate, Centenary exhibition, Northampton 1 February – 29 April

Tobacco Flower. Charles Rennie Mackintosh.c.1920. © The Hunterian Museum and Art Gallery, University of Glasgow.

78 Derngate, the only house in England designed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh, is set in the heart of Northampton. This county town has a rich heritage spanning 800 years and there is much to engage visitors around the town and in the wider county of Northamptonshire. Starting from 1 February is a special centenary exhibition “Charles Rennie Mackintosh & The Great War”.  This major exhibition will tell the story of Mackintosh’s late career and how it was impacted by World War One. With stunning exhibits and designs from major collections.  Entrance to the Visitor Centre – with shop, galleries and restaurant is free of charge.

More insider tips on what to do this week in Northants


Exmoor Food Fest, Thurs 1 Feb-Tues 28 Feb

Put on your elasticated trousers to scoff and quaff your way across Exmoor on a shoestring with the Exmoor Food Fest: it’s £10 for two courses and £15 for three throughout February at a number of restaurants across Exmoor, including Clavelshay Barn (see my review here), Luttrell Arms and the Cafe at Pollock Weir. There are other events too. All part of this annual festival celebrating local produce and culinary talent. Check out the list of participating restaurants on their website – new places are being added all the time.

More insider tips on what to do this week in Somerset


Matthew Bourne’s The Red Shoes – New Victoria Theatre, Woking – Tues 31 Jan to Sat 4 Feb


The fabulous Matthew Bourne brings his new show The Red Shoes to Woking direct from London. There’s not much to say about this except it will be amazing so go, go, go… if you can get your hands on tickets. All performances sold out at the Sadlers Wells. If you miss it in Woking, try getting tickets at the New Wimbledon Theatre from 11-15 April.

More insider tips on what to do this week in Surrey


Sussex Modernism: Retreat and Rebellion, Two Temple Place, Embankment, London, Sat 28 Jan – 23 April

Venus and Adonis, Duncan Grant, c 1919, Tate, London

Sussex has some important art history from the Bloomsbury Group at Charleston to the ‘Home of Type’ Ditchling that influenced the style for the Tube. This new London exhibition curated by Dr Hope Wolf from the University of Sussex, for a consortium of nine of the county’s museums and galleries, celebrates its role in Modernism. The show will uncover unexpected connections across Modernist communities, explore why radical artists and writers were drawn here, and display 120 pieces including works by Salvador Dali, Vanessa Bell and Henry Moore. The exhibition is free to enter and an accompanying programme of events will include talks, late-night music, walking tours of Modernist London, workshops and child-friendly activities.

More insider tips on what to do this week in Sussex

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