The Muddy Guide
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Wallingford Food Festival, Wallingford, 18-19 May
And so the Summer chomping begins. Wallingford is a lovely little town with plenty of indy shops, pretty houses and the river flowing through it, so where better to open the season’s food fests? The Late Chef Paul Bellchambers is joined by an impressive group of foodies, including Le Manoir’s Gary Jones, chef/TV presenter Alan Coxon, Splat! Cooking’s Beverley Glock at the Bridge Villa Camping & Caravan Park. Or if you’re over in West Oxfordshire on Saturday 18 May, you might want to check out Witney’s first ever food and drink festival, opened by famous local Alexander Armstrong. Go on, ask him if it’s Pimm’s o’clock and give him a nervous tic.
British Design Collective, Bicester Village, until mid June
The fourth annual British Design Collective is now in full swing at Bicester Village and is arguably the strongest yet. This heavily hyped pop up shop allows top UK-based designers, both established and emerging, showcase their iconic pieces and offer them for sale at up to 60% off. Famous names such as Jonathan Saunders, Roksanda Ilincic and Mary Katrantzou and up-and-coming designers such as Lucas Nascimento, Mawi and Piers Atkinson are all taking part.
Legoland, Duplo Valley Splash & Play, opens 18 May
Another half-term approaching, another clever addition to the Legoland theme park – this one squarely aimed at pre-schoolers. The new DUPLO Valley waterplay area features toddler friendly rides, creative wet play areas plus Drench Towers, the largest water structure in the UK especially designed for maximum soaking.
For older kids, newish launches such as LEGO’s® new Legends of Chima in 4D, and LEGO® Star Wars™ will keep them occupied. Meanwhile you will be transfixed by the £40 you spend on lunch and the £70 that departs your pocket in the Legoland shop before you leave. Like, WOW.
Dulwich Festival, until 19 May
Planning to go into London? You could do worse than trot along to the finale weekend to the Dulwich Festival with a traditional Steam Fair in Dulwich Park. A fun day with musicians, brass bands, stalls, Punch and Judy, a petting zoo and magicians, plus a dog show if your pooch is the competitive type.
Dulwich Park, College Road, Dulwich, London SE21
So Comedy Live at North Wall
I’m a fan the North Wall and its intimate, engaging vibe and like most people I like a giggle too. In which case, So Comedy Live!, a regular comedy night from the producers of BBC1’s The Graham Norton Show, sound just the ticket. North Wall has quite a comedy pedigree, having previously hosted the likes of Sarah Millican, John Bishop & Rhod Gilbert and more recently Harry Hill, Julian Clary and Shazia Murza. So Comedy Live will run through June before a break for the summer, and is hosted by resident MC Matt Richardson (“The next bright young sensation of comedy” –The Guardian). Give it a go.
Objectify, High House Gallery, Clanfield 18 May – 15 Sept
Last year I absolutely reveled in Waddesdon’s outdoor sculptures and it was thrilling to see how much my kids enjoyed them. There’s something wonderful about moving art outdoors a it somehow strips away any air of cultural pomposity, either real or imagined. Which is why Objectify – A Garden Exhibition of Contemporary Sculpture featuring important contemporary artists such Lucy Tomlins to Hollie Mackenzie, set in the gorgeous grounds of the lovely High House Gallery, sounds like such a winner. What’s the worst that could happen? If you don’t like the sculptures, admire the borders!
Ultimate Wedding Show, The Spread Eagle Hotel, Thame, 19 May
When I was engaged, I didn’t attend a wedding show (maybe they weren’t so prevalent pre-2000?)- but gadzooks they would have made life easier. I bought my wedding dress in London, married in Cardiff, found a florist in Barry, a DJ from New Zealand and, perfect day though it turned out to be, it was a headache to organise. So praise be for the likes of The Ultimate Wedding Show in Thame’s this Sunday. It’s free to enter, there’s loads of parking, over 30 local experts/services not to mention a goodie bag you can order online. Throw in some bad taste best man jokes and an embarrassing turn by the in-laws on the dance floor and your big day’s sorted.