The Muddy Guide 15 – 22 Aug 2013
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Lots of fun stuff on this week. Make the most of August, hasn’t it been the most amazing month so far? Hero x
Family cycling day, Blenheim Palace, 18 Aug
Grab your bikes and helmets and head to Blenheim Palace for the once-yearly chance to cycle around the idyllic grounds. Make sure you bring a picnic so you can justifiably stop (just at the point your muscles are starting to feel the burn!).
Rewind Eighties Festival, 18 August
Couldn’t see a thing at Henley Regatta? This smaller, popular Oxford regatta on the Isis is organized annually by the City of Oxford Rowing Club. Racing is over a 1000m course on Saturday and a 500m sprint on Sunday with the usual array of tight lycra, bulging muscles and, um, great technique. And just so the Muddy gents don’t feel left out, there are womens crews racing too. Fun all round!
Hurley Regatta, Hurley, 17 Aug
If you like your regattas more on the silly side, this regatta, in the stupendously lovely surrounds of Berkshire’s Hurley, could be the one for you. Raft races, novelty races, racing in punts (!), tugs of war on the water are the go for a light-hearted regatta that celebrates ‘messing about in boats since 1973’. Could be highly amusing way to spend your afternoon.
Perspectives on Love Summer exhibition, Stanley Spencer Gallery, Cookham, until 3 Nov
Sometimes all you need for a lovely day out is the prospect of a pretty village, a good pub and a cultural interest. The pretty Berkshire village of Cookham, baby steps from the south Bucks border delivers all three. The home of artist Stanley Spencer, it houses an excellent gallery space dedicated to his work. This exhibition offers an insight into the passionate inner life of the artist and includes previously unseen work, including Hilda With Hair Down (1931), an intimate drawing of his then-wife. For food, I’m yet to eat anywhere in Cookham, but The White Oak has been awarded a Michelin Bib Gourmand this year, which sounds promising.
Warwick Rocks Food and Drink Festival, 17 – 25 Aug
Warwick Rocks’ first major food and drink festival in the town has a massive amount of goodwill and looks like it’s slickly organised with vintage markets, drive in movies, BBQs, twilight markets etc. Looks like a total winner for those an easy drive away.
Henry V by Creation Theatre, at Oxford Castle, 17 Aug – 14 Sept
Oxford’s Creation Theatre continues to take theatre into unusual places, holding court between Tuesdays and Saturdays in the courtyard of Oxford Castle for arguably Shakespeare’s most famous History Play.
Mike the Knight at Odds Farm, Wooburn Common 21 August
This summer has seen the battle of the kids’ parks, with toys, animated characters and TV shows all being enlisted to entice families through the doors. Following the footsteps of Peppa Pig, Ben and Holly and Scooby Doo, Mike the Knight gallops into Odds Farm next Wednesday. Kids will be able to meet him between 11-4pm in the price of the entry ticket, plus do the usuals such as sheep racing, kart racing, animal feeding and all that jazz.
Lazy Sunday, Lodge Park and Sherborne Estate, Sun 18 Aug
The stunning 17th century grandstand Lodge Park on the Sherborne Estate in the Cotswolds is only open to the public on weekends so it’s perfect for Lazy Sunday, the the chance to bring your family and a picnic between 11am-4pm in this gorgeous setting.
Smythson event, Bicester Village, 15 Aug
I doubt you need much encouragement to go to Bicester Village (I mean, come on!) but just in case you need that little nudge, Smythson is holding a customer event today between 11am – 5pm. They are promising complimentary refreshments, a chance to win a Smythson bag (eek!) and a 10% discount in store. Plus if you can have your purchases personalised with your initials or a motif.
Deadly Summer shows, Longleat, until Sun 18 Aug
Naomi Wilkinson, presenter of the Live ‘n’ Deadly TV Series, is presenting daily live animals shows alongside the Hunters of the Sky Team. There are three shows a day, so your chances of missing snakes, gory feeding times or whatever other horrors they’re planning are slim.
Buckingham Artisan Market, Sunday
Buckingham continues to punch well above its weight in terms of trying new events and galvanising the locals in support. This Artisan market, new in its second month, is the brainchild of the Gyre & Gimble cafe boys (or as they like to call themselves ‘the coffee weirdos’) and boasts the usual array of produce, all sourced within 20 miles. Stop by if you’re in the area.
10am-12pm every third Sunday of the month. www.facebook.com/openairfoods
Old Thatch Cottage, Bourne End, until 29 Aug
Enid Blyton’s cottage gardens, tucked away in Bourne End (and usefully close to the well-regarded The Spade Oak pub for lunch before or dinner after) are exquisite, and well worth a trip out either or without kids. They’re open every Wednesday, Thursday & Sunday between 2-5.30pm.
£4 adults, £2.50 children between 5 and 13 (children under 5 free). www.oldthatchgardens.co.uk
Beach Babies, The Oxford Beach, until 29 Aug
Have you tried Oxford’s beach yet? Take a break from dragging your ungrateful kids around the food aisles, and have a restorative cappuccino in the Oxford Castle Quarter while your little darlings play in the sand or get arty and crafty. Add a hunky lifeguard for near perfection!
10am-12pm, every Tuesday and Thursday. £3 per family (have a £5 voucher to use at the local restaurant).
The Stratton Audley Country fair, Nr Bicester, Sun 18 Aug
Loving the sound of this fair, which seems to be throwing everything but the kitchen sink at the event. Homemade food, roast, face painting, side saddle demos, inter hunt relay, Bicester Riding Bicester Riding Club demos, alpacas, hound parade, natural horsemanship demos, pony show and even a bake off.
Additional reporting by Alicia Roscoe