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Blenheim Palace flower show, Woodstock, 21-23 June

blenheim palace flower show
The first Blenheim Palace Flower Show takes place this weekend, set in the gorgeous grounds of Britain’s only non-royal Palace. Over 150 gardening exhibitors are promised, showing their plants, garden buildings and furniture. Visitors can enter the Park and Formal Gardens at no extra cost, and if you decide to come on Sunday you’ll also see the Heritage Motor Club Rally in the park (an additional cost). Happily I have 4 sets of free adult tickets for the Flower Show to give away – email me at – first come first served! Given the time constraints I’ll scan the tickets over.  Adult tickets £12, children £6.30

Sir Patrick Stewart, talking at Oxford Playhouse, 21 June

Patrick Stewart 1
Are you and yours into acting? Sir Patrick Stewart, RSC stalwart turned Trekkie and X-Men star is in Oxford tomorrow for a special benefit. He’ll be talking about his acting career and charity work, and is apparently keen to take a wide range of questions from the audience. Like, did that Star Trek polyester top aggravate the nipples? And why, if he’s played Professor X for so long in X Men, can’t he just mind-read audience questions?

5pm. Tickets £12/£10.

Swan Lake Family Dance workshop, 22 June

My little girl loves ballet so I’m forever trying to find good professional workshops in this area, but as you’d expect most seem to pop up in London. This English National Ballet Swan Lake ballet workshop is linked to the current ENB Swan Lake being performed in the round at the Albert Hall. It promises to inspire young dancers by exploring the characters and the story of good versus evil in a creative ballet workshop followed by the opportunity to see costumes from the production which will be GORGEOUS. No experience is necessary and the event is suitable for families. Children have to be 5+.

The workshop runs from 10-11.30am. £25 (1 adult and child), £15 (additional particpant). To book, tel: 0207 5811245

Feeling foodie?

farmers market food
The food fests keeps a-coming (not that I’m complaining, eating is my major talent). This weekend there are two fantastic London-based options if you’re going into the Smoke. The highly-regarded (and free!) Marylebone Farmers Market is holding its 10th anniversary picnic on Sunday with masses of producers (including the wonderfully named Wobbly-Bottom stall), a Punch and Judy show loads of games to keep children and playful adults entertained.  Or if you like your food shows a bit more polished and professioanl, A Taste of London returns to Regent’s Park, with a stellar line of up of 40 restaurants (including the Michelin-starred Gaulthier Soho and Jamie Oliver’s Barbecoa) and demos from London’s top chefs such as Michel Roux Jr and Carluccio.

The 39 Steps, Oxford, 24 – 29 June

39 steps driving
I saw this play in Aylesbury a few months back (see my review here) and loved it – very funny and fast and very accessible theatre. It’s now popping up at the Oxford Playhouse, so if you get the chance, I’d definitely recommend it for adults and kids 11+ (that’s my arbitrary rating not an official one).

Tickets £18.50-£28. Book ticket here

Lowry exhibition and other art events, London, from 20 June

I’ve been waiting for this exhibition for ages, and finally next Wednesday (25 June) the Tate Britain opens its doors to Lowry and the Painting of Modern Life, a major exhibition of urban landscapes by the much loved British painter L S Lowry (1887-1976),  This is the first such show held by a public institution in London since the artist’s death in 1976 so it’s well worth a visit.

Other worthy art events in the capital at the mo are the recently launched BP Portrait Awards at the National Portrait Gallery (free, and available for viewing on Thurs/Fridays only), and the Royal Academy’s Summer Exhibition – now in its 245th year! I’m ashamed to say I’ve never been to it, even after living in London for so many years, but it sounds incredible with If you have not been before (better late than never!) with over 1000 works by emerging and established artists.  Plus you’re right next to Green Park and it’s gorgeous cafe for nibbles afterwards.

Local festivals, 21 – 23 June

festival 1
Should you feel the need to keep your festival line up local and low-key (or perhaps get your calf muscles warmed up for Glasto next weekend) there are plenty of festi-frollicks on your doorstep. Try Rugfest (Wallingford, 21-22 June) for funkpoppin and soulgroovin (their words not mine!), the small, family-oriented Battstock Music Festival (Witney, 22 June) or Deddington Festival (music, visual arts, writing and performance, 21 June – 13 July). Any good ones I’ve missed? Please tell me using the comment box below!

Additional research: Alicia Roscoe

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