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Andrew Lawrence, the Mill Arts Centre, Banbury, 12 July

We’re quite lucky out this way in that big name comedians frequently snake out from London to try new material or play regional gigs. You may have seen Andrew Lawrence on Michael McIntyre’s Comedy Roadshow, and Channel 4’s Stand Up For the Week. The Guardian proclaimed that Lawrence ‘could be the defining stand-up comic of his generation’. The Independent think he’s ‘near perfection’. The Mail on Sunday (oh, who cares about them?!). You get the drift. The guy’s funny. Go and see him.

Tickets £12/£10

Oxford Beach, Castle Quarter, Oxford, now open until September

Max Mason from Oxford’s The Big Bang Restaurant is one of those guys who seems to come up with great ideas. Like, all the time. First it was a bangers and mash restaurant. Then the Oxford Jazz Festival. Now he’s decided Oxford needs a beach – and here it is! With 23 tonnes of sand, palm trees, deck chairs, cocktails, beers, Pimms, a specially-designed G&Ds ice cream list, not to mention Beachside Ciema in August, petanque and beach volleyball leagues, it’s inspired. Best of all, there will be weekly ‘stay and play’ mornings, allowing parents to relax in the Castle Quarter’s restaurants while their offspring enjoy supervised activities on the beach. Glory be!

42 Oxford Castle Quarter, OX1 1AY. Tel: 01865 249413


Latitude Festival, Suffolk, 18-21 July 

Didn’t quite get yourself into gear for Cornbury Festival last weekend? Fancy a weekend away? Combine two needs with one stonkingly brilliant festival. Latitude is particularly family friendly, with a dedicated Kids Area with animation and film making, an Anglo Saxon encampment, astronomy, mini monsters road-show and pizza making to keep little people entertained. There’s also – I love this – an ‘Inbetweeners’ area for kids 12+ who want their own Latitude away from their loser parents. If you don’t have kids, you can enjoy Eddie Izzard, Bobbie Womack, Bloc Party, Kraftwerk, the Radio 6 Music Stage, Germaine Greer, Sadler’s Wells etc in perfect peace. Either way, you’ll have an amazing weekend.

Cirque du Soleil, O2, London 18 – 28 July

cirque du soleil
There have been plenty of imitators since Cirque du Soleil first exploded onto the international scene in 1984, but Cirque arguably still serves up the most mind-blowing blend of circus, street performance and theatre. The new show Alegria  plays for a whopper 10 nights at Wembley so if high wires, fire dancers, contortionists and clowns are your bag, this is the night for you.

£50-65. Buy tickets. 


 Wicked Water Fun Day, Caldecotte Lake, Milton Keynes, Bucks Sat 13 July

caldecote lake and windmill
Want to turn your couch potatoes into outdoors sporty gods? Roll up to Caldecotte Lake this Saturday (no booking required) and have a go at all the water activities on offer for free. Fishing, canoeing, sailing and rowing taster sessions are all on offer.  There’s a play area, picnic tables, cycling paths, pretty ornamental windmill and refreshments. Lovely!

11.00 am to 3.00 pm. Caldecotte Lake lies off the H10 Bletcham Way, between the V10 Brickhill St and the A5.


Club to Catwalk: London Fashion in the 1980s, 10 July – 16 February 2014

boy george and lee bowery

OMG, look how young – and slim – Boy George looks here! A fantastic new V&A exhibition takes an all-encompassing look at the fashion in the Eighties, a time that taste forgot (and as someone who eagerly embraced the purple padded jacket and backcombed hair I’m particularly well placed to say this). The Club to Catwalk exhibition showcases over 85 outfits from the likes of John Galliano and Vivienne Westwood, plus there are one-off custom creations alongside rare photography, film and music. Perfect for fashion fans or  anyone who *blush* remembers it first time round.

£5.70 (under 12s go free). Buy tickets 


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