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The Muddy Guide 18 – 26 July 2014

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This is the last ‘normal’ Muddy Guide before my ball-breaking, super-whopper, don’t-panic-I’ve-got-it-covered Guides kick in for the Summer hols. Have fun this week, and steel yourself for the next six to come!

 Discovering Tutankhamun, The Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, Thurs 24 July

The Ashmolean’s big summer exhibition starts next week and it’s going to be spectacular, telling the story of one of the most significant archaeological discoveries of the 20th century. The exhibition covers the hunt for the boy king’s tomb and the thrill of its discovery, and includes Howard Carter’s original records, drawings and photographs.

Tickets £9, kids under 12 go free

Summer BBQ, The Quince Tree, Stonor, Fri 18 July 

Grab your artisan sausages and perfect glass of wine – this is a BBQ, Quince Tree style, to  celebrate the launch of its brand new wine bar (oh sweet heaven!) and extended opening hours. It’s the last day of school for many families, so bring the kids along and save yourself the trouble of cooking (oh, just me?). The BBQ will be on the pretty landscaped terrace and offers a Summer BBQ menu, where you can sample the summer dishes cooked to order between 4pm and 8pm. Sounds like a great way to ease into the weekend.  –

Discover and Explore Art, River and Rowing Museum, Henley, 24, 25, 28, 29 July

henley river art course-600x337

Love the sound of these full day art courses at the beautifully-situated River & Rowing Museum in Henley. Running from 10am-3.30pm, kids between 7-11 will learn different techniques using a variety of media with a professional artist and if you’re as hopeless at art as I am, embarrass you with their proficiency. Grrrr.

Cost £125, including  all tuition, materials, light refreshments, Award certificate, moderation and fees).  Limited places.

Monty Python Live (Mostly), Phoenix Picture House, Oxford Thurs 24 July

At a combined age of just 358, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones and Michael Palin are once again performing some of their greatest hits, and you can watch it from the comfort of the PPP’s boutique screens. Don’t forget to bring your stuffed parrot.

Pirates of Penzance, Greys Court, Henley, 19 July


I fell in love with Greys Court when I went to see the bluebells in May, and if you like outdoor events here’s a new reason to go back. Bring a picnic to watch the Gilbert & Sullivan classic The Pirates of Penzance is being staged on Saturday, so it’s wonderfully silly for little ears if you think Wagner’s The Ring might be a little intense for your kids (lightweights!). Alternatively Alice’s Adventure’s In Wonderland is being performed by Opera Holland Park in, um, Holland Park on various dates from 19 July – 2 Aug, which should be equally visual and funny and child-friendly. Down the rabbit hole you go.

Pirates of Penzance: 7.30 – adult: £19, child: £9; Alice:

A MidSummer Night’s Dream, The Oxford Castle, until 19 July

It’s the last two days to see Shakespeare’s donkey, fairies, elves and magic creatures in one of his most popular comedies, presented by Tomahawk Theatre in the castle courtyard. Alternatively how about As You Like It performed by the Oxford Shakespeare Company in the exquisite grounds of Wadham College with music by Nicholas (son of Andrew) Lloyd Webber?

Much Ado about Nothing: Adult £15, kids and concessions £12

 Words & Wickets, Wormsley Estate, Stokenchurch, 24-26 July

cricket ball
I wrote about this the other day and now it’s nearly here. A very English festival, Words and Wickets combines literature and cricket at Wormsley Park, a stunning 2,500-acre estate and 18th century country house at Stokenchurch in the Chilterns.The main draw, if you or yours love cricket, is that there are two celebrity matches on the sublime Wormsley pitch with an Actors v Writers XI and a Writers v Musicians XI. This year Ian Game of Thrones Glen and Ben Miller are on the roster to avoid the duck and nibble on cucumber sandwiches. There are talks, nets for kids, a writing competition and a gala evening on the 24th if you want to really immerse yourself. Sounds fun.

UK National Hovercraft Championship, Claydon Estate, Bucks, 19-20 July

A slightly bonkers event but they’ve got to hold it somewhere, so why not the stunning Claydon Estate?! Two unique days of bouncing on water, amazing air stunts, and kids essentials like bouncy castles, refreshments and hovercraft rides. Don’t worry harrassed parents, there’s a bar too. Rack em up!

£5 entry, £15 maximum per car. Saturday practise from 10am, racing from 1pm; Sunday practise from 9.30am, racing from 11.30am.

Coppelia, English National Ballet, London Coliseum, 23 July – 8 Nov


Going into London this week? Coppelia is a brillantly family-friendly ballet, good for little ones as well as adults and danced here by the ENB. If you can’t make it, fear not, this ballet comes to the New Theatre Oxford in October.

Bludgers and Broomsticks, Warner Bros’ Studio Tour 18 July – 1 Sept


Harry Potter fans, hold onto your quiddich sticks. As part of its summer programming, Warner Bros’s Harry Potter studio will help visitors take part in a magical game of Quiddich. Ride the broomsticks, create a short film starring your gorgeous self, and for the first time have a stab at the special game ‘Snitch-Snatcher’,  featured in The Prisoner of Azkaban.

£29 adults, £21.50 5-15 year olds, under 5’s go free.

V&A Fashion Pop-Up, Quadrant Arcade, Regent’s St, London, 20 July


The glorious V&A will pop up in Regent’s Street on Sunday, celebrating the museum’s current events Glamour of Italian Fashion 1945-2014 and Wedding Dresses 1775-2004. There’ll be drop-in fashion illustration workshops from 12pm led by Stuart McKenzie, and accessories, jewellery, books and prints inspired by the V&A’s fashion and textile archives for sale. The pop-up is part of the Summer Streets season, which sees Regent Street taken over by live music, exhibitions and activities every Sunday in July.

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