The Muddy Guide
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Wallingford Bunkfest, 30 Aug -1 Sept
This free festival in central Wallingford is a real local success story. Expect loads of live music in venues around the town, Wallingford history tours, kids events, steam train and musical boat rides (a small charge for those two), food stalls and more ceilidh and morris dancing than is healthy for one sedate English town.
Book for Union St Cafe, Southwark, from 27 Aug
Union St Cafe, David Beckham’s dabble in gastronomy with bezzy mate and now business partner Gordon Ramsay, takes bookings from 27 August for a September launch. If you want to spend your entire evening rubbernecking to see if Victoria Beckham truly only eats air, this is your big chance.
Towersey Festival, Oxfordshire, until 26 Aug
I met the lovely Joe, organiser of Towersey Festival, the other day while embarrassing myself on BBC Radio Oxford (I now have a bit of a radio crush on the very droll and charming Will Gompertz – I didn’t see that one coming). This year it seems Joe and team have outdone themselves with dedicated kids tents (almost a minifest in fact), headline bands like The Blockheads, art and sculpture, street and staged theatre, workshops, comedy, the works. I’m heading there, are you?
Outdoor theatre for kids
It’s been quite the summer for outdoor performance. If you haven’t caught one yet, there are a clutch of them on over the next week, including Wind in the Willows at Waddesdon Manor (28 Aug), Romeo & Juliet at Hughendon (25 Aug) and Alice – An Extraordinary Adventure at West Wycombe Park (24 Aug). If the weather turns, creep inside for a look at The Queen’s Knickers at the Oxford Playhouse (23-24 Aug).
The Bucks County Show, Weedon, Bucks, 29 Aug
Flat caps ahoy! The Bucks County Show returns this year with a decent weather forecast and a resurgent community feel to all-but-guarantee a good turn out. Expect the usual array of cows, birds, ferrets, sheep shows, horse jumping, vintage tractors and bouncy castles.
Chalking the horse, Uffington, Oxfordshire, 24-26 Aug
I love this idea! I remember chalking a horse on a York hillside somewhere with my grandmother as a kid and loving it. This Oxfordshire-based event is open to adults as well as children. Basically, you just go along to White Horse Hill, Uffington to help the Ranger with the upkeep of this ancient monument by re-chalking the Horse. Tools and gloves are provided, and the event is free, but be prepared to get dirty! You’ll need to book a time slot so call 01793 762209 (allocated in half hours).
10am – 4pm each day. White Horse Hill, Uffington, Oxfordshire SN7 7QJ.
It’s A Knight’s Tale, Medieval Pageantry at Chiltern Open Air Museum, 24-26 Aug
I went to Warwick Castle last week where it was jousting and fighting galore, but what I like about this event is that it takes you beyond the gore and into the day-to-day of medieval life. So you can visit the knights’ camp and see the cooks in the kitchen, the apothecary mixing her potions, an armourer at work, and soldiers gambling. You can even try out medieval dancing if you’re really without shame. Yep *sigh*, that’s me alright.
Can you take any more festivals?
Honestly I’m nearly done. In mid Bucks, Brill’s beer and food festival is back for a second year (a lovely village with a famous windmill if you’re in the mood for a jaunt out), to the west The Stow Cotswold Festival is promising food fashion and fun (but who cares either way when the village is so damned pretty?), and of course in London there’s the small matter of the Notting Hill Carnival.
Whatever you’re doing, have a great bank holiday weekend. x