The Muddy Guide
Barbados Legends v England Masters, Wormsley, Sun 26 June
Wormsley on Sir Paul Getty’s Chilterns estate in Stokenchurch has been described as the most beautiful cricket ground in England so if you’re into leather on willow you’ll have quite the thrill on Sunday. Barbados Legends v England Masters cricket match celebrates 50 Years of Barbados Independence in true Bajan style with Two T20 Cricket Matches, music, food, a bouncy castles, magician, and – of course – cricket nets. The day is hosted by Michael Parkinson, with cricketers including Garfield Sobers, Wes Hall, Joel Garner and Desmond Haynes.
Wormsley Cricket Club,near Stokenchurch, Bucks , wormsleycricket.co.uk
The Little Welly Goes Wild, Henley-on-Thames, Sat 25 & Sun 26 June
The biggest obstacle course race for kids in the UK, The Little Welly returns to the 3500 acre Culden Faw estate in Henley-on-Thames. Thirty different challenges including a foam pitt, ball cage, waterslide, mud pit, rope climb and hay bales around a 3km course. It’s for 4-10 year olds primarily and bear in mind that if your little darling is under 8 you’ll be expected to accompany them (bring the paper bag for possible hyperventilation). Just a few tickets left now so get to it quickly if you can.
Henley, Oxon, thelittlewelly.co.uk
Oxford Festival of the Arts – until Sat 2 July
Your last week to catch the Oxford Festival of the Arts, a celebration of culture and the arts in venues throughout Oxford – everything from music and literature to speaker events and workshops. Very eclectic, you’ll find something you want to see for sure.
The Boodles, Stoke Park, Tues 21 – Sat 25 June
A brilliant, local, fun and cost-effective alternative to Wimbledon held at the gorgeous five star hotel and country club of Stoke Park. There are very few tickets left ever since some bloke called Novak Djokovic confirmed his attendance for 2016 so you need to move swiftly. A top spin towards your purse, slice with the credit card and ooh I say, what a winner!
Stoke Park, Stoke Poges, Bucks, stokepark.com
Storms War and Shipwrecks, Ashmolean, now ’til end Sept 2016
The major Ashmolean summer exhibition Storms, War and Shipwrecks tells the extraordinary story of Sicily, the island at the crossroads of the Mediterranean through the discoveries made by underwater archaeologists. For 2500 years, Sicily was the place where great ancient civilizations met and fought – Phoenicians, Greeks, Romans, Arabs and Normans have all stomped the ground. The exhibition explores this through objects rescued from the bottom of the sea – from chance finds to excavated shipwrecks. And to think I spent my entire holiday stuffing my face by the pool in Taomina….
Ashmolean Museum, Beaumont St, Oxford, ashmolean.org
Bucks Open Studios, ends Sun 26 June
The last few days to catch over 500 artists and makers in over 200 different venues across Buckinghamshire, all opening their studios and running exhibitions and events for the public to visit. Choose a pretty village you’ve never been to, find a good pub (you’re in the right place, I’ve reviewed dozens of them!), and slelect art exhibition or two and enjoy.
Buckingham Literary Festival, Fri 1 – Sun 3 July
Plucky Bucky is at it again! This vibrant North Bucks town is holding its inaugural literary festival spread over three days. Most events take place at the Radcliffe Centre in Church Street, and it’s an eclectic, and impressive first festival with talks by the likes of Louis de Bernieres, psychologist Oliver James and Will Gompertz plus The Wimpy Kid Show for kids so I’m giving you a bit of notice. Tie in your trip with a visit to Stowe Landscape Gardens or Claydon House. Adstock’s The Old Thatched Inn is a good pub option or Nelson St is relaxed for a town lunch.
Venues around Buckingham, bucklitfest.org
Marcus Brigstocke, Shappi Khorsandi & Joel Dommett, Oxford Festival of Arts, Tues 28 June
Award-winning stand-ups Marcus Brigstocke and Shappi Khorsandi plus Joel Dommett of Skins come together for an evening of comedy as part of the Oxford Festival of the Arts. For 13+.
Oxford Festival of the Arts, Magdalen College School ,Cowley Place, Oxford. artsfestivaloxford.org
Fishstock, The Fishes, Sat 25 June
The Fishes pub at North Hinksey has a 3 acre garden – nice! – and is putting it to good use on Saturday with Fishstock, its second annual festival of food, drink and food from midday. Expect live music, a huge of array of yum options, garden games for the kids, a DJ and dancing. You even get a wrist-band on your way in, though apparently there’s no need for wellies or wetwipes.
The Fishes, North Hinksey Village. fishesoxford.co.uk
OffBeat Oxford, Performing Arts Festival, until Sun 26 June
The last four days to catch this alternative, funky arts festival in Oxford this week. It’s a collaboration between The Oxford Playhouse and Arts at the Old Fire Station featuring everything from theatre, dance and comedy to music and spoken word. Defo worth checking out if you’re planning a trip into the city this week.
A timely festival with Tim Peake just touched down on terra firma. This year, the Oxfordshire Science Festival kickstarts a new summer format and there’s loads to attract science bods (sorry, I’m just stifling my yawn here). As someone who doesn’t know which way up a bunsen burner goes this isn’t my area of interest, but the Space Day on Friday 24 June sounds fun with its constellation master class and a live interactive astrophysics experiments from Broad Street. Dig out your pipette and lab coat, and check out the full schedule here.
Sunset Safari, Whipsnade Zoo, Sat 25 June
The return of this family festival featuring 2,700 animals during the hours of dusk. See tigers, giraffes, rhinos and elephants to the backdroup of acoustic guitarists and jazz musicians. They also promise stilt walkers, gymnasts, face painting and safari truck tours. Blimey.
Whipsnade Zoo, Dunstable, Beds, zsl.org
Now in its 7th year in 42 acres of beautiful gardens, Woburn Abbey Garden Show will rock the boat of dedicated gardeners, enthusiastic amateurs or lazy opportunists like me who like to wander around pretending to know what they’re looking at.
Woburn Abbey, Beds, woburnabbey.co.uk
Stowe Country Fair, Stowe Gardens, Sat 25 – Sun 26 June
A very gentle, old fashioned fair by the look of it, at some of the most stunning gardens in England. There’ll be birds of prey flying displays, horse demonstration, terrier racing, a children’s farm, working dogs, historical re-enactment & demonstrators, plus music from the Plonkers Agricultural Band. Yes, seriously. Also on Sunday there’s a Companion Dog Show if you fancy channelling your inner Barbara Woodhouse. Walkies!
Stowe, New Inn, Buckingham, oakleighfairs.co.uk
The Gruffalo’s Child, Wycombe Swan, Sat 25 – Sun 26 June
Tall Stories Theatre Company brings Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler’s award-winning sequel to life in this magical, musical adaptation.
Wycombe Swan, St Mary St. wycombeswan.co.uk