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The Muddy Guide

Rewind Festival, Henley, Fri 19 – Sun 21 Aug


Back for 8th year in Henley, and still with a killer line-up if you’re a new lover of Eighties music or *cough* remember it from first time around, its success has now spawned two more locations in Scotland and Cheshire. This year’s line-up features Toyah, Rick Astley, Jimmy Somerville, Tony Hadley, Marc Almond, Adam Ant, Andy Bell (ex-Erasure), Earth Wind and Fire… but if your kids are rolling their eyes and grunting ‘what-evaaaaaar’ they can bog off to the Circus tent or to the Roller Disco and leave you to practise your Prince Charming arms-above-the-head manouevre.  Adult Weekender’s cost £125 which includes camping and access to toilets and showers (this is Henley people, there are probably Jo Malone candles in the loos) and kids under 12 are half-price. Still a few tickets left if you want to snap one up.

Havana Nights – Cuban Party, The Gatsby, Berkhamsted, 25 Aug, from 7pm

cuban night

Party on, Cuban-stylee, at the gorgeous Gatsby above The Rex cinema in Berkhamsted.  Live music, a Cuban buffet, salsa dancing and — of course! — cocktails.  Close your eyes and you could be on the other side of the world.

Call  01442 870403 for details and tickets.

King Lear, RSC, 20 Aug – 15 Oct


The RSC are bringing out the big guns for its new production of King Lear, with Antony Sher playing the title role, so get in fast – it’s going to be a sell out. But fear not, if you can’t catch it in Stratford, you’ll have a second bite at the cherry in November when it transfers to the Barbican in London (10 Nov – 23 Dec 2016).

Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Waterside, Stratford-upon-Avon,

Open Air Film Festival 2016, Campbell Park, Milton Keynes, Sat 20 – Sun 21 Aug

A lovely idea, this one. A two day outdoor cinema festival that’s absolutely free – I know!! – and needs no booking. Held at Milton Keyne’s Campbell Park’s amphitheatre this weekend, you can bring a picnic, seats, blankets and rugs, choose from afternoon or evening showings, eat from the food stalls, find kids activities and generally make an occasion of it. Five films make up the festival: Labyrhinth (Sat 3pm); Guardians of the Galaxy (Sat 6pm) Insider Out (Sun 1pm); Despicable Me (Sun 3pm); and Hairsprray The Musical (Sun 6pm).


Art in Clay, Hatfield House, 19-21 Aug

art in clay

Art in Clay is a serious ceramics exhibition — one of the most important in Europe, so I’m told.  Relative newcomers exhibit alongside internationally renowned makers, and there’ll be demonstrations, talks and workshops too.  And what a setting, too.  Don’t think ‘craft fair’ — it’s way beyond that.

10am-5.30pm (5pm Sun).

Summer Jousting Tournament, Blenheim Palace, Fri 19 – Sun 21 Aug

What is it with the British obsession with jousting events? Well, work it out for yourself as this one, a  ‘spectacular battle’ at Blenheim Palace on the South Lawn featuring The Knights of Arkley, experts in all things Medieval. From the 19th-21st August, a spectacular battle (their words not mine!) will take place at Blenheim Palace with a jousting tournament on the South Lawn and we”re promised tournament charging in the traditional tilt, battles on foot with mace and quarter staff, falconry displays, have-a-go archery and jester and jugglers. Public humiliations in the stocks haven’t been mentioned but in the name of authenticity something  can be arranged.

Ashridge Estate Big Camp, Sat 20 Aug

The stunning Ashridge Estate

Hippety hopping over the border into Herts, The 5000 acre Ashridge Estate in the Chiltern Hills is a stunning medieval meadow, offering a chance a once yearly opportunity to camp in its grounds and share space with the fallow deer who roam here. The organisers promise there will be plenty to see and do, including toasting marshmalllows on the open fire, family games and races, art workshiops, night time bat walks with the rangers, counting butterflies and climbing the Bridgewater Monument to watch the sunset. You can bring your own food but the Brownlow cafe will be putting on a BBQ by the camp fire (at an extra cost) if you can’t be bothered to cook (*hand shoots up*).

One pitch based on four people sharing one tent will cost £40. You can add another four people to a pitch (max 8 altogether) at a charge of £5 per person.  Saturday night BBQ £7 per adult and £5 per child – sausages, burgers, jacket potatoes and a selection of salads. Ashridge Estate,

Vicious Vikings, Chiltern Open Air Museum, Sat 20 – Sun 21 Aug



Chiltern Open Air Museum are on a bit of a Horrible Histories theme at the moment. Last week it was Vile Victorians nad now we’re onto Vicious Vikings. There’s some historical guff about Viking warriors, levys and raiders but I’m getting a headache just reading it (sorry, history didn’t make sense for me until Henry Tudor threw a chicken leg over his shoulder). All you need to know is that your kids can meet Viking warriors, look at weapons and battle gear, watch battle displays and even go into the under 10s Kiddie Vike area where they can fight the warriors themselves.

Chiltern Open Air Museum, Newland Park, Gorelands Lane, Chalfont St Giles, Bucks,


Jazz on the Farm, Peterley Manor Farm, Sun 21 Aug

jazz instrument-640x640

Peterley Manor Farm has done a great job of diversifying over the last few years with its popular yurt and dining evenings. Here’s another one – an afternoon of jazz, blues and boogies in the gardens of the Wild Strawberry Cafe. The cafe will be open all day from 9am (brekky served until noon), plus there are food stalls, a hog roast, and an outdoor bar until 4pm. Best of all, it’s freeeeeeee!

Peterley Ln, Prestwood HP16 0HH.



Hamlet, Cogges Manor Farm, Weds 24 Aug



The lovely setting of Cogges Manor Farm plays host to the Festival Players Theatre Company and Shakespeare’s Hamlet using an all male company (I’m digging Desdemona’s wig). A gloriously fast-paced 2 hour production, the performance will be on the manor lawn or in the barns if it’s bad weather. Picnics, rugs, low back chairs and blankets, all welcome, to which I would add pillows, duvets and hot chocolate, and you know, don’t forget your book for a bed time story at the end.

Cogges Manor Farm, Witney, Witney, Oxon,

David Bowie – Unseen Photographs, Snap Galleries, Piccadilly Arcade, London, until 24 Sept

david bowie

Wow.  A collection of previously unpublished black and white photographs of David Bowie. Gerald Fearnley, a professional photographer whose brother Dek was in The Buzz, who backed Bowie in ’66-’67, took the photos when Bowie stayed with the family — as he often did — and one of his shots ended up as the cover of his first LP (remember those?).  Sound great.


Samara Scott, Pleasure Garden Fountains, Battersea Park, until 25 Sept

samara scott

Check this out.  Samara Scott has created a ‘liquid painting’ in the Mirror Pools.  Using bio-degradable dyes, she’s coloured the Pools to create an artwork that shifts and changes with the flow of water around the pipe systems. Trippy!

Find more ideas here

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The Urban Guide to the Countryside - Bucks & Oxon