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The Muddy Guide 26 June – 3 July

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Sculpture in the Garden, Haddenham, Bucks,  5-13 July

An early heads up on Turn End in Haddenham, Bucks is one of my favourite gardens – if you haven’t been it’s really a treat, a garden thought through with architectural flair, leading you through a series of outdoor ‘rooms’, nooks, crannies and surprises. My kids have been several times and are thrilled by it. This exhibition is part of a new initiative from the Turn End trust, that seeks to preserve the Grade II listed house and gardens for generations to come, and make their beauty public as much as possible. The Sculpture in the Garden exhibition is free, full of traditional and modern sculptures that are all for sale and are from local and international artists.

Henley Regatta, guess where,  Wed 2 – Sun 6 July

Blazer on, boater in hand, exaggerated stories of university rowing brilliance at the ready. Actually my college coxed eight sank in my one and only rowing race, so I think it’s fair to say that rowing is not my strong suit, but it’s true, I do like to see the gents straining against the oar. *sigh*. Sorry… Right, back to the job in hand. If you haven’t already booked for the world-renowned Royal Henley Regatta , get to it – 200 rowing races, Olympic teams spilling from the river, more champers than even Muddy Stilettos knows how to handle (well, I’m being modest but you get my drift) and some of the prettiest views in England. Yes, pervy peeps, I meant the RIVER. And finally, if that wasn’t enough, Pete Tong is playing ChinaWhite in Henley during the Regatta. Pass the glowstick, I’m off to the podium.

Tickets from £18.

Shakespeare frenzy, everywhere!

Thought you’d left Shakespeare behind with your Collins O’ level notes? Methinks not, my liege. Macbeth is popping up in Witney with an all male cast courtesy of the touring Festival Players on 3 July (tickets £8.50); The Oxford Castle courtyard plays host to Tomahawk Theatre’s rendering of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, from 7 July; and the lovely Waddesdon Manor offers at the tragedy of Romeo and Juliet, performed in its grounds on 6 July by The Lord Chamberlain’s Men (tickets £18.50 adults, kids £10). Still not hooked? How about Twelfth Night at the Old Fire Station in Oxford, by the brilliant MadCap Theatre Productions on 11-12 July (Tickets £12/£10)?

Finally, if you’re not done in by all the rhyming couplets and codpieces, London is staging its own Shakespeare homage from 2 July, the premiere of the stage version of the Oscar-winning film Shakespeare in Love. I can’t say I know the cast – there seems much TV experience on Midsomer Murders – but if Lee Hall (who adapted Billy Elliott) is directing, it has hit written all over it.

The Battle of the Proms – 12 July


The British Proms are a strange affair  – all that pomp and cheerful flag waving and vehement shouty-singing. Having said all that, I went a couple of times to Kenwood for the old flag and cannon blast when I lived in London and always had a really good time. This version takes place in the grounds of Blenheim Palace – ancestral home of Winston Churchill so probably the most suitable place in the world for such an event – and includes a Spitfire display as well as music, food, and fireworks. Worth going to, I’d say.

Tickets £35

Love Fridays, Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, 27 June

ashmolean late nights 2

Hurrah! The supercool Live Fridays return to the Ashmolean, after-hours music, art, theatre, workshops and more, this time to the theme of ‘Love’. Tis free to enter, so if you don’t want to commit to the whole evening, just drop in between 7.30-10pm to get a taste of the fun to come.

Maison Artisan food fair, Henley, Sun 13 July

Maison Artisan - macaroons image[10]
An early heads-up on this fab food fair, now back for its second stint after a crazy-successful first outing. Go and stock up on fresh breads, cheese, truffle oils, olives, pate & terrines, chocolate, cake, wine, beer, cider, liqueurs, jams, chutneys, teas and coffee. Basically, your little shopping basket of heaven.

Charlbury Beer Festival – 4-6 July / Haddenham Beer Festival – 5 July

Muddy men, say not that I think not of thee. (Sorry, I’m still thinking in Shakespeare and codpieces). Two beer festivals to whet the palate, both family friendly if you want to get bladdered in front of your aghast children (JOKE!!)  – The Charlbury Beer Festival (£10 tickets, under 18s free) and my local event, the Haddenham beer festival. where I have been bladdered in front of my aghast children (JOKE – ish). From experience I can tell you it’s superfamily friendly and increasingly foody – loads of deli goodies, artisan this and that, plenty to entertain the kids and a pretty school setting for £5 a ticket.

Chilterns Arts Fest, Chiltern Open Air Museum, Chalfont St Peter, 28-29  June

June_ArtsFest_creditJanMakower                 I came here a few weeks ago with a friend and all our kids (review coming in the next week or so) and absolutely loved it. If you didn’t mange to see any of the Bucks Open Studios artists this is just another reason to come to the Chilterns Art Fest, with opportunities to meet great local artists, try painting, buy art and enjoy some jazz and Pimm’s on the old village green. If the weather is fine it will be a lovely way to while away a few hours.

Moving Monsters!, Science Live, Oxford Castle, Sat 28 June

scientist with lab stuff

A fab way for kids of all ages and sexes to get excited about science, this show allows little white-coats to make their own moving monsters while discovering about air and forces. Suitable for 5-8 year olds.

11am, 2pm. £7 for one child with accompanying adult.

July Festivals update…

Your reminder that Cornbury is around the corner! A proper family local festival with slightly posh Cotswold celeb connections (alas more David Cameron than Kate Moss ) but plenty of great stuff to recommend it.
Friday – Jools Holland, with special guest stars Melanie C and Marc Almond
Saturday – Scouting For Girls and Simple Minds
Sunday – Sam Bailey (X Factor winner) and Gypsy Kings

Tickets are £200 for an adult weekend camping pass.

Henley Festival, 9-14 July:

Liking the look of this festival, though the black tie dress code may make you feel like a bit of a twerp.
Wednesday – Bryan Ferry
Thursday – Joss Stone
Friday – Burt Bacharach, with a special appearance of Eliza Dolittle
Saturday – The Jacksons
Sunday – Rebecca Ferguson and the Overtons

Tickets are  around £120.

Wireless, Finsbury Park, London, 4-6 July

wirelessNo camping at this festival so the perfect first festival for teenagers 16+ who can go on their own but in the parental knowledge that it’s an enclosed park with security everywhere! You can go too, if you fancy seeing Kanye West, Bruno Mars and the rest, but it’s strictly no Under 5s here.
Friday – Kanye West
Saturday – Drake
Sunday – Bruno Mars

Tickets are £217 for three days

British Summertime Festival, Hyde Park, 4-13 July

Nowhere in the world does this kind of off-hand cool better than London. Over a week of music, carnival, kids activities and chill-out at Hyde Park with big names every day. Tickets are an affordable £66. Just dip in for the day and cool off back in the country. Tickets £66.
Thursday (3th) – Arcade Fire
Friday (4th) – Black Sabbath
Saturday (5th) – The Libertines
Sunday (6th) – McBusted
Saturday (12th) – Neil Young
Sunday (13th) – Tom Jones

Additional research: Georgina Ellison

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