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Gees restaurant re-opens, central Oxford, 11 February

gees inside
This Oxford institution, famous for its glasshouse, closed for a facelift at the end of last year (these are old pics) and by all accounts the fillers and botox have worked a treat. I spent more money in this restaurant than was sensible for a student so I have very fond memories of Gees in the early Nineties, so it will be interesting to see the 2013 update. There’s a soft launch on 11 February if you want to check it out for yourselves, or I’ll be reviewing it towards the end of the following week if you want to wait for my verdict first.

Horrible Histories, Theatre Royal Windsor, 13-17 February

Terrible Tudors WEB
Those of you with kids off school next week may appreciate the chance to chuck them in front of some Terrible Tudors and Vile Victorians in Windsor. I know it’s a fair distance away, but somehow keep missing these performances closer to home, and like most children mine absolutely love Horrible Histories. Confession: I do too, and still spend hours replaying The Four Georges (watch it, you’ll see what I mean.) Nearer to home next week , try Oxford North Wall’s puppet performance of Rumpelstiltskin (for 4+) on Thursday 14th The Selfish Crocodile (4-7) at Henley’s Kenton Theatre.

Chinese New Year opening ceremony, Trafalgar Square, Sat 10 Feb.

chinese new year
I’m a bit claustrophobic so this one’s not for me, but if you like a crowd pressing against you and the inability to get to a loo for three hours you’ll probably love the opening ceremony for Chinese New Year Festivities. It begins at noon on Saturday in Trafalgar Square, followed by music, Chinese dragons, lion dances, acrobatics and firecrackers. The streets of Chinatown will be a lot of fun I reckon, rammed with food and gift stalls and Eastern bonhomie (I realise this is French, someone help me out with the Chinese version!).

Sweaty Betty shop opening, Marlow, Sat 10 Feb.

olivia newton john, physical

Whistles, Space NK, Mint Velvet, and now Sweaty Betty – things are looking pretty healthy on Marlow’s high street. Quirky, upmarket (ish) womens fitness store Sweaty Betty opened in Oxford not so long ago, so there’s obviously a particularly large contingent in Bucks & Oxon who like to pump, squeeze, tense and glisten. If you’re already given up on the new year new you thing, ask Betty for help to find some purple tights and headband, let physical. Come on, let me hear your body talk.

Blenheim Palace reopens, Friday 9 Feb. 

gullivers travels at blenheim

Blenheim Palace, along with Waddesdon and Cliveden, is one of those rare grand houses that always seems to offer something new. After a little nap through the worst of winter, Blenheim reopens to the public on Friday with a new exhibition, the modestly titled Lights, Camera, Action – Blenheim Palace The Star of TV and Film. In fairness, Blenheim Palace is an architectural supermodel and has played backdrop to scores of films and TV adaptions, including Gulliver’s Travels, The Young Victoria and Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.  The exhibition will be located inside the Palace, at the Stables, in the East Courtyard Visitor Centre and at the Pleasure Gardens with relevant films and interactive add-ons in the half-term week.

Turl Street Arts Festival, central Oxford, until 17 February

turl street

This annual festival, based in Turl St (above) is run by a committee of students from the three Turl St Oxford University Colleges Jesus, Exeter and Lincoln, but don’t worry – there’s not a speed-drinking race in sight. Instead, it’s impressively professional. Choose your poison – a short film festival, choral recitals, acoustic music performances, comedy night, jazz processions. The full schedule is here so have a gander and see if something takes your fancy.


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