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The Muddy Guide to Going Out: 19-26 July

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The school holidays are nearly upon us. Oh dear, is that the sound of gentle weeping I hear?

If you haven’t quite worked out how to get through six weeks of children around your ankles, in your hair, and up your bleedin’ nose, now is the time to take a deep breath and let Muddy Stilettos take the strain. I’m including loads of kid-friendly stuff into The Muddy Guide each week through the hols so keep an eye out on Wednesdays when the new list comes out.

And for those of you blissfully child-free, don’t worry – there will be plenty here for you too. So without further ado, here’s this week’s Muddy Guide…

The Henley Fringe Festival, until 21 July

Now in its sixth year, the Henley Fringe is an enticing mix of Edinburgh previews, kids shows, drama and comedy. Have a laugh with the Beauty School Dropouts (above), try a bit of Silent Shakespeare, Musical Comedy on Water, or my pick of the children’s performances, Little Red Riding Hood by Henley Fringe regulars FalconGrange Productions.

The Dark Knight Rises, general release from Friday

Not sure about the pointy nose Batters.

Nearly three hours of the tense, brooding superhero stufff, as Christian Bale dons the plastic six pack and pointy ears and scowls his way through the most anticipated Batman film in years. Joining Bale is a brilliant cast including Michael Caine, Anne Hathaway, Tom Hardy, Marion Cotillard, Morgan Freeman, Liam Neeson and Gary Oldman. It’s 12A so you can legitimately boot your teens to the cinema the afternoon, or if you can’t resist that popcorn feeling, make it a family outing.

Victoria’s Secret opens, Westfield Stratford, 24 July

Barbara Palvin. She models a bit you know.

A brief London diversion for you. If, like me, you look remarkably like Barbara Palvin (above)  in your smalls, you’ll be delighted to know that Victoria’s Secret is openings it first UK store at Westfield next week, followed by a flagship store in New Bond St. Revisit your arsenal of diet books, wax within an inch of your life, then form an orderly queue for the camis and garters.
123-4 The Arcade, Westfield Stratfield, London E20 1EJ; 111 New Bond St, London w1S 1DP.

Outdoor theatre at Cliveden 21st/ 24 July
I’m guessing outdoor theatre isn’t currently on your must-do list. However, I have decided to believe the weather folk who claim the change in jetstream is about to deliver fine weather (in which case, don’t forget to enter my comps to win the luxury picnic blanket and champers!). Cliveden hosts outdoor productions of The Importance of Being Ernest (21 July), and The Twits (24 July). I can’t vouch for the quality of the acting but with the grandeur of the National Trust’s most glamorous charge as a backdrop I’m not sure it matters all that much!

Artisan Market, The Clifden Arms, Worminghall, 21 July

The Clifden Arms gastropub in Worminghall, near Long Crendon (see my review here) is putting its money where its mouth is by promoting local produce at its first Artisan Market. Go buy chutney and jams from Aylesbury, eggs from Great Milton, veggies from Worminghall, apple juice from Longwick, Italian ice cream from Haddenham… They’ll be a BBQ running in the day, plus stalls for handmade jewellery, restored antique gardening bits, pottery and other nick-nacks.  It feels like it’s got a good heart so worth a look if you’re in the area.
12-6pm. Free entry.

The Snail and the Whale, The Mill Arts Centre, Banbury, 26 July

Threading its way towards a three week run at the Edinburgh Festival, Tall Stories brings The Snail and the Whale to The Mill at Banbury in what’s been described by The Stage as  ‘an exquisite piece of theatre’. You can’t say fairer than that! Suitable for 4+.

The Spin Jazz Club, Oxford, every Thursday

When I think of jazz I always default to Ronnie Scott’s, but now I can open my mind a bit and save on the train fare at the same time. I’ve just found out that The Spin jazz club in central Oxford (opposite the Covered Market down a side alley, above) has won the 2012 award for Best Live Jazz in the UK at the prestigious Parliamentary Jazz Awards – beating not only jazz venues, but festivals, regional promoters, the lot. I haven’t been to it yet, but it’s firmly on my list of places to try. If you like live music, maybe put it on yours too.
 The Spin Jazz Club @The Wheatsheaf 129 High Street, Oxford OX1 4DF (opposite Covered Market). Doors 8:15pm. Bands 9:00-11:00pm

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1 comment on “The Muddy Guide to Going Out: 19-26 July”

  • Jo Henderson July 19, 2012

    Inspired by these suggestions I have just reread your posts on the Henley River & Rowing Museum and the Pitt Rivers Museum … my children will be very cultured on their return to school. Thanks for the ideas!


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