En garde, fun approaching!
One week of fun right here, people!
If you’re new to Muddy Stilettos, you’ve landed on my latest Muddy Guide to the the best things going on in Bucks & Oxon. The Guides are my curated weekly What’s Ons, published on Thursday and running through til the following Wednesday. The new Guide will be up on the blog on Thurs 1 Sept and for anyone who receives my newsletter, it will come flying into your inbox, ready to assist your social life for the week to come. Hey, no need to thank me, it’s what I do.
Longridge Open day, Marlow, Mon 29 Aug
Your chance to book yourself or your kids in for free at Longridge to try a whole load of different activities from zorbing and kayaking through to lazer tag and canoeing. It’s getting booked up fast so if it sounds like something you’d enjoy, I’d recommend moving fast. Afterwards you’re a stone’s throw from central Marlow for a mooch and place to eat if you want to make a day of it.
Towersey Festival, Thame, Fri 26- Mon 29 Aug
The folksy, family friendly festival returns to Thame Showground for the second time, and every year it seems to throw more at it. This time round Billy Bragg headlines (Friday), then there’s The Wonder Stuff on Saturday and Midge Ure on Sunday. There’s a whole ‘Youth Festival’ for kids 12-15 that includes roller disco, forest skills, dance workshops, drama sessions and snogging behind the tents (JOKE – well, probably not). Plus for kids there’s storytelling, mini gym, a climbing wall, face painting, kids zumba and yoga, and on and on it goes! You can glamp, camp or caravan or just go for the day.
Towersey Fringe Festival, Sun 28 Aug
Alternatively, you can go to the Towersey Fringe Festival, into its second year and a fund-raiser to improve Towersey’s village playing fields. Dominic Holland (above) headlines for the second year – quite the coup as he’s previously won the Edinburgh Festival Best Newcomer award, and is a TV regular, having been a guest on shows including Have I Got News For You, and They Think It’s All Over, so he’s definitely worth the punt. XT Brewery providess the day to night bar, there’s a marquee in the event of rubbish or scorching weather, and all the day time events are freeeeeee! £20 for the evening performances.
Chilterns Craft and Design Show, Stonor Park, Fri 26 – Mon 29 Aug
Going over the bank holiday weekend, this is an event to please extended families. The lovely Stonor Park plays host to the Chilterns Craft & Design show – 200 UK craftspeople with their jewellery, homeware, clothing and artisan goods. The grounds are huge so kids can run around and burn off some steam, and when they run out of energy there’s food and drink available plus live music including a set from vintage trio The Haywood Sisters.
Stonor Park, Henley-on-Thames, Oxon, stonor.com
Great Missenden Food Festival, Sat 27 – Mon 29 Aug
This food festival has been going for a few years now, and while it can’t promise the A-list chefs of The Big Feastival, but it has a kids cookery school, chef’s tasting kitchen, wild food foraging walks, a cookalong master class and the usual live music, children’s crafty stuff and artisan stalls you’d expect. Great location too for popping into Missenden or Amersham afterwards
The Scarlet Pimpernel, Waterperry Gardens, Sat 27 Aug
Seek him here, seek him there… oh hang on, he’s coming to Waterperry Gardens. More open air theatre if you still have an appetite for it with The Scarlet Pimpernel given the family treatment with original songs to go with the sword-fights and general swashbuckling.
Waterperry Gardens Ltd, Waterperry, Oxon, waterperrygardens.co.uk
Advanced Yoga Retreat, Poundon House, Sun 28 Aug – Thurs 1 Sept
I’m definitely going to one of these retreats, I’m just trying to find the time – I believe it’s lurking somewhere over there in the year 2026. Anyway, Alicia, who runs the retreats from the stately Poundon House in mid Bucks, is the kindest, loveliest, most yogic woman on the planet. This one would be well out of my league as it’s for advanced yogis who are looking to immerse themselves in a more challenging retreat but if you’re a seasoned pro at asanas and pranayama check out the website. It’s a 5 day, 4 night retreat, with 20 hours of yoga and a veggie menu from chef Sophie Glover, but you can also do a day pass and non-residential.
Poundon House, Poundon, Oxon, poundonhouse.com
A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Sat 27 Aug
We’re inching towards the end of outdoor Shakespeare season so if you missed The Globe on Tour at the Bodliean, here’s your chance to get your Bardic fix. A Midsummer Night’s Dream comes to the grounds of Cliveden for one night only, in the stunnng Water Garden, pictured, and performed by open air theatre specialists Illyria.
Tudor Times, Chiltern Open Air Museum, Sun 28 – Mon 29 Aug
The Chiltern Open Air Musuem continues its historical odyssey, having already plundered Vile Victorians and Revolting Romans in their live history events this summer. This weekend it’s Tudor Times, showing the daily life for for Tudor men, women and children, both rich and poor – how clothes were made with wool, learning about Tudor weaponry, seeing how food was prepared for the soldiers and household, and watching a whole load of battle re-enactments. FIIIIIIIGHT!!!!
Chiltern Open Air Museum, Newland Park, Gorelands Lane, Chalfont St Giles, Bucks, coam.org.uk
Bucks County Show, Weedon Park, Aylesbury, Thurs 1 Sept
I’m not a country show kind of gal, but I have to admit even I’m intrigued by the idea of dancing sheep… Tis The Sheep Show that promises the aforesaid woolly hoofers, though whether they’re performing the salsa or the merengue I’m not sure. But wait, there’s more! You can also see vintage tractors, livestock shows, The White Helmets motorbike display team and horse-jumping. Even if it’s too tweedy for your tastes, I bet your kids’ll love it.
Weedon Park, Aylesbury, buckscountyshow.co.uk
Cult Screens, Pitt Rivers Museum, Weds 24 – Fri 26 Aug
Huzzah, film fans! Cult Screens returns to the Pitt Rivers’ front lawn for three summer evenings of cinema, popcorn and hot dogs. It’s Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo + Juliet (Weds) Back To The Future (Thurs) and Star Wars: The Force Awakens (Fri). You can’t bring your own seating to this event, but can choose between deckchairs, beanbags and director’s chairs. I think there must be a throne option too as the most expensive seats are a whopper £32. There’s a licenced bar, street food from Bitten Oxford, and a central spot from which to decamp easily to TVC for a rooftop drinkiepoo afterwards.
Tickets £9.50 – £32. Book online
The Big Feastival, Alex James’ Farm, The Cotswolds, Fri 26 – Sun 28 Aug
A monster of a festival with some massive names attached to it. How about Mark Ronson, Tinie Tempah, The Kaiser Chiefs, Ella Henderson, Reggie & Bollie (!), Norman Jay? Or since it’s ostensibly a foodie festival, let me entice you Jamie Oliver, Raymond Blanc, Tom Kerridge, Thomasina Miers, Gizzi, Nadiya Hussain and of course Alex James, the Blur bassist turned cheese maestro. For kids Dick and Dom and Justin Fletcher have been drafted in. Slick and trendy, you’ll love it or hate it but you can’t fault the effort!