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What’s On in Bucks & Oxon this week?

Oxford Open Doors, Oxford,  Sat 10 – Sun 11 Sept


One of my favourite events in Oxford, Open Doors has been running annually since 2008, literally opening doors behind some of Oxford’s most beautiful  – and private – buildings and projects. There’s an extraordinary range of buildings and spaces to choose from, but there are a couple of stand-outs for me including a visit to the Painted Room (above) in Cornmarket on Sat & Sun (1am-4pm), visited by Shakespeare; a rare opportunity to visit the gardens & see the Capability Brown designed landscape of Nuneham Park at Nuneham Courtenay on Saturday (10am to 5pm). The beautiful University of Oxford Harcourt Arboretum is open free for the first time. The recently restored Chapel at Trinity College opens its doors on Sunday.  Magdalen College is open on both Saturday and Sunday and Christchurch, perhaps the most accessible for kids with its Harry Potter associations, is open on Sunday only. You want more?! OK how about free punting at the Cherwell Boathouse on Friday and a chance to see the pre-Raphaelite jewel of Harris Manchester College Chapel, with stained glass windows by Edward Burne-Jones (Sat 10am – 1pm)? The list goes on and on! Take a look at the brochure and make sure you’re wearing flat shoes – it’s going to be a busy weekend.

Venues across Oxford,

Live Friday, Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, Fri 9 Sept

storms seas and shipwrecks
The Ashmolean’s fabulous Live Fridays return, your chance to see the museum after hours accompanied by theatre, music, food, and loads of cultural extras. This time the theme is  the nautical Under the Sea, to tie in with the last few weeks of the museum’s big summer exhibition Storms, War and Shipwrecks, and it’s in collaboration with the brilliant Creation Theatre, celebrating their 20th birthday – so there are workshops, behind the scenes talks and fancy dress. Usually these events are free but because this one is a bit special the price is a princely £3 (under 12s are free). I’m out in Oxford on Thursday with my girlfriends, but failing a catastrophic headache, I’m definitely going to try and come back in for this.

7 – 10.30pm.


Blenheim Palace Horse Trials, Blenheim, Thurs 8 – Sun 11 Sept


blenheim palace horse trials 2

Tally ho! The 26th annual Blenheim Palace International Horse Trials return this week, a three day event over four days (go figure) featuring dressage, cross country and show-jumping. It’s very very horsey as you can imagine – the trade stands are rammed with tweed, leather boots and strange equine fashion, but you get great views of the competition (nearly so close you can touch in some instances), and it’s a slickly run event in stunning surrounds.  This year the popular Fun ride route has been changed with more jumps and both a long and short course, plus there’s a new shopping pavilion. Horsey heaven.

Blenheim Palace, Woodstock, Oxfordshire,

Highclere Castle Vintage Garden Party, Sat 10 & Sun 11 Sept, 10am to 6pm


If you have a Downton Abbey fan in your midst you could just about make them the happiest person alive if you splash out (or is that remortgage?) on this event. Highclere Castle is going back in time to welcome guests for a vintage weekend including tour of the castle, the Egyptian Exhibition, a traditional fete, vintage cars and marquees on the lawns. Guests are encouraged to come dressed in period or vintage clothing from the Edwardian era – choose from ‘upstairs’ or ‘downstairs’ and they’ll even provide details of costume hire companies if you need help. Lady Carnarvon will be giving prizes for the best costumes. Tickets are £120 and include a picnic box and glass of Pimms and admission is from 10am, gates close at 6pm.

The Henley Show, Hambleden, Sat 10 Sept


The 125th year of this agricultural  and farming show, with ploughing matches, sheepdog trials, working horse demonstrations, vintage tractors and classic cars on show. Stilettos a bad idea at this event (just saying).

Under 16s go free with an adult and well behaved dogs on leads are welcome. Free buses  9am – 5.30pm to and from Henley (Boots the Chemist) and Marlow (Platts garage). Adults £15, Seniors £10. The Henley Showground,


Clerkenwell Vintage Fashion Fair: The Vintage Collections, Sun 11 Sept, London

Clerkenwell Vintage Fashion Fair: The Vintage Collections

If you love vintage, or just want to snap up some great pre-loved labels, here’s your chance. The Clerkenwell Vintage Fashion Fair in Rosebery Ave is huuuuuge, selling womenswear, menswear, accessories and textiles dating from 1900s to 1990. Choose pieces that tap into AW16’s key trends (velvet dresses, mac coats, 80s ruffles and capes blah di blah) or dig around for something really bonkers and different. There’s a salon, tea room, alteration room and over  50 traders. Italian Vogue loves it, I’m guessing you will too.

11am-5pm, £4 entry, £2 concesssions.

Absolutely Fashion: Inside British Vogue, 8 Sept, 9pm (BBC2)

Alexandra Schulman, Absolutely Vogue, BBC2

I’ve known lots of journos who’ve worked for Vogue over the years, and it’s alway had a complicated reputation in the industry – complaints of cliques from some, lots of gushing about how brilliant it was from others. Make up your own mind with this film by documentary filmmaker Richard Macer, who was given unprecedented access to life at Vogue for nine months as it prepared for, and started celebrating, its centenary year. From the day-to-day running of the office and key fashion photoshoots, to one-on-one interviews with editor-in-chief Alexandra Shulman, the magazine’s editors, and key contributors, the result is a snapshot of all areas of the 100-year-old publication in 2016. It’s very much like blogging of course *cough*, except I have the advantage of going to work in my slippers.
The Stately Car Boot Sale, Cornbury Manor, Sun 11 Sept
Screen Shot 2016-09-07 at 14.42.48

A great idea, this one. The Stately Car Boot Sale returns to the private grounds of Cornbury Park in aid of the ROSY charity for terminally ill children and their families. Over 100 upmarket stalls including top end bric-a-brac, furniture, indoor décor & soft furnishings, vintage & good-as-new designer clothing, refreshments. Great morning out to bag a bargain.

Gates open for vendors on the day at 7am and attendees will arrive at 8.30am. £5 adults, under 16’s go free.

Bjork Digital at Somerset House, 1 Sept to 23 Oct


Bjork; boundary-pushing creative genius or complete nutter – discuss. Either way, Somerset House is celebrating the Icelandic icon in all her bonkers-ness with an immersive virtual reality exhibition of digital and video works. Whatever you think of her and her music, over the years she has collaborated with some of the world’s best visual artists and programmers so this is bound to take your breath away. Tickets £15.

Totally Thames Festival, 1-30 Sept


Back for another year, Totally Thames is a series of events that brings the 42-mile stretch of the Thames in London to life. There is an ambitious programme of 150 events  including Floating Dreams (pictured) by artist Ik-Joong Kang, an amazing lantern-style installation, three storeys high, bang in the centre of the river constructed from 500 drawing and illuminated from inside. With exhibitions, performances, river cruises, regattas, and the promotion of all kinds of river pursuits including paddle boarding and mud-larking (I have no idea what that is but sounds fun!) there really is something for everyone if you fancy a different kind view of London. See website for all the events and timings.




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