What’s on: The Muddy Guide 30 Sept – 6 Oct
Henley Literary Festival, Henley, 28 Sept – 4 Oct
This lovely literary festival is now in full swing, and it’s really worth checking out its scheduling, as it’s incredibly eclectic this year. Loads of great authors for adults like Louis de Bernieres, Sue Perkins, Ranulph Fiennes and Ella Woodward (Deliciously Ella to you). They’ve really upped the kids offering this year too, with 50 performances and workshops for kids 2+ and 17 free weekend event in the Town Square. Highlights include Charlie and Lola creator Lauren Child, Hugless Douglas author-illustrator David Melling and former Children’s Laureate Michael Morpurgo. Awesome.
Every Brilliant Thing, Pegasus Theatre, 2 – 3 October
This Edinburgh Festival and Off-Broadway hit by Duncan Macmillan is doing the rounds, with a stint last month at Banbury and now into Oxford. It’s had some stonking reviews in The Telegraph and The Guardian (which proclaimed it ‘possibly one of the funniest plays you’ll ever see’). It’s about a 6 year old’s list about everything that’s brilliant in the world, in response to his depressed mum in hospital. The list is left on her pillow and soon the list will take on a life of its own. Sounds good.
1940s Weekend, Cholsey & Wallingford Railway, Sat 3 Oct – Sun 4 Oct
There’s not much to go on with this event but I think we can establish that you hop on a diesel or steam pulled 1950s train, travel through the beautiful south Oxfordshire countryside from Wallingford to Cholsey and back again (or vice versa), and somewhere along the journey you encounter living history displays, and war-time vehicles. One for your grandpa.
Banbury Canal Day, Sunday 4 Oct
Banbury Canal Day attracts boaters, crafters, traders and visitors from all over the country but you can still enjoy the day as a landlubber. The Mill Arts centre is open for entertainment, there’s a free folk concert next to the towpath, there are boat rides, engine and boat displays, a fairground, falconry displays, arts and crafts. I think Banbury throws the kitchen sink at this free event, so give it a go if you’re in the area.
Jane’s Cream Teas, Kirtlington, Sat 3 – Sun 4 October
Only this weekend and the one after next now to experience the most eccentric cream teas in Oxfordshire. Vintage caravans, dovecotes, chimes, hippy dippy aphorisms and quotes pinned to trees and tiered tables by the water’s edge make Jane’s Cream’s Tea’s a really wonderful experience. It opens at 12pm each day so don’t make the mistake of going for an early breakfast.
Cushion Concert, St Hilda’s College, Oxford, Sun 4 Oct
These cushion concerts are a gentle way to introduce kids to classical instruments. This week Rozzy and Mr Cello (I’m serious here) are meeting the guitar. They like him, but he’s highly strung. Boom boom! It’s ever so slightly smug and middle class, but still very much worth it. 10am and 11am for under 5s, 12 noon for over 5s.
Book your places in advance through Tickets Oxford, by phone on 01865 305305, or in person at Oxford Playhouse or Pegasus Theatre.
London Cocktail Week (5 – 11 Oct) & London Restaurant Festival (1 – 30 Oct)
Two very good reasons to venture into the Smoke. London Cocktail Week actually has an actual Cocktail Village in Spitalfields, plus pop ups, boat journeys master classes, dinners and match-ups, and everything in between to get you pleasantly trollied. The London Restaurant Festival is a great way to nosh at over 200 brilliant restaurants for as little as £10 a person. I mean that’s just my pub cashews budget. My tip for the (muffin) top? The restaurant hopping tours, where you can visit six restaurants in one day, with a small plate and a drink in each.
Woburn Estate Wedding Fair, Sunday 11 October
Ding dong! If you’re hearing those wedding bells in your head, it’s time to get yourself organised for the big day. The Woburn Estate Wedding Fair takes place in a few weeks in the Antique Quarter of the Sculpture Gallery at Woburn Abbey. Loads of pop up wedding shops, wedding planners, fashion shows and all that bridal jazz.
And, er double ding dong! It’s going to be a long day, brides-to-be. After you’ve checked out Woburn, head to Waddesdon Manor for more wedding inspiration in the beautiful surrounds of The Dairy with strolling catwalk, dedicated groom’s room (what, with a telly in it and beers?), bride’s boutique and a chance to look at the gorgeous venues.
Free admission and car parking.