What’s On This Week: Fri 24 – Weds 29 July
More Shakespeare than you can shake a stick at. Creation Theatre returns to the beautiful gardens and lawns of Lady Margaret Hall in Oxford for Shakespeare’s pastoral romantic comedy As You Like It (Tues 28 July through til 12 Sept). And the all-male troupe the Lord Chamberlain’s Men performing Twelfth Night in Waddesdon Manor Gardens (to the side of the parterre) on Saturday 25th at 7.30pm. Iambic-pentameter-dacious!
Steve Backshall LIVE at Whipsnade Zoo, now ’til 27 Sept
Steve Backshall returns to Whipsnade Zoo this weekend, presenting Deadly Summer Shows featuring some of Whipsnade’s most deadly residents. Throughout the summer there’s also a Deadly Explorer Trail with a log book, map, activities to complete and challenges. Should be fun.
Whipsnade Zoo, Bedfordshire, zsl.org
Stubbings Opera, Maidenhead, 24 & 25 July 2015
This weekend it’s worth checking out Stubbings Opera in a new collaboration with respected opera specialists Opera Brava in the lovely grounds of Stubbings Estate in Maidenhead. Choose between Tosca by Puccini tonight and Verdi’s Rigoletto on the Saturday. Gates open at 5.30pm allowing two hours of picnicking on the lawn before the tonsils start wobbling. Buy your hampers there if you can’t be bothered to make your cheese and pickled onion sarnies before you go.
Dr Longitude’s Marvellous Imaginary Menagerie, Cornerstone Arts, Didcot, Sun 26 July
This family outdoor show looks wonderfully bonkers. Dr Longitude is on a quest to discover how many legs a ‘Decapus’ has. Is the fabled ‘Massive Paw’ a myth? Has anyone even seen a ‘Bumblewasp’? It promises puppets, music and magic – imagine Roald Dahl in a mash up with Tim Burton – so it’s something a bit different to take the ankle-biters to.
1pm and 4pm, Cornerstone Arts Centre, 25 Station Road, Didcot, cornerstone-arts.org
Outside the box, Pegasus Youth Arts Festival, Oxford, Sat 25 – Sun 26 July
This sounds superfunky for kids 11-18. The first ever Outside The Box mini youth arts festival, there are loads of arts workshops from stage fighting stage fighting to street dance, performance poetry to cartoon illustration. There’s silent theatre (!) – where you put headphones on to experience the ‘theatrical journey’, graffiti art, live music, street dance, comedy improv, the whole bit. Festival patron Philip Pullman will be performing his famous beatbox act (oh alright, not really – but how cool would that be?!) and will be around for a a chat aftewards too.
Pegasus, Magdalen Road, Oxford, pegasustheatre.org.uk
Silverstone Classic, Fri 24 – Sun 26 July
The annual Silverstone Classic is apparently the world’s biggest classic motor racing festival (collective ‘ooooooooh!). Starting today and going over the weekend this special 25th anniversary event features more than 20 races, full scale live music concerts including, er, Status Quo (so my mum will be happy), over 10,000 classic cars on display with massive gatherings of Aston Martins, Bentleys, Ferraris, Lamborghinis, MGs, Morgans, Porsches, plus aerial displays, a giant 40m wheel and vintage fun fair,
American Auto Club Rally of the Giants, Blenheim Palace, Sun 26 July
More petrolhead stuff (hey you, at the back, wake up!). Over 400 classic American vehicles will be cruising up to Blenheim Palace on Sunday, dating from the early 1920’s through to the seventies. You can buy, sell, gawp, or if you’re like me, look into the middle distance and admire Blenheim Palace and enjoy a piece of British design at its best.
Blenheim Palace, Woodstock, blenheimpalace.com
Cat in the Hat, Wycombe Swan, Thurs 23 – Sat 25 July
I was never fond of Dr Seuss as a kid (I found the illustrations a bit disturbing) but my own children love it so I’ll park my own neuroses! Aimed at children 3+, The Cat In the Hat is based on the best-selling book, and ‘triumphs’ according to The Stage, so there you go!
Wycombe Swan, High Wycombe, wycombeswan.co.uk
Fairytale Trails, Waterperry Gardens, Fri 24 July – 6 Sept
A sweet idea from Waterperry gardens. Let your kids explore the ornamental gardens using directions and fairy ‘tail’ themed clues to find the characters along the way. There’s a prize for every child at the end of the journey (bet you a fiver it’s to be found in the coffee shop!).
£3 per child, with compass supplied. Norman garden entrance fee applies for accompanying adults.
Waterperry Gardens, waterperrygardens.co.uk
Turbine Festival at Tate Modern, Sat 25 July
A fantastic free festival in the turbine hall of the Tate Modern, it promises to be an audio-visual day of music, performance, film, art installations, food and activities with performances by Afrikan Boy, Throwing Shade, The Fish Police and judging from this picture a sprinkling of bonkersdom. You can learn new skills – everything from beatboxing to writing poetry and course you’re on the South Bank so you can hang out for the whole day. Awesome.
Tate Modern, Bankside, London SE1, tate.org.uk
Knebworth Decorative Salvage & Vintage Fair 2015, Sat 25 – Sun 26 July
If you’re into vintage, salvage, unusual interiors or, um, letter boxes, you’ll love this well-established Hertfordshire-based fair. A fantastic mix of Architectural Salvage, Decorative Antiques & Vintage from some of the best dealers in the world, make a day of it – head onto Muddy Herts and find a pub for afterwards!
Knebworth Park, Stevenage, Hertfordshire, bentleysfairs.co.uk
Dangerous Days Out: The Great Escape, Henley, Sat 25 July
Henley seems to be a hotbed of extreme sporty types doing crazy outdoor things, but this one takes the biccy. Dangerous Days Out are based around real military missions and run by ex-British forces so you (or let’s be honest, probaby your other half) can channel his inner hero by pretending to escape from a POW camp. Expect escape tunnels, explosive missions, assassinations, obstacles, hidden clues and a zip line to freedom await on your 3 hour mission. The minimum age is 16, and a ‘basic level’ of fitness is required so if you’re not doing one arm press ups and marathons in your lunch hour don’t panic. All competitors receive a Dangerous Days Out T-Shirt, dog tags and a free beer (18+) once you land in friendly territory.
Culden Faw, Fawley, Henley on Thames, dangerousdaysout.com
Would you rather head to the coast than London in this smoggy summer? Now you can do both! Camden Beach opened earlier this week outside The Roundhouse with deckchairs, shipped in sand, and a useful sponsor in Stoli Vodka. I think we can leave it at that!
Archikids Festival, London, Sat 25 – Sun 26 July
Do you have a little Frank Lloyd Wright or Zara Hadid on your hands? Archikids is a Family Festival of Architecture with 30+ free architectural activities London’s Square Mile, aimed to inspire your kids to get out their rulers, discuss the finer points of subsidence and wear square glasses in their adult years (yeah yeah it’s a stereotype, that’s what they’re there for). It sounds fun actually – building domes on the top of the Gherkin, eye-spying on the top of the Walkie-Talkie and film-making in 6 Bevis Marks. Worth a go if you’re in the city and just think of the Smug Parenting points!