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WHAT’S ON: Thurs 11 – Weds 18 June 2015

 Music in the Garden, Milton Keynes, Sat 13 & Sun 14 June

Sounds a bit mad, this, and probably really fab. This weekend sees the first of five such weekends of idyllic loveliness hosted by jazz singer Dame Cleo Laine in her amazing gardens  next door to The Stables music venue in Milton Keynes. On Sunday, Second Soprano sounds totally brilliant an act from the West End described as a ‘merge of physical comedy, post-modern tragedy, music hall tradition and rock ‘n’ roll.’  You can book a private gazebo or just bring a picnic and enjoy stalls, clotted cream teas and the Vineyard bar next door. And just in case the weather isn’t co-operating, the concerts take place under a canopy. Hoorah!

Until Sat 11 July at The Old Rectory Garden, Stockwell Lane, Wavendon, MK17 8LU.

TVC, High St, Oxford, first birthday party week, starts Monday 15 June


Happy birthday TVC! Really, I need to go back up to my fave rooftop bar in Oxford and raise a large glass (it’s only polite!). To celebrate its anniversary, those lovely TVCers are offering two for one cocktails on certain drinks, 25% off food when a birthday party is booked this month (and taken before 31 Oct 2015) and the launch of a new VIP space on the roof terrace. How are are we going to gatecrash that one?!

Natalie Clein Cello Soloist, The Sheldonian, Weds 10 June

Grassington Festival: cellist Natalie Clein

Cellist Natalie Clein has it all going on – not only is she in big demand as recitalist and soloist with top symphony orchestras worldwide, she evidently has a replete range of corsetry for every occasion. For her two concerts here this season, Natalie takes on the complete Bach Cello Suites, Part II. They consist of six of the loveliest miniature works written for cello but, ahem, of course we all knew that already.

The Sheldonian Theatre,

Roald Dahl Museum, Big Birthday Bash, Sat 13 June

roald dahlAn all day party on Saturday  to celebrate the Roald Dahl Museum’s 10th birthday. Blimey, can it really have been open that long?  There’s a Birthday Candle Trail, giant Bogtrotter Cake-eating Guided village trails through lovely Great Missenden, plus arrive between 10am and 11.55am and get a raffle ticket on the door ready for Miss Trunchbull to pick the winners from ‘an ignorant little slug’ at midday.

10am-5pm, Roald Dahl Museum,Great Missenden,

A Touch of West End, Woburn Abbey, Sun 14 June

Woburn abbey
Love the West End shows but can’t quite be arsed to get into London to see them? This could be your perfect evening! A drinks and canapé reception in the breathtaking surroundings of Woburn Abbey’s Sculpture Gallery, a four course dinner, and performances from some of the word’s most popular musicals.  Tickets are £85 but if you want to push the boat out there are packages from £125 which include a night at the swish Woburn Hotel, transport to and fro the event and a full English breakfast the next morning.

Dragonflies and Damselflies, Cotswold Water Park, Sun 14 June

This event is timed to coincide with the emergence of thousands of dragonflies and damselflies from lakes and ponds to begin their all-too brief lives. Kids can get involved pond dipping to find larvae, looking for the empty cases of dragonflies spotting the insects around the reserve. The event lasts between two and three hours.

Cotswold Water Park, Manor Farm, Cirencester GL7 5QF.  Tel –  01793 752413.

Bucks Open Studios, Various Locations, now ’til Sun 21 June

bucks open studios

Have you been yet? We’re nearly at the end of the first week, and there is extraordinary artistic talent in the area, and this massive county-wide event features over 500 artists and makers exhibiting in 200 different venues. Look out for the bright yellow signs dotted all over the place and have a gander.

Pop-up Opera, Tythe Barn, Launton, Thurs 18 June

pop up opera
An early heads up on this one as it’s likely to sell out quickly. Pop-up Opera is a ground-breaking touring opera company who are committed to make opera not just brilliant fun but also really accessible. They love finding unusual or inspiring spaces to perform and if you’ve never tried opera before, this performance of Rossini’s comedy, L’Italiana in Algeri (The Italian Girl in Algiers) is a definitely a really good place to start and The Tythe Barn is a super-stunning venue, dating back to the 14th century. Worth going.

The Tythe Barn, Launton, nr. Bicester,

The Boodles, Stoke Park, Tues 23 -Sat 27 June

NDjokovic boodles
Love watching tennis? Another early heads up, because this fantastic tennis tournament, a week before Wimbledon and set in the 350 acre gorgeousness of Stoke Park, is tiny and tickets won’t linger. Cilic and Djokovic both played last year – yes really – and with only a handful of rows around each court, it’s like being front row at a Wimbledon final, without having to fork out £20 for strawberries and cream.

The Boodles, Stoke Park,  www.

Carsten Höller: Decision, Hayward Gallery, Southbank Centre, 10 Jun-6 Sep
This new exhibition at London’s Hayward Gallery sounds absolutely amazing.  You don’t just walk around, checking out the art – you’re immersed in an interactive series of choices, starting with a decision between two different entrances, each of which leading to a separate route into the gallery.  You can see the world upside-down, and even soar above the traffic in a ‘flying machine’.  There are giant revolving mushrooms.  And there are two robotically-engineered beds that roam the exhibition. And then, right at the end, the twin ‘isomeric slides’ deliver you back out to reality. Wheeeeeee!!!

Hayward Gallery, Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road, London SE1 8XX,


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