What’s On: Thurs 13 – Weds 19 Aug
Alice, St Hugh’s college, Oxford, from 18 Aug to 13 Sept
Whoa, this is a big show – they only stay at New Theatre for the week, but this baby is on for nearly the month! Oxford-based Creation Theatre present Alice in the gardens of St Hugh’s College, tying in with the 150th anniversary of the publication of Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. This adaptation includes magic, music, puppetry and acrobatics in both day-time matinees for the kids and more grown-up evening shows to enjoy with a Pimm’s on the lawn. Sounds fab.
£20 for adults, £16 for kids. creationtheatre.co.uk
Family Cycle Day, Blenheim Palace, Sun 16 Aug
Apparently it will be dry on Sunday so they’re perfect conditions for the once a year chance to cycle around the palace parkland. You have to bring your bikes and helmets – embarrassing lycra is optional – and picnics are allowed too. Just rock up on the day and buy tickets at the normal admission price, unless you’re already an annual pass member.
Strictly Dresses, Woburn Abbey, Sat 15 Aug – 1 Nov
It’s not quite Alexander McQueen retrospective but there’s a lot of kitsch fun attached to this exhibition of the 2014 season of Strictly costumes at the Long Gallery Woburn Abbey. 16 glittering dresses and accessories will make this the largest display in the UK, with the gladrags shimmied by Frankie Bridge, Pixie Lott, Sunetra Sarker and Judy Murray, plus outfits from the professionals. At the very least your kids will love it.
Woburn Abbey, Beds, woburnabbey.co.uk
David Byrne’s Meltdown, London Southbank, Mon 17 – Sun 30 Aug
Fancy heading into London over the next few weeks? The 22nd Meltdown is massively worth checking out. Meltdown gives important musicians/artists the chance to pick their own favourite artists to play and exhibit their work at Southbank Centre, and this year Talking Heads’ brillliant David Byrne is curating, following the likes of David Bowie, Yoko Ono, Morrissey, Patti Smith, Elvis Costello and Jarvis Cocker. It’s predominantly music but also features theatre, film, art and performance. Worth checking out.
Tea Party and Barking Bake Off, Buscot Park, Sun 16 Aug
English eccentric was a phrase bred and born for this event. Buscot Park near Faringdon is the stunning backdrop for a Sunday afternoon (what else?), followed by a cake bake off – one featuring cakes for humans, the other cakes for, um, dogs. There’s also a dog show open to all breeds with six classes – Waggiest Tail, Most Handsome Dog, Prettiest Bitch, Best Veteran, Dog the Judge Would Most Like to Take Home and – I’m not kidding here – Best Human and Hound Fancy Dress. There’s also an auction in aid of Greyhound Rescue. Woof!
Entries on the day at a suggested donation of £2.50 per cake and per class in the dog show. Event from midday till 5pm, at Buscot Park, Faringdon, SN7 8BU. Buscot Park, Faringdon, Oxon, grwe.com
Comedy Of Errors, Oxford Castle Courtyard, now ’til Sat 15 Aug
Don’t Hate the Players bring Shakespear’s Comedy of Errors to the Castle Castleyard as the last show of the first Oxford Shakespeare Festival, a welcome romp after the likes of Romeo & Juliet and Titus Andronicus. Set in a touring circus, it sounds like a goodie if you’re keen on outdoor thesping.
Oxford Castle Courtyard, oxfordcastleunlocked.co.uk
Adventure Mondays, Sudeley Castle, Mon 17 Aug
Two weeks left to make the most of Sudeley Castle’s adventure Mondays – there are Time Traveller live shows, dragon-tracking through the garden, storytelling and have-a-go archery. There are also Children’s Wednedsays that are kind of similar, but with added magic shows (26 Aug), Bouncy Castle and Creative Learning Centre (19 & 26 August), Dance classes with Team 24:7 Fitness for Kids, arts & crafts with Cotswolds Craft Room (19th & 26th August) and outdoor games.
Sudeley Castle & Gardens, Winchcombe, Gloucs, sudeleycastle.co.uk
Be Our Guest, Waddesdon Manor, Weds 19 Aug
The special House tours for kids are well worth doing if your kids are between 8-12. No adults allowed unfortunately meaning *sigh* you’ll just have to go and have a coffee quietly in the grounds for an hour or so.
£5 per child. Booking essential. Waddesdon Manor, waddesdon.org
Earth Trust Kids’ Events, Abingdon, Weds 19 Aug
The Earth Trust put on some lovely low-key activities for kids throughout the year, and next week there’s a sweet Woodland Adventure between 10-12pm aimed at 5-8 year olds. It promises to encourage kids to use their detective skills to discover a secret destination where they will explore, build and play. Awwwww.
Earth Trust, Little Wittenham, Abingdon, Oxon, earthtrust.org.uk
Rory Kinnear in Kafka’s The Trial, Young Vic, from Weds 19 June
Rory Kinnear has ‘national treasure in waiting’ etched on his forehead, and he’s the star pull in Kafka’s The Trial from next week at the Young Vic in London. Josef K’s 35th birthday begins with a knock on his door from three sinister agents, here to arrest him for unidentified crimes. Shall I go on? Let’s just say it ain’t a comedy, but if you’re after quality theatre you’ve just found it.
Young Vic, The Cut, Waterloo, London SE1, youngvic.org
Sculpture in the Garden, Turn End, Haddenham, until Sun 16 Aug
The last few days to check out the stunning Turn End Gardens in Haddenham, stocked with over 80 sculptures from 15 different artists, all available to buy. Co-curated by Jackie Hunt, Turn End’s gardener (and former Muddy gardening expert!), the sculptures range from traditional statuary to pieces inspired by plants and animals. A sweet diversion for an hour or so – I took my kids a few days back and they loved it.
Turn End, Townside, Haddenham, Bucks. turnend.wordpress.com
The International Moth Rally, Woburn Abbey, Sat 15 – Sun 17 Aug
One for Moth enthusiasts really (no, not you, but maybe your dad?!). This year celebrates the 30th anniversary of the Moth Rally at Woburn, and the 90th anniversary of the first flight of the prototype. Expect a Fly past (if it’s good weather) and a lot of getting up and personal with vintage plane and cars.
Admission tickets available on the day and kids up to 16 are free, £15 Adults (Sat), £20 (Sun). The event does not include entry to the Abbey or Gardens. woburnabbey.co.uk