What’s On: Thurs 17 – Weds 23 Sept
The more I snuffle around, the more I find every week to do. Absolutely shedloads of fun stuff to do in your downtime in Oxon, Bucks and beyond this week and as ever if you know something funky going on that’s not listed here, let me know and I’ll share the love.
Last chance to catch: Marks of Genius, Bodleian, Oxford, ends Sun 20 Sept
Seen this yet? You’d better hurry! The Bodleian Libraries’ stunning Marks of Genius exhibition is at the newly-refurbished Weston Library closes on Sunday. It is exhibiting frankly jaw-dropping collections such as Shakespeare’s first folios, manuscripts by Mendelssohn (above) and Handel, the Magna Carta of 1217, pages from the orignal draft of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein amongst many more.
Bodleian Library, Oxford, bodleian.ox.ac.uk
Gunge for Grown Ups, Pegasus, Oxford, Thurs 17 Sept
I’m not sure what fully fledged adult would want to punch custard, make edible candles, play with fire and create green gooey slime on a Science Oxford LIVE evening demo but given the suitable age is 16+, it would suit students, slackers and big kids perfectly. If you know one of those, let them know!
7:30pm. £9/£6 Pegasus Theatre, Magdalen Road, Oxford, scienceoxford.com
Woburn Estate Wedding Fair, Sunday 11 October
Ding dong! If you’re hearing those wedding bells in your head, here’s an early prod to get yourself organised for your 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. Looks classy.
Free admission and car parking.
Ready Steady Colour, The Story Museum, Sat 19 Sept
A sweet morning for little kids at The Story Museum. Book a table at the world’s most colourful café, hosted by artist Anna Bruder. Meet the wacky waiters, order a drawn dinner from the menu, then decorate it using crazy condiments like ketchup paint and salt ‘n’ pepper glitter. Awwwwww.
Age 3+. Places are free but pre-booking is advised. The Story Museum, Pembroke St, Oxford, storymuseum.org.uk
Jane’s Enchanted Tea Garden, Kirtlington, Sat 19 – Sun 20 Sept
Hit the panic button! Only a few more weekends left to enjoy the most quirky, magnificently eccentric English teas in the county. Jane’s Teas by the river in Kirtlington is open this weekend (from 12pm – don’t rock up for breakfast or you’ll be disappointed), or if you can’t make it then, there are two weekends in October still available (3-4; 17-18). An absolute Muddy must.
Mill Lane, Kirtlington, Oxon, janes-cream-teas.moonfruit.com
Blenheim International Horse Trials, Thurs 17 – Sun 20 Sept
Neighhhhhh! Today the 25th annual Blenheim Palace International Horse Trials begin, 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 really close to the competitors and if your horsily inclined it’s a great day out.
Blenheim Palace, Woodstock, Oxfordshire, blenheimhorse.co.uk
Oxfordshire County and Thame Show, Thurs 17 Sept
County shows are not usual Muddy Stilettos territory – the footwear is a problem for starters – but if you’re into rural pursuits you’ll enjoy today’s County Show. Very ‘country’ as you’d expect with a cattle parade, classic cars, displays of birds and alpacas but there’s also chariot racing, Cossack stunt riding and, my absolute favourite, Pig Agility, where you can see our porcine friend on the asymmetric bars and the rings (though they draw the line at floorwork). The website makes it clear beyond any measure of a doubt that there is a public bar for thirsty folk – ‘it’s here to stay’ apparently! – plus there are the usual food halls and trade sellers.
8.30am – 6pmThame Showground, Oxon, thameshow.co.uk
Hell in the Chilts, West Wycombe Park, Sat 19 Sept
This tin has a label on it. It reads: ‘The Toughest 10 miler in the UK’. It sounds absolutely horrific, I can’t breathe just thinking about it, but if you’re one of these hardnut superfit gonnawinit types, this could be your dream day. The venue is the lovely palladian mansion and grounds of West Wycombe Park, and the pain inlcudes climbing higher than Scafell Peak and some kind of water torture (not literally – only if you’re wimpy and unfit like me). You get a medal for finishing which is all very well, but it says nowhere on this press release where to find the massage and oxygen mask. Just saying.
Main event starts at 10am. Little Devils Fun Run – 9.40am. West Wycombe Park, Bucks, hellrunner.co.uk
Open House London Weekend, Sat 19 – Sun 20 Sept
Last week it was Open Doors in Oxford, now London is doing the same with Open House, the capital’s largest annual festival of architecture and design. Over the weekend, you can cross the threshold of more than 700 of London’s most interesting buildings, including Grade I listed 1730s Benjamin Franklin House and (by ballot only) 10 Downing Street!
Venues across London, openhouselondon.org.uk
Hairspray the Musical, New Theatre Oxford, Mon 21- Sat 26 Sept
It’s Baltimore, 1962 where Tracy Turnblad, a big girl with big hair and an even bigger heart, is on a mission to follow her dreams and dance her way onto national TV (it says here). Tracy’s audition makes her a local star and soon she is using her new-found fame to fight for equality, bagging local heartthrob Link Larkin along the way. I haven’t seen the musical before, but it’s one of the New Theatre’s big Autumn shows, and will no doubt be more camp than Elton John taking tea in the Kremlin.
New Theatre, Oxford, atgtickets.com
Wet and Wild, River & Rowing Museum, Henley, Sat 19 Sept
I love this one for kids. Wild Oxfordshire is bringing Oxfordshire’s wildlife to the River and Rowing Museum in Henley on Saturday. There are games, meet the animals, crafty stuff like making bee hotels, and activities in the gallery and on Marsh Meadow for pond-dipping and meeting fish (how do you do?), but also there are lot of different groups running activities inside including Crocodiles of the World, RSPB and Chrissie’s Owls. Sounds like a winner.
All the events are free with normal admission to the museum. River & Rowing Museum, Mill Meadows, Henley-on-Thames, rrm.co.uk
Ruby’s Vintage & Retro Fair, Old Town Hall, High Wycombe, Sun 20 Sept
Vintage lovers can rummage to their heart’s content this weekend when Ruby’s Vintage & Retro Fair comes to Wycombe’s Old Town Hall. Expect 35ish gorgeous vintage clothes and accessories, vintage costume jewellery, homeware and linens, kitchenalia (is this a word?!), and upcycled furniture. Tea and cakes will be served on – what else – vintage crockery.
Old Town Hall, Wycombe Swan, rubysvintage.co.uk
East is East, Oxford Playhouse , Mon 21-Sat 26 Sept
East is East is travelling from the West End into Oxford next week as part of its national tour. The film is famous in its own right, but actually it was adapted from this original play, so this production should hang together nicely. The big star turn is by Pauline McLynn (Mrs Doyle in Father Ted, plus roles in Shameless and EastEnders) as George’s wife Ella and she and the play have had great national broadsheet reviews so signs are good on this one.
Oxford Playhouse, Beaumont St, Oxford, oxfordplayhouse.com
Family Fun Day and Open Day, Wycombe Swan, Sat 18 Sept
If you’re thespily inclined, the Wycombe Swan is throwing open its doors and offering a fantastic chance for families to come and explore behind the scenes at your local venue.
There are backstage tours, open workshops, onstage demonstrations plus mask making, storytelling circus and panto workshops.
Free admission 10am-2pm. wycombeswan.co.uk