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The Muddy Guide: Thurs 9 – Weds 15 July

Broughton Castle Cycling Sportive, Sun 12 July


Feeling energetic? The drop-dead-gorgeous Broughton Castle near Banbury (most recently seen as one of the locations in Wolf Hall)  is holding its third Cycling Sportive this Sunday. The four routes wind their way through the North Cotswolds hills, and there’s everything from a family fun ride to a monster 100 mile lung tester.

The HandleBards, Ascott, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Thurs 9 July


How do actors and directors dream up these shows? The 4-strong all male troupe of players called The HandleBards (geddit?) are coming to the lovely National Trust property of Ascott to perform A Midsummer Night’s Dream using four bicycles for all the set, props and costumes whilst playing all the parts in this romp of a play. I can’t promise it will be brilliant, but I think I can guarantee you won’t be bored.

Ascott, Wing, nr. Leighton Buzzard, Bucks,

Henley Festival, until Sat 11 July


Still a few tickets left for this massively popular music festival in one of Oxfordshire’s most lovely locations. There are some grandstand tickets and lawn seats available for big acts like Spandau Ballet and Gypsy Kings if you fancy getting on your black tie and dancing round your sequined handbag.

Epic Egypt, River & Rowing Museum, Henley, until 20 Sept

Screen Shot 2015-07-09 at 11.31.18

If ever there was a time to visit the River & Rowing Museum it’s now – with the weather so fabulous, you can go for an hour or two, let the kids enjoy the brand new summer show Epic Egypt that opened on Monday – think decoding, hierglyph writing, dressing up, building pyramids and fear not mothers, no embalming – before heading out down the river with a picnic. Heaven.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, New Theatre Oxford, Tues 14 – Sat 18 July

curious Photos by BrinkhoffM+Âgenburg of Original West End Cast.JPG-pwrt2

I saw this production at the Aylesbury Waterside Theatre a few months back and was totally wowed by it (check out my review). The winner of 7 Olivier Awards, this highly- acclaimed National Theatre production is on it first ever nationwide tour. Book superquick before it sells out.

Comic Opera Double-Bill, Waterperry Gardens, Fri 10 – Sat 11 July

Screen Shot 2015-07-08 at 15.06.08

The gorgeous open amphitheatre of Waterperry is the setting for Opera Anywhere ‘s double bill of light comic operas. Get there early for a 6pm performance of ‘The Bear’ by Walton, then picnic in the garden from 7pm, followed by  one-act opera ‘The Old Maid & The Thief’ by Menotti at 8pm. Civilised, art, foodie, gardeny, lovely.

Battleproms Picnic Concert, Blenheim Palace, Sat 11 July


Get out the bunting! Wave your flags! Be territorial with your picnic blankets! It’s the 11th annual Blenheim Palace Battle Proms Picnic Concert this Saturday overlooking the stunning South Front of the Palace. The ‘Battle’ in Battleproms comes from Beethoven’s ‘Battle Symphony’ – originally composed to include 193 live firing cannons as part of the score, and this is the only concert series in the world that performs with the full deadly complement. What else? you cry. Spitfire displays, fireworks plus 150 re-enactors will participate in a skirmish marking 200 years since the Battle of Waterloo while Abba’s Eurovision-winning song plays in the background. OK, I made that last bit up but seriously, they should defo do that next year, don’t you think?

Blenheim Palace, Woodstock, Oxon,

Little Welly Obstacle Course, Henley, Sat 11 – Sun 12 July


The Muddy bratlets are sooooo doing this, it sounds masses of fun. An early heads up on the Little Welly Goes Wild obstacle course between Henley and Marlow, a 3km course designed specifically for kids, with foam, mud, ditches, tyre mountains, rope swings, cargo net crawls and more fun than they can shake a stick at. Tickets are £13 for kids and £2.50 for adults.

Tim Finn, The Stables, Milton Keynes, Thurs 9 July

Tim Finn
Married as I am to a kiwi (the man, not the bird though tis true that Mr Muddy is a rare breed) and with Weather With You in my head from backpacking in the early Nineties, I have a bit of a soft spot for the Crowded House front man who has aged well. Now looking a bit Nick Nolte-meets-Hugh-Grant-at-a-literary-festival, he plays The Stables near Milton Keynes tonight –  a lovely intimate venue that often surprises with the quality of its performers, so worth keeping an eye on generally too.

Tolstoy’s Kreutzer Sonata and an evening of new ballets, New English Ballet Theatre, Wycombe Swan, 9 July


Last chance tonight to catch New English Ballet Theatre on the back of their acclaimed third season in the West End, presenting a programme of ballets from the UK’s top choreographic talents including Dutch National Ballet’s Daniela Cardim Fonteyne, and the Royal Ballet’s Valentino Zucchetti, The evening concludes with a newly commissioned work by rising star Andrew McNicol, based on Tolstoy’s novella The Kreutzer Sonata.


Cushion Concert, St Hilda’s College, Sun 12 July

The respected musician Bez with his maracas - unfortunatley not able to attend Sunday's cushion concert

Bez with his maracas – alas, he’s not able to attend this Sunday’s cushion concert

Bring your cushions for the final Cushion Concert for the summer term this Sunday for you and your little ones, when Rozzy and Mr Cello will be introducing tuned percussion. Shake your maracas lady, it’s party time!

10am and 11am for under 5s and 12 noon for over 5s.

Chiltern Cycling Festival, Penn House, Amersham, Sun 12 July


Online applications have closed for this non-competitive Cycling Festival set in lovely Penn House in Amersham, but if you want to do the 30, 60, or 100 miles sportif or maybe just go for the spectacle of middle-aged lycra on display, there are limited tickets available for the day. Lots to occupy kids apparently, pus stalls, gourmet food and of course sunshine.

Penn House, Penn Street, Amersham, Buckinghamshire,

Derren Brown: Miracle, Aylesbury Waterside, now ’til Sat 11 July


Two days left to catch The Terminator – oh sorry, that’s Derren Brown in the photo isn’t it – in his brand new one-man show, Miracle at the Aylesury Waterside Theatre. Watch in amazement as Derren reels in a fortune from every live show!

Comic Opera Double-Bill, Waterperry Gardens, Fri 10 – Sat 11 July

Screen Shot 2015-07-08 at 15.06.08

The gorgeous open amphitheatre of Waterperry is the setting for Opera Anywhere ‘s double bill of light comic operas. Get there early for a 6pm performance of ‘The Bear’ by Walton, then picnic in the garden from 7pm, followed by  one-act opera ‘The Old Maid & The Thief’ by Menotti at 8pm. Civilised, art, foodie, gardeny, lovely.

Waterperry Gardens,

Pommery Dorset Seafood Festival, Weymouth, Sat 11 – Sun 12 July


Fancy getting down to the coast this weekend? The Pommery Dorset Seafood Festival is on at Weymouth’s harbourside, bringing together champers and seafood. Shall we stop there, I think I’ve just sold that idea to myself perfectly.

Roman and Saxon Weekend,  Ashmolean, Sat 11 – Sun 12 July


A sweet one for kids – a weekend where they can handle ancient objects, meet a Roman soldiers and a Saxon warrior and get dress up in Roman clothes while you marvel at the gladiator sandals – so summer 2015!

Ashmolean Museum, Oxford,

West Wycombe Park Summer Fayre & Car Show, Sat 11 July


The beautiful West Wycombe Park opens its doors for its annual Summer Fayre, with  over 100 Vintage and Classic cars from the local area, vintage tractor rides, archery, hot food, village hall teas and cakes and craft stalls. Really it’s like a very posh village fair with added vehicles and no doubt lovely with it.

West Wycombe Park,





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