Mon 12 - Sun 18 Aug
MUDDY’S PICK OF THE WEEK
THEATRE: Tabby McTat, Oxford Playhouse, Fri 16 – Sun 18 Aug
Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler’s (of The Gruffalo fame) Tabby McTat comes to Oxford Playhouse this week – a feel good story about friendship with original songs. If your child enjoyed Tiddler and Other Terrific Tales and Zog it’s a dead cert hit as it’s the same team behind the production.
CIRCUS: Giffords Circus, Barrington, Oxfordshire, 1 – 12 Aug
Last chance alert! Giffords Circus moves onto its final location in our ‘hood this month, Barrington, in Oxfordshire- this year the circus’ theme is ’70s Summer of Love so expect hippies (peace out!), hipsters and rockstars alongside Nell Gifford’s brilliantly curated acts.
POP-UP: The Modist, Bicester Village, Bicester, 12 Aug – 24 Sept
Dubai-based luxury online brand The Modest pops up in Bicester Village this summer with its first European boutique (I need that pink dress, like, immediately). The brand will have pieces from contemporary labels as well as from its own brand LAYEUR. bicestervillage.com
KIDS: Teddy Bear Picnic, Millets Farm, nr Abingdon, 13 – 15 Aug
Teddy bear-making followed by a picnic- bound to be a hit with the little people. A ticket includes teddy workshop, picnic bag, songs and a meeting with Millets summer mascot Mr Sprout. Each teddy comes with a birth certificate and carry bag- like build-a-bear, but without the mega price tag. milletsfarmcentre.com
MUSIC: Oxford Proms, University Church of St Mary the Virgin, Oxford, 15 Aug
The spectacular University Church of St Mary the Virgin, Oxford, found on the cobbled Radcliffe Square, plays host to this year’s Oxford Proms concerts, the final of which is Concerto Spectacular: The Magic of Mozart (15 Aug).
FESTIVAL: Rew!nd Festival, Temple Island Meadows, Henley-on-Thames, 16 – 18 Aug
Do you <heart> a little bit of retro? Get yourself down to Rew!nd Festival this weekend. Acts booked include Kathy Sledge (of the original Sister Sledge), Micheal Bolton, Lulu, UB40 (pictured above), Four Tops, Grandmaster Flash, plus loads more across the four stages. Lots for families too. rewindfestival.co.uk
EVENT: Seaside in the City, Willen Lake, Milton Keynes, 16 Aug
Fancy a day at the beach? Willen Lake in Milton Keynes hosts its Seaside in the City event with large sandpit, plus activities like banana boats, pedalos and splash’n’play area.
OUTDOOR THEATRE: On Edge, Oxford Castle and Prison, Oxford, 17 – 18 Aug
I can do that, easy (kidding). Oxford Castle and Prison is the setting for physical theatre company Justice in Motion’s totally free production On Edge. Performed on towering scaffolding in the castle grounds, the production addresses issues of modern slavery through a blend of theatre and parkour skills. Free workshops will run in between shows, no booking required.
KIDS: Tree climbing, Waddesdon Manor, Aylesbury, Sat 17 – Sun 18
At this point in the school holidays the kids are climbing the walls, so why not let ’em climb trees instead? The Big Tree Climbing Company are pitching up at Waddesdon Manor, Aylesbury this weekend (Sat 17 – Sun 18) – kids aged 6+ can safely scale the trees with ropes, harnesses, helmets and zip line to the floor.
EVENT: Camp Kew Little Pigs, Old Amersham Farm, Sat 17 – Mon 19 Aug
How cute are these little oinkers? Kew Little Pigs (the farm runs all sorts of piggy activities) is hosting a weekend of family fun with BBQ, bonfire, live band, paddling pool and bouncy castle. Don’t forget to bring nibbles. kewlittlepigs.com
SPORT: Family cycling day, Blenheim Palace, Woodstock, Sun 18 Aug
Pedal power! Blenheim’s annual cycling event offers two routes around the pretty parkland of the World Heritage Site- one around Queen Pool, the other around the Park perimeter. Bring the fam, your bikes, and don’t forget your helmets. blenheimpalace.com
At Amersham Cricket Club, there’s a chock-a-block line up starting with a permed Julia Roberts and a slightly-creepy-but-gets-away-with-it Richard Gere in Pretty Woman (15 Aug) followed by The Greatest Showman (15 Aug), Jurassic Park (16 Aug), Dirty Dancing (16 Aug), Bohemian Rhapsody (16 Aug), Mamma Mia! (17 Aug), A Star Is Born (17 Aug) and Mary Poppins Returns (18 Aug). Also showing this month is Bohemian Rhapsody at Wycombe Museum (Fri 16), with hotdogs, popcorn and a bar; Bohemian Rhapsody (Fri 16) at Buscot Park, Faringdon.
This week there’s The Pink Panther (15 – 17 Aug) at cool new outdoor theatre The Arches, nr Olney, which is made up of four disused railway arches above; West Wycombe Park’s outdoor theatre on the East Lawn returns for another year with an all-male production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream (14 Aug); it’s your last chance to see The Tempest by Creation Theatre with the Oxford-based production company taking the audience on a trip around Oxford with the play’s characters popping up across the city and interacting with the audience (until 15 Aug). And finally, there’s Europe’s first pop-up Shakespearean theatre at Blenheim Palace, Woodstock above – the 13-sided theatre, with three tiers of covered seating and open courtyard for ‘groundlings’ is showing Macbeth, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Richard III and Romeo & Juliet (until 7 Sept) and will be accompanied by a Shakespearean Village selling local ales, ice cream and side shows.
ANIMALS: Rihno Month, Cotswold Wildlife Park, nr Burford, throughout Aug
Cotswold Wildlife Park, nr Burford, is a guaranteed hit with kids who love all things furry, creepy and crawly. It has the little fellas – penguins, lemurs and reptiles – as well as the big guns, including lions, rhinos (FYI Aug is Rhino month with daily talks) and giraffes (try out the Giraffe Walkway where you can stroll up to eye-level with the animals). There’s also a cute railway, adventure playground and children’s farmyard.
NEW EXHIBITION: The Beach, centre:mk, Milton Keynes, until 1 Sept
Day at the beach, anyone? The centre:mk’s Middleton Hall has been transformed into a huge beach for summer. The man-made beach is made from a whopping 102 tons of sand and is the largest of its kind to be created indoors in a shopping centre. Alongside there’ll be Punch & Judy shows, bungees, train rides, helter-skelter, deckchairs, indie food stalls and, erm, John Lewis!
SPORT: Summer of Sport, Waddesdon Manor, Aylesbury, Wed 24 Jul – Fri 30 Aug (Wed – Sun)
Waddesdon’s gorgeous grounds above will play host to a variety of sporting activities over the summer break including three sporty-themed trails, workouts, orienteering, football, badminton, table tennis and the National Trust venue is even putting on its own Tour de Waddesdon. Follow it up with a trip to artisan ice cream from local supplier Oliphant and Pomeroy who’ll be on site for the summer.
ART & EXHIBITIONS
The lovely River and Rowing Museum, in Henley has a new children’s exhibition Bears! (3 Aug – 3 Nov) where kids can learn about history’s favourite bears – Rupert, Winnie the Pooh and friends – as well as explore original artwork and manuscripts from We’re Going on a Bear Hunt, The Bear and The Piano and Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials. Every Fri during the hols there’ll be bear-themed games and crafts in the galleries, and on 8 Aug, there’ll be a Teddy Bear’s Picnic.
Other exhibitions this month include Oxford University Museum of Natural History’s new major exhibition First Animals (until 24 Feb) which looks back on the first origins of life as we know it on earth, with interactive elements; Robots at Bucks County Museum, Aylesbury with cyborgs, androids and metal characters from sci-fi TV shows from the ’50s and ’70s (until 31 Aug); the new Last Supper in Pompeii exhibition exploring the resort town’s love of food at the Ashmolean, Oxford (until 12 Jan); Paula Rego: Obedience and Defiance, at Milton Keynes’ amazing new MK Gallery, the largest retrospective of the political artist’s work in England for 20 years; Claudette Johnson: I Came to Dance at Modern Art Oxford, an overview of the black political artist’s life (until 8 Sept); Waddesdon Manor’s two exhibitions, Brought to Life: Eliot Hodgkin Rediscovered, the largest ever show of the British painter’s work who’s best known for his still life and landscape paintings (until Sun 20 Oct) and interactive exhibit Framing Madame de Pompadour, a recreation of François Boucher’s famous portrait (until 27 Oct).
CULTURE: Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Edinburgh, 2 – 26 Aug
Edinburgh’s cultural fandango kicks off this month and is well worth the trip way (way, way) up north with the whole city buzzing with creativity, comedy, theatre, arts, crafts and street performances. Far too many shows to list in detail (over 1,200 groups perform across the city each day!) but highlights include Ian Stirling (of Love Island voiceover fame), Russell Howard, Frank Skinner, plus loads more familiar faces. Full programme here.
NEW EXHIBITION: Sweet Harmony: Rave exhibition, Saatchi Gallery, West London, until 14 Sept
Rave on! This new photo exhibition explores the new world that emerged from the acid house movement in the ’80s and ’90s and the beginnings of rave culture. Photographers Tom Hunter, Vinca Petersen and Dave Swindells will be on hand at the Saatchi Gallery to explain the stories behind their iconic shots. saatchigallery.com
Exhibitions still on the go this month include a collection of Manolo Blahnik‘s work curated by the iconic shoe designer himself at The Wallace Collection (until Sun 1 Sept). Also on the fashion front is the Mary Quant retrospective at the V&A (Muddy’s been, it’s really cool), featuring over 200 of the seminal ’60s designer’s pieces (until 16 Feb). Or, also at the V&A is the largest House of Dior collection ever staged in the UK, a handful of tickets for evening slots have been added so snaffle quick if you want to go as it’s super popular (until 1 Sept).
Other exhibitions include the family-friendly Beasts of London, at the Museum of London, a fully immersive, digital installation exploring the role animals have played in the shaping of London with the likes of Kate Moss, Brian Blessed and Pam Ferris voicing the animals which are brought to life using video projection mapping; the major Van Gogh show at Tate Britain with over 45 of the artist’s famous works including Starry Night on the Rhône and Sunflowers; if you’re heading up north, check out the Keith Haring exhibition at Tate Liverpool, a legend on the ’80s graffiti, pop art and underground club culture scene, the exhibit features 85 works including large-scale paintings, posters, photos and video. Very cool.