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This weekend

FRI 15 - SUN 17 JUNE 2018

It’s the weekend, and there’s only one thing for it – full socialising ahead.


THEATRE: Matilda, Milton Keynes Theatre, now – Sat 30 June

Be quickity quick and grab some tickets for this wonderful show whilst it tours around the UK. A touching and joyous story of loneliness and rebellion, it deserves all 85 and counting of its international awards. Writer Dennis Kelly and composer / lyricist Tim Minchin go to top of the class with their interpretation of Roald Dahl’s classic tale. Don’t miss it!


ARTS & CULTURE: Buckingham Literary Festival, Buckingham, Thurs 14 – Sun 17 June

The big literary fests are all very well but there’s definitely a place for smaller, more locally minded ones. Smaller doesn’t mean B list guests for Bucks Literary Festival – Chris Patten in conversation with John Bercow; Antonia Fraser, historical novelist extraordinaire; Frederick Forsyth of Day of the Jackalfame, Tim Bentinck who plays David Archer on behind the scenes of the iconic radio drama and many more. There’s even a Twitter workshop if you’re struggling to know your tweets from your handles from your hashtags.


EVENT: Oxford Green Week, Sat 15 – Sun 24 June

child watering plants

A rebel without a cause? We’ll here’s one for you – join in a county-wide festival to inspire people to take action against climate change. Lots of events under the banner of Oxford Green Week and many are free. How about a walk in Uni Oxford Parks with a choice of 3 treasure trails (and chance to enter a prize draw for a Frog bike) or a Teddy Bears Picnic on Meadow Farm (Bicester) Want something more low key? Head to OxGrow Community Garden in Whitehouse Road for family garden art and games. Want more? On Wed 20 June you can see a screening of the film Albatross by Chris Jordan at the Shulman Auditorium, Queen’s College, highlighting the plight of our planet in the face of so much plastic waste. Suitably inspired you can pop along on Thursday for a free workshop on how to reduce your plastic waste at the Common Ground Coffee shop (Little Clarendon Street) or take part in a foraging workshop on Sat 23 June, meeting outside Oxford Brookes Sports Centre. After a 2 – 3 hour walk you get to eat a wild food lunch (£20), some of which you will have picked yourself (note to self – pack a sandwich).


MUSIC: Nocturne Live, Blenheim Palace, Woodstock, Sat 16 June

Noel Gallagher at Blenheim Palace? What would Liam say? This well-established refined live music night has a line up including Noel in his High Flying Birds incarnation, plus Nile Rodgers and Chic and Elvis Costello (headlining on different nights).With the stunning backdrop of the Great Court, one thing is certain – the mosh pit will be very civilised.


MUSIC, ART, & COMEDY: Gap Festival, Goring & Streatley, 14 – 17 June

Mica Paris

Take a peek at this 4 days of fabulousness combining live music, comedy, art workshops, talks and family activities (highlights of which include Chamberhouse Winds performing Peter & the Wolf and the Hobgoblin Children’s theatre). Love an antique? Eric Knowles from the Antiques Roadshow will be taking a witty look at his profession plus you’re invited to bring along a small heirloom for Eric to evaluate. Listen to Val McDermid talk about her life writing crime, then dance to soul queen Mica Paris as she takes the stage in the Festival Marquee. Or you could trot along to see talented 2016 Funny Women Award winner Harriet Braine giving her comic history of art lesson in song. If you can’t wait till then, check out the fringe festival from Sat Jun 9 to Wed Jun 13 – think live music in local pubs, art workshops, kids’ drama club and a Wind in the Willows day at Withymead Nature Reserve. Lots of these are free or a snip at £5. Main festival tickets vary from about £10 to £33.


SPORT: Abbey Meadow Swimming Pool Opens, Abingdon, Sat 16 June, 1pm

I’m digging out my floral swimming hat and one piece for the welcome return of Abingdon’s popular outdoor pool after a whopping £1.3million refurbishment. There’s a gentle beach-style sloping walk-in area for little ones and those with disabilities plus refurbed changing areas so the whole experience is bound to be far more pleasant. Pray for sunshine!


FOOD: Waddesdon Feast, Waddesdon Manor, Sat 16 – Sun 17 June

Waddesdon feast

Nosh up! The Waddesdon Manor Feast Weekend returns with its celebration of food, drink and performance in prime position at the front of the Manor. There’s a huge decorated outdoor dining table running the length of the North Avenue for picnics or trying the 70 handpicked artisan food and wine stalls, but the bit that really lifts it from just another foodie event is the performances –  from comedy gardeners, a mechanical elephant and short sighted celebrity crazed photographers to street bands, acrobats and a life-sized interactive game zone. Plenty for adults and kids so a deffo for the weekend. Entrance to Feast is £5 with a grounds ticket (£17 for adults, £8.50 for children) and as it’s understandably a popular event, best get booking now!


FILM: Peterley Manor Farm, Father’s Day Film & Food Night, Fri 15 – Sat 16 June

firefly outdoor cinema

Wondering what the hell to do for a Father’s Day treat? Peasy – take him to Top Gun at Great Missenden’s lovely Peterley Manor Farm so he can watch the fighter planes while you ogle a young Tom Cruise in his pretty aviators. Billed as a Father’s Day special, expect local street food, café goodies, straw bales, blankets and fire pits on Sat 16 June. Other films on offer are Hot Fuzz (Fri 15 June) or the family-friendly The Greatest Showman (Sat 21 July) where there’ll be tractor and trailer rides round the farm, giant games, pop-up food, drinks, and a sweet shop in the mini yurt.


SPORT: Marlow Town Regatta, Marlow, Oxon, Sat 16 – Sun 17 June

Back to Marlow we go for a weekend of eyeing up the muscle, I mean messing about on the river, with competitive rowing on the Saturday and family fun with the Dragon Boat Festival, live entertainment, and food and drink and craft stalls on the Sunday. Pass the Pimms!


FESTIVAL: Flofest, followed by Glofest, Florence Park, Oxford, Sat 16 June

Hats off to this free community all day mini-fest for launching itself into the night under the banner of Glofest. Daytime delights include stories in the Story Museum tent, food stalls, dog show, Oxford Uni lectures, bouncy castle, climbing wall and live music all day. Hang around into the evening and your £5 entry (free for under 12s) gets you DJs, a climactic laser light show and more live music including local space-pop/psychedelic rock band, Flights of Helios, who are making a name for themselves with their unique sound.


FAMILY: Stonor Park Food Festival, Sat 16  – Sun 17 June

The beautiful grounds at Stonor will be groaning with food and drink stalls over the Father’s Day weekend (dads go free before midday on the Saturday) for the first ever Stonor Food Festival. Keep dad happy with the crafts beers and BBQ plus there’s talks, tastings and demos along with the large selection of local and specialist produce. Guests include the doyen of cookery, Mary Berry, and the Bake Off finalist Steven Carter-Bailey. Tickets are £10 for adults and £6.50 for kids (under 2s go free) and include entrance to the house, gardens and Wonder Woods Adventure playground.


MUSIC: Garsington Opera, Falstaff, Wolmsley Estate, Sat 16 June

garsington exterior night

The bucolic Wormsley Estate is the setting every year for a spot of warbling of the highest form. You can arrive from 3.30pm to roam the grounds and take afternoon tea before the main event in the evening. Mozart’s much loved The Magic Flute kick starts the season (and goes through until July); Strauss’ final opera, Capriccio, runs throughout June; and from Sat 16 June until 22 July, Verdi’s comic opera Falstaff will be performed on various Saturdays. The food and drink at Garsington is top notch and thanks to the bus transfer service to and from High Wycombe station (no fights over who’s in the back row) you can indulge to your heart’s content.


ART: Modern Art Oxford, Life Drawing Workshop, Sat 16 – Sun 17 June

Get your muse on and join in the free life drawing workshops with clothed models (shame) on the opening weekend of A Slice through the World: Contemporary Artists’ Drawings, with graduate of the Ruskin School of Art, Mirren Kessling. No problemo if you’ve never drawn before as materials will be provided. The Slice through the World exhibition celebrates the drawing skills of a collection of artists in the digital age.


MUSIC: Jazz at The Abingdon Arms, Sun 17 June

A regular event on the third Sunday of each month, Oxford’s finest jazz musicians descend on this lively pub with fabulous garden overlooking the Otmoor Nature Reserve. Frank Harrison on keyboards, Mark Hodgson on bass and Mark Doffman on drums are jamming it up next.  Free entry – niiiiice!


EVENT: Father’s Day BBQ, Bletchley Park, Bucks, Sun 17 June

No dad dancing please at this Father’s Day event at Bletchley Park with BBQ, live music, dancing from JiveSwing and a specially crafted beer from The Concrete Cow Brewery, named Station X after Bletchley’s code name in the Second World War.


SPORT: Oxford Bike Week, until Mon June 18

group cyclists on road hills

Don your lycra for a week long celebration of cycling with various events taking place throughout Oxford and the surrounding countryside. It kicks off this weekend with the Big Green Day Out on Broad Street with loads of stalls (not all cycling related) and entertainment. On Sun 10, you can take a gentle ride with the Condors Newbies meeting outside Beeline Cycles on the Cowley Road at 9.45am or a longer ride to Bridewell Organic Gardens. Meet outside Costa in Summerton at 1.15 to head to the gardens for afternoon tea. All events are free so say pah to Oxford’s notoriously bad traffic and get on your bike.


FESTIVAL: Love Marlow Festival, Marlow, until Sun 17 June 

church spire boats ducks on river

Yes, we do love Marlow. The river, the restaurants, the shops, it’s certainly a happening town that Muddy likes to frequent.  The Love Marlow Festival has a list of events as long as your arm with the aim to ‘strengthen relationships, promote kindness, volunteering and fun’. Fun stuff includes taster sessions of watersports at Longridge Activity Centre, Kids Fun Cycle, Princess and the Pinot Pop-up wine bar (my ears prick up) and Coopers Love Marlow afternoon music session. Marlow is gorgeous of course and there’s a great community spirit in the town so it’s definitely worth checking out.


ART: Bucks Arts Weeks, various locations, until Sun 24 June

Photo: Alexandra Buckle at Claydon Gallery

Didn’t get round to seeing any of Oxford Art Weeks? Naughty! Well, here’s your chance to redeem yourself with the launch of Bucks Art Weeks with exhibitions, events and artists’ studios open to the public. There’s the full range of artistic endeavours from linocuts (above), paintings, ceramics, jewellery, glassware, photography, textiles – and even paintings created on an iPad (check out Nancy Taylor in Naphill, High Wycombe). You can plan your visits on their website but I prefer the magical mystery tour approach and to stop off at random places when I see the sign. Being nosey and mooching around some lovely gardens and studios is half the fun.


EXHIBITION: Tolkien: Maker of Middle-earth, Weston Library, Oxford, 1 June – 28 Oct

The extensive archive of artefacts from the Lord of the Rings author are on display in the biggest Tolkien exhibition in a generation. Top attractions are parts of the manuscripts for The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings but there are also pieces of fan mail, private letters, maps, drawings and an interactive display on the Elvish language. A third of the 200 items have never been seen before so it’s a real thrill for all you superfans out there.




ART: Conserving Michelangelo, Christchurch Picture Gallery, Oxford, now until 18 June

Michelangelo sketch Christchurch gallery

Looking for serenity? A trip to the very special Christchurch Picture Gallery will soothe the soul and broaden the mind. The only college in Oxford or Cambridge to possess a unique collection of Old Masters is displaying a Michelangelo drawing from its vaults, recently restored by The Met in New York. The design for a facade on one side and sketches of angles and shadows on the reverse – it’s a beautiful piece of art history right there. The exhibition gives insight into how the restoration was done which is fascinating but take your time and view the whole stonking collection whilst you’re there. 





ART: RA Summer Exhibition, Piccadilly, London, opens Tues 12 June

It’s here! It’s the 250th year of the Royal Academy of Arts summer exhibition and this year, Grayson Perry RA and his committee of fellow artists have handpicked over 1,300 artworks in an array of mediums. This is always great fun and this year it could look very different.

RA Summer Exhibition

ART: Frida Kahlo: Making Herself Up, V&A, London, from Sat 16 June 

The iconic Mexican’s artist’s personal belongings were locked away by her husband when she died and are being exhibited outside Mexico for the first time. There are some beautifully embroidered clothes but more interesting are her cosmetics (no jokes about eyebrow tweezers please), swimsuit and brightly painted prosthetic leg (Kahlo suffered Polio as a child and had a deformed limb) in this intimate and fascinating exhibition.

V&A Museum


ART: Monet & Architecture Exhibiton, The National Gallery, until 29 July

Never been done before, this awesome exhibition that’s got the critics in raptures, puts more than 75 of Monet’s paintings all together to look at his career through the buildings he painted and how he used them to create his compositions. Once you’re done, why not totter next door to the National Portrait Gallery? Loads to see there plus you can buy tickets for the Michael Jackson On the Wall exhibition examining the influence he’s had on contemporary artists which starts on June 28.


FESTIVAL: Summer by the River, London Bridge, until 1 Sept

london bridge city summer outdoor

If you’re heading for the big smoke, there’s tons to do all summer between London and Tower Bridge with the largest outdoor festival in the capital. Outdoor cinema, big screen sporting events like Wimbledon and Tour de France, comedy from the Edinburgh Fringe, workshops and quizzes. You can scoff and drink to your heart’s content from the obligatory artisan stalls and then join in one of the fitness events to assuage the self-loathing.

Find more ideas here

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