MON 23 - SUN 29 OCT 2017
Oxford Ceramics Fair, 28 – 29 Oct
Sometimes 99p white plates from Ikea just won’t cut it. If you’re in search of unique, quirky pieces to sex up your shelves, check out the Oxford Ceramics Fair this weekend. Now in its 18th year, it features 60 of the UK’s leading potters and ceramics makers who’ll be exhibiting and selling their crafts. Plate, bowl and vase nirvana, basically.
St Edward’s School,Woodstock Road, Oxford,oxfordceramicsfair.co.uk
Tapas & Beer at Tap Social with Native Feasts, 26 Oct
After its successful collaboration with LASSCO Three Pigeons, cool chef crew Native Feasts is teaming up with Tap Social for a tapas/beer pop-up at this hip Botley craft brewery with a social conscience (they offer training courses to prisoners). Smoked almonds, wild mushroom and truffle arancini and lashings of lager, you say? See you there.
Tap Social Movement, 27 Curtis Industrial Estate, Oxford, nativefeasts.co.uk/tickets
October Comedy Night, The Potters Arms, Winchmore Hill, Thurs 26 Oct
This rural comedy powerhouse of a pub near Amersham keeps pushing out the big names on the last Thursday of the month. This week it’s your chance to see Canadian funny man Paul Myrehaug, with President Obonjo of Lafta Republic as the opening act – a big tip for the top. As usual food is included in the ticket price.
The Potters Arms, Fagnall Lane, Winchmore Hill, Bucks, pottersarms.co.uk
Bogeyman Slime Making Workshop, Science Oxford at Story Museum, Thurs 26 Oct
Shall we just stop at the title? Clearly all children will love the idea of a slime-making workshop – and now you get to do it with them. Er, joy!
The Story Museum, Rochester House, 42 Pembroke Street, Oxford, scienceoxford.com
Half Term at Milton Keynes Museum, Mon 23 – Fri 27 Oct
Milton Keynes Museum hosts five days of holiday activities geared to young visitors, including weird and wonderful science shows taking place every hour throughout the day. There’s also a nature trail, historic board games in the courtyard and craft activities. Open every day Monday to Friday, 11am-4.30pm and your entry ticket will allow you to revisit the museum for free in the next 12 months.
Family Bushcraft Day, Earth Trust, Abingdon, Thurs 26 Oct
The gloriously lo-fi Earth Trust regularly offers lovely events days for kids. This one is for the whole family, where you can explore the woods, make shelters, learn how to make a fire and use a knife safely and access your inner Ray Mears. The organisers will cook on the fire, but bring a packed lunch too.
Earth Trust, Little Wittenham, Abingdon, earthtrust.org.uk
The Budapest Café Orchestra, Stowe, Fri 27 Oct
Trad folk meets gypsy campfire music, these guys rock the house with fast and furious toe-tapping fiddling. I defy you to sit still!
Ugland Auditorium, Stowe House, Stowe, Buckingham, stowe.co.uk
P P Arnold, Kenton Theatre, Henley, Fri 27 Oct
One of the most in-demand singers of the last five decades, PP Arnold, an original Ikette, has worked with everyone from Rod Stewart, Roger Waters and Jimi Hendrix to Paul Weller, Peter Gabriel and Primal Scream. She comes to the Kenton the same month the long-awaited album The Turning Tide is released, with tracks produced by Barry Gibb and Eric Clapton, songs written by Van Morrison and Steve Winwood. Frankly, this sounds awesome.
Terrific Tuesday: Awesome Autumn, Chiltern Open Air Museum, Tues 24 Oct
I love the sound of this for young kids. There’s a scavenger hunt, kids can make clay bricks for insects to hibernate in, learn about what’s growing in the allotment, take part in craft activities like pumpkin spiders and leaf printing, and chat to the RSPB about the local wildlife. Sweeeeet!
Imagining the Divine – Art and the Rise of World Religions, Ashmolean, Oxford, 19 Oct – 18 Feb
Could have had a catchier title truth be told! But anyhoo, this major exhibition will be the first to look at the art of the five world religions as they spread across continents in the first millennium AD. Blimey! Brand new research from a major project between The Ashmolean Museum, the British Museum and Oxford Uni, with amazing objects created when the iconography of each of the major religions was still being developed.
October Half-term at Waddesdon Manor, Bucks, Sat 21 – Sun 29 Oct
Steeling yourself for half-term? No need, Waddesdon Manor has more pumpkin carving, trails and spooky afternoon teas than your kids can handle! There’s also the Fête Worse than Death (full marks to whoever came up with the name of that one), a two day Halloween party filled with games, stalls, live music, face painting and dress up photo booths.
Halloween Half Term at Stonor Park, Sat 21 – Sun 29 Oct
Go on, exhaust the buggers! Stonor Park has a full list of Halloween Half Term activities, from pumpkin carving to trails and all with the Wonder Woods adventure playground thrown in free for good measure.
Stonor Park, Henley-on-Thames, Oxford, stonor.com
Pick Your Own Pumpkins, Farmer Paul’s, Weedon, October
Surprisingly not many pick your own pumpkin farms in the area – clearly we’re all too middle class to get our hands dirty! The end of the first week in October is usually when the pumpkins are perfect for plucking. Check out Weedon Hill Farm outside Aylesbury, and Millet’s Farm in Abingdon, and if anyone else knows of any, let me know.
The BFG in Pictures, River and Rowing Museum, Henley, Thurs 19 Oct – 21 Jan 2018
Curated by Quentin Blake himself, the exhibition of everyone’s favourite giant includes unpublished illustrations that have never been exhibited in public before. The exhibition includes Blake’s first designs that weren’t included in the book, and provide a glimpse of a BFG that might have been in 40 original artworks. Don’t forget there’s the permanent John Piper exhibition at the museum too – that’s well worth seeing in its own right.
Brick or Treat, Legoland, Windsor, Sat 14 – Mon 30 Oct
I’ve run out of jokes about Brick or Treat – that’s how long this Legoland event has been running! Over 55 ‘spooktacular’ rides, live shows and attractions, plus firework displays on 21, 22, 27 & 28 October. Don’t forget to read my tips on how to survive Legoland.
Dark Arts, Harry Potter Warner Bros Studios, Sun 1 Oct – Sun 12 Nov
Harry Potter Warner Bros Studios are brilliant at ringing the changes with their events and for this one the Great Hall will be decorated with over 100 floating pumpkins, just as seen as in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, along with a table laden with a Halloween feast of red apples, pumpkins and cauldrons of lollipops. Kids can also delve into the sinister world of the Dark Art – wand combat techniques and Death Eater duels as well as filmmaking snot, blood and drool. Er, nice!
Warner Bros. Studio Tour london, Studio Tour Dr, Watford, Leavesden, wbstudiotour.co.uk
Ruby Wax – Frazzled A Guide to Mindfulness, Wycombe Swan, Thurs 26 Oct
I’ve been reading Ruby Wax’s bestselling book A Mindfulness Guide For The Frazzled. and have a new-found respect for the comic, who I always found a bit irritating as a stand up. Wax gives a tour of the mind – how to use it, not lose it. By the way, she graduated from Oxford with a degree in psychology three years ago so she should know her stuff.
October Steaming Days, Bucks Railway Centre, Quainton, Dates throughout Oct
Can’t get your fill of Thomas the Tank Engine? Go give the Fat Controller some cholesterol advice on Sundays throughout October with the Bucks Railway Centre’s Steam Days.
Founders Festival & LiveFriday Late Night, Ashmolean, Oxford, Fri 27 – Sun 29 Oct
This weekend kicks off with another late night LiveFriday opening where you get to to experience the museum after dark: essentially it means fewer school kids and tourists and a more sophisticated crowd. The whole weekend’s all about celebrating the life and times of Ashmolean founder Elias Ashmole so expect seventeenth century-themed theatre, talks, music and quizzes galore – and all for free!
Ashmolean, Beaumont St, Oxford, ashmolean.org
London Restaurant Festival, 1 – 31 Oct
Rack up the plates, here I come with my elasticated pants. The London Restaurant Festival takes place in 350 restaurants across the Smoke, from neighbourhood favourites to Michelin-starred fancy pants eateries, so it’s your perfect excuse to try somewhere new with chef-hosted lunches and tasting menus on offer all month.
In-Light II and Museums at Night, Compton Verney, Sat Oct 28 – Sun Oct 29
The combination of dark autumnal skies and a rural location makes Compton Verney the ideal place to experience a spectacular and contemporary ‘son et lumière’. Celebrated light artist Luxmuralis will draw upon poetry and nature to create a series of stunning light projections. Wrap up warm and prepare to see the written word and a colourful palette projected onto the famous house’s Georgian façade. You can also join Antonia Harrison, the curator of Compton’s major autumn exhibition The Lost Words, writer Robert Macfarlane and artist Jackie Morris as they reveal the ideas and inspirations that led to the show. The talk takes place in the recently restored Chapel, and is followed by a book signing.
BOOK NOW FOR:
Flashdance, Aylesbury Waterside, Mon 20 – Sat 25 Nov
Pass me my legwarmers, high leg leotard, and heavy dute welding visor – I’m ready for my Flashdancecloseup. Eh, what do you mean Joanne Clifton already has the lead role? (*sigh*) Yes tis true, the current Strictly champion continues her successful foray into musicals taking on the role of Alex, tomboy building site worker by day, gyrating sweaty permahaired foxtress by night. She stars with A1’s Ben Adams in this touring production that has me more excited than I dare express.
ROH’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Aylesbury Waterside, Mon 30 Oct
Follow Alice down the rabbit hole in Christopher Wheeldon’s exuberant ballet. Danced by The Royal Ballet and inspired by Lewis Carroll’s much-loved book, this production, first performed in 2011, takes the humour and macabre elements of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland in equal measure, from a playing-card corps de ballet, tap-dancing Mad Hatter, and an eerily disembodied Cheshire Cat.