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This weekend

Fri 26 - Sun 28 April


CULTURE: Chiplitfest, Chipping Norton, Thurs 25 – Sun 28

This year Chiplitfest has a stellar lineup including Jo Brand,  journalist Kate Spicer (The Sunday Times, Red, The Pool), author of Sunfall Jim Al-Khalil and Kate Williams, author of Rival Queens. Loads of workshops to get stuck into across the weekend as well. Chippy has a great programme for kids too with talks from Andy Stanton of the award-winning Mr Gum series and Paralympian Ade Adepitan.


THEATRE: American Idiot, Milton Keynes Theatre, until Sat 27 Apr 

Like Green Day? Love musicals? If so, American Idiot is a dead cert. The double Tony award winning show returns to mark its 10th anniversary and the 15th anniversary of the Grammy Award winning original album. Luke Friend (X-Factor), Tom Milner (The Voice, Waterloo Road) and newcomer Sam Lavery star.

Tickets here.


COMEDY: Gerrards Cross Comedy Evening, The Memorial Centre, Gerrards Cross, Fri 26 Apr  

Gerrards Cross Community Association host their popular annual comedy evening for the seventh year, bringing top quality LOLs to the area. Supplying the laughs this year are music journalist turned comedian JoJo Smith; Bennett Arron, a regular on the Brit comedy circuit; Alun Cochrane, whose creds include Michael McIntyre’s Comedy Roadshow, Have I Got News For You and 8 Out Of 10 Cats.


COMEDY: Dara O’Briain, Aylesbury Waterside, Fri 26 Apr 

DO’B is ubiquitous in British comedy and has some mega TV creds including hosting Mock The Week, Star Gazing Live and Robot Wars. His stand-up The Voice of Reason covers all sorts from midlife hypochondria, fame and tech- top-notch intelligent comedy on offer here so grab a ticket before it sells out.


SUPPER CLUB: Native Feasts, Peterley Manor Farm, Sat 27 Apr

Book that babysitter ASAP – supper club aficionados Native Feasts pop up in the vintage greenhouse at Peterley Manor Farm with a five course menu made with local spring produce-  wild garlic cracked spelt risotto (yum), pressed shoulder of Oxfordshire lamb (double yum), rhubarb and ginger fool and more. There’ll also be a pop-up bar serving artisanal tipple in the form of an English wine list, seasonal cocktails and soft drinks. Friday is sold out but there are still a few tickets left for Sat. More spring supper clubs here.


HISTORY: Bradwell Windmill, Milton Keynes, Sun 28 Apr

Perhaps MK’s most distinctive landmark (although that new MK gallery might just give it a run for its money) the Mill will have a rare public opening this month as well as a few more select dates over spring and summer. You can even see the Mill in action as a huge £160,000 refurb has just been completed to make the heritage site watertight and spinning again.


RACE: Duck Race, River Ock, Faringdon, Sun 28 Apr 

Held on River Ock in Phoebe Woods, Faringdon Rotary Club’s annual Duck Race is some high stakes competition. Hundreds of yellow rubber ducks fight to the death to be crowned champion, with all proceeds going to The Air Ambulance and Be Free Young Carers. You can buy your own duck to race from the rotary club on 13, 14, 20. 27 and 28 Apr, plus you can snaffle £300 if you win.


WALK: The Great British Dog Walk, Henley on Thames, Sun 28 Apr 

This is a great way to get you, your family and your pooch out into the spring air, while raising funds for the charity Hearing Dogs For Deaf People. It takes in a 4km family route or an 7k scenic one around the stunning Culden Faw private estate, where you might just spot deer or wallabies. There are also various stalls, activities and refreshments. It’s £10 for an advance adult ticket, with children under the age of 16 free, and a free doggie bandanna to jazz up Rover.



Punting season is upon us and fingers crossed the sunshine follows. All the local punt spots are now opening for business, central Oxford has Magdalen Bridge or Folly Bridge (opening up soon), but if you want to escape the crowds and grab a posh lunch while you’re at it, head to Cherwell Boat House– it’s all very civilised until you fall or crash into the river bank.


EXHIBITION: An Earthly Paradise: William Morris & the Thames, River & Rowing Museum, until Sun 14 July

I have great memories of taking my family to William Morris’s house in Gloucestershire and having them all sit outside glumly for an hour proclaiming it the most boring thing ever while I drooled over the textiles and furniture. Ah, happy days! Anyway, this exhibition focuses on how the Thames influenced Morris’ work. He had a rural retreat in Oxfordshire, where he loved to boat and fish, ergo the influence of the river in his textiles and designs. Pieces have been collated from the V&A, The William Morris Gallery and the British Library to make this exhibition possible and it also delves into Morris personal life and his politics.



Waddesdon’s gardens

Last chance to catch Cliveden’s programme The Gilded Gardens, inspired by the 24 carat gilded golden gates on the Sounding chamber and thousands of daffodils that grow across the estate- this year the gardening team have added a further 57 varieties to the existing 20 so there grounds really will be carpeted in canary, until Tues 30 April. Head to the Water Garden and Blenheim Pavilion for the best of ‘em. Stowe will also be brimming with the yellow bloomer, along with other pretty spring foliage. Or head to Waddesdon who’ve named a whole patch of the grounds after the flower, Daffodil Valley.


EXHIBITION: Samurai, Bucks County Museum, Aylesbury, until Sat 13 July 

This brand new exhibit at Bucks County Museum, in Aylesbury’s old quarter, is promising some awesome artefacts from ancient Japanese Samurai armour to ornate helmets and swords- it looks like a goodie.


FILM: Illuminating the Wilderness, MK Gallery, until Sun 26 May 

Image by George Smith

This short 40 minute film production by Project Art Works, in Milton Keynes’ stunning new gallery, investigates a remote Scottish glen over several days and the community that lives there. The film, part of the gallery’s inaugural Lie of the Land exhibition, launches a new venture EXPLORERS 2019- a year of exhibitions and commissions that are the culmination of a three-year programme of workshops, seminars and installations focusing on diverse communities, artists and makers- interesting stuff.


EXHIBITION: Jeff Koons at The Ashmolean, Oxford, until Sun 9 Jun 

Jeff Koons at the Ashmolean

Spanning Koons’ entire career and showcasing seventeen works, most of which have never been shown in the UK before, the show will include his popular series Equilibrium, Statuary, Banality, Antiquity and his recent Gazing Ball sculptures and paintings. To celebrate the Ashmolean’s exhibit, Koons has created a brand new limited edition print (oooh exclusive!), experimenting with different arty techniques, which you can buy, signed and dated, from the museum.



EXHIBITION: Beasts of London, Museum of London, until Sun 5 Jan 

This looks amazing- a fully immersive, digital installation (here’s a sneak preview) exploring the role animals have played in the shaping of London, from the Roman era all they way up to present day. The interactive show uses video projection mapping to bring the animals, from rats to lions, to life as they narrate a virtual tour of London. There are some major British celebs involved too, with Kate Moss, Brian Blessed, Pam Ferris, Joe Pasquale and more voicing the beasts.


EXHIBITION: Mary Quant, Victoria & Albert Museum, London

This is going to be awesome! The iconic 1960s designer and the mother of  miniskirts, Mary Quant, gets her own exhibit at the V&A with over 200 garments, accessories and exclusive unseen pieces from the designer’s personal archive.

Tickets here.


KIDS: Great Brick Safari, ZSL Whipsnade Zoo, Beds, until Sun 2 Jun 

More Lego! New for Easter, Whipsnade Zoo introduces its Brick Safari- there’ll be loads of LEGO brick beasts and animals around the mammoth zoo (it’s the biggest in the UK doncha know) made from over one million bricks, as well as hands-on family activities. Included in entry price.


EXHIBITION: Van Gogh and Britain, Tate Britain, London, until Tues 27 Aug

This new major exhibition will be the first to explore the artist’s relationship with Britain and the literature, art and culture that inspired his work. Over 45 works by the artist from public and private collections including Starry Night on the Rhône 1888 from the Musée d’Orsay, Paris, and the rarely loaned Sunflowers 1888 from the National Gallery, London. There’ll also be work by British artist  who were influenced by Van Gogh’s work including Francis Bacon and David Bomberg.


EXHIBITION: Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams, Victoria & Albert Museum, London, until Sun 14 July

This exhibition, the largest House of Dior collection ever staged in the UK, has been HUGE- it is sold out but there are a few first-come, first served tickets available from 10am (from the Grand Entrance) and it’s well worth trying your luck. Or you can see the exhibit by purchasing a membership for the V&A (plus you get loads of added extras like sneak previews, a magazine subscription and access to the members room). Tracing the history of Christian Dior and the six artistic directors who succeeded him, it’s based on the a Parisian exhibition but with a new section exploring Dior’s fascination with British culture. A highlight is the Christian Dior dress worn by Princess Margaret for her 21st birthday celebrations, on loan from the Museum of London.



KIDS: The Little Welly obstacle course and festival, Henley, Sat 8 –  Sun 9 June 

This is all about getting Muddy so we are IN! A 3km hop, skip, jump and dash through 30 challenges, taking in streams, trails, mud and woodland The Little Welly’s obstacle course is the largest  in the UK for kids. There’s also an accompanying festival with – deep breath – kart racing, rope climbing, circus skills workshops, live music, helter skelter, laser tag, climbing wall, pony rides and loads of family activities. I think it’s such a fantastic idea – get them away from screens, into the fresh air and doing some exercise.


FESTIVAL: Chilterns Live, Pendley Meadow, Tring, Sat 29 June

guitar grass summer

Oooh, new and shiny! There’s a brand new festival near our ‘hood! Chilterns Live will be popping up in Tring with a stellar pop line-up of Busted (this got a few squeals in Muddy HQ), Sophie Ellis Bextor and The Feeling.


TALK: Margaret Atwood, New Theatre Oxford, Wed 30 Oct

To celebrate the launch of her new book The Testaments, a sequel to the totally brilliant The Handmaid’s Tale (which I am very excited to get my mitts on), author Margaret Atwood is going on a live tour- an evening of conversation, exclusive readings and special guests. She’s only touring for eight dates in the UK and our ‘hood is super lucky to secure a spot, so get booking if you fancy it as no doubt  it will be a sell out. The tour follows the book launch on Tues 10 Sept where Margaret will be speaking at the National Theatre- the talk will be screened to 1,000 cinemas worldwide with loads of Bucks & Oxon cinemas taking part. Find your nearest screening here.

Find more ideas here

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