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This Weekend


Chipping Norton Lit Fest, Thurs 26 – Sun 29 April

Loving the sound of this eclectic festival. Reggie Yates (a secret crush of mine – there, I’ve admitted it) and Gorky Paul rub shoulders with Terry Waite and Lionel Shriver in various venues throughout this elegant Cotswolds town in North Oxfordshire.


Sneaky supper club, Wytham Village Hall, Oxon, Fri 27 April

This popular supper club housed in groovy or unusual venues in and around Oxford, has its next soirée this Friday with a five course menu including miso roast cod and pink lamb rump with breast boulangere (with advance warning you can request vegetarian and other dietary requirements), all served up on sociable banquet tables. The emphasis is on exceptional food and a fun, relaxing evening that’s a little bit different from the norm. Tickets are a reasonable £42 per head.

The Sneaky Supper Club


Simon Callow, The Sheldonian Theatre, Oxford, Sat 28 Apr 

Simon Callow divides opinion with his OTT thespy-ness but I rather like his flamboyant approach to life. He narrates Fretwork: The World Encompassed, a sound journey charting Sir Francis Drake’s epic voyage in the grand surrounds of The Sheldonian Theatre. When Drake sailed from Plymouth in 1577, he took four viol players with him to entertain and play during worship. Little did they know they would also perform for native Americans. Composer, Orlando Gough, uses 16th century music to create a score following this epic journey, interwoven with narration by Simon Callow, a lifelong classical music fan whose full-bodied resonant voice will no doubt give an extra dimension to the piece.


Big Fish, Little Fish, Wycombe Swan, High Wycombe, Sat 28 April

Have kids, will party. Want to go raving but too knackered to dance for 6 hours and get home in the early hours? Big Fish, Little Fish’s bonkers afternoon raves for parents with under eights are part of Camp Bestival’s warm up tour. Balloons, bubbles, glitter, parachutes, face painting and arts and crafts accompanied by DJ Mark Archer (Altern 8) playing acid house, techno, hip hop, drum ‘n’ bass and house floor-fillers return to High Wycombe. Get your white gloves and whistles at the ready.

Book tickets


7k run Blenheim Palace, Oxford, Sun 29 April

Blenheim Palace outside nature lake trees blue sky building

Well it’s not quite a marathon (thank god) but 7k is still a sizeable puff around the bucolic Capability Brown grounds of Blenheim Palace. It’s essentially a family fun day with a separate race for under 15s and medals for all competitors, plus prizes for winners. There are still places available, so if you’re a horrifically lapsed exerciser like me this could be the kickstart to your fitness season.


Tractor Ted Live, Stonor Park, Sun 29 April 

bouncy castle green tractor ted

Parp parp! (or maybe vroom vroom – er, who actually knows what noise a tractor makes?). The UK’s favourite little green tractor will be making a star appearance at Stonor Park this weekend, along with a mobile farm for kids 1-7 years, and a giant Tractor Ted Bouncy Castle. You can book online for a 10% reduction btw.


Tulip Festival, Chenies Manor, Ricksmansworth, Sat 28 April

Chenies Manor tulips house sundial

The stunning red brick Chenies Manor on the Bucks/Herts border is back with its annual celebration of the humble tulip with thousands of varieties in full bloom throughout the award-winning gardens. The Tudor house also brims with displays of tulips in beautiful arrangements. For those wanting to know more, many examples will be labelled and they’ll even be a member of the gardening team on hand to answer your questions on planting, colour combos and all other related tulip topics. I don’t know about you but I have a list as long as my arm (er, slight lie).


Musical Bingo at The Botanist, Marlow – Sunday 29 April

Botanist Marlow restaurant

On the last Sunday of each month, this buzzy bar/bistro in Marlow offers bingo with a twist. No boring numbers here – Musical Bingo features live music rounds to replace legs eleven and all the fours, and there are prizes aplenty if you’re still standing by the end of the night.


Bluebell woods across Bucks / Oxon

Remember how cold it was at Easter? Thankfully our mini-heatwave has encouraged our numerous gorgeous bluebell woods to finally come out in force and are at their spectacular best. Take a look at my bluebell hotspots  for the lowdown on the best places to go and enjoy this beautiful sight. We’ve already been around Greys Court and Nettlebed so far (recommended) but there are gazillions of other fantastic options across Bucks & Oxon too.



The EY Exhibition: Impressionists in London, Tate Britain, London – until 7 May

Claude monet houses of parliament Tate

Claude Monet Houses of Parliament, Sunset 1904. Kunstmuseen Krefeld

The likes of Monet, Pissarro and Tissot fled France in the 1870s following the Franco-Prussian war and this exhibition gives a fascinating insight into how these artists saw London. Leaving behind their own devastated country, they sought solace in the thriving art market across the Channel and made an indelible contribution to Britain’s art scene. The last chance to see all these paintings curated together and have a mooch around the books and posters accompanying the exhibition in the gift shop.

Book tickets


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