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This Weekend

FRI 29 SEP - SUN 1 OCT 2017

Thame Food Festival – Sat 30 Sept – Sun 1 Oct

chris wheeler stoke park in the kitchen cooking chef

My how you’ve grown! The Thame Food Festival has expanded its waistline over the last few years to include a pop up restaurant with Weston-on-the-Green’s fabulous The Milk Shed, chef demos, gin emporium and an awesome chef’s banquet on Sat evening starring Stoke Park’s superchef Chris Wheeler (above) and some serious quantities of Beef Wellington. The festival has totally outgrown the centre of town and is now at the Thame Showground, but there’s loads of free parking plus a free shuttle bus from Thame.

Thame Showground, Oxon,


Legally Blonde, Wycombe Swan, Mon 25 – Sat 30 Sept

pink stilettos with a pug dog and a small dog on a lead

I took my mum to see Legally Blonde last year and we both hooted our way through it, it was much funnier than I thought it would be. The current show has a celeb cast  – Rita Simons (Roxy Mitchell in BBC’s EastEnders)  Lucie Jones (Eurovision UK representative 2017) and the delicious Bill Ward (James Barton in Emmerdale, Charlie Stubbs in Coronation Street) as Professor Callahan. I went to see this new production with my daughter and we both loved it, read my review here. Grab a group of girlies and go have a giggle.

Book tickets


The Daylesford Health & Wellness Retreat, Daylesford Cookery School, 29 -30 Sept

This two day retreat allows you to experience the best of both The Cookery School and Bamford Haybarn Spa, whilst staying in the Daylsford cottages. What a tough gig! In collaboration with Daylesford’s resident nutritionist, Rhaya Jordan and yoga teacher Nikki Jackson, there are classes, massages and facials, demos and hands on classes in The Cookery School, plus a Chef’s Table Supper on Saturday evening. All you have to do is relax (and, er, don’t look at your bill till you get home).


No Frills, The North Wall, Oxford, 29 Sept

dotdotdot dance (great name!) use flamenco as a medium to create innovative dance, and in No Frills, they set out to strip flamenco down to its bare essence to connect with contemporary way. The show has toured the UK three times, winning the Buxton Fringe Dance Award two years running, so it’s a goodie. Bravo too to North Wall for continuing its innovative programming.


Owl and the Pussycat, Cornerstone Arts, Didcot, Sun 1 Oct

Sweeeeet! A gorgeous new ballet for family audiences by Let’s All Dance takes a humorous look at the famous Lear poem. Rather like English National Ballet’s ‘First Ballet’ series, this performance is especially designed for kids aged 2-11 years, including those with special needs.

Cornerstone Arts Centre, 25 Station Rd, Didcot,


Softer – Jenny Holzer Exhibition at Blenheim Palace, Thurs 28 Sep – 31 Dec

The fourth artist to to showcase contemporary art at Blenheim Palace (my kids still talk about Ai Wei Wei back in 2015), Holzer will be creating new work directly addressing our military and political history – eeek! For this show she’s developing large-scale light projections that will transform the Formal Gardens after dark in a series of night time public events. Sound cool right? Plus visitors can also explore more meditative areas featuring examples of Holzer’s best-known work.


Sunday Scramble, Bicester Heritage, Sun 1 Oct

One for petrol-heads. The 10th Sunday Scramble at Bicester Heritage near is mainly an excuse for hundreds of classic vehicle enthusiasts to come together and enjoy a relaxed social gathering.  Hagerty International, the classic car insurance specialist, will be hosting its live Valuation Arena to inspect and photograph vehicles, and provide owners with a valuation certificate. Plus there are Tiger Moth flying lessons, workshops, showrooms and buildings will be open and there’ll be so much revving of engines on site you’ll be high as a kite.

Bicester Heritage, Buckingham Road, A4421, Launton, Bicester,


Windsor Fringe Festival, Sat 23 Sept – Sat 7 Oct

If you like your arts fresh out of the box and are nudging the West of Muddy Bucks/Oxon territory, head to Windsor Fringe Festival – the second oldest fringe in the UK after Edinburgh. Expect an eclectic programme of events and shows, plus the world reknowned International Windsor Fringe Award for New Drama Writing judged by Hilary Mantel, Fay Weldon and Kenneth Branagh, to name a few.


Henley Ploughing Match, Sun 1 Oct

The annual Ploughing Match in Bishopsland, Dunsden will bring out the finest farmers in the area, plus celebrity scyther Aidan Turner will be turning up ready oiled and shirtless to judge the winner (er, not true, but let’s just stay in this happy place for a moment). There are 40 tractors ploughing, a companion dog show, a poultry auction at 12pm (dare you to have a go!), ferret racing, terrier racing, plus a 8 working pairs of heavy horses. Basically it’s more farmy fun than you can shake a stick at.


La Voix Humaine, North Wall, Oxford, Sat 30 Sep

woman white suit telephone metal cage on stage

Olivier Award-winning OperaUpClose returns to The North Wall this autumn with a new production of Poulenc and Cocteau’s La Voix Humaine. Poulenc and Cocteau had shared the perils and pleasures of early-20th-century gay life – including Nazi occupation – for decades by the time the composer tackled his friend’s hit play, and this intense 50-minute tour de force for solo soprano is the result. Performed by Sarah Minns and Richard Black on piano and directed by OperaUpClose’s Artistic Director, Robin Norton-Hale, it’s a devastating musical portrait of a human being on the brink of disintegration. Sneak in a stiff drink if it all gets too much.


Curiosity Carnival, Live Friday, The Ashmolean Museum, Fri 29 Sept

A  huge festival of curiosity across the University of Oxford’s museums, libraries, gardens and woods, joining hundreds of other European cities celebrating European Researchers’ Night (er, sounds like a ball!). The Ashmolean is celebrating as it does best, with its innovative free entry Live Friday event, offering dance, art, talks, demonstrations and music to consider how researchers use time and space to think about what makes us and the universe tick. There’s the Orchestra of the Enlightenment, combining music with cutting-edge science about the rhythms of sleep; 3D virtual reality to explore DNA; FLUX dance theatre performing and basically a whole load of kind of weirdy cool stuff.

Free to enter but you do need to book a ticket in advance. Tickets 


Thorpe Park Fright Nights, Fri 29 Sept – Tues 31 Oct

Wah-ha-haaaa! This is my idea of total hell, but if you or your kids like to be frightened to death, be my guest at Thorpe Park Fright Nights. They’re promising new horror experiences, live action attractions based on The Walking Dead, extreme live action horror mazes, Derren Brown’s Rise of the Demon ghost train and and all manner of other horrific stuff not suitable for middle-aged women called Hero over 40.


Seurat to Riley: The Art of Perception, Compton Verney until Sun Oct 1

Don’t miss this excellent critically-acclaimed summer exhibition including the leading figures of 1960’s Op Art – Bridget RileyJesus Rafael Soto, and Victor Vasarely  -installations, and a stunning site-specific wall painting by German abstract artist Lothar Götz. “This show fizzes with the zinging colours and eye-popping patterns of Op Art, from the Impressionists to the mind-bending Sixties experiments of Bridget Riley … a trippy, wild ride” – The Daily Telegraph. Daily tours at 12noon & 2.30pm.

Tue – Sun & bank holidays until Sun Oct 1 2017, 11am –


Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power, Tate Modern, until Oct 22

‘An exhibition that uncovers an entire lost history of American art’ is how Guardian critic Jonathan Jones describes this visual journey through the civil rights movement. Some engage with legendary figures from the period, with paintings in homage to political leaders Martin Luther King, Malcolm X and Angela Davis, musician John Coltrane and sporting hero Jack Johnson. Muhammad Ali appears in Andy Warhol’s famous painting.  Unmissable era-defining artworks.



Million Dollar Quartet, Wycombe Swan, Mon 9 – Weds 14 Oct
This West End and Broadway musical focuses on the famous recording session that brought together rock ‘n’ roll icons Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins for the first and only time. Martin Kemp, formerly partial to the headband and polyester shiny shirtlings of Spandau Ballet, now silver fox, TV regular and guilty Muddy secret hearthrob, plays legendary record producer Sam Phillips who does a svengali and magics up the sweet music. Your mum will love it. Book tickets

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