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This weekend

FRI 4 - SUN 6 MAY 2018

Great Antique Vintage Car Boot Fair, Stonor Park, Sun 6 May

Looking for a vintage find? This upmarket car boot fair has been a massive hit for Stonor Park and it’s back in the gorgeous 850 year old surrounds again for May. You can celeb spot – Russell Brand, Pete Doherty and Mary Berry have all been spotted in previous years all on the rummage for a bargain – and you can make a day of it with the cafe, chapel and the Wonder Woods play area all open. A day’s fun right there.


Potters Arms Comedy Festival, Winchmore Hill, Fri 4 – Sun 6 May 

Zoe LyonsI love Zoe Lyons’ sharp wit on Mock the Week and Live at the Apollo so it’s great to see she’s back headlining at this unassuming pub in Winchmore Hill – I saw her here two years ago and she brought the house down. This is the third charity comedy festival at The Potters Arms and it’s incredibly successful in drawing big names from the comedy circuit. If you like your comedy in the more intimate setting of pub with drink in hand, go check it out, you’ll love it.


Westgate Rooftop Bank Holiday Events, Oxford, Sat 5 – Mon 7 May

Apparently the rain is going to stop this weekend! The Westgate in Oxford obviously knew this as it happens to be the launch of its rooftop summer season (yeah I know it’s still spring, let’s overlook it). Highlights, should you choose to hang out on the top floor from Saturday to Monday include Down the Rabbit Hole, an adventure of audio and visual play for littlies 4-10 years, where kids are given  bunny ears headphones by the Queen of Hearts and go down the virtual rabbit hole with interactive tales and actions. There’s Musical Bingo, with a DJ and bar open from 6pm for grown ups, and also Taste Sensation at Westgate Social (the foodie bit on the ground floor) – promising unexpected flavours in unexpected forms. Sounds slightly terrifying but frankly if it involves food I’m game.


Paul Kidby exhibition, Bucks County Museum, Aylesbury Sat 5 May – Sat 30 June

death Terry Pratchett

Copyright: Paul Kidby

The artist of choice for Terry Pratchett and his Discworld novels, this exhibition features Pratchett characters including Death by illustrator Paul Kidby, as well as some of his own fantasy pictures from British folklore. I’m just off to ask my teenage son if he knows his Rincewind from his Wee Free Men. The mind boggles.

Bucks County Museum


Oxford Beer Week, various pubs, 5 – 13 May

There’s nothing quite like an ice cold beer on a sunny day but I’m too much of a champers freak to stick at a brew or ale for long. But if you and yours are partial to the golden nectar, Oxford Beer Week will hit the mark. A collaboration between breweries in Oxon and Bucks designed to showcase the huuuuuuge range of beers crafted locally, the highlights include The Perch’s beer fest in Binsey (5-7 May), The 7th Witney Beer Festival (Sat 5 May) in St Mary’s Church (SACRILEGE!), XT Brewery Open Day (Sat 12 May) in Long Crendon, Bucks; Seven Stars – Beer, Bangers, Mash & Music (Thurs 10 May); and the Hook Norton Mini Beer Festival (Sun 13 May). Frankly if you’re still sober by mid May it will be a miracle.

Spring Jousting Tournament, Blenheim Palace, Sat 5 May – Mon 7 May

knights on horseback charging in joust contest Blenheim Palace

Charrrrrrge! The annual Blenheim Palace ye olde joustingy thingy on the South Lawn featuring ‘The Knights of Royal England’. Falconry displays, archery, puppet shows, jesters and knights on horseback charging in the traditional tilt, and battling on foot with the mighty mace and quarter staff. Are you yawning? Well cheer up, lift your visor and head for the Champagne and Pimms tent!


Bluebell woods across Bucks / Oxon

If there was ever a weekend for a bluebell pilgrimage this is it! Take a look at my bluebell hotspots  for the lowdown on the best places to go and enjoy the carpets of blue. We’ve already been around Greys Court and Nettlebed so far (recommended) but there are gazillions of other fantastic options across Bucks & Oxon too and they’re all right here!


Lynn Chadwick, Cliveden National Trust Taplow, Wed 1 May – Oct 2018

Lynn Chadwick metal work sculptures of human form at Cliveden House

If you loved the Benar Venet sculptures at Cliveden last year, then the new installation of English sculpture and artist Lynn Chadwick’s awesome abstract metal works inspired by the human form and natural world. His big, bold sculptural pieces are doted around the grounds. Take a stroll, admire and then pop into Cliveden House for afternoon tea or lunch at the Astor Grill.

Free Photography Walk, Waddesdon Manor, Aylesbury, Sat 5 – Sun 6 May 

Indulge your inner photographer! I’m liking the sound of the Panasonic Lumix Roadshow at Muddy’s fav Waddesdon Manor this weekend. The free walks last 30 minutes, with tips and advice on how to take the perfect snaps plus you can borrow some fancy equipment and get a print of one of your photos to take home. No need to book but spaces are limited to 15. Two walks per day at 11.30am and 1.30pm.


The Family in Disorder, Modern Art Oxford – now until 27 May

modern art Oxford

No, this is not the Muddy office during the Awards but it could be a fair representation of my fried brain at the moment. Popping into Modern Art Oxford the other day I was stopped in my tracks by this dramatic art installation by Cinthia Marcelle, one of Brazil’s most significant artists. Having created two barrier-like structures out of a mix of materials, Cinthia then invited six local artists (Aaron Head, Chris Jackson, Kamila Janska, Andy Owen, Sebastian Thomas and Aline Tima) to destroy them and then rebuild one of the structures. Apparently it’s saying something about political protest against patriarchal structures in these troubled times. Right on, sister!

Modern Art Oxford, 30 Pembroke Street, OX1 1BP


Legoland, Star Wars Day, Legoland Windsor, Sat 5 – Mon 7 May

Star wars Lego troopers marching across tower Bridge Big Ben and London Eye in the background

May the Fourth be with you! Or as it turns out the 5th, but what’s 24 hrs between fans. The force is strong at Legoland this May Bank Holiday with its hugely popular (I’ll say) Star Wars Days returning once again. Get ready to join in a galaxy of Star Wars-themed activities including a Wookie Scavanger Hunt, and there will be plenty of meet and greet and selfie opportunities with Darth Vader, Chewie and the rest of the gang.


Oxford Art Weeks, various venues in Oxon, Sat 5 – Mon 28 May

James jackman art

Painting by James Jackman. Exhibiting at Dornley Barn, Westcote Burton, near Chipping Norton

Be inspired to get your canvas out with this free county-wide art festival. Works will be popping up all over the place as the artists of Oxfordshire show us how it’s done. Painting, sculpture, furniture, digital art and much more in some unexpected venues, you can buy, have a go yourself or just admire the spectrum of talent on display.


Bitten Street Food and Craft market, Oxford, Sat 5 May

baskets handicrafts market

Having had the Westgate take over the Castle Quarter to construct their shiny new shopping heaven, Bitten Street food market (named one of the best street food markets in the country not once but twice) returns bigger and better on the first Saturday monthly. I know the Bitten girls a bit and they’re fab, friendly and really know their food, so you’ll get great food and entertainment, PLUS the market has extended into local crafts and produce. Cue my hummus-y hands all over the handicrafts.


The Wild Tweed Show, West Wycombe Estate, Sun 6 – Mon 7 May

arrow bow archery

Hunters wellies and Barbours at the ready for this tally-ho event in the Chilterns. Boutique shopping, champagne bar, artisan food stalls and gin tasting combine with clay pigeon shooting, working dogs, and archery. There are free creative workshops in drawing and photography as well as children’s authors, interviews and live music. First one to spot an Alice band wins a fiver!


Jess Bishop Live, Oxford Cherwell Boathouse, Oxford, Sun 6 May

Hoping for sunshine this weekend and what could be more relaxing than hanging out at this lovely riverside venue in Oxford listening to alternative blues and folk singer, Jess Bishop, accompanied by Max Rafferty on guitar? True, a bath with Rufus Sewell or Chris Hemsworth (or both – am I being greedy?) could trump it, but apparently they’re both busy on Sunday. Throw in a punt on the river and dinner at the Cherwell and I reckon it’s a perfect Bank Holiday Sunday.


Coffee Concert, Holywell Music Room, Oxford, Sun 6 May

The Adderbury Ensemble perform Beethhoven and Mendelssohn to soothe your hangover away, then you can head to The Vaults for your free coffee and your transformation into normal human being again is complete.


Reading Beer and Cider Festival, Christchurch Meadows Caversham, now – Sun 6 May

bottles craft beer in ice

If you’d rather hit the May Bank Holiday with more liquid refreshment, this weekend is the 24th Reading Beer and Cider Festival. There’s more than 550 craft beers and ciders to sample, food to soak it up and music. Tickets are from £21.40 in advance and include priority access, drinks vouchers and a souvenir glass. Taxiiiiiii!



FURTHER AFIELD Victorian May Day, Sudeley Castle, Winchcombe, Mon 7 May Spend the Bank Holiday traveling back to the Victorian era at the always bewitching Sudeley Castle. There’ll be Punch and Judy, a Wheel of Fortune, Balloon Burst games and a Victorian juggler who will dance along to music from an organ grinder. The castle’s huge new fun fort will also be open in the adventure playground.
Fashioned By Naturem V&A London, now – 27 Jan 2019

Model with bull skull wearing French embroidered waistcoat, black trousers, holding pheasant feathers – V&A Fashioned By Nature

Embroidered silk waistcoat, France, 1780-9. Image: Vee Speers © V&A

Love a tassel earring? How about the heads of two real Honeycreeper birds? Very fashionable in 1875, but a step too far for me. The V&A’s new exhibition Fashioned By Nature takes the idea of fashion victim to a new level in an exhibition that traces 400 years of fashion and its cost on the environment. Check out the dress embellished with beetle wings, Jean Paul Gaultier’s beaded leopard dress and innovative fabrics like Vegea’s Grape gown made from the waste in wine production. Permission to pour a large one. You’re drinking with a conscience.


An Officer & A Gentleman, Wycombe Swan, High Wycombe, Mon 7 – Sat 12 May

This is a movie etched forever on my brain – anyone else have happy teenage memories of Richard Gere in full navals (or maybe, er, half navals)? Like all films pre 1990 An Office & A Gentleman has now been judged ripe for a musical makeover, and this is its premiere season, having started last month in Leicester’s Curve theatre. The soundtrack includes the hit song from the movie Up Where We Belong along with Eighties anthems including Girls Just Want to Have FunLivin’ On A PrayerHeart of Glass, Material Girl, and ‘The Final Countdown’.  The Muddy fromage-ometer is riper than a blue cheese in the midday sun but pass those goddam crackers and fill up my wine glass, I’m grabbing my girl posse and GOING!

The Little Welly Adventure Course, Culden Faw Estate Henley, 9-10 June

Little Welly adventure course pool of foam

Give it some welly and book now for this summer’s much-loved Little Welly kids’ obstacle course (even the most iPad-obsessed nippers can’t resist). It’s 9 and 10 June just over the border in in Henley. Go, go, go! Snap up your tickets.

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