MON 6 - SUN 12 AUG 2018
MUSIC: The Dead Kennedys, 02 Academy Oxford, Tues 7 Aug
Calling all semi-retired indie-rockers! Believe it or not, this is one of the most important American hardcore punk bands of the late ’70s – you might remember head banging to their hit Holiday in Cambodia (no, me neither). Try to contain your excitement as they come to Oxford this month to “cause some chaos” at the 02 Academy. Fingers crossed nobody breaks a hip.
SPORT: The Big Tree Climb, Stonor Park, Thurs 9 Aug
Harnesses on? Not eaten anything in the last half hour? Then head to the delicious Stonor Park for Tree Climbing with The Great Big Tree Climbing Company. Wheeeee!
Circus Skills Workshop, Oxford Castle Quarter, Thurs 9 Aug
Roll up, roll up! Enter the Oxford Castle circus of Flying Colours, where your kids will be transformed into a juggling, plate spinning, unicycle-riding clown.
THEATRE: Cliveden Open Air Theatre, Taplow, Weds 8 & Thurs 9 Aug
The beautiful oriental-inspired garden with its six-sided Chinese pagoda is the setting for this year’s theatrical offerings at the ever elegant Cliveden. Bring a picnic or purchase nibbles from The Doll’s House cafe and have your hanky ready for an adaptation of E Nesbit’s The Railway Children on Weds 8 Aug. Or get the hairs standing up on the back of your neck with a spooky retelling of Sherlock Holmes’ The Hound of the Baskervilles on Thurs 9 Aug and Fri 10 Aug.
THEATRE: Peter Pan, Langley Park, Iver, Fri 10 Aug
Cucumber sandwiches at the ready, as this children’s classic fairytale gets the Immersion Theatre treatment. Enjoy the sunshine as pirates, mermaids and the boy who ever grew up take the stage.
CULTURE: Stargazing Dinner, Waddesdon Manor, Sat 11 Aug
Join Wycombe Astronomical Society for a magical evening of food, talks and stargazing within the stunning Waddesdon Manor grounds. Don’t forget your blanket!
FOOD & DRINK: Angel at Burford Summer Festival, Fri 10 – Sun 12 Aug
Nestled in an idyllic Costwold town, the totally gorgeous Angel at Burford pub is having its annual Summer Festival across a long weekend and is packed with fun for the whole family – entertainment, live music, shire horses, face-painting, an outdoor gin bar and lots of tasty al fresco dining.
MUSIC: Oxford Proms, various Oxford locations, Fri 10 Aug
Three spectacular Oxford venues play host to this year’s concerts, including The Musicians of the Dreaming Spires orchestra at St Michael at the Northgate, an ode to Romantic Classics at the Sheldonian Theatre and the return of Jocelyn Freeman on the piano at the University Church of St Mary the Virgin.
FAMILY FUN: Survive the Summer! Xscape Milton Keynes, Sat 11 – Sun 12 Aug
I’ve been spending quite a bit of time at Xscape over the last few months because there always seems to be something happening at this North Bucks activity Mecca. This week’s fun includes Bush Tucker Trials plus another family show with Glen the Gorilla on Weds.
FILM: RickFlix, The Rickety Press, Jericho, Oxford, Sat 11 Aug
Following the roaring success of last year, RickFlix (nothing to do with anyone called Rick, rather a play on the restaurant’s name) is back with another pop-up street cinema, featuring four classic films (all in one day!), deck chairs, food and drink for the whole neighbourhood. The crowd-pleasing line-up is (drum roll please)… Mrs. Doubtfire at 12pm, Billy Elliott at 3pm, The Greatest Showman at 6pm and The Grand Budapest Hotel at 9pm.
FAMILY FUN: ‘Tracing their Footsteps’ High Wire Walk, Blenheim Palace, Sat 11 – Sun 12 Aug
Great Scott! Blenheim Palace steps backs in time to when the famous high-wire walker Carlos Trower scaled great heights above the estate’s lake in 1886. The incredible Bullzini Family will attempt to recreate this historic moment (hope the chap in the picture has got his swimming shorts on) alongside performances from Victorian strong man acrobats, jugglers, stilt walkers and a scattering of vintage fairground rides.
CULTURE: Discover the English Civil War, Chiltern Open Air Museum, Sat 11 – Sun 12 Aug
Meet Soldiers and Officers of the English Civil War at the Open Air Museum as they reveal how they lived during this tremulous period. Highlights include a skirmish re-enactment, a live drill and the chance to explore tents, muskets, pikes, armour and artillery. Got kids who love fighting? Bring them here!
FAMILY FUN: Dragon Slyer, Warwick Castle, various dates in Aug
Looking for something to entertain kids aged 8+? This is Warwick Castle’s first night-time experience telling the tale of 10th century warrior Guy as he battles monsters and dragons in a bid to gain a knighthood and win the heart of his one true love Princess Felice, daughter of the Earl of Warwick. It’s an explosive epic tale depicted over the course of an evening using live action, animation, equestrian acrobatics, fire and pyrotechnics. Boom! There’s also the regular birds of prey demos, the mighty trebuchet, archery and ramparts to rampage for day time fun.
CULTURE: Family Museum, Libraries and Gardens Trawl, Oxford, all summer
Want to encourage your kids to visit all the great museums, libraries and gardens in Oxford this summer? If they’re of an age where stickers and prizes are enough to get them through the door then take part in this family campaign. Grab a passport from the information desk at The Ashmolean, Museum of Natural History, Pitt Rivers, Museum of the History of Science, Harcourt Arboretum, Bodleian Library or Botanic Garden and each time you visit get a sticker. Three stickers equals prizes equals happy kids equals smug parents.
FILM: Luna Open Air Cinema, Blenheim Palace, Woodstock, Fri 10 – Sun 12 Aug
Over at Blenheim Palace the boy wizard is making an appearance in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone on 10 Aug, The Greatest Showman on Sat 11 and, fittingly as the birthplace of Churchill, The Darkest Hour on Sun 12 Aug.
ART: Nick Sharrat: Pirates, Pants & Wellyphants, River & Rowing Museum, until Sun 16 Sept
If you’ve got kids, you’ll have a book somewhere in the house with Nick Sharrat’s fabulous illustrations. The interactive exhibition of his work at the River Rowing Museum continues this month – and as well as being a great place to take kids, the lovely venue also has plenty of adult amusement! Including all you ever wanted to know (or not know) about rowing, painting and sculpture exhibitions, a cafe with posh nosh, and a short stroll to the river and shops of Henley.
LAST CHANCE TO SEE:
Shakespeare Festival, Oxford Castle Quarter, until Sat 11 Aug
This eight-week Shakespeare binge kicked off last month with two hours of back-to-back, abridged (me likey) Othello and Much Ado About Nothing, followed by the much-loved A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Now it’s Romeo and Juliet‘s turn. Bring a picnic or pre-order one with your tickets and enjoy a balmy Bardy night in the historic surroundings.
THEATRE: Brave New World, Westgate Centre, Oxford, until Sat 11 Aug
Aldous Huxley with your H&M? You’ve finished your shopping, had a drink and dined on the roof terrace, but still don’t want to leave Westgate. How about a trip to the theatre? With the brand new shopping centre as the backdrop to Creation Theatre’s version of Auldous Huxley’s Brave New World, this vision of future consumerism is scary, pertinent and thought-provoking.
THEATRE: Swallows & Amazons, Oxford University Parks, now until Sat 11 Aug
The marvellous Creation Theatre are at it again, bringing us imaginative theatre in every sort of location other than theatres. Originally performed in Bristol’s Old Vic, this adaptation of children’s classic Swallows & Amazons is being performed in Oxford University Parks. I’m sure Arthur Ransome would approve.
CULTURE: Disney in the West End Summer Pop-Up, Convent Garden, 31 July – 26 Aug
If you’ve got a child with mini jazz hands, they will go nuts for this free pop-up experience in London’s Covent Garden. See the masks, costumes and puppets from The Lion King and step inside Aladdin’s cave to get a photo with the legendary lamp. There will also be events taking place each day, including a Mac make-up demonstration, a puppetry display, plus singing and dancing workshops.
ART: Scoop: A Wonderful Ice Cream World, The British Museum of Food, London, until 30 Sep
Finally! A valid excuse to stuff my face. The British Museum of Food returns with its first major exhibition Scoop: A Wonderful Ice Cream World. Dedicated entirely to the frozen treat, explore memorabilia from the world’s largest collection of ice cream paraphernalia, discover the neuroscience behind it and try scoops of bygone eras, from daffodil to all-day-breakfast flavour (hmm). Other highlights include ice cream-flavoured weather (vanilla fog!) and a glow-in-the-dark concoction that you can eat in a futuristic luminescent cave. Pass the ladle, I’m going in…
THEATRE: Little Shop of Horrors, 3 Aug – 15 Sep, Regents Park Open Air Theatre
This off-beat musical about a florist shop assistant who pines for his work colleague but doesn’t know how to win her heart or what to do to sate the appetite of a human-eating plant looks great fun. Matt Willis from Busted fame, drag queen Vicky Fox, Jemima Rooper and Marc Antolin star in the OTT show that seems perfect for summer in the lovely setting of Regent’s Park (Brucie bonus – the theatre boasts the longest bar in the West End!).
FAMILY FUN: Zip Now London, Archbishops Park, Lambeth, until 9 Sep
Is it a bird? Is it a plane? Nope it’s a human torpedo whizzing down a 738ft wire, 100ft (9 double decker buses!) above Archbishop’s Park at 50mph. Beats the tube any day of the week. What we’ll do to avoid our faces been wedged in someone’s sweaty armpit. Get yourself down to South Bank, climb to the top the tower and wheeeeeeee. Suitable from 8+
THEATRE: Kids Week, various London locations, throughout August
This August, children aged 16 or under can get FREE theatre tickets to selected performances across London (when accompanied by a paying adult). There is a huuuge selection of shows to choose from including Sound and Sourcery at The Vaults, an immersive music concert experience inspired by Disney’s Fantasy. Under Waterloo station, collect your headphones at the door and step inside the tunnels where you will dance with a funky hippo, walk in a prehistoric wasteland, seek out the fairies in a magic forest and sneak into the Sorcerer’s lair. Over at the National Theatre, the Star Seekers need help saving their space station in this interactive 50 minute show for 3 – 8 year olds. Or for older kids, Pressure at the Ambassador’s Theatre is a funny and tense play about the D-Day landings.
FILM: Film4 Summer screen, Somerset House, London, Thurs 9 – Weds 22 Aug
If you can make it into London, head for the popular Film4 Summer Screen at Somerset House. Featuring a mixture of premiers, old classics and recent hits, the venue’s fountain courtyard is a corker of a setting on a balmy summers evening in the capital. Highlights include the opening night premiere of The Wife introduced by Glen Close, Call Me By My Name on 20 Aug and Selma on 21 Aug.
ART: All Too Human: Bacon, Freud and a Century of Painting Life, Tate Britain, London, until 27 Aug
This fascinating exhibition All Too Human celebrates the painters in Britain who have tried to capture human figures, their relationships and surroundings, in paint. With works by Lucian Freud and Francis Bacon(including 3 of his works which have not been shown in Britain for decades) amongst others, the intimate representations of reality make for a powerful experience. Catch it while you can.
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THEATRE: Whistle Down The Wind, Aylesbury Waterside Theatre, Thurs 16 – Sat 18 Aug
The talented local youth are heading to Aylesbury Waterside with this year’s Stage Experience production Whistle Down the Wind. The Andrew Lloyd Webber and Jim Steinman musical follows the story of a poor farming family who, as Christmas approaches, are desperate to find something to hold onto and believe in. Er, hasn’t anyone told them about Santa?
FOOD & DRINK: Chilli Fest, Waddesdon Manor, Aylesbury, Sat 1 – Sun 2 Sep
Spice up your life with this festival held in the grounds of Waddesdon Manor. There are over 40 local exhibitors who promise to give your tastebuds a workout, with chilli sauces, jams, beer and chocolate. Not to worry if your kids haven’t yet reached a level of spice sophistication, just settle them down at the crafts table or the face-painting.