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This weekend

FRI 8 - SUN 10 JUNE 2018

A weekend in mid-June in Bucks & Oxon? Fun, fun and more FUN.

KIDS: The Little Welly Goes Wild, Henley, Sat 9 – Sun 10 June

Little Welly adventure course kids wading through mud pit

Persil at the ready? Then I’ll begin. Bigger, better and muddier than ever, the UK’s biggest children’s obstacle course returns for the fourth year to the Culden Faw Estate in Henley. We’re talking 30 obstacles over a 3km course for kids 4+ (and they’re parents – sorry about that!) braving The Big Slide, Tyre Mangle, mud and water pits, Spider’s Web and bouncing round the foam pit. Away from the race’s there’s Laser Tag, Parkour demonstrations & workshops, pony rides, den building and bungee trampolining. Seriously good fun.


HISTORY: War of the Roses Live, Warwick Castle, Sat 9 – Sat 30 June

Pledge your allegiance in an epic battle for the English Throne! Yup, it’s time for the reenactment brigade, with stunt riders, jousting and special effects. There’s also a castle that’s quite interesting, apparently. Head to Warwick Castle, grab your kids, borrow one or two from a friend and get yourself for War of the Roses Live. Eye rolling emoji…only in Britain

EVENT: Gap Festival, Streatley and Goring, Fringe Festival, Thurs 7 – Wed 13 June

Mica Paris

Heads up for this jam packed festival of music, arts, talks, family activities, comedy, theatre and more in Goring and Streatley that kicks off this week with a pre-festival fringe. Live music in pubs and hotels, a Wind in the Willows day at Withymead Nature Reserve, a children’s drama day, heritage walks and workshops get you ready for the main event, from Thurs 14 – Sun 17 June.

Mica Paris headlines in the festival marquee on Sat 16 with a family festival fun day on the Sunday. Such is the variety on offer here that you can learn what it takes to make a Chelsea Gold garden with Joe Swift,  join talented 2016 Funny Women Award winner Harriet Braine for a comic history of art lesson through song, amble round the open gardens or try a drumming workshop. So much to do, so little time.


OPERA: Garsington Opera, Wormsley Estate, Stokenchurch, until Sun 22 July

garsington exterior night

The bucolic Wormsley Estate is the setting every year for a spot of warbling of the highest form. You can arrive from 3.30pm to roam the grounds and take afternoon tea before the main event in the evening. Mozart’s much loved The Magic Flute kick starts the season (and goes through until July); Strauss’ final opera, Capriccio, runs throughout June; and from Sat 16 June until 22 July, Verdi’s comic opera Falstaffwill be performed on various Saturdays. The food and drink at Garsington is top notch and thanks to the bus transfer service to and from High Wycombe station (no fights over who’s in the back row) you can indulge to your heart’s content.


THEATRE: Mischief Movie Night, Oxford Playhouse, now – Sun 10 June

You’ve gotta hand it to the Mischief Theatre Company, a group of drama students who, unable to find work, decided to devise their own show. It became The Play That Goes Wrong which is now on Broadway and in the West End. Similar successes have followed so this improv touring Mischief Movie Night is bound to be a hoot. The audience suggest a movie title, location and genre and the talented cast run with it, including rewinds, fast forwards and a live music score. Great to see improv back on the stage (I’m never convinced on telly shows that it hasn’t been scripted somewhere along the lines).


FESTIVAL: Love Marlow Festival, Fri 1 – Sun 17 June 

church spire boats ducks on river

Yes, we do love Marlow. The river, the restaurants, the shops, it’s certainly a happening town that Muddy likes to frequent.  The Love Marlow Festival has a list of events as long as your arm with the aim to ‘strengthen relationships, promote kindness, volunteering and fun’. Fun stuff includes taster sessions of watersports at Longridge Activity Centre, Kids Fun Cycle, Princess and the Pinot Pop-up wine bar (my ears prick up) and Coopers Love Marlow afternoon music session. Marlow is gorgeous of course and there’s a great community spirit in the town so it’s definitely worth checking out.



SPORT: Oxford Bike Week, Oxford various locations, Sat 9 June – Sun 18 June

group cyclists on road hills

Don your lycra for a week long celebration of cycling with various events taking place throughout Oxford and the surrounding countryside. It kicks off this weekend with the Big Green Day Out on Broad Street with loads of stalls (not all cycling related) and entertainment. On Sun 10, you can take a gentle ride with the Condors Newbies meeting outside Beeline Cycles on the Cowley Road at 9.45am or a longer ride to Bridewell Organic Gardens. Meet outside Costa in Summerton at 1.15 to head to the gardens for afternoon tea. All events are free so say pah to Oxford’s notoriously bad traffic and get on your bike.



ART: Conserving Michelangelo, Christchurch Picture Gallery, Oxford, now until 18 June

Michelangelo sketch Christchurch gallery

Michelangelo Buonarroti, Verso: studies for a monument without figures. By permission of the Governing Body of Christ Church, Oxford

Looking for serenity? A trip to the very special Christchurch Picture Gallery will soothe the soul and broaden the mind. The only college in Oxford or Cambridge to possess a unique collection of Old Masters is displaying a Michelangelo drawing from its vaults, recently restored by The Met in New York. The design for a facade on one side and sketches of angles and shadows on the reverse – it’s a beautiful piece of art history right there. The exhibition gives insight into how the restoration was done which is fascinating but take your time and view the whole stonking collection whilst you’re there. 


MARKET: Oxford Etsy Market, Sun 10 June, Oxford Castle Quarter

The Oxford Etsy market lets you get your mitts on all sorts of handmade items from Etsy sellers that are usually only available online or at occasional pop-up shops. A great way to meet local artists and crafters and find something original.


ART: Bucks Arts Weeks, various locations, Sat 9 – Sun 24 June

Photo: Alexandra Buckle at Claydon Gallery

Didn’t get round to seeing any of Oxford Art Weeks? Naughty! Well, here’s your chance to redeem yourself with the launch of Bucks Art Weeks with exhibitions, events and artists’ studios open to the public. There’s the full range of artistic endeavours from linocuts (above), paintings, ceramics, jewellery, glassware, photography, textiles – and even paintings created on an iPad (check out Nancy Taylor in Naphill, High Wycombe). You can plan your visits on their website but I prefer the magical mystery tour approach and to stop off at random places when I see the sign. Being nosey and mooching around some lovely gardens and studios is half the fun.



Well, you can’t go out every night, can you? Adjourn to the sofa on Sunday nights from 10 June for the new season of Poldark (I think that field needs scything, Ross, just pop your top off) – tune in from 9pm.  More guilty pleasures? Oh alright then, Love Island returns to ITV2 on 4 June at 9pm – a hotbed of hormones seeking a summer of *cough* love. Or fire up Netflix for the all-female reboot of the iconic Ghostbusters movie, or Grace Jones: Bloodlight and Bami, a documentary about the brilliantly bonkers singer who headlines at Henley Festival this year.



ART: Ocean Liners: Speed and Style, V&A Museum, London, ends Sun 10 June

v and a museum ocean liners exhibit empress of Britain poster white ship

These days the nearest I get to ocean-faring is a packed P&O ferry from Portsmouth to Cherbourg but in the early 20th century travelling by sea was fabulously glamorous and romantic. The V&A’s major Spring exhibition, Ocean Liners: Speed and Style celebrates the golden age of the big boats, looking at their design and cultural impact. Exhibits include Goyard luggage once owned by the Duke of Windsor, 1920s bathing suits and a door panel from the first class lounge of the Titanic.

BOOK NOW: Kiefer Sutherland, O2 Academy, Oxford, Mon 25 June

heifer Sutherland

Kiefer sure knows how to pack a lot into 24 hours and here he is gigging in Oxford with his band. Apparently, his shows sold out in the States after the release of his album Down in a Hole so if country rock is your sort of thang, get your tickets (£31.50) now.



MUSIC: 91 Nights, Peterley Manor Farm, Great Missenden, Fri 8 June

Ahhh, the romance of a yurt (as long as I don’t have to spend the night in one). This is how I like to indulge in my yurtygurtyness – an evening listening to local band 91 Nights whilst scoffing lamb flatbreads made in the Strawberry Cafe with pop-up brewery Mad Squirrel plus a spirits/wine bar. 91 Nights are billed as an ethereal dream up-and-coming pop band which sounds relaxing and soothing, just the ticket for a Friday night. Food is included in the price of admission (£10) plus you’ll be entered into the prize draw to win two pairs of tickets for a Mad Squirrel Brewery tour with tutored tastings and pizza (boom -Father’s Day sorted!).


POP-UP: Secret Supper Society Season Starts, Fri 8 June

Jules Thomas’ love of cooking induced her to run restaurant nights from her own home in a pretty village in North Oxon, and in the summer she takes it all outside to a woodland dell in her garden. With visits from Mary Berry and Raymond Blanc she certainly knows her onions and only asks for a donation towards ingredients and preparation. Jules and her husband, Nick, are hosting a series of dinners throughout the summer so if you fancy a relaxed vibe with great food at a fraction of the price of a restaurant, get yourself booked in.

Jericho Street Fair, Oxford, Sat 10 June

Jericho Street Fair

If you’re going to go to a local fete, it might as well be a chi-chi one. Trendy Jericho in Oxford will be packed from 12 noon with live music, kids entertainment, street food and, er, sumo wrestling. 12pm – 8pm.

EVENT: The Great British Dog Walk, Stowe, Sat 9 June

I’m the only person in Oxfrodshire not to have a dog so this doesn’t apply to me, but if you want to walk your dog somewhere totally beautiful and geared up for the four-legged, head up to Stowe Landscape Gardens today. Apart from the Capability Brown grounds there are dog agility shows, stalls, face painting and activities, all in the name of the Hearing Dogs charity.


RETREAT: Be in Art Yoga & Art Retreat, Rippon College, Cuddesdon, Sat 9 June

Where Muddy leads, Vogue follows. Jane Beinart (featured in this month’s Vogue, apparently) wants to encourage everyone to get creative whether you’re a seasoned artist or never picked up a brush. She runs most of her classes from her studio in Headington, Oxford, and focuses on experimenting, making a mess and seeing what happens. She’s running various workshops and courses over the summer and even a one day Yoga and Art retreat on June 9 so you can downward dog and daub to your heart’s content.

EVENT: The Daylesford Summer Festival, Kingham, Glous Sat 9 June

Daylesford Festival sign

The Rolls Royce of farm shows where you can focus on delish drinkies and nosh from an Airstream, Shepherd’s Huts or Argentine barbecue fire pits or head down to the crayfishing river for a wild feast by sister restaurant, The Wild Rabbit, whilst the kids are entertained with circus acts, falconry, sheep-shearing, dog shows, tractor rides and face-painting. There’ll be vintage cars for everyone to drool over plus cookery demos, floristy workshops and pottery if you fancy getting crafty. Entry is free but £5 to park.


Find more ideas here

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