MON 9 - SUN 15 APRIL 2018
Operation Earth, Natural History Museum, Oxford, Fri 13 April
A family science show exploring the amazing stories and science of the environment. Earthy is feeling a little under the weather and is going to the doctors for a check-up – cue investigations into what’s bothering Earthy’s land, air and oceans to find solutions. Sweeeet.
Weds 4 April: 2pm & 3; Fri 13 April: 2pm & 3pm. Tokens for the show are available at the front desk on the day of each show (you must have a token to attend). To book in advance contact email@example.com
Frittilery Sunday, Ducklington, near Witney Sun 15 April
About as English as scones and jam, this one day festival celebrates the now rare Frittilary flowers, part of the lily family that grow in a small number of British meadows. Bad weather, encroaching grass, farming practises and other vagaries of British life have transpired against them so many have become protected nature reserves. For one day the village of Ducklington near Witney in West Oxfordshire holds Fritillary Sunday, opening its Snakes Head frittilary field to the public to wander in, with Ploughman’s lunches, cream teas, Morris dancers and bellringing from the church.
Kids Club at Curzon, Westgate, Sat 13 – Sun 14 April
Tempting though it is to keep the Curzon for adults, I feel the little people should also get to enjoy the reclining seats. There are Kids Club performances of new Pixar animation Coco on Sat and Sun mornings of 7-8 April and 13-14 April but with those rooftop restaurants and shops let’s face it – you’ll be there all day!
Ellie Taylor, Chipping Norton Theatre, Weds 11 April
Following a sell-out Edinburgh Festival season and autumn tour, Ellie Taylor of Live at the Apollo, Mock the Week and 8 Out of 10 Cats fame, has added additional spring dates for her new stand-up show discussing whether or not she should breed (don’t do it Ellie, save yourself!). £15
Pop-up Indoor Cinema, Bucks County Museum, Weds 11 & Thurs 12 April
With one week of the school holidays left, Bucks County Museum has got family-fun totally covered. Catch the Fantastic Mr Fox on Weds or The Lego Movie on Thurs at their pop-up cinema, drop into the Play Zone for toys and games, explore the hands on exhibits at the Roald Dahl Children’s Gallery and catch the last weeks of the Elisabeth Frink exhibit.
Artisan Food Market, Waddesdon Manor, Sat 14 April
Need to cheer yourself up? Eat! Waddesdon’s Artisan Food Market is on Saturday, and monthly until October. The aim is to support local, small-scale, independent food producers, so bring some extra cash if you’re planning to visit today, to buy up on your foodie essentials as there’s no cash machine on site.
Farindon Folly Open Day, Faringon, South Oxon, Sun 15 April
The 100ft tower of Faringdon Folly was the last major folly to be built in England and sits on Folly Hill, within a circular 4 acre woodland of 200 year old Scots Pine and broadleaf trees. If you can gasp your way to the top you’ll see views over 5 counties, and you’re only spitting distance from Buscot Park and its incredible art works or the centre of Faringdon itself for a cup of tea at The Rookery.
Tree Climbing, Cliveden, Thurs 12 April
Harnesses on? Not eaten anything in the last half hour? Then head to the delicious Cliveden for Tree Climbing with The Great Big Tree Climbing Company. Wheeeee!
Victorian Passions and Pursuits, Blenheim Palace, until 16 April
The period of Queen Victoria’s reign (1837 – 1901) saw five Dukes of Marlborough living at Blenheim Palace. Some of their Passions and Pursuits are represented in the Palace itself and highlights and include the Saloon restored to its Victorian heyday and costumes and sketches from The Young Victoria, from the personal archive of Academy award winning designer Sandy Powell. Particularly worthwhile are the Romance & Rebellion collection of paintings featuring 40 works by artists including Edward Burne-Jones, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, James McNeill Whistler, Richard Dadd and Aubrey Beardsley, plus vintage cars and and fire engines from the era.
Photography Day, Waddesdon Manor, Weds 11 April
A one-day photography course at Waddesdon Manor, so pretty that you could argue it’s almost impossible to take a bad picture. Kids from 10-15 years can learn how to capture spring at this resplendent 19th century Chateau with Sharp Shots Photo Club. They’ll learn camera mechanics and how aperture, shutter speed and ISO affect photographs; how to over and under expose images, create silhouettes and highlight the bright colours, and take home their own set of images. £60 per child (they’ll need to bring a packed lunch), with D-SLR camera hire £10 if required.
11am-4pm. More info
Christy McCormick exhibition, Jam Factory, Oxford, 13 March – 23 April
This buzzy, boho central Oxford restaurant/bar has an admirably arty bent, hosting life drawing glasses, craft sessions and using the walls as its airy dining room as a gallery for upcoming artists. Their newest exhibition caught our eye – Christy McCormick is a London College of Fashion-trained illustrator who has previously designed prints for Alexander McQueen. This new project sees her focus on the feminine body as a work of art in itself. Go have a gander, and grab yourself a tasty breakfast, lunch or dinner while you’re there. thejamfactoryoxford.com
‘Dracula’, Creation Theatre, Blackwells Bookshop, Oxford, 3 – 14 April
Well this is a bit different! A play for two, performed in the basement of Blackwell’s Bookshop in Oxford, featuring some bloke from Transylvania and his hapless victim. It promises innovative audio-visuals to conjure up the phantoms, and at 12+ it’s clearly not for the faint-hearted. Bring your garlic and for heaven’s sake remember to wear a polo neck.
Book tickets £22- £27
Hairspray The Musical, Milton Keynes Theatre, Mon 9 – Sat 14 April 2018
It’s Baltimore, 1962 where Tracy Turnblad, a big girl with big hair and an even bigger heart, is on a mission to follow her dreams and dance her way onto national TV (er, it says here). I haven’t seen this musical before so if you’re like me, here’s your moment – it’s rocking up in MK this month. There’s also a Hairspray afternoon tea on Weds 11 April (1.15pm, £15) if you want to go for coiffure overkill.
Tickets £17.50 – £50.50
It’s Always Tea Time, Story Museum, Oxford, until July 7
Journey down the rabbit hole and discover It’s Always Tea Time, a fab new Alice-themed exhibit at Oxford’s Story Museum. Visiting the UK for the first time ever, this award-winning collection celebrates the world’s most famous tea party from Lewis Carroll’s classic children’s novel Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. 72 Artists from 19 countries including Iran, Russia, Spain, Hungary and the Baltic States explore the theme with interactive picture trails, dress-up stations and artwork displays which appeal to the WHOLE family *thud*.
Easter Family Festival, The Cornerstone Theatre, Didcot, Sun 8 – Sun 15 April
The Cornerstone manages to combine a strong community feel with some excellent family programming. This month they’re running a special Easter Family Festival (Sun 8 April – Sun 15 April) for all ages from 3+, including The Nose That Nobody Picked (surely the best title for a kids play ever) for ages 5-11 years, the Pantaloons The War of the Worlds on Thursday 12 April for 12+ with musical instruments and puppetry and Innocence, a beautiful piece of interactive dance performance theatre for children 3 years over and their adults.
Other family theatricals worthy of your consideration include my modern clown crush Tweedy, of Gifford’s Circus fame, at Chipping Norton theatre (Sat 6 April) with a new family theatre show Symphony – he’s absolutely brilliant, and it’s bound to be very funny.
Out of the Block: Henry Moore’s Carvings, Henry Moore Studios & Garden – until October
Just over the border into Herts and well worth the travel as Henry Moore’s Studio and Gardens (near Bishop’s Stortford ) open to the public once again for Spring and Summer. There’s a wonderful new exhibition celebrating Moore’s carvings but you can also meander through the beautiful gardens with sculptures galore and spring lambs running around bronzes, plus there’s a fab new cafe, and you can also visit Henry Moore’s house.
The Making of Harry Potter, Watford, now – Sun 23 Sept
This WB Studio Tour company never runs out of new reasons to get families back to this paean to the boy wizard. A new special feature dedicated entirely to Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, the fourth installment of the magical film series, revealing secrets behind the characters, costumes and props that made it so special.
A big day out with Peter Rabbit™, Kew Gardens, until Sun 15 April
The start of a new trail based on Peter Rabbit and other famous Beatrix Potter characters. More permanent pleasures include the tree top walk, the 17 metre tall Hive sensory experience, a 14,000 tree arboretum and the Palm House.