Early bird events bookings are GO!
As lockdown restrictions begin to ease, it's time to get some spring and summer fun organised. And guess what? As luck would have it, we can help with that.
Roll up, roll up, Giffords Circus is coming to town! From the imagination of the brilliant late Nell Gifford, the trope’s brand new show The Hooley will feature Celtic dance, fairies, pixies, trolls and a whole host of magical creatures alongside Gifford stalwart (and my all time favourite clown) Tweedy. Tickets for Blenheim Palace in Woodstock (3-7 Jun), Stonor Park in Henley (22 Jul – 2 Aug) and Barrington in Oxon (5 – 16 Aug) are now on sale and they’ll go like the clappers so be sure to click quick!
Luna Drive In Cinema, Blenheim Palace, Woodstock
It’s back! Well, as of 16 May, it is. Offering state-of-the-art sound and visuals, the UK’s highest definition outdoor screens, a unique in-car digital sound solution and a new ‘click & collect’ food and drink offer, guests can enjoy classics such as Jurassic Park, Pretty Woman, Jaws and Notting Hill from the comfort of their own, erm, *ahem* well-maintained car. Chip the mud off the dashboard, remove the six-month-old Hula Hoops from under the passenger seat and get booking.
Tumblestone Hollow, Stonor Park
There’s a new adventure playground in town and not only is it as magical as Hogwarts but it comes with very necessary coffee for the spectators (in the form of the cafe at the visitor’s centre). Wholesome fun for the kids and lunch sorted – it’s a win-win. Tumblestone Hollow is on the edge of woodland in Oxfordshire’s Stonor Park and inspired by the stone circle found in the estate grounds. The wooden playground, designed for 4 to 12-year-olds, has high level walkways, climbing nets, look-out decks and bridges, all connected to a gnarled central tower. And if it couldn’t get any more magical, it comes with its own fairytale book, The Legend of Tumblestone Hollow (found at the visitor centre for £5.99).
The Stonor team have been working hard to get it open just in time for the Easter hols (first day: Fri 2 April – 10am to 5pm) and until the 18 April, tickets include a puzzle trail around Stonor’s grounds with a prize for each child. All tickets must be pre-booked online and cost depends on height: children over 105cm cost £11; 92cm – 105cm, £9, and kids under 92cm are free (although the inevitable accompanying adults for tiny children cost £8.50 too). With the two household/Rule of Six coming into place on 29 March, we reckon we’ve found the perfect family rendezvous. You’re welcome.
You know we love to champion small businesses at Muddy (check out The Indie Store if you need proof), so we’re super-excited to see Humble Country Fayre popping up in various local locations over the summer with a selection of cherry-picked homewares, accessories and gifts from brilliant UK indies. The fair will be popping up at Bucks’ Claydon Estate (18 – 19 Jun) and Thame Food Festival (25 – 26 Sept).
Cornbury Music Festival, Great Tew
Held in The Great Tew Park, Oxon, this civilised festival that prides itself on being quintessentially English – think country fair with a rock’n’roll twist. The full line up is still TBC but the fest has announced Bryan Adams (my big crush, 1984 – hands off) as the Friday headliner. There’s also the option to glamp, plus make sure you bag tickets for the annual Festival Feast night (9 – 11 Jul).
Imagine: it’s a July evening and the sun is setting. You’re dancing in a field with your besties, wine in hand, listening to one of the country’s best Eighties acts. Set to take place in Tring on July 9- 10, Chilfest is aiming to come back big after being forced to postpone last year. Friday night is dedicated to tribute acts, then on the Saturday it’s time to get your double denim, hussar jackets and shoulder pads out for the main event – an 80s throwback fest. Acts confirmed so far include Adam Ant, Tony Hadley, Leee John, Roland Gift of the Fine Young Cannibals and more.
Wilderness Festival, Cornbury Park
Huzzah! Our locale’s coolest local festival, held in Oxfordshire’s Cornbury Park, is going ahead this year from 5 – 8 Aug. Expect a heady mix of right-on hippiness (think yoga, skinny-dipping and hot hubs) combined with impressive big name acts (as soon as we know the line up, we’ll let you know). We’ll see you there, covered in glitter and high on freedom.
REW!ND Festival, Henley-on-Thames
Woohoo! The much-longed-for festival season is stirring in its burrow, ready to delight us all with rainbow face paint, tepid cider and knee-deep mud (of course they’ll be mud!) in the latter half of the summer. Henley’s REW!ND at Temple Island Meadows is steaming ahead for this August (20-22 Aug to be precise) and tickets are available to buy RIGHT NOW. And the headliners are an Eighties pop queen’s dream: Billy Ocean, Wet Wet Wet, Jimmy Somerville, Nik Kershaw, Soul II Soul … What are you waiting for? Dig out your polka dot scrunchy, pull on some day-glo bangles and get booking.
Virtual Tulip Walk, Waddesdon Manor
In 2019, 32,500 tulip bulbs were planted around the Aviary at Waddesdon Manor but thanks to the pandemic, few people aside from the gardeners have yet to enjoy them. This online talk – Spring Colour in the Gardens – aims to remedy that situation by having head gardener, John Buffin give a live tour of the (as yet unopened) Aviary in bloom. Book your £10 tickets here.
Henley Festival, Henley-on-Thames
News just in! Henley’s festival on the water will be going ahead this year with revised dates (15 – 19 Sept) and a brilliant line up to boot. We’re talking Madness, James Blunt, Sophie Ellis Bextor and Kathy Sledge (from Sister Sledge). Don’t forget to dig out your glad rags and dust off the moth balls – the event is black tie.
Alfresco Theatre Drive-In, Henley & Marlow
Good food and the big screen from the comfort of your own car. This summer, the Alfresco Theatre Drive-In is putting on a host of different titles to be enjoyed retro-American style. Choices include the kitsch (Bjorn Again: The ABBA Show), the classic (Dirty Dancing), something for the littlun’s (The Gruffalo on Stage), and lots more besides. Plus, you won’t have to settle for bringing your own packet of popcorn: all the shows are served alongside food from superstar chefs like Tom Kerridge, Rick Stein, and Paul Ainsworth. Dinner and a movie, done right.