29 events for your diary this September
We've nailed it - food festivals, outdoor film, wine tastings, political satire, vintage shopping, handsome cows... what more could you want in Bucks and Oxon this month?
THEATRE & COMEDY
Louise Redknapp goes all Dolly Parton on us with her leading role in 9 to 5 the Musical, rocking up at Aylesbury Waterside Theatre from 28 Sept. On the back of his runaway best-selling book, This is Going to Hurt, award-winning comedian Adam Kay shares more insights from his time as a junior doctor ahead of the BBC adaptation later this year. get your tickets early for the show at the New Theatre Oxford on 22 Sept. If you want to catch the upcoming talent before they go big, try the Jericho Comedy Live night at The North Wall on 25 Sept.
In Henley, there’s the Henley Decor Fair. Held over Thurs 23 – Sun 26 Sept at Greenlands Park and costing £20 for the Friday, and £15 for the weekend (note: Thursday is trade-only), there’s some serious interiors inspiration from some of the top dealers in the UK, and what we love about the Henley Decor Fair is the breadth on offer – so whether you’re into French furniture or mid century lighting, garden sculpture to fairground signage, you’re going to find something unique and beautiful amongst the 180+ dealers converging on this exquisite part of South Oxfordshire.
FESTIVALS & EVENTS
Stonor Park is putting on a Great Antiques & Vintage Car Boot Fair on 26 Sept, which has been historically one of its most popular events, and for good reason! Pick out your most comfortable shoes, rifle through the wares of over 150 quality sellers, and bag yourself some beautiful bargains. Autumn home revamp, here we come.
Blenheim Palace is hosting an ‘Autumn Festival‘ on 24-26 Sept and 1-3 Oct which includes a food market, dragon maze trail, live music, dining experiences, family games, entertainment and locally produced food, drinks, crafts and gifts. There’s also workshops, foraging and walks to join. Entry is included in the usual Palace, Park and Gardens ticket – £29.50 for adults, £16.50 for kids, (under 5s free).
One to book ahead for is Henley Literary Festival, which runs 2-10 Oct this year and as usual has some big names like Cecilia Aherne, Sebastian Faulks, Elizabeth Day, Frank Gardner, Kate Mosse, Rob Biddulph… It goes right across the ages from picture books through kids to YA and adult. There are talks, workshops and signings. Perhaps this is the inspo you need to finally get that novel written?
Don’t miss My Life as a Bird, an exhibition on at the Muddy-Award-winning Darl-e and The Bear in Woodstock, Oxford until 26 Sept. This is a display of delicate works of art depicting birds by British-Asian artist Madi Acharya-Baskerville, who plays with and combines different mediums in a really fascinating way.
Or, Waddesdon’s much lauded Gustave Moreau exhibition continues throughout September until 17 Oct so grab your ticket now if you’ve not made it yet to see the watercolours – 35 of which have never been displayed in public before.
A group of Oxfordshire artists from students to poets and playwrights have been brought together for Sign Symbol Sound, an exploration of creativity and language at Modern Art Oxford. It runs 4 Sept-11 Oct and covers a range of media, as one would expect. Otherwise, expect the unexpected…
The BIG ONE to book ahead for at Modern Art Oxford is Anish Kapoor’s ‘Painting’, on 2 Oct 2021 -13 Feb 2022. It’s his first show at the gallery in 40 years and is sure to make waves ‘pushing the boundaries between sculpture and painting as he explores our perception and experience of the body’.
Want a day out where you can take your most extravagant lockdown purchase? The Millets Farm Fun Family Dog Show on 25 Sept near Abingdon is just the ticket for family and Fido. Classes include best child handler, golden oldie and best biscuit catcher. Plus there are stalls, demos and food outlets.
There’s a Ploughing Match (yup – it really still happens!) at Manor Farm, near Faringdon on 25 Sept and we (honestly) reckon the kids will love it. Cheer on the 100+ ploughing entries from old and new tractors to steam and horses, enjoy a pulled pork roll or similarly hearty snack and watch the demos by the axemen, falconry experts and Terrier racers. It’s like going back a century… or two.
The Fantastic Family Magic Spectacular might even wash with the teen in your love, and will definitely be a big hit with the pre teens and younger. Time-travelling magicians Morgan & West have a load of tricks up their sleeve and other less obvious places with their feats of deception and deft. No, we won’t tell you how they do it… But we will tell you that it’s Pegasus Theatre on 25 Sept and tickets are £13 or £10 for under 25s.
Oxfordshire may not reach the giddy heights of the Rockies, but you’ll get there in heart and mind with The Banff Mountain Film Festival at New Theatre Oxford on 21 Sept. The event hosts the latest work from the world’s best adventure film-makers and explorers. Expect to be thrilled…
Throughout Sept Waddesdon Manor casts open its drawers with abandon (well, carefully gloved hands…). Have a peek inside the lids/drawers and cubby holes that remain shut the rest of the year to protect the interiors from damage. It’s Open Furniture Month! 1 – 30 Sept, Wed-Sun
MUSEUMS & EXHIBITIONS
Betamax, BMX, the Rubik’s Cube, Transformers, Dunlop Greenflash… if these ring a bell, hello 80s child! For a massive dose of nostalgia and a chance to make your kids cringe at your fashion faux pas, head to I Grew Up 80s a seriously indulgent showcase of toys, tech, fashion, food, books, TV, and more from the decade of neon and Marty McFly. At Banbury Museum until 3 Oct.
Internationally renowned ceramic artist, Hans Coper is renowned for the simplicity and sculptural elegance of his pottery. Check out this calming and beautiful collection at the Hans Coper 100 exhibition in galleries 18 and 34 of the Ashmolean Museum, marking the 100th anniversary of his birth. Until 26 Sept. Free.
GONE BUT NOT FORGOTTEN
Waddesdon Manor’s Chilli Fest on 3-5 September, is, as the name suggests, a celebration of the hot stuff. Expect exhibitors selling chilli products to take home as well as fiery dishes to eat on site. Fear not korma-lovers, there are non-spicy foodie options too as well as breweries, vineyards, bakeries and a smorgasbord of sumptuous goodies. Live music, family fun and children’s activities accompany.
Just two actors tackle Oscar Wilde’s slightly mad play of manners, affairs and handbags, The Importance of Being Earnest at the Batsford Arboretum on 7 Sept. Bring a picnic, your own chair and dress for the weather (bowlers optional…). Tickets £18 for adults, £11 for 10-17 year olds (accompanied under 10s free).
The City of Spires seems a fitting spot for an ode to it’s floppy-haired journalist-cum-politician alumni… Prime Minister Boris Johnson. Boris the Musical 3: The Johnson Supremacy charts the ups and downs through comedy and song. Dominic Cummings, Kier Starmer, Carrie Symmonds and Chris Whitty all feature. After the year we’ve had, we all need a good laugh. On at The Old Fire Station on 8 & 9 Sept.
Among the comedians visiting the town this month are Ed Byrne, master of observational comedy and he of ‘Live at the Apollo‘ and ‘Mock the Week‘ fame. He’s at The North Wall on 9 Sept, with his latest tour ‘If I’m Honest’.
MK Handmade & Vintage returns to Middleton Hall in centre:mk in Milton Keynes on 4 & 5 Sept with over 100 indoor market stalls from independent designers, artists and dealers. It’s very much ‘not on the high street’ goodies. Entry is free.
The Festival of Beer on 3 Sept might not sound like something you G&T sipping darlings might be beating a path to, but it’s got a lot going on besides craft concoctions. There’s afro-funk band Ibibio Sound Machine, es, yoga, and epic street food to line the stomach. Breweries include Rivington, Bath Ales, Maule Brewing Co., Squawk and more. It’s happening on Blackpit Farm in Bucks near Stowe, and alongside the gorgeous countryside the organisers boast ‘plush toilets and hot showers’. Tickets for the weekend are £79 for adults, £25 for kids. Whoop, whoop, hic!
Inspired by Clarkson’s Farm to get your hands muddy? Well, at least take a closer look at some prize-winning farm animals and machinery? The Moreton In Marsh Show on 4 Sept in the Cotswolds is a corker – it’s been running for over 70 years with livestock competitions (including a grand parade of all the champions!), horse showing and show jumping, plus home and garden stalls and local food producers. This year tickets cost £18 for adults and £6.25 for kids and must be bought in advance – there are no tickets available on the gate.
The Oxford Wine Festival 2021 is an absolute corker for wine lovers (if you’ll excuse the pun…). This year will see 40 wine merchants and vineyards come together at the Oxford Union on 10-11 Sept to talk vines, vintages and a soupcon of grapefruit with a tickle of granite… There’s music, food, and tutored tastings and a chance to quaff rare wines… We’re in! Tickets are £22.50.
Oxford Open Doors 2021 is going ahead this year and will see many of the city’s mysterious and guarded doorways opened up to the public – sometimes for one day only! Tours of our favourite – the Painted Room above the Covered Market – are already booked up (note it NOW in the diary to book early for next year!) but you can still get into many of the colleges, churches and churchyards (oooo, creepy), that are usually off limits. It runs 11 & 12 Sept throughout Oxford.
The Abingdon Air and Country Show 2021 on 11 Sept is every little kid’s dream, with dynamic flying displays, cockpits to climb into and an ice cream to finish… Grown-ups might also enjoy the re-enactment stalls, classic cars, stalls and live music. Tickets £19, or £5 for 5-15 year olds.
Pat a future champ by visiting them in their stables as part of National Racehorse Week, which runs 12 – 19 Sept in more than 100 yards across the country, including training centres like Epsom, Malton and Newmarket , offering a rare chance for the public to experience the effort that goes into looking after the most elite horses across the UK.
Blenheim’s annual International Horse Trials is on 16-19 Sept this year and makes for a fabulous day out even for the non-horsey. There’s the incredible feats of horse and rider to enjoy, of course, as well as walking the course around Blenheim’s parkland, lakes and woodland, but also fab food and booze (bagsy I don’t drive home…) as well as home and giftware stalls galore. Fill your (riding) boots! Ticket prices vary depending on parking/meals/day/VIP access…
Luna Cinema sets up stall at Waddesdon Manor on 9- 12 Sept. Doors open 6.15pm. Film starts 7.45pm approx. It’s a varied line-up with classics Grease and Pretty Woman alongside the original Star Wars plus Knives Out, the 2019 Daniel Craig mystery thriller. Tickets £16 for adults, £11 for kids.
Bletchley Park is releasing a limited number of free day tickets for 10-19 Sept as part of Heritage Open Days 2021, a nationwide festival of history and culture. There are a few other Bucks and Oxon venues taking part including North Leigh Roman Villa, Witney and District Museum, Stowe and Abingdon Museum. Check the website for venues and dates.