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This Week

MON 17 - SUN 23 JULY 2017

Out you go, have fun and make sure you don’t talk to any strangers.


Bricks Britannia, Bucks County Museum, Aylesbury, Sat 22 July – 2 Sept

woman looking at large lego green train

Here’s a way to make history more palatable for children – recreate it in LEGO. This fantastic exhibition spans the history of Britain from the Stone Age to modern day, brick by brick. Highlights include an 8m long model of the Flying Scotsman (above). Brucey bonus – Roald Dahl’s Children’s Gallery is also on site.

Buckinghamshire County Museum, Church St, Aylesbury,

The Full Bronte, Blackwell’s Bookshop, Oxford, Mon 17 – Weds 19 July

three Bronte sisters oil painting

A theatrical homage to the legendary literary sisters, this production by ‘Scary Little Girls’ melds comedy, storytelling, music and games and has been described by one critic as “the anarchic love child of French & Saunders and Hinge & Bracket”. Wowzers. Catch it in Oxford following its sell-out run in Edinburgh and on national tour. (If you’re on hols then worry not, it returns 24-26 Aug.)

Ashmolean After Hours, Oxford, Fri 21 July

ashmolean at night lit by lights

Too busy working to find time to visit museums? Yep, me too. But hey, we’re in luck: every so often, the clever Ashmolean throws open its doors from 7- 10.30 pm. giving you the opportunity to see the collections after hours. This month, you can enjoy the current exhibition, Raphael: The Drawings (there’s an evening talk on Raphael too) and, of course, there’s music and bars serving food and drink.

Truck Festival, Hill Farm, Oxford, Fri 21 – Sun 23 July

two rock singers singing into microphone

It may be consistently shortlisted as one of the UK’s best small festivals but Truck Festival is deffo huge on names. This year’s line up in the heart of our fab Oxfordshire countryside includes The Libertines, Franz Ferdinand, The Vaccines and Maximo Park. Lucky us!

Peter Rabbit: Mischief and Mayhem, River & Rowing Museum Henley, until 24 Sept

Peter rabbit illustration eating radishes in garden

Bounce over  to Henley for the River and Rowing Museum’s latest kid-friendly attraction – Peter Rabbit: Mischief and Mayhem. This exhibition includes original artworks, first editions and early Peter Rabbit merchandise. You can can even help Mrs Tiggywinkle hang up the laundry or visit Mrs Rabbit’s burrow! Dress up (probably best to save your bunny girl outfit for another day), help in Mr MacGregor’s Garden and listen to stories.


Pennfest, Bucks, Sat 22 – Sun 23 July

primal scream band in black shirts and sunglasses

For a diddy village, Penn Street is a veritable festival force. Now in its 7th year, this summer’s event is ’90s indie-tastic, with Primal Scream, The Charlatans, James and EMF (Unbelievable! Geddit?) all on the bill. Plus you can buy a  weekend ‘posh loo pass’ for £27 extra – a tempting thought.



And Here I Am, North Wall, Oxford, Weds 19 July

actor falling to ground surrounded by smoke

Based on one man’s true story, And Here I Am follow’s Palestinian, Ahmed Tobasi’s incredible journey from refugee to jihadist to  actor.

The North Wall, South Parade, Summertown, Oxford,

Dogs Don’t Do Ballet, Stowe House, Buckingham, Sat 22 July

Cartoon dog in tutu doing ballet

A cute-sounding, feel-good 60 minute show full of music, songs and puppets  – perfect for little ones ages 3+

Drawing From Nature Family Day, Earth Trust, Little Wittenham, Sun 23 July

pencils onto of pencil drawing

Loving the gentle sound of this event – bring your children (age 8 +), your sketchbook and some pencils or watercolours and artist Gareth Lloyd will share top tips and inspiration for drawing in the great outdoors.


National Trust Big Camp Weekend, Waddesdon & Ashridge Estate, Fri 21 – Sat 22 July

single tent in field sun set

Crack out the marshmallows! Fill your hip flask! The National Trust Big Camp Weekends take place in various venues across the region, offering you and the nippers chance to sleep al fresco and stargaze amid beautiful surroundings. Pitch up to  Waddesdon or the Ashridge Estate on 21 July.


Cogges Beer & Cider Festival, Cogges Manor Farm, Witney, Oxon, Fri 21- Sun 23 July

Morris dancers in white shirts and feather hats

Ultra-local booze from within a 30 mile radius will be served up at Cogges Beer & Cider Festival. The action takes place in the 17th century barns, complete with Morris Dancers (let’s hope they don’t drink’n’dance) and there’s a bouncy castle to keep the kids happy while you quaff those hops.


Much Ado About Nothing, Wadham College, Oxford, all week (now to 19 Aug)

three actors, a man with a book, a man sitting with his hand on a policewoman's head, oxford shakespeare club

I’ve seen a fair few interpretations of Much Ado over the years – from a 1960s hippy setting to one bizarrely featuring senior citizens Vanessa Redgrave and James Earl Jones as lead characters Beatrice and Benedick. Oxford Shakespeare Company have taken their latest production of this hilarious Shakespeare comedy to a 1943, war-struck Messina where the Italian Resistance meet Mafiosi and it sounds pure brilliance. Catch it now until mid August in the gorgeous outdoor setting of Wadham College Gardens.

Wadham College, Parks Rd, Oxford,


Dinosaur World, Banbury Museum, Sat 22 July – 9 Sept

two dinosaurs roaring in prehistoric landscape

This is a summer hols saviour if you have little ones who love dinosaurs. At Banbury Museum they can create their own dinosaur lands, creature, masks and fossil collages and even a hatching dino baby. It’s on Saturdays and every day during the Oxon school holidays, with two daily sessions: 10:30am – 12:30pm or 2pm – 4pm.


The Art of Nature, Turrill Sculpture Gardens, Oxford, now until 30 Sept

copper artwork eagle silver head

The Turrill Sculpture Gardens have regularly changing displays of contemporary art by local and national sculptors for sale in this lovely public garden in Summertown. The current expo features some stunning work from Diccon Dadey. If you’re up that way, you can drop in afterwards at Mamma Mia for lunch with the kids (it’s just round the corner and has been awarded Best Independent Pizza Restaurant in the UK!) or if you’re doing the grown up thing, Portabello a few doors down.

Behind the Public Library, South Parade, Summertown, Oxford,


Wonder Woods, Stonor Park, Henley, Weds 19 July – Sun 3 Sept

kids play park on field surrounded by trees

File this one under ‘Help, they’re driving me mad and there’s still 5 weeks of the school holidays left’. Wonder Woods at the glorious Stonor Park is a brilliant big play park for kids up to age 15, with all the wobbling, swinging, jumping and sliding they could ever want. Throw in a few scary tunnels, a 50 metre zip wire and a nearby cafe for parents and, yep, that’s everybody happy.


Eccentric Stories with Elys Dolan, Roald Dahl Museum, Great Missenden, Sat 22 July

roald dahl museum exterior

Elys is reading her brilliantly imaginative stories of megalomaniacal weasels this Saturday with sessions through the day. Lots of fun and giggles for kids 4+.


A Midsummer Night’s Dream,  Creation Theatre, Oxford, now to 5 Aug

Shakespeare actor in flowery blazer and costume ears

A return for last year’s sell-out, interactive Shakespeare show, this is part treasure hunt, part play and wholly anarchic. Audience members take to the streets, meeting in small groups at a secret Oxford city centre location to follow clues. Apparently you have to watch out for fairies…


Brian Blessed directs Agatha Christie’s Spider’s Web, Mill at Sonning, 6 July – 9 Sept

smiling Brian blessed big beard

Gordon’s Alive! It’s only national treasure Brian Blessed in the director’s chair this Thursday at The Mill at Sonning. This Agatha Christie murder mystery classic sees Clarissa discover a dead body in her house. Do any of her house guests have anything to do with it, we wonder?


Comedy of Errors: Lord Chamberlain’s Men, Waddesdon Manor, Sat 22 July

comedy of errors actors shutting door

Two sets of identical twins, both with servants named Dromio, all in the same city on the same day. What could possibly go wrong? Waddesdon Manor’s manicured lawns are the location for this outdoor production of Shakespearian farce The Comedy of Errors. Bring a chair, a cagoul and a picnic but absolutely no gazebos, you naughty view-blockers.


Romeo & Juliet, Oxford Castle, now until Sat 21 July

romeo and Juliet black and white kiss

Sure to be popular, Tomahawk Theatre are mixing it up, throwing in a bit of song and dance but sticking to Shakespeare’s original language for their latest production of Romeo and Juliet. Get there early – it’s first come for seating; all with the stunning background of Oxford Castle.


Gifford’s Circus,  The Fox Inn, Barrington, Thurs 20 – Mon 31 July

female circus performer dressed as a red Indian with doves on her arms and head

Described by the Telegraph as “the nation’s most glamorous troupe”, Giffords arrives at the Fox Inn, Barrington this week for this year’s Baroque-inspired show. No need to stuff your handbag with snacks for the interval – they also bring a 60-seat pop-up restaurant, complete with candle-lit communal oak tables.


Garsington Opera, Wormsley Estate, Bucks, Mon 17 – Sat 22 July

outdoor opera stage at night time

Another packed week on the banks of the Cherwell at the rather fab Garsington Opera. Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte (the Magic Flute to me!) is on three times this week on Mon 17, Weds 19 and Fri 21 and Verdi’s Falstaff is performed on Thurs 20 and Sat 22.



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