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This week

TUES 28 AUG - SUN 2 SEP 2018


CULTURE: Spellbound, Ashmolean, from Fri 31 Aug

We’re heading to the launch this week so watch this space for our hot-off-the-press review! Showcasing the history of magic, mysticism and superstition over eight centuries, the Ashmo’s quirky major new autumn exhibition has everything from a unicorn’s horn to a human heart encased in lead (sounds like my ex). Will you dare walk under the ladder at the entrance? The launch coincides with the monthly Ashmolean After Hours event where you can wander the galleries with live music and talks, and then enjoy a coktail or bite on the rooftop until 8pm.


SPORT: The Big Tree Climb, Cliveden,  Wed 29 – Thurs 30 Aug & Hughenden Thurs 30 Aug

Harnesses on? Not eaten anything in the last half hour? Then head to the delicious Cliveden or Hughenden for Tree Climbing with The Great Big Tree Climbing Company. Wheeeee!


THEATRE: Teletubbies Live, New Theatre Oxford, Weds 29 – Thurs  30 Aug

Hard to believe but this is the first live theatre show for Tinky Winky, Dipsy, Laa-Laa and Po. They’ll be joined by all the usual much loved characters, like Noo-Noo and Sun Baby, plus there’s face-painting and balloon modelling included in the ticket price. Awwww!


FAMILY FUN: Circus Skills Workshop, Oxford Castle Quarter, Thurs 30 Aug

While adults unwind on deck chairs or picnic blankets with a freshly brewed coffee from The Castleyard Café, children will be regaled with circus skills by entertainers from Flying Colours, one of the UK’s premier circus and street performing companies.


FILM: Pop-up cinema, Babylon Plants, Watlington, Fri 31 Aug

This wholesale nursery spread over 4 acres is heaven for garden designers and landscapers with a wonderful selection of plants and gardening must-haves. On the last evening of August, they open their doors to the general public for a screening of the wonderfully quirky The Grand Budapest Hotel with its all star cast including Ralph Fiennes, Adrien Brody, Jeff Goldblum, Willem Defoe, Harvey Keitel, Tilda Swinton and Jude Law. Tickets cost £20 which includes a complimentary cocktail, plus there’s a licensed bar with food. Sounds like the perfect way to bid a fond farewell to August and welcome in the autumn.


EVENT: Salon Privé, Thurs 30 Aug to Sat 1 Sep; Classic and Supercar Show, Sun 2 Sep, Blenheim Palace, Woodstock, Oxon

Photo by Max Earey & Rachel Palmer

Blenheim has gone car mad. Pull out your posh frock for this fancy-schmancy garden party on the south lawn at Blenheim Palace. Supercars, hypercars (say, what?) and classic cars will be parked up for your perusal, alongside a luxury retail village and top notch nosh. Friday is Boodles Ladies Day (where you can ogle the jewellery) and Sat 1st sees a tribute to 70 years of Porsche. If you just want to see the cars without all the VIP extras, you can head to Blenheim on the Sunday where you can stroke the bonnets and watch the Pirelli Prestige & Performance Competition in the Great Court, featuring 80 sensational motors dating from 1976 to current day, with a Winner’s Parade later in the afternoon. Get your motor running, baby!


FOOD & DRINK: Chilli Festival, Waddesdon Manor, Bucks, Sat 1 – Sun 2 Sep

Spice up your life with this festival held in the grounds of Waddesdon Manor. There are 65 local exhibitors who promise to give your tastebuds a workout, with chilli sauces, jams, beer and chocolate. If it all gets too much, you can cool your tongue at the frozen yogurt stand. Not to worry if your kids haven’t yet reached a level of spice sophistication, just settle them down at the crafts table or the face-painting. From 10am-5pm


EDUCATION: Open Day at Oxford Department of Continuing Education, Summertown, Oxford, Fri 31 Aug – Sat 1 Sep

books pencils knowledge

More than 90 free events are on offer to celebrate 140 years of this well-respected institution with workshops, talks, walking tours and loads of information to encourage you to sign up to one of their many courses. Muddy’s Kerry did a weekend intensive French course earlier this year she learned beaucoup (her review’s here). The diversity of courses means you can commit to short, long, intensive or no homework at all options so you’re bound to find something that can fit in with the time you have available.


FAMILY FUN: Didcot Family Day Out, Sat 1 Sep

Rock up to Didcot Civic Hall for a day of live music, stalls, bouncy castle, rodeo bull rides, funfair, BBQ, candy floss and more. Free for kids under 16 and only £5 for adults. Will keep ’em off those pesky screens for a few hours, right?


MUSIC: BunkFest Music Festival, Wallingford, Fri 31 Aug – Sun 2 Sep

Now in its 17th year, the community-spirited Bunkfest festival combines beer, dance, music, street performers, silent disco, children’s entertainers, food, drink and a street fair. DJ Andy Kershaw also presents his one man show, recounting his adventures on the frontline of the rock’n’roll scene and more recently his travels to some of the world’s most dangerous places.


FOOD & DRINK: Artisan Food Festival, Millets Farm Centre, Frilford, nr Abingdon, Sat 1- Sun 2 sep

Enjoy a weekend of artisan food from UK producers, including gin, chutney, cheeses and chilli products with live jazz to soothe you in the background and lots of hot food on offer to scoff.


WEDDINGS: Temperley Bridal Trunk Show, Black Swan Bridal Studio, Wallingford, Sat 1 – Mon 10 Sep

These trunk shows are a brilliant way of introducing brides to designer gowns that aren’t necessarily already in the area, with the added bonus of delicious discounts available during the event. With wedding dresses costing around the £2,000 mark, these are savings worth having, right?  You can bring a posse with you (Black Swan suggest under four guests, so it doesn’t get to distracting or stressful for the the bride), have a couple of glasses of bubbles, and try on lots of different styles. One thing I can promise you – there’ll be no saccharine meringue dresses to avoid, just foxy Temperley frocks at every turn.


WELLBEING: Yoga Festival, Newton Longville, Milton Keynes, Sun 2 Sep

women crossed legs meditation position sitting on deck river sun setting in background

With the summer nearly over, now is a great time to have a day to yourself to contemplate, destress, unwind and gear up for the new season. The fabulous Sweat Studios from Milton Keynes are hosting a one day festival in a beautiful teepee overlooking a lake. Tickets cost £75 and include a full day of yoga (suitable for all levels), lunch, refreshments and all equipment. With most schools going back this week and workplaces returning to normal, I reckon you owe it to yourself to do something just for you.



ART: Scoop: A Wonderful Ice Cream World, The British Museum of Food, London, until 30 Sep

Finally! A valid excuse to stuff my face. The British Museum of Food returns with its first major exhibition Scoop: A Wonderful Ice Cream World. Dedicated entirely to the frozen treat, explore memorabilia from the world’s largest collection of ice cream paraphernalia, discover the neuroscience behind it and try scoops of bygone eras, from daffodil to all-day-breakfast flavour (hmm). Other highlights include ice cream-flavoured weather (vanilla fog!) and glow-in-the-dark concoction that you can eat in a futuristic luminescent cave. Pass the ladle, I’m going in…


THEATRE: Little Shop of Horrors, 3 Aug – 15 Sep, Regents Park Open Air Theatre

This looks great fun – an off-beat musical about a florist shop assistant who pines for his work colleague but doesn’t know how to win her heart or what to do to sate the appetite of a human-eating plant (yup, really). Matt Willis from Busted fame, drag queen Vicky Fox, Jemima Rooper and Marc Antolin star in the OTT show that seems perfect for summer in the lovely setting of Regent’s Park. (Brucie bonus – the theatre boasts the longest bar in the West End.)


FAMILY FUN: Zip Now London, Archbishops Park, Lambeth, until 9 Sep

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? Nope, it’s a human torpedo whizzing down a 738ft wire, 100ft (the height of 9 double decker buses!) above Archbishop’s Park at 50mph. Beats the Tube any day of the week. Get yourself down to South Bank, climb to the top the tower and wheeeeeeee. Suitable for children aged 8+


THEATRE: Kids Week, various London locations, throughout August

This month children aged 16 or under can get FREE theatre tickets to selected performances across London (when  accompanied by a paying adult). There is a huuuge selection of shows to choose from including Sound and Sourcery at The Vaults, an immersive music concert experience inspired by Disney’s Fantasy. Under Waterloo station, collect your headphones at the door and step inside the tunnels where you will dance with a funky hippo, walk in a prehistoric wasteland, seek out the fairies in a magic forest and sneak into the Sorcerer’s lair. Over at the National Theatre, the Star Seekers need help saving their space station in this interactive 50 minute show for 3 – 8 year olds. Or for older kids, Pressure at the Ambassador’s Theatre is a funny and tense play about the D-Day landings.

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