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This week

MON 3 - SUN 9 JULY 2017

Looking for fun this week? Oh hello, we’ve just found it!

MK Festival of Nature, Howe Park Wood, until Sat 8 July

There’s a lot more to Milton Keynes than shops and roundabouts, doncha know. This week-long programme of activities celebrates the nature found in the town’s green spaces. There are fishing lessons for children, workshops on how to photograph wildlife and woodland walks.


Henley Festival, Henley, Oxon, Weds 5- Sun 9 July

Chaka Khan, Pet Shop Boys, ’90s comeback kids All Saints and Goldie (I have a great story about interviewing him on set in the Isle of Man, ask me when I’m drunk and I’ll be deliciously indiscreet)  are among the headliners at this year’s bash. There’s also comedy acts, street food, street theatre and art installations. Take note, apart from the Sunday family day, it’s an evening affair and the dress code is black tie – well, this is Henley after all, old bean.

Romeo & Juliet, Oxford Castle, Mon 3 – Sat 21 July

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 super-stunning backdrop of Oxford Castle.

Winslow Hall Opera Season: Verdi’s Un Ballo in Maschera, Fri 7 – Sun 16 July

The 18th century Bucks mansion designed by Sir Christopher Wren provides a fabulous backdrop for this summer’s opera season. This year Carmen Jakobi directs, Oliver Gilmour conducts and Rosalind Plowright, a recent cover star of Opera Magazine, stars as Ulrica. If you get tickets for a Sunday matinee, you can take a picnic for a pre-show al fresco lunch.

Abingdon Antiques and Vintage Fair, Bath St, Sat 8 July

Heads up all cool hunters! There’s a whole lot of fabulous stuff coming to Bath Street this Saturday;  expect vintage homeware, antiques and retro gifts along with fabulous street food, family activities and music.

The Pirates of Penzance & HMS Pinafore, Waterperry Amphitheatre, Fri 7 & Sat 8 July

Opera Anywhere are known for their quirky venues and this month present the popular Gilbert & Sullivan operetta in the Amphitheatre at Waterperry Gardens. But, à la Centre Court at Wimbledon, they’re cleverly installed a temporary roof structure to avoid rain stopping play this summer. Take a picnic or order one in advance from the gardens’ tea shop.

Waterperry Gardens, Waterperry, Oxford,

Jane Eyre Outdoor Theatre, West Wycombe Park, Bucks, Thurs 20 July

Shakespeare and classic romance are on the programme in these rather lovely Bucks National Trust gardens, with two Chapterhouse Theatre productions this summer: Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre (20 July) and The Comedy of Errors (16 Aug).

The Fabulous Cornbury Festival Finale, Fri 7 – Sun 9 July

Sadly, this is Cornbury’s last ever outing, as it bows out of an increasingly crowded festival market after 14 years. Boo! It tends to attract big names and after last year’s set from Bryan Ferry, this year’s Bryan is veteran Canadian rocker, Adams, the Saturday night headliner. An opportunity to howl along to Summer of ’69? We’re in.


Gin Fest, The Crown at Sydenham, Fri 7 – Sat 15 July


Gin has never been more fashionable, a trend of which we at Muddy heartily approve, naturally. For Gin Fest, The Crown at Sydenham has a 4-course gin-inspired tasting menu, accompanied by a ‘gin flight’ of 3 hand-selected gins & mixers , plus a range of cocktails. Bagsy not being designated driver. In other gin news, Gin Festival Oxford runs Fri 21 – Sun 23 July, and promises exclusive gins that’ll be entirely new to you (Gin Festival obviously hasn’t met Muddy.)

A Midsummer Night’s Dream,  Creation Theatre, Oxford, 5 July– 5 Aug

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…


Waddesdon Manor summer activities, throughout July

There’s tonnes on at Waddesdon this month including outdoor cinema screenings, a kids’ overnight camp and a bushcraft summer school. It’s a good one to have up your sleeve during the school holidays for when the kids reach Peak Whingeing (it’s not just mine, is it?)


Hampton Court Flower Show, until 9 July

Missed Chelsea Flower Show? Quick, Hampton Court is on this week. New this year is  Gardens for a Changing World which explores how we need to adapt our gardens for the future. There’s 300 stalls with gardening products and food, a butterfly dome, talks by celeb chefs and Plant Village, while children’s activities include a cookery school and seed sowing.


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

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?


 Handel’s Semele, Garsington Opera on the banks of the river Cherwell, 4 July


This is TOMORROW so hurry! It’s the last night for Garsington Opera’s production of Handel’s Semele on the banks of the River Cherwell (I think that’s the most rarefied sentence I’ve ever written). Annilese Miskimmon, Artistic Director of Norwegian National Opera, directs and the weather is looking promising.



Jane Eyre, Milton Keynes Theatre, Mon 10 – Sat 15 July

Charlotte Brontë’s masterpiece is brought to the stage in a collaboration between the National Theatre and Bristol Old Vic, at MK Theatre this month and it’s a corker. The touring production was given five stars by The Observer and if you’re anywhere near Milton Keynes, this is your last chance to see it in our region. I saw it Aylesbury Waterside a while back and was blown away by it – read my review here.

MK Theatre,


British Grand Prix, Silverstone, Fri 14- Sun 16 July

It’s so much more than just a race – the British Grand Prix is basically a weekend-long party, from Thursday through to Sunday. The non-stop entertainment will keep any reluctant petrolheads happy and includes an ’80s party hosted by Sara Cox and gigs from Travis, Reef and The Hoosiers.


Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power, Tate Modern, London 12 July – 22 Oct

Tate Modern’s exhibitions are always worth a look (and a run around the cavernous Turbine Hall afterwards, if you’ve got the nippers in tow). Soul of a Nation explore black artists’ work, opening in 1963, at the height of the Civil Rights movement. Among the 150 artworks are vibrant paintings, powerful murals, collage, photography, revolutionary clothing designs and sculptures made with Black hair, melted records, and tights. Icon of the era Muhammad Ali is present in Warhol’s famous portrait.


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

Bounce over the border 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.

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