MON 21 - SUN 27 AUG 2017
Henley Handmade Fair, Stonor Park, Fri 25 – Mon 28 Aug
Arts and crafts, handmade jewellery, hand-finished furniture and glassware and everything in between at the Henley Handmade Fair that rocks up at the lovely Stonor Park this weekend. The ticket includes entry to Wonder Woods, a falcon show from The Hawking Centre, terrier racing and chocolate workshops. As it happens your local superblog has 10 lots of two tickets to give away, so if you fancy a freebie head over to our Facebook page with a friendly follow and a reason why you’d like the tickets and they could be winging their way to you!
Stonor Park, Henley on Thames, thecraftshows.co.uk
Bar-Bados, Clayton’s Marlow, Sun 27 Aug
Bikini bodies at the ready (so NOT!). The well-loved Bar-Bados All Day Carnival Party & Caribbean BBQ returns to Clayton’s Marlow this month with steel bands, rum punch and DJs galore. Free entry before 8pm and £6 afterwards.
Clayton’s, Oxford Rd, Marlow, claytonsmarlow.com
Merry Wives of Windsor, Cogges Manor Farm, Weds 23 Aug
Not had your fill of Shakespeare yet? Excellent, book yourself in to see The Festival Players Theatre Company at Cogges as part of a huge nationwide tour. It’s an open air performance with the option to use the 17th century barns in case of bad weather (nice work Cogges). This being Oxfordshire, it’s all done in the best possible taste, so there’s a bar, salads from the walled garden, picnics and chairs available. Doors open at 6pm so you can have a cheeky drink while you swat up on your Letts’ notes before the performance starts.
Cogges Manor Farm, Church Lane, Witney, cogges.org.uk
The Big Feastival, Alex James’s Farm, The Cotswolds, Fri 25 – Sun 27 Aug
This three day festival with Jamie Oliver and Alex James is a middle-class foodie fest, awash with live music performances from Olly Murs, Madness and Haçienda Classical, plus top chefs including Rick Stein, Nathan Outlaw, DJ BBQ, Gizzie Erskine and Carluccio. It’s immensely family friendly so there’s a Neff Little Kitchen for small cooks, Justin Fletcher (surely the richest children’s entertainer in the UK by now?) has his own spot, there’s tree-climbing, crayons and crafts and a kids’ den.
Churchill Heath Farm, Kingham, Chipping Norton, thebigfeastival.com
Cult Screens, Pitt Rivers Museum, Oxford, Weds 23 – Fri 25 Aug
Whoo-hoo! Cult Screens are taking over the Museums’ Lawn for a luxury outdoor cinema experience, so book a deckchair or beanbag or bring your own seat/blanket and settle back for Jurassic Park (Weds), Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (Thurs) or Moulin Rouge, pictured.(Fri).
Pitt Rivers Museum, South Parks Road, Oxford, prm.ox.ac.uk
Ashmolean After Hours, Oxford, Fri 25 Aug
Too busy working to find time to visit museums? Yep, me too. But hey, we’re in luck: every so often, the clever Ashmolean stays open until 8pm 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.
Peter Rabbit: Mischief and Mayhem, River & Rowing Museum Henley, until 24 Sept
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.
The Big Batsford Bug Hunt, Batsford Arboretum, Tues 1 – Thurs 31 Aug
Love creepy crawlies? (er, NO). Well never mind, your children will love peering amongst the foliage, finding the bugs and marking their locations to win a prize. No need to book, just turn up and ‘enjoy’.
£2.50 per child, plus Arboretum admission fee. Batsford Arboretum and Garden Centre, Batsford, Moreton-in-Marsh, Gloucs, batsarb.co.uk
The Big Tree Climb, Hughenden, Weds 2, Weds 16 & Mon 21 Aug
I’m never organised enough to get my kids to one of these tree climbs (yup, the irony is not lost) but they seem really good fun. Two instructors are on hand to help your kids into the canopies, while you wave at them with a cappuccino down below.
Hugenden Manor, High Wycombe, Bucks, nationaltrust.org.uk
Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre, Great Missenden, activities throughout August
This month, you can make a Buzzwangling Bird Feeder or a Biffsquilling Bug Jar. You can take a Swishwiffling Storytelling Walk or a Gloriumptious Guided Trail. You can listen to stories and explore the museum and even take a peek at some of the behind-the-scenes archives of Dahl’s letters and manuscripts. And that isn’t even half of it – there’s lots happening all month.
The Gruffalo, Oxford Playhouse, Tues 22 – Sat 26 Aug
If you have kids you will know this story inside and out but who cares, it’s a goodie. It’s a one hour job with no interval so it’s ideal for the little ones, and you’re bang opposite The Ashmolean afterwards for a jaunt up to the top floor cafe or a trip around the artefacts.
The Secret Garden & Pride & Prejudice, Cliveden, Thurs 24 – Sat 26 Aug
Surroundings rarely come more rarefied than Cliveden House and its glorious gardens. This month, catch The Secret Garden (24 Aug), based on the children’s book by Frances Hodgson Burnett or a new take on Pride and Prejudice (25 & 26 Aug). Here’s hoping Mr Darcy emerges, wet of shirt, from the swimming pool.
Cliveden House, Taplow, Berks, nationaltrust.org.uk
Draw! Ashmolean Museum, starting Thurs 26 July Weds & Thurs throughout the summer holidays
Sometimes you just need an emergency something for the kids and this could be it. Drawing games, doodling, artists in the galleries giving tips and all inspired by the stunning Ashmolean collections from on Weds & Thurs 2-4pm until 31 Aug. While we’re on the free and fabulous tip, also worth knowing that the Pitt Rivers Museum has family object handling on a Saturday and the Museum of the History of Science on Broad St (a museum I love, and seems to be much under-utilised) has family drop ins too.
Dinosaur World, Banbury Museum, now – 9 Sept
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 Full Bronte, Blackwell’s Bookshop, Oxford, Thurs 24 – Sat 26 Aug
A theatrical homage to the legendary literary sisters, this Creation Theatre production 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.
Giacometti, Tate Modern, 10 May – 10 Sept
Last few weeks to catch the UK’s first major retrospective of Alberto Giacometti for 20 years, at the Tate Modern. Celebrated as a sculptor, painter and draughtsman, Giacometti’s distinctive elongated figures are some of the most instantly recognisable works of modern art in Tate Modern’s ambitious and wide-ranging exhibition of over 250 works. It includes rarely seen plasters and drawings and showcases the full evolution of Giacometti’s career across five decades, from early works such as Head of a Woman [Flora Mayo] 1926 to iconic bronze sculptures such as Walking Man I 1960.
Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre, London
It involves trekking up to the smoke, but it’s absolutely worth it for an evening at this picturesque fairy-light strewn theatre, which is the big daddy of al fresco productions – and the London Theatre Of The Year in 2016’s The Stage awards, no less. This summer’s extensive programme includes A Tale of Two Cities (7 July – 5 August), a brand new adaptation of the Dickens tome that’s alarmingly topical once again. Then there’s a family-friendly Oliver Twist (17 July – 5 Aug) suitable for children age 6+. Finally, bring out the big guns: namely, the Olivier and Evening Standard award-winning Jesus Christ Superstar (11 August 2017 – 23 September 2017), by Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber.