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This Week

MON 26 MAR - MON 2 APRIL 2018

Westwood: Punk, Icon, Activist, Curzon Cinema, Oxford, Mon 26 – Thurs 29 Mar, 2018

A brilliant documentary on the brilliant, mercurial Vivienne Westwood at my favourite new cinematic hangout, The Curzon in Westgate Centre. It’s a 15 so bring your gobby teen and show them what creative rebellion should really look like.


Patrick Monahan performs at The Potters Arms, Amersham, Thurs 29 Mar

Patrick brings his 2018 tour show to The Potters Arms, a rural pub in Winchmore Hill that somehow pulls in the best comedy talent in the UK month after month (February’s guest – Rob Brydon!). It’s comedy how it should be seen – a bit rough around the edges, with a fun vibe often lost in the big professional comedy venues. If you can’t make it to see Monahan, the annual Comedy Festival rocks up in early May, kicking off with the brilliant Zoe Lyons.


Broughton Castle opens, Banbury, 1 April 

large fortified manor house next to a lake

The beautiful Broughton Castle, a moated and fortified manor house near Banbury that’s belonged to the Fiennes family since 1447 opens again from 1 April. It found fame in the TV adaptation of Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall and is one of my favourite local castles – small enough to get around without boring young children, and there’s a lovely garden for them to bomb about in. Other heritage buildings I really rate in the area that maybe don’t get the headlines of the big beast venues are Chastleton House in North Oxfordshire (stunning), Greys Court near Henley, Claydon House near Buckingham and Upton House on the Bucks/Northants border.

Broughton Castle is open on Wednesdays, Sundays and Bank Holiday Mondays from Sun 1 April- 30 Sept from 2-5pm.


Check out the Worthies at Stowe Landscape Gardens, Stowe, Buckingham, until 31 Mar

You can actually see the Temple of British Worthies all year – this whopping stone carving ain’t moving! – but until the end of March, as part of a celebration of 100 years of female voting, Stowe is looking to create an installation as a response to this 1735 sculpture that boasted 16 busts of notable characters, but only one of whom – Elizabeth I – was female. If you head up to Stowe in the next week you can nominate new female representations to a brand new installation that will feature a new set of 16 British Worthies – 15 female and one man! Then you can spend the rest of your day away from gender politics enjoying these stunning gardens.


Michelangelo, Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, 6 Mar – 2 Apr

Last few days to explore a remarkable group of drawings by Michelangelo, recently returned from New York where they were a central feature of an exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Don’t miss your chance.


Oxford Philharmonic Orchestra: Maundy Thursday Concert, Sheldonian Theatre, 29 Mar

sheldonian theatre front blue skies

Handel’s Messiah, often performed as a Christmas, is also a fitting way to see in Easter. For this performance, the Schola Cantorum takes on this vast work under newly-appointed conductor Steven Grahl in the stunning surrounds of the Sheldonian Theatre. Should send tingles to places you didn’t know existed.


Easter Egg Hunts galore

Every venue across Bucks & Oxon is going chocolate crazy but my top tips include… The Easter Trail (30 Mar – 1 April) at Stonor House (pictured), zipping around the stunning 850 year old gardens and into the Wonder Woods (£7 per egg); Oxford Castle‘s chocolate workshops (30 Mar – 1 April) where kids can ice and decorate their own Easter egg. Highclere Castle‘s Easter Egg trail (Sun 1 April), through ‘Downton’s’ exquisite gardens and woodland in aid of the NSPCC;  Blenheim Palace‘s ‘oversized Easter Egg Hunt throughout the park and pleasure gardens, with 8ft giant decorated eggs to find (not sure of the catch, it sounds well easy!) with bouncy castle, trampolines, victorian fairground and all that jazz on too; and Waddesdon Manor‘s Easter Egg Hunt, starting and finishing at the North Front – just a great excuse to enjoy the grounds.


Easter Sunday joust, Sudeley Castle, 1 April

The Cavalry of Heroes return to Sudeley Castle along with King Henry VIII and the ladies of his court for this annual event. Expect falconry flight displays (11am, 2pm) along with the jousting (11.30am, 2.30pm) and some serious chain-mailage. Alternatively head up to Warwick Castle as they celebrate the 950th anniversary of William the Conqueror’s motte and bailey castle on the site with the usual fun silliness of the The Mighty Trebuchet, Flight of the Eagles and The Bowman Show.


OxPHWOARd: The Showtunes Show, The Bullingdon Club, Oxford, Fri 30 Mar

Fancy something a bit different? Camp sensation Ginger Tart is hosting a showtunes-themed drag and burlesque show up the Cowley Road at the Bullingdon. Bring your jazz hands, sequins and a GSOH.


Picasso Baby, South Moreton Boxing And Fitness Club, Didcot, Thu 22 March – Sun 8 April 2018

Er, what?!! Picasso Baby is a unique exhibition of the etchings, linocuts and lithographs of Picasso that, having been displayed at the Dantzig gallery have moved to a boxing club near Didcot. Delivers a killer punch in random brilliance.


A big day out with Peter Rabbit™, Kew Gardens, 30 Mar – 15 April 

peter rabbit and toad and beatrix potter characters against cartoon illustrated backdrop of kew gardens

There are still a few days to see the orchid festival at Kew (it ends 2 April) but it also overlaps with the start of a new trail based on Peter Rabbit and other famous Beatrix Potter characters. More permanent pleasures include the tree top walk, the 17 metre tall Hive sensory experience, a 14,000 tree arboretum and the Palm House.


Predators Exhibition, Longleat, Wiltshire, 24 Mar – 3 Sept

A brand new show for Longleat with 14 killer animatronic carnivores will be stalking the park including lions and tigers. Sounds like it will thrill little ones.


Tree Climbing, Cliveden, 3, 4, 12 April 

National Trust. Photo: Paul Watson

The Big Tree Climbing Company will help kids scale the Cliveden canopies over Easter – an hour activity for 6+, bookable here and promising gorgeous views with a zip line back down to the bottom. Wheeee!

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