Adults only! 19 grown-up things to do this weekend
It's a celeb-packed week of culture! Grayson Perry, David Hockney, Emerald Fennell... Check out these 20 things to do in Bucks, Oxon and beyond for the big name hits this week.
London Literature Festival, Southbank Centre, 21-31 Oct
Over in the big smoke, this Thursday sees the launch of London Literature Festival 2021. The acclaimed annual festival is this year all about friendship. We like the sound of Grayson Perry: A Show for Normal People at the Royal Festival Hall, 22-23 Oct. An “evening in which existentialism descends from worthiness to silliness” — what more could you want.
IF Oxford, various locations and online, 9-26 Oct
The Oxford Science and Ideas Festival continues to get brows furrowing and hands stroking chins. With a mix of over 100 in-person and digital events for all ages, there’s plenty to pick from. This week we like the sound of Every drop matters, 6pm on Thurs 21 Oct, a multi-sensory event at Somerville College all about water, exploring connections between lifestyles and changing climate patterns.
Cliveden Literary Festival, Cliveden House, 23-24 Oct
A hop and a skip over the Berks border this weekend will bring you to the Cliveden Literary Festival, 23 – 24 Oct, for which tickets are still available. It’s one hell of a culture-vulture line-up: Oscar-winning writer, actor and director Emerald Fennell, comedian David Baddiel, Women’s Hour’s inquisitor-in-chief Emma Barnett, author Kate Mosse, Michael Gove MP, author Olivette Otele, former political columnist Barbara Amiel, and many more. With the sumptuous hotel as the backdrop, this promises to be a fabulous affair. Tickets from £110.
Gin and Jazz Festival, George Street, St Albans, 22-23 Oct
Booze and music, you say? Hop across to Herts and make a beeline for St Albans, which this weekend will come alive with the sound of swinging jazz music and clinking glasses. George Street is hosting a (free!) two-night festival featuring great food, live music, plenty of gin, and a celebration of some of the street’s indie businesses. Starts 6pm Friday and 2pm Saturday.
Oktoberfest, Newbury Racecourse, 22-23 Oct
If you’re more at home with a pint in hand, head to Berks instead because this weekend it’s Oktoberfest at Newbury Racecourse. A fab weekend of racing, plus the Grandstand will be transformed into a Bavarian Beer Hall: expect Oompah music, traditional German grub and, of course, loads of beers.
Halloween After Dark at Blenheim Palace, 22-31 Oct
It’s all beginning to get rather spooky, and from this Friday you can get a good old-fashioned thrill at Blenheim Palace, from 5.15-10pm. Expect creepy gardens, fire performances, amazing lightshows, and a hot toddy or hot chocolate to soothe any frightened nerves.
Spooky Halloween Afternoon Tea, Waddesdon Manor, 23 – 31 Oct
What better way to spend a weekend than with tea and cake? Treat yourself to a Spooky Halloween Afternoon Tea at Waddesdon from this Saturday. You can enjoy decadent treats like Toffee Apple Crumble Pannacotta and the delicious sounding Death by Chocolate & Cherry Opera Cake.
Halloween themed afternoon tea, Blenheim Palace, 22-31 Oct
Double the themed tea trouble! Think terrible treats (Devilled eggs, of course) and dinky cakes.
Pick Your Own Pumpkins, various farms, 23-24 Oct
Head out and snap-up a pumpkin for your seasonal soup before it’s too late. This weekend there are sessions at Peterley Manor Farm, Great Missenden, Odds Farm Park, High Wycombe, Weedon Hill Farm, Aylesbury, and Millets Farm near Abingdon. See more here.
Ghost Fest 2021, The Oxford Castle and Prison, 22-31 Oct
Head over to The Oxford Castle and Prison for spooky tours through 1000 years of history and a resident wizard Merlin (would love to see that job application). Bring a torch and get ready to wander through the dark.
Hockney and Hollywood, The Base Greenham, Berks, 22 Oct – 28 Nov
Hockney in Berkshire?? You betcha. The works of Britain’s most famous living artist will go on display over the border at The Base in Greenham – and we’re giddy. The legendary David Hockney’s major photomontage Hockney and Hollywood features an extraordinary life-sized nude photographic study of Theresa Russell, commissioned by film director Nicolas Roeg for the film Insignificance. It starred his then wife Theresa Russell as Marilyn Monroe. Tickets £8 (£7 concs, £5 schools/students, under-16s free).
Anish Kapoor’s ‘Painting’, Modern Art Oxford, 2 Oct – 13 Feb 2022
His first show at the gallery in 40 years, this pushes the boundaries between sculpture and painting, and explores perceptions and experiences of the human body. Plenty to sink yer teeth into.
Skyscape: The Limitless Art of the Sky, River & Rowing Museum, until 16 Jan
Curated by the Ashmolean, this exhibit features works by the art world’s top dogs – Rembrandt, Dürer, Turner, Palmer, Piper, Nash – with a focus on aerial landscapes and the sky.
Laura Knight, A Panoramic View, MK Gallery, until 20 Feb
Exploring one of the most popular English artists of the twentieth century, this charts the long, unconventional, and ground-breaking career of the female painter Laura Knight. There will be displays of rare works, as well as her more iconic pieces.
Wildlife Photographer of the Year, Banbury Museum, until 23 Jan
A chance to see some truly phenomenal natural photography, this is the most prestigious photography event of its kind — the pictures were first debuted at the Natural History Museum in London no less.
A Rothschild Treasury, Waddesdon Manor, until 31 Oct
Last couple of weeks to see this amazing gallery of over 300 precious historic objects. A Rothschild Treasury tells the story of generations of Rothschild collecting, including objects with some fascinating personal connections.
The Sounds That Paintings Make, Darl-e and the Bear, Oxford, until 31 Oct
This is an exploration of the works of abstract visual artist, Sandra Beccarelli, and her works which draw from the idea of sound and rhythm.
In Praise of Hands: Woodcuts, Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, until 15 March
A vibrant (and free!) exhibition exploring that trickiest of art subjects: hands.
Nero: the man behind the myth, British Museum, until 24 Oct
Last chance to head over to London and catch this ‘thrilling’ exhibition. Nero: the man behind the myth questions the traditional narrative of Nero, one of Rome’s most infamous rulers, as a ruthless tyrant.