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I know, I know! Check out brand new The Story Museum in Oxford, Halloween fun at MK Gallery in Milton Keynes, plus spooks, scares and ghouls aplenty across Bucks & Oxon.

NEW OPENING: The Story Museum, Oxford

This is going to be huge! This sweet family museum, hidden down Oxford’s winding Pembroke Street, has just reopened after a major two year long refurbishment (it was meant to reopen in April but, you know – COVID). Muddy had a sneak peak before it opened at the weekend and we can report it’s a children’s paradise with immersive galleries inspired by iconic children’s books, illustrations and stories. Booking essential.

KIDS: Half term at Blackwell’s Bookshop, Broad Street & Westgate Oxford, 26 – 29 Oct 

Scrap the screen time and pick up a new read for the kids in Blackwell’s over half term – all children’s books will be 20% off. There’ll also be a series of readings over on Twitter and Facebook. 

OPEN: Oxford Ice Rink, Oxford

Get yer skates on! Oxford Ice Rink has reopened jut in time for half term for public skating and lessons. Pre-booking and masks are essential, so nab a spot and get ready to carve up the ice.

EXHIBITION: Spy Oxfordshire, Soldiers of Oxfordshire Museum, 28 Oct – 17 Dec

Spy Oxfordshire

We may have to wait until 2021 for No Time To Die (*sob*) but you can still get your James Bond fix at Soldiers of Oxfordshire Museum, which is running a brand new Spy Oxfordshire exhibition. Not only will you be able to get up close and personal with props from the 007 films and Ian Fleming’s own belongings, there will also be gadgets used by real-life spies during WW2. 

FAMILY: Halloween at MK Gallery, Milton Keynes, 30 Oct – 1 Nov

There’s spooky(ish) fun for all the family over at groovy MK Gallery for Halloween weekend with a series of films showing across the weekend – Disney Pixar hit Coco (above), NT Live’s Frankenstein (starring Benedict Cumberbatch) and Beetlejuice. There’ll also be a ghost hunt through the MK Calling exhibition – work from over 130 contemporary artists including a third from local talent. Book a free slot to visit and pick up a Ghost Busters activity pack for kids at reception. And finally, for the tiny people, head to the Playscape! on Sat and Sun for pumpkin rolling.

HERITAGE: Hughenden Manor, Wycombe, until 2 Nov 

The National Trust is always a life saver when it comes to half term and Hughenden Manor has a good offering this year with a free Halloween trail around the grounds and quirky scarecrow display in the walled garden. 

KIDS: Budding Chefs, Daylesford Cookery School, Cotswolds, 28 Oct & 1 Nov

Bored of cooking for your ungrateful kids? How about sending them to a cookery classes instead? Budding Chefs at Daylesford Farm will tour the 25-acre market garden and harvest some of the ingredients before heading into the teaching kitchen to whip them into some delish dishes.

EVENT: Ghost Fest, Oxford Castle and Prison, every Wed, Fri, Sat & Sun, 16 Oct – 1 Nov 

Oxford Castle’s spook-tacular Halloween event returns with some socially distanced scaring, including tours (in pods of four) around the castle and crypts.

THEATRE: Macbeth, Creation Theatre online, until 31 Oct 

Not your average Zoom call! An imaginative reboot of Shakespeare’s Macbeth, this new show promises to take the audience on a virtual and immersive blood-soaked tale of murder, lust and power. Just in time for Halloween spookieness. 

EVENT:  IF Oxford Science & Ideas Festival, online, 1 Oct – 17 Nov 

The city’s annual science and tech fest is taking everything online this year with loads of digital events across the month including virtual tours of Oxford’s museums, activities for kids, talks and at-home pub quizzes.

KIDS: Longridge Activity Centre, Marlow, 26 – 30 Oct

For water sports on the banks of the Thames, Longridge has you covered. This outward bounds charity specialises in canoeing and kayaking, but there are activities for kids on dry land too such as bushcraft and laser mazes. If you’re in the market for half-term help, this is a Muddy go-to with activity days running 26-30 Oct.

EXHIBITION: Mariana Castillo Deball: Between making and knowing something, Modern Art Oxford, 2 Oct – 3 Jan 2012 

Rejoice! Oxford’s coolest gallery is reopening its doors this month and with a brand new exhibition to explore. Through a collage-like installation featuring pottery, photography and textiles, Mexican-born artist Mariana Castillo Deball works to uncover stories and individuals often hidden in traditional museum displays. In particular, the exhibition delves into objects and archives held in Oxford’s Pitt Rivers Museum and the Smithsonian Museum National Collections in Washington D.C. Booking essential. 

COMEDY: Jericho Comedy, various locations, 31 Oct

With Covid restrictions in place for at least six months, it can be hard to see the funny side of life – luckily, Jericho Comedy are on hand with a series of live events to get us all laughing through lockdown #2. Find the full line up here.

FILM: Boutique Cinema, Clayton’s Marlow, 27 Oct 

Pass the popcorn – but only to someone in your social bubble! Clayton’s is transforming its bar area into a boutique cinema and this week will be showing Ford vs Ferrari – a great call for petrol heads and fans of Christian Bale and Matt Damon (that’ll be all of us then).

KIDS: PYO Pumpkins, various locations and dates 

It’s time to let the kids loose on a poor old pumpkin with a very sharp knife (supervised, of course). Head to Peterley Manor Farm, Bucks, for a bumper crop and lunch in the sweet Wild Strawberry Café (17, 18, 24, 25, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31 Oct); look out for the giant spider sculpture towering over the orange globes at Millets Farm, near Abingdon (weekends and daily from 17 – 31 Oct); for littlies, drive over to the mini pumpkin patch garden at Odds Park Farm, in High Wycombe (24 Oct – 1 Nov). 

EXHIBITION: Young Rembrandt, Ashmolean museum, Oxford, until 1 Nov 

I’ve missed our brilliant museums, haven’t you? The Ashmolean has opened its doors once again to show it’s major exhibition Young Rembrandt, a chronological journey through the artist’s early career beginning in his native Leiden with paintings, prints and drawings and ending in Amsterdam when his career rocketed to stardom. You’ll get to see 34 paintings by Rembrandt, along with a further 90 drawings and prints including the newly discovered Let the Little Children Come to Me, which is making its public debut at the exhibition.

KIDS: Halloween at Waddesdon Manor, Aylesbury, 24 Oct – 1 Nov 

The National Trust site is piling on the activities for autumn half term including a ghostly trail around the grounds, pumpkin carving in The Stables and – our personal favourite – a spooky-themed Halloween afternoon tea (how cute is that little ghost meringue?!). Booking essential. 

EXHIBITION: Never Alone, Bletchley Park, Milton Keynes, until 2 Feb 2021

Did you know there are now more devices connected to the internet than there are people on the planet? This exhibition in Hut 12 investigates the stories behind the rapidly expanding ‘Internet of Things’ and invites visitors to think about the choices they make while connected to the internet.

FURTHER AFIELD

FESTIVAL: London Mural Festival, various locations, until 30 Nov

This brand new arts festival is in full swing with open-air graffiti and artwork from 200+ artists and 75 large-scale murals and activations in locations across the city from Walthamstow to Wembley Park (click here for the map to start planning your route).

KIDS: Brick or Treat, Legoland, Windsor, 15 Oct – 8 Nov 

I’ve run out of jokes about Brick or Treat – that’s how long this Legoland event has been running! Lots of spooky(ish) additions to the park, plus new for 2020, there’s a brand new dance extravaganza The Haunted Lighthouse Halloween Show and a new scary character, Scarecrow.

Find more ideas here

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