FRI 11 - SUN 13 AUGUST
Luna Open Air Cinema, Blenheim Palace, Fri 11 – Sun 13 Aug
Open air cinema returns to Blenheim Palace this year as The Luna Cinema presents three nights of classic films under the stars on the South Lawn. Bring a picnic, deckchairs and blanket, tank up on drinkies and settle back for Top Gun (Fri 11 Aug), Grease (Sat 12 Aug) and Breakfast at Tiffany’s (Sun 13 Aug).
Blenheim Palace, Woodstock, Oxon. blenheimpalace.com
Wind in the Willows, Waterperry Gardens Amphitheatre, Sat 12 Aug
Poop poop! One of my favourite children’s books ever pops out of the page and into the Waterperry amphitheatre, thanks to Boxtree Production’s energetic touring show starring Nigel Farage as Toad (see for yourself, just check out that photo!). It starts at 5pm so perfect timing for littlies and die-hard Brexiteers.
Family Cycling Day, Blenheim Palace, Sun 13 Aug
Grab your bikes and helmets and head to Blenheim Palace for the once-yearly chance to cycle around the idyllic parkland. Make sure you bring a picnic so you can justifiably stop before you start to puff embarrassingly. No age restrictions for kids but they have to wear the safety gear and be escorted by adults. There are two bike routes, one around Queen Pool or the second around the Park perimeter if you’re feeling extra energetic.
Blenheim Palace, Woodstock, Oxon.blenheimpalace.com
Oxford Proms – Romantic Classics, Sheldonian Theatre, Sat 12 Aug
Jocelyn Freeman has been hailed as ‘one to watch’ by Piano magazine, and no wonder – she’s accompanied Bryn Terfel and Alfie Bow, and performed as a concert soloist, recitalist and instrumental duo partner. She performs Liszt’s Piano concerto No2 in A major, Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherazade, plus Rachmanivov, Liszt and Chopin.
Sheldonian, Theatre, Oxford, oxfordplayhouse.com
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
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.
Rickety Press Street Cinema, Sat 12 August
Great Scott! The Rickety Press pub in Oxford is hosting a popup street cinema, with film, deck chairs, food and drink for the whole neighbourhood – and if you hadn’t guessed already, this week’s Rick Flix is (drum roll please)…Back to the Future!
Macbeth, Oxford Castle, Mon 31 July – Sat 12 Aug
Out damned spot! Sorry, this weather is playing up with my skin something terrible. Anyway, this production of Macbeth, part of the Oxford Shakespeare Festival by Siege Theatre, takes place in the exquisite surroundings of the Oxford Castle courtyard. Performances start at 7.30pm.
Much Ado About Nothing, Wadham College, Oxford, all week (now to 19 Aug)
I’ve seen a fair few interpretations of Much Ado over the years – from a 1960s hippy setting to one bizarrely featuring senior citizens Vanessa Redgrave and James Earl Jones as lead characters Beatrice and Benedick. Oxford Shakespeare Company have taken their latest production of this hilarious Shakespeare comedy to a 1943, war-struck Messina where the Italian Resistance meet Mafiosi and it sounds pure brilliance. Catch it now until mid August in the gorgeous outdoor setting of Wadham College Gardens.
Wadham College, Parks Rd, Oxford, ticketsoxford.com
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.
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.