FRI 30 JUNE - SUN 2 JULY
The Boodles, Stoke Park, Tues 27 June – Sat 1 July
A brilliant, local, fun and cost-effective alternative to Wimbledon held at the gorgeous five star hotel and country club of Stoke Park. It’s luxury all the way here, with Perrier-Jouët Champagne on ice and a gourmet lunch prepared by award winning chef, Chris Wheeler. There’s also a Boodles gallery of fine jewellery to gawp at – the Muddy girls tried half of it on last year while nervous assistants watched on.I should also mention that it’s a brilliant way to see top tennis players in a stadium of just 2000, so it’s like being in the first five rows at centre court. Already confirmed for this year are Novak Djokovic, Juan Martin del Potro, Nick Krygios, Alexander Zverev, Borna Coric and Fabio Fognini (pictured). I think it’s important to see as much of the players as possible, don’t you?!
Stoke Park, Stoke Poges, Bucks, stokepark.com
Raphael, The Drawings, The Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, 1 June – 3 Sept
The Ashmolean’s captivating summer show, Raphael, brings together 120 stunning works from international collections spanning the brief but brilliant career of Raphael, only 37 when he died. The Ashmolean’s unrivalled Raphaels are joined by superb works from the Albertina and loans from other international collections including the Louvre, the Uffizi and Liz II. Drawings include the exquisite Head of a Muse, which broke records when auctioned at Christies in 2009, as well as the sublime Heads and Hands of two Apostles, considered to be the finest drawing Raphael ever made.
Offbeat Festival, Oxford, until Sun 2 July
Loving the look of this. Offbeat started last year and is a showcase of 71 different pieces of brand new theatrical work, from comedy, drama, dance, spoken word. 25 per cent of the shows are from Oxfordshire based artists and it’s a collaboration between Oxford Playhouse and The Old Fire Station so it’s extremely professional. Best of all , the tickets are a tenner or less, so you can see the likes of Mark Thomas, Viv Groskop and Richard Marsh without breaking the bank. Look out for Dr Zeiffal and the Hippo Can Never Be Caught (pictured, 24 June); This Flipping Rescue Dog has Ruined My Life (Sat 1 July); Todd and God (Sun 2 July); Swan (Sun 2 July) and the brilliant Everything Wrong With You Is Beautiful (Tues 27 June).
Garsington Opera Season Starts, Wormsley Estate, Stokenchurch, 1 June – 4 July
Tra-la-laaaaaa! The much-anticipated Garsington Opera season has just started in the stunning grounds of the Wormsley estate in Stokenchurch. Grounds are open from 3.30pm on each performance day so get there early to have a snoop around the Walled Garden, Deer Park or afternoon tea overlooking the beautiful Wormsley Cricket Pitch. Two operas to choose from, Handel’s Semele (running until 4 July) or the crowd-pleaser comedy Le Nozze de Figaro by Mozart which opens on 2 June running until 16 July.
Buckingham Literary Festival, Fri 30 June – Sun 2 July
The Buckingham Literary Festival dipped its toe in the waters last year, liked the feel of it, and is back for its second year this month. It’s a short festival at only three days but they’re packing in some great names with Peter James, Jacqueline Wilson, Roger McGough, Chris Patten, Clare Mackintosh, Holly Smale, Mark Lawson, and loads more on the bill.
An immersive interactive exhibition on tour from Science Projects of London, whose work is featured in major science centres around the world. Visitors can experiment with odd musical instruments such as the light lyre with its light beams instead of strings and the theremin played by moving your hands close to two aerials. Sounds fun for kids, who can also find out how their vocal cords work, watch their voice on a computer screen and try to work out sound illusions.
Henley Royal Regatta, Wed 28 June – Sun 2 July
The steamiest regatta in existence. Straw boaters on, eyes on the lunch box (sarnies or Lycra bulges… they’re not mutually exclusive); and watch the rowing brawn from the riverbank – Henley Royal Regatta is on. A whopping 578 boats so keep your eye on the races, the smoking–hot rowers and your Champagne picnic. Even better, Chinawhite is descending on proceedings for the fifth consecutive year on Friday and Saturday, so expect Moet in droves and none other than Pete Tong behind the turntables on Saturday night. Apparently there are still tickets available so get to it!
Waiting For God, Oxford Playhouse, Tue 27 Jun – Sat 1 Jul
Ever wondered what happened to Jeffrey Holland from Hi-de-Hi? Look, here he is, walking the boards with Olivier Award-winning Nichola McAuliffe (Lady in the Van) at Oxford Playhouse! The Nineties TV sitcom about silver surfers behaving disgracefull at Bayview Retirement Home has had a new script makeover, reimagined for 2017, and is directed by Tony Award-winner David Grindley (Journey’s End). Take your mum, she’ll love it.
This year the inimitable Giffords Circus is recreating a 17th-century Spanish court and putting on a candle-lit international gymnastic show with dancing horses, a live band and everyone’s favourite clown Tweedy. It’s moved from its Gloucestershire home into Oxfordshire for the next month – currently nestled in Oxford, it heads into London next and then back to Stonor Park.
Holland Park Opera Season, until 29 July
I remember taking my dear departed dad to a Holland Park opera a few years ago – it was masses of fun so I can definitely recommend from personal experience. There are 6 shows, including Mozart’s Don Giovanni, Puccini’s La Rondine, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Will Todd and even a performance by the Royal Ballet School. Tickets vary in price, from £77 at the top end down to a fiver so worth checking out.