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Your weekend sorted! 20 things to do locally

Turn off that TV, there's plenty to do out and about in Bucks and Oxon this weekend. From comedians to ghost fests, for little monsters and grumpy adults alike, here's your weekend hitlist.

COMEDY: Various comedians, The Oxford Playhouse, Oxford, 15-17 Oct

It’s a giggle-packed weekend at The Oxford Playhouse this week, so you know where to go if you’re angling for a laugh. The set begins with Jonathan Pie (the stage character of Tom Walker) on 15 Oct, followed by Simon Amstell on 16 Oct, and ends with panel show favourite Andy Hamilton (17 Oct).

EVENT: Late Night: Consumed, the Oxford Natural History Museum, Oxford, 15 Oct

This fascinating night at the museum offers a tasting menu of food-themed fun (talks, activities, demos), whilst exploring how our meat consumption affects the health of our planet. (Don’t worry, there’s plenty of tasting along with all that pondering).

FESTIVAL: 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. We like the sound of the modern adventure through unusual galleries and modern technology, Alice’s Adventures Beyond the Canal (online, 7.30pm, 15 Oct), comedian Rosie Wilby’s talk on the science of heartbreak (Somerville College Chapel, 7pm, 15 Oct), and the Beautiful brains: science meets art workshop on neuroscience and art (online, 5pm, 16 Oct). Have a flick through the full events list; you can sort by age group, theme, and type.

SPOOKY EVENT: Ghost Fest 2021, The Oxford Castle and Prison, 16-17 Oct

Expect shrieks and wails at this year’s Ghost Fest 2021, which offers spooky tours through 1000 years of history and features the resident wizard Merlin (would love to see that job application). Bring a torch and get ready to wander through the dark.

KIDS: Medieval Combat Day, Wycombe Museum, 17 Oct

Muster your little knights and have a go at archery, medieval dancing, authentic food demonstrations, and watch some spectacular demonstrations.

PICK YOUR OWN

It’s prime pumpkin-picking time, so head to Peterley Manor Farm, Great Missenden, for their pumpkin picking session this weekend (16-17 Oct), as well as the PYO at Millets Farm near Abingdon, available from now up until 31 Oct

KIDS: Scarecrow Trail, Waterperry Gardens, near Oxford, 16-31 Oct

Time for some spooky family fun. On this trail, kids have to find 10 themed Halloween scarecrows hidden throughout the gardens and collect a prize. (There’s also a garden centre, café, gift shop and art gallery, for bored mums).

KIDS: Children’s Film Festival competition, until 10 Dec

For the budding film-makers of Oxfordshire, we’ve got the perfect boredom-busting activity. The Goring & Streatley GAP Festival has launched a brand new Children’s Film Festival; entries of short films made by Oxon (and Berks) kids of any school age are being accepted from now until 10 Dec. After being judged, the winning videos will be shown at a special red carpet premier event on the last night of the main GAP Festival on Sunday 12 June. Swanky! Get those future Spielbergs to work now…

EXHIBITIONS

Plenty to get your culture fix in Bucks and Oxon this weekend. From 9 Oct – 20 Feb 2022 there’s a big new exhibition on at the MK Gallery: Laura Knight, A Panoramic View. 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.

Elsewhere, at Henley’s River & Rowing Museum you can see new Skyscape: The Limitless Art of the Sky (until 16 Jan). Curated by the Ashmolean, the 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.

Moving from paints to film, the Banbury Museum is hosting this year’s Wildlife Photographer of the Year display from 16 Oct – 23 Jan 2022. 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.

Over at the Muddy Award winning Darl-e and the Bear, there’s an exhibition called The Sounds That Paintings Make on display from 9-31 October. This explores the works of abstract visual artist, Sandra Beccarelli: particularly her pieces that draw from the idea of sound and rhythm.

More? Head to Waddesdon Manor to see its amazing range of precious historic objects in the A Rothschild Treasury exhibition, available until 31 Oct.

Or, over at the Ashmolean Museum, you can see a vibrant (and free!) exhibition exploring one of that trickiest of art subjects: hands. In Praise of Hands: Woodcuts is on until 15 Mar 2022.

Another ongoing exhibition is the Oxford Natural History Museum’s ‘Meat The Future’ exhibit. Running until 16 Jan 2022, it presents cutting edge research on the environmental and health impacts of eating meat, and (spoiler) it isn’t good news for the fry-up.

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