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Boo! 25 things to do locally this weekend

It's the spookiest weekend of them all, and full of treats. From thumping Halloween parties to funny feminist podcasters, here's what to do in Bucks, Oxon, and beyond this weekend.

SPOOKY HAPPENINGS

Murder Mystery, Missenden Abbey, 31 Oct

There’s been an especially gruesome murder at Missenden Abbey! Guests will tuck into a three course meal and then join a high school reunion, which soon turns sour… Five professional actors help things run smoothly.

We Love 80s Halloween Party, Clayton’s Marlow, 30 Oct

It’s time to don your deadliest look (and biggest shoulder pads?) for the We Love 80s Halloween Party on 30 Oct at Clayton’s Marlow. Killer retro bangers, flowing drinks, crazy costumes… uh, we are there.

Super Spooky Family Fireworks, Abingdon Airfield, 30 Oct

A little firework preview before the main day, this low-noise, drive-in family friendly firework show takes place on the Halloween weekend. As well as the choreographed firework show, there will be hot grub, drinks, and a full-blown fairground. 4-9pm, £48 per car.

The Veil of Despair, Hatfield House, Herts, 28-31 Oct

Not for the faint-hearted, this scarily immersive production by events experts Sneaky Experience comes to the grounds of Hatfield House. Guests are transported back to 1930 and invited to take a walk in the woods after dark to find a missing girl. Just don’t get trapped by the veil of light which seems to suck everyone in with its mysterious force! Yikes! Age 18+.

The Hundred Watt Club – Halloween Special, Norden Farm Maidenhead, Berks, 30 Oct

Burlesque dancer white feather plume The Hundred Watt Club

You’ll get chills… they’re multiplying! The Hundred Watt Club in Maidenhead, Berks invites you to peek inside its cabinet of curiosities and celebrate Halloween with an evening of bizarre burlesque, queer cabaret and sublime circus entertainment.

Halloween Axe Throwing, Ridgeway Farm, Didcot, until 31 Oct

Go on, chuck an axe — you know you want to. Axe throwing is apparently the fastest growing sport in the UK (citation needed??) and, frankly, there’s no better weekend to get stuck into it. You’ll get a bit of health and safety and swing training from an instructor to start, and then the axe is all yours, baby. Book yourself in from a range of time slots.

Halloween After Dark at Blenheim Palace, until 31 Oct

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, until 31 Oct

What better way to spend a weekend than with tea and cake? Treat yourself to a Spooky Halloween Afternoon Tea at Waddesdon. 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, until 31 Oct

Double the themed tea trouble! Think terrible treats (Devilled eggs, of course) and dinky cakes.

Ghost Fest 2021, The Oxford Castle and Prison, until 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.

For little monsters, all until 31 Oct

Try the Halloween celebrations at Waddesdon Manor for a special twilight safari experience, and special themed kiddie refreshments. Or check out The Moon Witch’s Halloween Adventure at Tumblestone Hollow, Stonor Park, for readings from Stonor’s new book plus puzzles and pumpkin carving. There’s also Millets Farm‘s Halloween Spook-Tacular, featuring a circus, spooky children’s disco party, and a falconry Halloween Hoot. See more kids Halloween activities here.

CULTURE

London Literature Festival, Southbank Centre, until 31 Oct

Over in the big smoke, the London Literature Festival 2021 is coming to an end this weekend. Before it’s over for another year, we like the sound of Keep the Receipts, 30 Oct at Queen Elizabeth Hall, which sees the hosts of the hugely popular podcast The Receipts chatting self-empowerment, society and relationships.

Good Natured: The Conservation Optimism Film Festival, Oxford Natural History Museum, 29 Oct

It’s all too easy to feel desolate about the climate crisis. So, indulge in a bit of hope with this evening of artistic performances showcasing empowering stories of regeneration. The performances will be followed by a screening of prize-winning short films from the Conservation Optimism Short Film competition, and then the prize-giving and a panel discussion.

The Little Prince, Norden Farm Maidenhead, Berks, 27-30 Oct

Luca Silvestrini is a talented comic choreographer who has taken Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s classic tale and turned it into a charming, ingenious portable production. With a cast of just four dancers (who work their socks off) discover how the Little Prince leaves behind his own tiny asteroid and journeys through the universe, coming face to face with the baffling world of grown-ups. Mixing speech, dance and song, this is great show for kids and adults alike.

EXHIBITIONS

The 1971 Reading Festival: For The First Time, Reading Museum, Berks, until 29 Jan

READING FESTIVAL 1971 FOR THE FIRST TIME exhibition

If there’s one thing that’ll clear a field full of teenagers, it’s their parents living it up like it’s 1971. Reading Festival is 50 years old this year and to celebrate the UK’s iconic music festival, an exhibition of astonishing objects and rare and unseen photos can be seen in Reading Museum’s Sir John Madejski Art Gallery.

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.

Hockney and Hollywood, The Base Greenham, Berks, 22 Oct – 28 Nov

Hockney and Hollywood at The Base Greenham 1000x666

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.

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.

In Praise of Hands: Woodcuts, Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, until 15 March

A vibrant (and free!) exhibition exploring that trickiest of art subjects: hands.

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.

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