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What’s on this week in Bucks & Oxon

August is almost over but there's still plenty of summer fun to be had in our ends, from outdoor gigs and cinema to foodie pop-ups and awesome exhibits.

MUSIC: Saturday Evening with The Real Thing, Pendley Meadow, Tring, 27 Aug

With festivals cancelled and arts venues still unable to open for shows, live music has been missing from all our lives. Luckily, Chilfest has come to the rescue with a socially distanced gig from 70s band The Real Thing. There’ll be a screening of the band’s new documentary Everything: The Real Thing Story followed by a live show. Book your deckchair here.

EAT: Jericho Kitchen’s Raclette Evening, Will’s Deli, Oxford, Fri 28 Aug

If you’re a keen skier, you’re probably salivating just from the mention of the word Raclette. If sliding down steep ice on two sticks is your idea of insanity, let us explain: Raclette is an Alpine cheese, which is melted and used to smother cured meats, potatoes and any other highly calorific item that can be found a few thousands feet above sea level. And now it’s descended to Oxford (which, geography fans, has a 60m elevation). Jericho Kitchen is hosting a Raclette evening with ingredients all sourced from Oxon suppliers (Oxford Cheese Company, Medley Manor Farm, Cranston Pickles) so you’re doing your bit to support local too. Tickets here.

EAT: Lussman’s at Little Clarendon Street Community Market, Oxford, 30 – 31 Aug

Andrei Lussmann’s gorgeous new sustainable fish and grill restaurant is still closed (hop over to Herts to try one of the other outposts) but the team will have a pop-up tent at Little Clarendon Street’s market this weekend. Expect organic beef burgers, posh hotdogs, halloumi burgers (and to roll home, fully stuffed, after visiting).

THEATRE: Alice: A Virtual Theme Park, until 30 Aug 

Don’t panic, it’s not another Zoom meeting – this is something entirely different, and altogether magical. For August, the genius team at Creation Theatre Company have put together Alice: A Virtual Theme Park, a modern take on theatre that’s totally unique and will have littlies enraptured. Think live performers, AI animals and the chance to interact with the characters (or sit back and let others do that bit). £20 per device. 

OUTDOORS: National Garden Scheme opens days, various locations throughout Aug 

Fancy checking out someone else’s dahlias? The National Garden Scheme sees over 3,500 private gardens in England and Wales open for charity – adults pay but children go free. This is brilliant for two reasons: firstly, you can indulge in a bit of real-life garden porn (begone Right Move), and you can pick up clever border design ideas while sending a few quid (normally around £4) to highly worthy charities such as Macmillan. In Oxon, we’re keen to pop to pop to Bolters Farm in Chipping Norton (30 Aug). While in Bucks, there’s Ascott in Leighton Buzzard (30 Aug). Booking essential.

GLAMPING: Camp Hox pop-up, Eynsham Hall, Witney, throughout Aug 

Camp Hox Pop Up Eynsham Hall Oxfordshire

Run by the same lot behind London’s Hoxton hotels, this chic take on a camp site features 12 lotus tents decked out with all the necessities (actual beds, electricity, Roberts radios and tea and coffee-making facilities, etc.), and you’ll get access to your own private hot showers and toilets, a bottle of wine on arrival and a Hoxton breakfast bag delivered every morning. Best of all, there’s an outdoor pour-your-own Graham’s white port and tonic bar. Prices start at £185 per night, and you’ll also get a free night at any of Hoxton’s London hotels thrown into the mix.

POP-UP: The Lockdown Lodge, Hambledon Lock, nr Henley, 8 Aug – 1 Sept 

Cool new pop-up alert! Popping up on the bank of the Thames is a 35-seat terrace restaurant offering a five-course tasting menu, inspired by Henley, by celebrated chef and restauranteur Jimmy Garcia. Expect fine-dining food plus cocktails featuring local gins such as Muddy favourite Mr Hobbs Gin. There’ll also be takeaway street food in the day time.

EXHIBITION: Tools for Life, Modern Art Oxford, Oxford, until 15 March 

Johanna Unzueta, Nocturnal (detail), 2020. Johanna Unzueta: Tools for Life, installation view at Modern Art Oxford, 2020. Photo by Ben Westoby

Modern Art Oxford will be opening its bright and airy galleries, showing Tools for Life, the first solo show from Chilean artist Johanna Unzueta that combines art, clothing, a large-scale felt installation and a short film for a multi-faceted look at function and form.

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

I’ve missed our brilliant museums, haven’t you? The Ashmolean has opened it’s 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.

OUTDOOR CINEMA: Chilfest Cinema, Tring, throughout Aug

With Chilfest music festival postponed until 2021 (*sob*) the organisers are instead putting on an outdoor cinema to keep us entertained, just a hop, skip over the border in Tring, Herts. Enjoy a drink from the bar and park your bottom in a deck chair for a new line-up of films each week. 

COMEDY: Drive-In Comedy, Millet’s Farm Centre, nr Abingdon, 22 & 29 Aug

You’ve heard of drive-in cinemas, but have you ever seen a drive-in comedy club? Jericho Comedy have adapted their Saturday night show to be car-friendly with an American-style drive-in. Pull up to the bumper, baby!

KIDS: Creation’s School of Creativity, until 28 Aug 

If you have budding thespians at home, then Creation’s School of Creativity should also appeal. It’s a brand new programme of digitally-delivered weeklong workshops and day classes for theatre-lovers aged 5 to 19, covering everything from Hans Christian Andersen to Frankenstein. Workshops are £100 for a week while masterclasses are £25 per day, and both have sibling discounts available. 

EXHIBITION: Nick Knight: Roses from my Garden, Waddesdon Manor, until 25 Oct 

Isn’t this just beautiful? The image was taken by legendary fashion (Jil Sander) and celebrity (The Queen, Lady Gaga) photographer Nick Knight. He’s coming up roses with an exhibition at Waddesdon Manor, which features manipulated photographs of roses inspired by the work of 16th- and 17th-century still life painters like Jan Brueghel the Elder and Jan van Huysum. Read our interview with Nick here.


EXHIBITION: Electronic: From Kraftwerk to the Chemical Brothers, The Design Museum, London, until 14 Feb

From underground raves to the pioneering sounds used in Dr Who, this exhibition explores the history and culture of electronic music throughout the ages. 

EXHIBITION: Ai Weiwei: History of Bombs, Imperial War Museum, London, 1 Aug – 24 May 2021

Part of Refugees, a free season of exhibitions, artistic commissions and immersive events taking place across IWM London and IWM North, this exhibition draws on renowned artist Ai Weiwei’s ongoing investigation into politics and power.   

EXHIBITION: Steve McQueen, Tate Modern, London, until 6 Sept 

I love this shot! This solo exhibition of London-born artist and director of Oscar-winning 12 Years a Slave, Steve McQueen’s portfolio features 14 major works spanning his extensive career in film, photography and sculpture and is the first major UK exhibition since he received the Turner Prize in 1999. So, yeah, it’s a pretty big deal! The display will cover the last 25 years of McQueen’s career, including personal and intimate works such as his early film on a Super 8 camera and this awesome aerial depiction of the Statue of Liberty (above).


SHOP: MK Vintage Fair, centre:mk, Milton Keynes, 5 – 6 Sept

Milton Keynes is known for its high street shopping and mega brands so it’s brilliant to hear there’s something a little different on offer this month for shoppers who veer towards quirkier buys. This mammoth craft and vintage fair hosts stalls selling fashion, homewares, furniture, gifts, art, vinyl and more. You’ll find it all in that cavernous 1800 sq m space outside of John Lewis.

Find more ideas here

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