Celebrate creativity with Bucks Art Weeks

Round & About

events

Bucks Art Weeks, the county’s largest visual arts festival and open studios event, returns, 8th to 23rd June. You’re invited!

Every year in June the bright yellow signs go up across Buckinghamshire, and just across its borders. Often these are put up by individual artists and makers who’ve found the courage to open up their homes or studio to exhibit work to the public. Sometimes they are put up outside venues such as galleries, art centres, churches, barns and village halls where groups of artists gather together to create their displays.

As a visitor you might decide to visit open studios on your doorstep to support artists and to consider buying work. Other visitors plan tours using a town art trail, and can easily spend half a day meeting many of the artists, fuelled by a morning coffee or afternoon tea – many venues offer refreshments in exchange for a charity donation.

The free festival directory and website Bucks Art Weeks offers you a map of the locations of all these creatives. Decide on your stop-offs by looking at the online gallery belonging to each artist or maker, and check opening dates and times, parking, access and whether it’s a working studio with demonstrations. Keep an eye on @bucksartweeksofficial social media too.

One artist taking part for the first time is illustrator Elly Bazigos, whose work will be on show at Amersham Museum. She says: “I love interpreting history through illustration and drawing to process my experiences. Sometimes I even work like people in days gone by – I draw using a nib taped to a twig! For the museum, I hand painted more than 35 illustrations bringing Amersham history to life, bringing colour and charm to the timeline. Working with the museum is a pleasure. It’s small but mighty and I’m thrilled to be featured.”

An established favourite venue is Where Inspiration Blooms at Holy Trinity Church in Penn Street. Each year a diverse group of artists show their work here, and this year there are landscape paintings, ink prints, kiln-formed glass, ceramics, wildlife paintings, hand embroidered textiles and stained glass. Mia Babb, one of the artists, creates pen and ink drawings, often embellished with gold leaf. “I’m excited to be exhibiting with a talented, diverse group at a lovely venue which includes a brilliant pop-up cafe,” she tells us.

If you’re looking for something unique for your wardrobe, you could visit Sarah Ives in Lane End, who makes hand dyed and printed textiles. She says: “I discovered botanical printing and natural dyeing in 2019. I’ve always loved nature and crafts so it seemed a perfect fit, which quickly became a passion! I use plants, flowers and leaves to hand dye and print textiles. I create wearable art from natural fibres such as silk, wool, linen, leather and cotton, using crafts I love: sewing, crochet and weaving. You can often find me gathering the leaves, flowers, and plants from my garden where I grow my own flowers to use for dyeing and printing.”

Princes Risborough artist Christine Bass has been part of Bucks Art Weeks for an amazing 19 years, and she is the cover artist for this year’s directory with a lovely field of poppies. She paints her contemporary landscapes using acrylics with a collage base, and much of her work is inspired by the Ridgeway Path and the Chilterns countryside. Strong lines and shapes, flattened planes and saturated colour characterise a style that has won her many accolades. She is exhibiting among nine artists who are showing paper sculpture, ceramics, mosaics and jewellery at the medieval St Dunstan’s Church in Monks Risborough.

Did you know there is a new art gallery in Great Missenden? Hanks Gallery recently opened on the High Street. Claudine Hanks grew up in Little Kingshill and has lived in Prestwood for 17 years. She named the gallery in tribute to her father who sadly passed away when she was 10.

“I love the village,” says Claudine. “The countryside, community, knowing so many people when you pop to pubs and the gym. And the locals are delighted to have a gallery back on the High Street. It’s always been my dream to own an art gallery and exhibit my creations. I love what I do. And, knowing that people love my work too, well that’s simply… amazing.”

As a child Claudine loved to draw and paint. After passing her GCSEs at Rickmansworth Masonic School, then art A Level at The Misbourne, she gained an art foundation qualification at Bucks College. Claudine, who lives with her partner Kate, is also a graphic designer and proud owner of design agency, Blooberry Creative, an agency that helps businesses and charities with their branding, websites, campaigns and more. You can find out more at blooberrycreative.co.uk

Busy Claudine is also a DJ who founded OUR HOUSE which hosts local house music events. She adds: “I’m looking forward to the Our House day event on Sunday, 25th August at Magnolia Park in Wycombe. I’m DJing as well as my partner Kate and a host of other DJs. Tickets are available on Eventbrite, so see you there!”

Hanks Gallery will be open during Bucks Art Weeks and alongside Claudine’s work you can enjoy works by animal artist Sue Sibley. For more details please visit hanks gallery – art gallery

The Rowsham Creatives group at Manor Farm are busy bees. Before Bucks Art Weeks begins, on 1st June, they’ll host a fundraising event for the Multiple Sclerosis Trust with special guest actress Gill Wright (Jean Slater from EastEnders). Then throughout the festival fortnight there will be workshops for children (and adults) including: glass fusing, card making, drawing people, collages, painting in acrylic, pottery and print making. Find events and book in for a creative workshop at Rowsham Creatives – Manor Farm Fused Glass

Katrina Shearlaw, a glass artist who hosts the group in her studio, tells us: “I’m supporting six other artists, four of whom have never participated in the event before. It’s important to be able to support one another during this time and to keep art alive! I’m so excited to host my first charity event in support of the Multiple Sclerosis Trust. Gill is a friend of mine and her sister Lois was diagnosed with secondary progressive MS 25 years ago when she was in her 30s. It is a charity close to my heart as it has affected family and friends too, and with more than 130,000 people living with various types of MS in the UK so I’m delighted to help the cause.”

Once again The Boathouse Studio in Bourne End will welcome visitors to admire its beautiful leaded stained glass for the home and garden. Also in Bourne End, artist, painter and illustrator Sarah Luton will welcome visitors to her studio to see her wonderful local landscapes and portrait paintings: please visit sarahluton.com for a sneak peak!

Biodiversity Fun

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events

This May half term, The Lexicon has teamed up with garden and nature specialists Little Muddy Boots, to demystify the meaning of biodiversity for children, in a fun and engaging way.

From Friday, May 24 to Sunday, June 2, 2024, visitors to Bracknell town centre can embark on the Little Things Count trail, where they will discover fascinating facts about bugs, bees, blooms, birds, and butterflies.

In addition to the educational experience, participants have the opportunity to win two fabulous hampers from The Lexicon. On Tuesday, May 28, Berkshire Birds of Prey will grace The Lexicon with their majestic presence, offering visitors an unforgettable close encounter with these magnificent birds. Furthermore, CBBC’s Blue Peter Gardener, Skinny Jean Gardener, will lead a day filled with wildflower seed sowing, education, music, and fun on both Friday, May 31, and Saturday, June 1, 2024.

Little Muddy Boots will host a series of engaging workshops from May 28 to June 1, 2024, providing children with the chance to discover how small actions can make a significant impact on local wildlife. These workshops offer various activities, including exploring, planting, and crafting items such as bug hotels, wildflower seed bombs, and bird snacks to take home.

Sue Boor, head of marketing at The Lexicon, expresses hope that this fun and educational initiative will help children comprehend the crucial roles played by different forms of life in maintaining environmental health. Additionally, a dedicated web page featuring short educational videos and downloadable activity sheets has been created to further children’s learning about bugs, bees, blooms, birds, and butterflies.

For more information about Little Things Count and details on how to book for the different workshops please visit https://www.thelexiconbracknell.com/

Jump into the GAP

Round & About

events

Have you got your GAP Festival tickets yet? Ten day extravaganza kicks off on June 7th

The biennial cultural GAP Festival in Goring and Streatley will welcome festival goers to its incredible programme of over 50 exciting events in June.

Some events still have a few last tickets remaining. So if you haven’t got yours yet, or you are looking for a last minute opportunity to try something new, visit The Gap Festival to book yourself in and join this cultural extravaganza! As a registered charity, every ticket purchased goes back into bringing culture to the community. How about…

World-class mandolin player and wit Simon Mayor and Friends in a relaxed evening of magical music and humorous anecdotes on Friday 7th June.

The spectacular red carpet premiere of the shortlisted Children’s Film Festival short films, alongside a screening of The Super Mario Bros. Movie (PG) on Sunday 9th June.

For crime drama and true crime lovers, An Audience with Author Helen Saxton, with actors will re-enact key events and discuss the controversial story of Amanda Knox in the murder of Meredith Kercher on Monday 10th June.

Outdoor family theatre in an idyllic setting on the banks of the Thames, with a performance of The Adventures of Doctor Dolittle on Thursday 13th June.

A one hour family show of songs about science, maths and the wonders of the world around us with Helen Arney: A Voice of an Angle – as seen on BBC2, Channel 4 and Discovery – on Friday 14th June.

Step back in time, put on some 40s/50s glamour (or not!), sit back and tap your feet to the doo-wop harmonies of the Ding Dong Daddios on Saturday 15th June.

Enjoy a Glyndebourne-style opera experience, with GAP Opera: The Marriage of Figaro. Picnics, pimms, fizz and top class opera in three performances Friday 14th – Sunday 16th June.

Alongside the amazing variety of ticketed events, there are also a host of free activities and performances taking place, no ticket required – just drop in.

On Friday 7th June, pre-schoolers can bring their parents to join a morning of games, free play and interactive story with a Teddy Bear’s Picnic.

Join the cosmic fun of Saturday 8th June and experience all that Space Day has to offer, including blasting off a water rocket, space crafting, scale-model solar system treasure hunt and the chance to track the International Space Station live with local satellite company OrbAstro.

Visit Goring’s Rectory Garden on Sunday 9th June to join the Festival’s contribution to the national Great Big Green Week – The Great Green Food Day. Head down and discover creative ways to let eating and food play a vital part in helping tackle climate change, reduce waste and protect nature. Bring a picnic and enjoy live music, ask the experts question time, stalls, children’s activities and more, or pick up lunch from the collection of food and drink stalls and enjoy all the day has to offer.

Saturday 15th June hosts the return of the popular Festival Market Day. Enjoy browsing crafts, arts and skills from the local community, alongside face painting, refreshments and live music.

Meet and Greet the Owls at Withymead Nature Reserve on Saturday 15th June and learn all about owls, how they hunt, owl conservation and have a go at pellet dissection.

For art enthusiasts, there is a celebration of community art with a weekend long Art Exhibition from Saturday 15th – Sunday 16th June.

A chance to have a go at bell ringing with the Goring and Streatley ringers, followed by a lunchtime Festival Picnic Concert with Goring and Streatley concert band on the final day of the Festival – Sunday 16th June.

Plus a host of ‘fringe’ music events, popping up in local venues where you can sit back and soak up the Festival atmosphere with a drink in hand.

Find out all you need to know to make the most of this year’s Festival during the ten-day period and book your last minute tickets by visiting https://www.thegapfestival.org/

Egham Royal Show weekend in August

Round & About

events

The Egham Royal Show takes place on Saturday 26th and Sunday 27th August at the showground in Whitehall Lane.

Last year for the first time, the show provided children’s rides free of charge. This was a huge success so again this year, these rides will be free – including go-karts.

Egham Royal Show has a reputation for offering something for everyone. As well as the traditional rare breeds animals and horticulture/crafts competitions, there will be live music, trade stands, a model marquee, dog show, flight simulator, vintage and classic car display, archery, Morris dancers and a community marquee with real ales. The main arena will feature a variety of entertainments including birds of prey and motor bike stunt riding. There is free parking on-site.

Entry costs £12 for adults and £10 for concessions. Children under 15 accompanied by an adult come in free of charge. Advance tickets can be bought via the Show website at a discount.

For more info please visit Egham Royal Show

Sizzling summer ideas

Karen Neville

events

Summer holidays and longer warmer days are just begging to be filled with fun and with so many attractions and events to enjoy, you’re spoilt for choice

Bracing yourself for cries of “I’m bored, what can I do?” Don’t fret, there are so many activities and events on offer to entertain the little ones and not so little ones this summer, they’ll soon be wanting time to just do nothing!

Find activities near you:
Surrey
Buckinghamshire
Oxfordshire
West Berkshire & Wiltshire
Berkshire
Hants

Surrey

Hatchlands Park is bringing everything but the sea to Surrey this summer. Children will love dressing up and captaining the straw bale boat in the Walled Garden complete with ship’s wheel and bell! There’ll also be games and sports on the lawn and early years play by the new donkeys’ stables. Inside the house, discover extracts from the letters between Admiral Boscawen and his wife, Frances and explore the fascinating stories of some of the sailors who sailed with the Admiral. Plus outdoor theatre in the evening! www.nationaltrust.org.uk/visit/surrey/hatchlands-park

Journey back through British motorsport and take a trip in a vintage-style car up the infamous Test Hill or along the Members’ Banking of the old race track at Brooklands Museum near Weybridge.

There are animals to view and pet at Godstone Farm, hop on-board the popular tractor ride, explore the indoor and outdoor play areas or simply enjoy the cute farm animals. Want more animals? Merrist Wood near Guildford has recently been granted a zoo license, so this summer you can get up close to an amazing array of animals.

Here’s a different but charming way to spend a day during the hols. Meet The Llamas at Merry Harriers where every Saturday you can dine and meet the furry creatures. The trekker will take you to the field where you can feed them, stroke and learn a little about the lovely herd of 12 llamas. Book at [email protected]

Bucks

For a more relaxed day out explore the woods at National Trust property Hughenden during the school holidays with geocaching. Compete against each other in garden games or croquet on the lawn. Dress up in costumes for the performance stage area and get creating in crafting workshops. Booking not necessary for the Summer of Play which runs from July 22nd to September 4th.

Buckinghamshire’s much-loved family arts and literature festival, WhizzFizzFest, is back for 2023 and this year it’s going on tour over three weekends in July sharing the creative activities and memorable experiences all on the theme of friendship. Sunday 2nd, WhizzFizzFest
@Aylesbury on Sea with Aylesbury Town Council lands in Vale Park bringing a vibrant celebration of children’s creativity alongside plenty of beach-based fun at Aylesbury on Sea. Saturday 8th WhizzFizzFest @Desborough Carnival with High Wycombe BIDCo for a celebration of music and culture, free creative workshops, circus performances, street entertainment and more. WhizzFizzFest at Hats Off Chesham with Chesham Connect celebrates Chesham’s High Street, with added creative fun for all the family. Music, magic shows, crafting, climbing walls, giant bubbles and more on Saturday 15th – just don’t forget your hat!

Zip wires, Tarzan swings, rope ladders and a variety of obstacles and crossings are the challenges in store at Go Ape Wendover Woods. High up in the Chilterns, the leafy hideout is a hidden gem in the county and includes an ‘extreme’ site where you can take on the thrills and spills of the Chilterns Crossing and the Monkey Shuffle among other feats. Tree Top Adventure gives younger adventurers a chance to battle through obstacles and fly down zipwires with over 30 different crossings and two 80m zipwires for your little monkeys to try out.

Oxfordshire

Experience the thrill of being a medieval falconer and get up close and personal with magnificent birds of prey. Witness these graceful creatures soaring through the air, diving for their prey, and showing off their incredible hunting skills in Oxford Castle & Prison’s Castleyard on July 22nd. Join Knight School this summer there too. Don your armour, sharpen your sword and prepare to set out on a quest. Join in the Castleyard for medieval weapons training, jousting and archery – all under the supervision of the Castle’s knights. Once you’ve been trained, you will be knighted and presented with your own sword to take home. Select dates between July 24th and August 14th.

Abingdon’s Abbey Meadows is the scene for The Puppet Theatre Barge, one of the UK’s most unique venues, a 50-seat puppet theatre inside a converted Thames barge. The theatre will visit Abbey Meadows this summer with their new show The Selfish Giant, a puppetry production for all the family from July 22nd to August 13th.

Cogges Manor Farm‘s legendary Beer and Cider Festival is back with a bang on August 5th. Join them for a celebration in the Barns, for the 10th annual festival. Try over 40 different craft beers and 15 ciders, with live music to get the crowd dancing if the beer doesn’t help to loosen your inhibitions. The historic farm is also the location to enjoy summer theatre in the barn with Wind in the Willows on July 9th while Illyria bring Pride and Prejudice to the lawn on July 11th and Robin Hood on August 23rd.

Keep younger members of the family amused with Oxford Playhouse shows during the holidays including Zog, July 18th to 23rd, with his adventures through dragon school; go on an interactive adventure around the brain with Mind the Monsters at BT Studio, July 19th to 30th for 5-11 year olds. Blippi: The Wonderful World Tour is the ultimate curiosity adventure with monster trucks, excavators, and garbage trucks galore. Shake your wiggles out and OJ Twist your way through this brand-new musical party from August 15th to 26th for 2-7 years.

West Berks & Wiltshire

Wildfest 2023 on July 15th is BBOWT’s summer celebration at the Nature Discovery Centre in Thatcham. Guided walks, talks, music and family activities will fill the day, with local food and drink to enjoy. The newly-refurbished visitor centre offers a fun day out while the lakeside location is a haven for wildlife, woodland and trails to explore. bbowt.org.uk

The beautiful surroundings of Shaw House are the setting for a Summer Fair on July 16th where you can browse over 45 craft stalls from local makers with hot food and drinks from local caterers. Live music, craft activities with Ugly Duckling Pottery, performances from Mr Muddle the Magician and children’s rides will add to the fun and don’t forget your four-legged friend to enter into the dog show.

A monster truck display and rides, a motorcross display team, skydiving and aerobatic flying displays, hot air balloons, arena displays, live music and fireworks are all part of the attraction at Newbury Summer Fest on July 22nd, new for 2023. This big family day out is the way to start your summer holiday.

Top Gun: Maverick screams across the open air big screen at Cobbs Farm, Hungerford on July 22nd and there’s Shakespeare in the Garden the same night at The Hinds Head, Aldermaston when four actors will play numerous parts in Open Bar’s production of Twelfth Night.

Berkshire

All summer long you’re invited to come and play at Basildon Park. From July 1st to August 31st, take part in a variety of outdoor play activities. Test your skills on the wild play trail, where you can balance on logs, create your own ball run, and explore the great outdoors. Or try your hand at some lawn games, perfect for a family friendly competition. For the more active family members, there are a range of outdoor games to keep you moving. Don’t forget to take a picnic and enjoy a break in the beautiful grounds. Go along and join an adventure-filled summer at Basildon Park.

Building Royal Connections: Three women of Greys Court is a new exhibition running at the charming Henley property from July 20th until the end of October. Learn about the exceptional lives of three women, and how their influence contributed to the shifting landscape of Greys Court. Enter the worlds of Lettice Pennyston (c.1485-1558), Katherine Carey (1523-69) and Lettice Knollys (1543-1634).

Silent Summer Screenings are your go-to outdoor cinema for an unforgettable movie experience this summer. Whether you’re looking for a romantic night out, a family-friendly activity, or just fun with friends there are a variety of movies to choose from including at Henley’s Mill Meadows where you can enjoy Notting Hill on July 13th and Cool Runnings on July 14th.

Hants

Here’s a great way to get the summer off to a spectacular start. The Vyne Music Festival runs at the popular National Trust site from July 7th to 9th with three nights of music featuring Feel Good Friday when The FB Pocket Orchestra come complete with all of their electronic gadgets and the Still Moving DJ’s with their upbeat vibes, live percussion, ships’ lanterns, original vinyl records, gramophones, tankards and…dinosaurs! Absolutely Elton John takes to the stage on Saturday with a Gin & Jazz Party rounding off the weekend when you can grab your pearls and party like it’s 1929! Booking essential, https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/visit/hampshire/the-vyne/events

The Vyne is also the setting for some fabulous outdoor cinema in July. Watch Elvis, 28th; Dirty Dancing, 29th; Top Gun, 30th and Mamma Mia, 31st. On August 5th join the star-crossed young lovers Romeo and Juliet as the Lord Chamberlain’s Men invite you to take your seat under the night sky. Bring your picnics, blankets, camping chairs and torches to the north lawn for an evening of lively entertainment. Book at https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/visit/hampshire/the-vyne/events/d865e0b2-8794-48f2-a1b1-38f149970531?origin=search

This summer, join young Mary Lennox on a journey of discovery as she is sent to her uncle’s house in the countryside, where mysteries and secrets lurk around every corner in The Secret Garden… As she makes new friends and encounters magical creatures, Mary has one burning question: where is the location of her uncle’s secret garden, and where has he hidden the key? This enchanting story, loved by children and adults alike, is presented in the historic surroundings of Winchester Cathedral’s Lower Deanery Garden. Relive this tale of secrecy and curiosity in what will be one of the highlights of the summer on July 29th. Book at winchester-cathedral.org.uk/event/the-secret-garden-by-chapterhouse-theatre-company/

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Christmas fun with The National Trust

Ellie Cox

events

Hampshire’s National Trust treasures have lots of festive delights for all the family…

Christmas is the time for getting together, to feel the warmth of festive days out with family and friends. At National Trust places in and around Hampshire, you can do just that, with winter experiences to bring joy, sprinkles of magic, and for little ones especially, a tingle of excitement.

There’s a real variety of Christmas entertainment to discover this year, with plenty of spectacle and sparkle for those ‘wow’ moments and selfies moments. Decorated houses bring much-loved stories to life – kindling a glow of nostalgia. You’ll find family actives, storytelling and crafts. Outside, frosty landscapes offer an uplifting escape for those who want winter nature, views and festive walks.

Here’s a roundup of the National Trust’s best Christmas events in an around Hampshire.

The magical one

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe: Christmas at Mottisfont

Mottisfont, near Romsey

Step into a Narnia-inspired world at Mottisfont this winter, with scenes and a family trail inspired by C.S. Lewis’s much-loved story, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. The magic begins from the moment you enter the gardens, where Narnia’s famous black lamp post illuminates your way to the house, transformed for a 1940s Christmas. Inside, follow wartime evacuees Edmund, Lucy, Susan and Peter into the kingdom of the White Witch – a landscape of snow and Turkish delight. An enchanted woodland scene introduces more famous characters – look out for Lucy having tea with Mr Tumnus the fawn – and a display of exquisite Narnia illustrations by Pauline Baynes, the original artist of C.S. Lewis’s children’s books. There are plenty of ‘wow’ moments, from walking through the wardrobe into Narnia, and seeing the White Witch in her sleigh, to sitting on a throne with Aslan at the crowning of the young kings and queens. Outside, families can collect their Narnia-style map to continue the adventure. Life-size wardrobes frame iconic scenes, there are story-themed activities, and loads of great ‘selfie’ opportunities as you enter the Beaver’s cottage, find Father Christmas’s sleight and sit in the throne room at Cair Paravel.

26th November – 8th January (closed 24th & 25th December). Normal admission charges apply plus £1 per trail including members.

The cosy one

The Wind in the Willows at Christmas, Hinton Ampler

Hinton Ampner, near Alresford

The much-loved World of The Wind in the Willows comes to Hinton Ampner this Christmas. Inside the house follow Mollie, Rat and Badger as they leave their sheltered lives in the woods and along the riverbank to rescue incorrigible friend Toad from his wild adventures. Rooms are beautifully decorated to tell the story, from Toad’s motor car exploits to the friends’ stand against the mischievous weasels. Outside, you can visit the characters’ homes, dressed in charming seasonal displays, including Mole’s sweet little burrow among the trees and the grandeur of Toad Hall in the walled garden. Storytelling: enjoy Wind in the Willows storytelling on selected dates, in the cosy setting in Hinton’s second-hand bookshop (subject to volunteer availability).

26th November – 2nd January, Wednesday to Sunday (closed 25th & 26th December). Normal admission charges apply. Storytelling in the bookshop: 4, 11, 18, 20, 22, 27, 29 December, 11am-12pm & 1-2pm, free (note: these sessions are subject to volunteer availability). Pre-booking for Hinter Ampner essential, at https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/hinton-ampner or call 0344 249 1895.

The glamorous one

Christmas at The Vyne

The Vyne, near Basingstoke

This Christmas, the atmospheric interiors of The Vyne are decked out in Victorian festive finery, with twinkling lights and glittering Christmas trees. Inspired by the mansion’s 18th century ‘Grand Tour’ treasures, which include an incredible casket encrusted with semi-precious stones, you’ll also find decorations that celebrate Christmas in Europe. Look out for sumptuous Venetian masks, mini ‘Colesseums’ and intricate Moravian stars. A special ‘Passport’ takes families on their own ‘Grand Tour’ adventure in the house and gardens, with actives to try that explore festive traditions in other countries.

26th November – 3rd January (closed 24th & 25th December). Normal admissions charges apply plus £2 per family passport including member. If arriving by car pre-booking is essential, at https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/the-vyne or call 0344 249 1895

The handmade one

Christmas at Uppark

Uppark House and Garden

Celebrate Christmas at Uppark and see the mansion adorned with natural and handmade decorations. Pretty festoon lights illuminate the approach to the mansion. Inside, you’ll find the entrance hall beautifully dressed and festively scented with winter greenery, pinecones, citrus fruit and cinnamon. Above and below stairs, each room has its own crafted theme, from music to haberdashery. Made by local community groups and including sparkling Christmas trees, the result is a unique and joyful Christmas experience. 

 19th November – 1st January, Thursday to Sunday (closed 25th & 26th December). Normal admission charges apply 

The medieval one

A Tudor Christmas

Winchester City Mill

Celebrate Christmas with Winchester City Mill as we go back to Tudor times, when Queen Mary I gifted the Mill to the City of Winchester. This ancient building is set for a royal feast, with festive decorations, costumes to dress up in, and a throne to sit on for a unique Tudor ‘selfie’. Our café is serving festive specials such as marchpane and gold leaf shortbread, as well as lots of other seasonal treats, many made using the Mill’s own stoneground flour. At weekends you can watch our volunteer millers making fresh stoneground flour, which is available to buy too, so that you can get baking at home. Pick up a pack of recipe cards, for some seasonal inspiration (for a small donation).

12 November – 2 January, Wednesday to Sunday (closed 25 to 27 December. Free entry. 

Craft workshops

Christmas dinner set ceramics class with Tash Fry

Local ceramicist Tash Fry will introduce you to the art of hand-building ceramics this Christmas, as you sculpt your very own tableware, for yourself or for gifts. Using hand-pinching and slab rolling techniques, you’ll create several pieces, from dinner plates to candlestick holders. The choice is yours. Allow up to four weeks for pieces to be fired. No previous experience necessary.

22 & 23rd November, 6-8pm, £45 per person, book on 0344 249 1895 or visit www.nationaltrust.org.uk/winchester-city-mill

Christmas wreath making workshop with Field Farm Project

Join us inside ancient Winchester City Mill to make your own natural festive wreath using a base of willow and selected greenery. There’ll be a wide assortment of decorations to use, including fragrant pine cones, seed heads, teasels and berries, finished off with pretty ribbons to create a really eye-catching rustic design. All materials are supplied by Field Farm Project.

28 & 29 November, 4.30 – 7pm, £45, book on 0344 249 1895 or at www.nationaltrust.org.uk/winchester-city-mill 

Discover dog-friendly venues in Newbury

Round & About

events

Newbury Business Improvement District are launching a new Dog-Friendly Trail Map in time for National Dog Day

The handy pocket Dog-Friendly Trail Map has launched online in advance of National Dog Day on Friday, 26th August, to help raise awareness of Newbury’s dog-friendly venues in the town centre.

The guide also supports the national and independently owned cafes, coffee shops, pubs, and eateries.

Copies of the map are due to be distributed in matching display boxes to all 20 independent businesses and some of the national brands featured, as well as at the 48 independent businesses included on the Independent Retail Map, launched in July.

There will be a further map in late summer / early autumn, this time sporting a vegan-friendly theme

The Dog-Friendly map includes a brief description of each venue and is set to become a useful resource for dog owners to discover the best dog-walking routes within walking distance of the town centre, while signposting to dog-waste bins in and around the area to encourage keeping Newbury clean and tidy. View the map online at: visitnewbury.org.uk/maps.

The themed maps produced by the BID are the second in a series of town centre maps for Newbury under the umbrella term ‘Newbury Town Trail Maps’.

Newbury BID, the not-for-profit organisation behind the Visit Newbury brand will also be releasing a further map in late summer / early autumn, this time sporting a vegan-friendly theme. This map will promote 59 vegan-friendly businesses extending from hospitality to retail and hair and beauty venues across the town centre.

The aim of our beautifully illustrated pocket guides and online interactive Town Trails is to help support our local businesses and raise the profile of our wonderful town centre

Kirsty Lemberger, Marketing Manager at Newbury BID, says: “We’re so pleased with our dog-friendly trail maps and hope the handy pocket-sized format will encourage dog-walkers to use the map on a regular basis to locate dog waste bins in the town centre and enjoy exploring new dog-walking routes in the area.

“The aim of our beautifully illustrated pocket guides and online interactive Town Trails is to help support our local businesses and raise the profile of our wonderful town centre. Launching our dog friendly map in line with the nationally recognised National Dog Day will help to increase awareness further while supporting a cause important to dog-lovers in West Berkshire and beyond!”

Maps are available to collect across the town centre at most businesses featured on the map, and from Newbury Library, West Berkshire Museum, and in the Old Town Hall.

If you run a business in Newbury Town Centre and would like to be included on an upcoming map, please email: [email protected].

To find out more about what’s happening in Newbury, please visit: visitnewbury.org.uk/newburys-calling.

What have you missed?

Liz Nicholls

events

Here we are, a full year after lockdown was announced. Let’s face it, tempers feel a little bit frayed this week, which is natural, really, as we approach the final furlong towards (hopeful) freedom!

So we were wondering… what have you missed most over the last 12 months? Maybe it’s something you took for granted BC (before Covid). That coffee & cake break with workmates… Your routine hair appointment… Saturday sport.

Hospitality

As you know we’re raising a glass to our hospitality heroes with our R&A Good Cheer awards because eating & drinking while supporting our local pubs, restaurants, delicatessens is right up there at the top of our list. Watch this space for news of the winners soon!

Entertainment

Entertainment is another industry we salute, as we remain hopeful of the roadmap to freedom allowing us to enjoy theatre again. As Louise Chantal, co-director of The Oxford Playhouse puts it: “We miss our friends. I think of the scores of youngsters in our 17-25 Young Company, who were in their last week of a year’s preparation for their showcase production when we closed [in March 2020], and our long-standing amateur partners – Oxford Theatre Guild, Oxford Operatics and Opera Oxford – whose yearly extravaganzas at the Playhouse bring together hundreds of local people, from every possible background, to put on a show.

The Oxford Playhouse team, intermittently furloughed and each covering several people’s jobs, transferred all the participation and artist development programmes online (leading the march to digital nationally) and have worked with over 4,500 young people and community group members to ‘stay creative’ during lockdown. “We kept telling stories and supporting artists all through this crazy year,” says Louise.

Check out the Oxford Playhouse co-production of The Picture of Dorian Gray, starring Stephen Fry and Joanna Lumley, and upcoming highlights.

In the last couple of weeks, we’ve moved on from what felt like the world’s longest winter to all of the joys of spring

Festivals

With a summer of festivals shelved last spring, the idea of enjoying the pick of the area’s crop of get-togethers this summer feels like a dream… Boomtown near Winchester is tentatively set to go ahead in August, with tickets selling out this month.

“In the last couple of weeks, we’ve moved on from what felt like the world’s longest winter to all of the joys of spring and the collective excitement to reclaim the summer for hugging friends and family and dancing until our shoes fall off…” said the team.

“It’s still a long and rather complicated road to get there, but if we’re allowed to go ahead, words will never be able to fully describe the sheer love and energy that will radiate through this year’s fair.

The team behind Reading (and its northern sister festival Leeds) are also delighted to have sold out all tickets to eager festival-lovers, with Stormzy, Postmalone, Disclosure and Liam Gallagher ready to rock after a quiet year!

So…. what have you missed? Tell us on Twitter and we will be here to celebrate all of these returning joys with you!!!


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Abingdon events

Round & About

events

Cycling, MG cars, rowing and WWII commemoration all part of an unmissable day in Abingdon

Abingdon is the place to be this Sunday – there’s so much going on you’ll be spoilt for choice!

Start the day on your bike with the Abingdon Cycle Festival which runs from 9am to 4pm with free rides and cycling activities for all ages and abilities.

The event, which offers more than 20 rides for road and mountain bikes and anything else with two wheels, aims to encourage as many as possible to get on their bikes, with rides starting from the Market Square from 9am.

Live music, food and bike displays add to the atmosphere and make for a great family day.

For more on this visit the Freewheeling site

 

If four wheels are more your thing then Abingdon MG car club is holding a rally leaving from Miele at 10am. The classic cars are always a great attraction for watching crowds.

For more details on this see the MG Car Club Abingdon site.

 

From the roads to the river with the Abingdon Spring Head of the River Rowing Festival – more than 360 boats from across the country will race on the Thames watched by spectators at Rye Farm Meadow and along the course past the Marina and along to Culham weir.

There’s a BBQ, local beer, tea and cakes, Morris dancing and much more to enjoy too.

The racing starts around 10am, for more on this visit Abingdon Rowing Centre

 

And if you’re still hungry for more then step back in time with The Thames at War, 1940s Day at Abingdon lock commemorating the water-borne Home Guard during the Second World War, the Upper Thames Patrol.

The day (10am to 4pm) will be full of fun with Home Guard displays, exhibitions, talks, re-enactors, military vehicles and vintage boats, including Dunkirk little ships.

Find out more at the Thames at War website