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Reader Treats Just For You!

This weekend

Fri 30 Aug - Sun 1 Sept

FESTIVAL: Cool Britannia, Knebworth Park, Herts, 30 August – 1 September

Cast your mind back to the time of the clash of Britpop titans (Oasis v Blur, obvs!) and you’re in the right ballpark for this one. On the Main Stage are the likes of James, Fun Lovin’ Criminals and Basement Jaxx. Kids are welcome but you might want to go child-free to this one and re-live your youth raving into the small hours at the Ministry of Sound Stage.


FAMILY: The Tiger Who Came to Tea, Hertford Theatre, 30 Aug – 1 Sept

Remember this one? Believe it or not, the classic kids’ book by Judith Kerr has been popping up on stage for a decade. This month it’s coming to Hertford, direct from the West End, with everyone’s favourite tea-guzzling tiger and plenty of mayhem. Recommended for ages 3-7.


SPORT: Summer of Sport, Waddesdon Manor, until 30 Aug (Wed – Sun)

Waddesdon’s gorgeous grounds above will play host to a variety of sporting activities over the summer break including three sporty-themed trails, workouts, orienteering, football, badminton, table tennis and the National Trust venue is even putting on its own  Tour de Waddesdon!


FESTIVAL: Chilli Fest, Waddesdon Manor, Sat 31 Aug – Sun 1 Sept

The weather’s taken a down turn but it’s still sizzling at Waddesdon Manor‘s annual Chilli Fest which takes place in the beautiful Aviary Gardens. There’ll be a curated selection of artisan producers, indie traders, plus live music and family activities.


FILM: Secret Garden pop-up cinema at The Grove, Chandler’s Cross, 1-31 August

Enjoy the first ever cinema under the stars at The Grove this month, as a pop-up screen comes to the magical Walled Garden. You don’t have to be a hotel resident to enjoy it, there are some great Supper and Cinema packages, where you can dine at one of the amazing restaurants – the newly refurbished Glasshouse, or the more informal Stables – before settling in for a movie in the surroundings of the hotel’s urban beach and pool – I can vouch for the fact that it’s just gorgeous! Pop on some headphones, snuggle into a comfy beanbag and enjoy the show. Snacks and drinks will be available too. Front row seats please!


KIDS: Willows Farm Summer Spectacular, Willows Activity Farm, St Albans, until 1 September

Throughout the summer hols there’s loads of Peter Rabbit themed fun going on at Willows, from the amazing maize maze, live shows starring all the favourite characters from the TV programme, animal encounters, tractor rides and a whole programme of special events, including circus skills workshops and goat racing.


KIDS: Family Summer Trail: Nature pirates, RSPB Rye Meads Nature Reserve, Stanstead Abbotts, until 1 Sept. 

Mini swashbucklers can really get into the role on one of these summer trails at Rye Meads. Captain Swift-Tyde has sent out a message in a bottle calling all nature pirates to help her discover the treasure. It’s all aboard the Sea Raven to help her explore the reserve, collect some natural treasures, walk the plank, build a treasure chest and a crow’s nest. Those lucky enough might even catch a glimpse of the ellusive ‘blue flash’, but look out for the Kraken! There’s also a photo comp for whoever takes the best snap. Pirate attire encouraged. It’s just £2 per child and there’s no need to book, just drop in. Ooh argh, me ‘earties!


EXHIBITION: 100 years of the Hertfordshire Women’s Institute, until 8 Sept

It’s not all jam and Jerusalem you know, the WI has come a long way in the last century – yep 100 years since it started in Hertfordshire. Delve into the history of the Herts federation at this exhibition…




Exhibitions still on the go this month include Sweet Harmony: Rave at Saatchi Gallery, an exploration of the new world that emerged from the acid house movement in the ’80s and ’90s and the beginnings of rave culture; a collection of Manolo Blahnik‘s work curated by the iconic shoe designer himself at The Wallace Collection (until Sun 1 Sept). Also on the fashion front is the Mary Quant retrospective at the V&A (Muddy’s been, it’s really cool), featuring over 200 of the seminal ’60s designer’s pieces (until 16 Feb). Or, also at the V&A is the largest House of Dior collection ever staged in the UK, a handful of tickets for evening slots have been added so snaffle quick if you want to go as it’s super popular (until 1 Sept).

Keith Haring

Other exhibitions include the family-friendly Beasts of London, at the Museum of London, a fully immersive, digital installation exploring the role animals have played in the shaping of London with the likes of Kate Moss, Brian Blessed and Pam Ferris voicing the animals which are brought to life using video projection mapping; the major Van Gogh show at Tate Britain with over 45 of the artist’s famous works including Starry Night on the Rhône and Sunflowers; if you’re heading up north, check out the  Keith Haring exhibition at Tate Liverpool, a legend on the ’80s graffiti, pop art and underground club culture scene, the exhibit features 85 works including large-scale paintings, posters, photos and video. Very cool.



MUSICAL: Madagascar The Musical, Aylesbury Waterside, Aylesbury, 19 – 22 Sept 

Photo by Scott Rylander

Alex the lion (played by X Factor winner Matt Terry), Marty the zebra, Melman the giraffe, Gloria the hippo and a troupe of pesky penguins explode onto the Aylesbury Waterside’s stage in Madagascar The Musical next month, a guaranteed hit with kids (and adults for that matter) who like to move it move it (sorry). Tickets here.


CULTURE: Henley Literary Festival – featuring Muddy Stilettos Book Club Live, Phyllis Court, Henley, Sat 5 Oct 

It’s back, baby! We’re returning to Henley Lit Fest (28 Sept – 6 Oct) this year with lashings of wine, plenty of pizzazz and a panel of brilliant authors: actor, Celebrity Master Chef winner and Meant to Be author Lisa Faulkner, former deputy editor of ELLE and How to be a Gentlewoman author Lotte Jeffs, and Five Steps to Happy debut novelist Ella Dove. More info here. Get your tickets pronto, last year was a sell out.

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