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Things to do in Berkshire this May

PUBLISHED: 12:12 01 May 2018 | UPDATED: 14:08 02 May 2018

HM The Queen is a regular visitor the horse show in the private grounds of Windsor Castle (Photo: Maureen McLean)

HM The Queen is a regular visitor the horse show in the private grounds of Windsor Castle (Photo: Maureen McLean)


We round up some of the best events and things to do across Berkshire this month

Discover weekly events and photography in the links above

Royal Windsor Horse Show

Just a short walk from where all the behind the scenes work is speeding up in the last fortnight before the Royal Wedding, this great event provides a superb day out beside the Castle.

The show, celebrating its 75th anniversary year, runs from 9 to 13 May and includes top international show jumping, dressage and carriage driving, as well as showing classes and much more. For a start there’s all the pomp and ceremony of The Musical Ride of the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment and The Musical Drive of the King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery.

The Shetland Pony Grand National provides plenty of excitement and other attractions include the huge shopping village and host of places to eat.


Windsor Racecourse

How about an outdoor screening of both the Royal Wedding and then the FA Cup final? All day access here is just £5 in advance (£10 on the gate), no charge for those under three, and includes live music and free children’s entertainment. The racecourse also has special parking deals for the Big Day, as well as a bookable return boat into the town centre (have a Pimms on the way!). Make the day complete with a meal in the Royal Restaurant, served 2 to 6pm.

There’s also the Complete Royal Experience, £65, taking you through the day from breakfast through to lunch with wine or beer.


Wasing Wellbeing Event

This event is in support of Mental Health Awareness Week and Recovery in Mind and takes place between 6.30pm-9pm on 15 May. At The Shed in Wasing Park, Aldermaston (RG7 4NB). Meet the team of wellbeing practitioners who will share their experiences and the tools and techniques they use to support a healthy mind and body.


Princely Afternoon Tea

Taplow House Hotel has a special offer running from 18 to 20 May, a very special afternoon tea which includes two glasses of something sparkling, per person. The cost is £29.95 per person

Book on 01628 670056 or email events@taplowhouse.com

Cliveden Garden Party

You may not have an invite to the actual ceremony, but country house hotel Cliveden has the next best thing! The fun begins at 11.30am on 19 May when guests are served a glass of Summer Cup before going indoors to the Churchill Room to watch the Wedding of the Year unfold. A barbecue lunch, Prosecco, toasts and jazz band complete the event. Tickets are £85 per person for Cliveden Club Members, £95 per person for non Club Members.

Or book the ultimate getaway, The Regal Weekend, with champagne, cocktails, dinner in both André Garrett Restaurant and The Astor Grill, a river cruise and other treats, from £1,295 per person.


Twyford’s Double

Villagers in Twyford and the local area can watch both the wedding and the FA Cup final on a giant screen as part of a bumper day of fun at St Mary’s Church from 11am on 19 May.

There will also be a children’s disco, plus entertainment from Bonnie the Bubble Lady and the Reading Accordion Group, and a performance by Twyford’s own prize winning contemporary acapella vocal group, Avenue.

Organiser Paul Bromley says: “Throughout the day food and drink will be available, including bubbly to celebrate the wedding, Pimms to sip, local Bingham’s Twyford Tipple beer, and of course tea and coffee. There will also be cakes and scones. Twyford Scout Group will be cooking on their barbecue, so no one will go hungry.”

The event has been supported by Ballards estate agents and tickets are £4 for adults and £1 for children, available from Floor Store in Twyford or from the church office on 0118 934 4792. Profits will go to Christian Aid.

How Spencer’s ‘angels’ helped him flourish

A new exhibition, Patron Saints: Collecting Stanley Spencer, has opened at Cookham’s Stanley Spencer Gallery and draws together a spectacular collection of loans, including The Centurion’s Servant, Tate; Love on the Moor, Fitzwilliam; John Donne Arriving in Heaven, Fitzwilliam; and some work not seen in the public domain in over 50 years.

Curator Amanda Bradley says: “Behind Stanley Spencer, one of the greatest Modern British artists, was a group of individuals who enabled his very existence – both artistically and emotionally. They were not wildly rich, but they were powerful, cultivated, intellectual and artistic. Some bought on spec, others were true patrons, giving him the freedom to fulfil his artistic genius. Most fostered long-lived relationships with the artist, influencing his life and work more than has hitherto been realised. These were the patron saints.”

The exhibition will examine the often complex relationships between Spencer and his patrons and what drove them to collect his work. Spencer was a single-minded genius, but the influence of his patrons on his painting is far greater than has previously been acknowledged. At the turn of the century, collecting art was no longer the preserve of the aristocracy and the upper classes, but Spencer’s art appealed to a broad spectrum of art lovers, fellow artists, businessmen and politicians.

Many of his patrons lived in Cookham, where he lived and found artistic inspiration, and many of his paintings were influenced by his spiritual feelings for that place. His idiosyncratic and deeply personal approach gave him a wide and enduring appeal, and he was patronised by some of the most important cultural figures and taste-makers of that time.

The gallery at 16 High Street, Cookham, opens 10.30am to 5.30pm, admission adults, £6, concessions (seniors, students) £4 with free entry to carers, Friends of the Gallery, accompanied children and 50% reduction for ArtFund members.


Please let the sun shine!

• A new family music festival comes to West Berkshire over the Spring Bank Holiday weekend of Friday, 25 to Sunday, 27 May, with camping available until the 28th. Sun Shine Music Fest will take place at Padworth and feature 1980s artists including Katrina (ex and the Waves), Dr and the Medics and Dave Finnegan’s Commitments, plus top tribute bands.


• Cookham will be bouncing on 19 May when the 10th Let’s Rock The Moor Festival is held, with a fantastic retro line up including Adam Ant, Billy Ocean, Tony Hadley, Kim Appleby and Midge Ure.


• Stepping into the 1990s, icons of British pop, 5ive and S Club, join forces for the ‘Ultimate Pop Reunion’ tour. They’ll be on stage at Sub 89 Reading on 17 May.

Imaginative works at The Watermill

Two very different performances will delight audiences at The Watermill Theatre at Bagnor in the coming weeks.

A new version of the black comedy Burke and Hare by Tom Wentworth runs from 24 April to 5 May and is as hysterical as it is historical. The cast includes Katy Daghorn (Mrs Hare), Alex Parry (William Hare) and Hayden Wood (William Burke).

Director, Abigail Pickard Price says: “Using three actors to tell a story that results in the murder of over 16 people is no mean feat, but we will let hilarity ensue when the cast, assisted by rather a lot of hats and a few musical instruments, do just that.”

Then from 10 May to 16 June The Watermill Ensemble is joined by Tyrone Huntley in the role of Lysander and Sophie Stone as Hermia for Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Director Paul Hart says: “Creating these productions for a modern audience is challenging and hugely fulfilling. Working with people you trust and admire in an environment like The Watermill means we can take imaginative and contextual leaps which are exciting for us and, hopefully, audiences as well.”


Other events

• 4, 11, 18, 25 May, Guided Walks, Basildon Park, RG8 9NR

• 5 May, Reading Farmers’ Market, Great Knollys Street, RG1 7HU

• 17 May, Fun Charity Golf Day, Donnington Valley Golf Club, Newbury, tel: 07831 253267

• 20 May, Artisan Market, Newbury town centre

• 27-28 May, The Highclere Country Show, Highclere Castle, tel: 01189 56232

• 28 May, Children’s Fun Day, Crockhamwell Road, Woodley town centre, tel: 07506 741591

• 28 May, Yattendon & Frisham Bank Holiday Fete, tel: 01635 202096 

Open gardens for NGS

• 6 May, Rookwood Farm House, Stockcross, RG20 8JX, tel: 01488 608676

• 13 May, Sandleford Place, Newbury, RG20 9AY, tel: 01635 40726; Stoke Poges Memorial Gardens, Slough, SL2 4NZ, tel: 01753 523744;

• 20 May, The Old Rectory, Farnborough, Oxon, OX12 8NX tel: 01488 638298; Handpost, Reading, RG7 1PU

• 26-28 May, Stubbings House, Maidenhead, SL6 6QL, tel: 01628 825454

• 27-28 May, West Silchester Hall, Silchester, RG7 2LX, tel: 01189 700278 


The Hexagon, Queens Walk, tel: 01189 606060

2 May, Walk Right Back; 3 May, The Abbey 130 Celebration Concert; 6 May, Grumpy Old Women to The Rescue; 10 May, Madama Butterfly; 11 May, BalletBoyz 2018; 16-19 May, Sainsbury Singers Presents: Anything Goes; 23 May, Jason Manford: Muddle Class; 25 May, The Rocket Man: Tribute to Sir Elton John; 26 May, Kevin and Karen: Dance; 28-29 May, Bill Bailey; 30 May, Black Magic: The Little Mix Show; 31 May, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra

Concert Hall, Town Hall, Blagrave Street, tel: 01189 606060

15 May, Brodsky Quartet

Progress Theatre, The Mount, Christchurch, tel: 01183 842169

16-19 May, Progress Premieres; 25 May, Rebecca Poole Quintet

Shinfield Players Theatre, Whitley Wood Lane, Shinfield, tel: 01189 758880

12 May, Dean Friedman in Concert


The Watermill Theatre, Bagnor, tel: 01635 46044

Until 5 May, Burke and Hare; 10 May – 16 June, A Midsummer Night’s Dream

The Corn Exchange & New Greenham Arts, tel: 08455 218218

10-11 May, Dracula: The Bloody Truth; 18 May, Yolanda Brown: 10 Years in Music Tour; 18 May, Barbican Quartet; 19 May, Joe Stilgoe and His Quartet: A Celebration of Gene Kelly; 20 May, Come and Sing HMS Pinafore; 20 May, Play For Today; 21 May, Sheepdrove Piano Competition Winner; 22 May, Tibetan Monks from Tashi Lhunpo Monastery; 23 May, Timothy Ridout; 24 May, Ballet Central


Theatre Royal Windsor, tel: 01753 853888

Until 5 May, The Importance of Being Earnest; 6 May, ELO Encounter; 8-12 May, Little Mermaid; 13 May, Mad About Movies; 15-20 May, Horrible Histories: Best of Barmy Britain; 20 May, The Bob Dylan Story; 21-22 May, Iolanthe; 23-26 May, Persuasion; 28 May – 2 June, The Be All and End All


Norden Farm Centre for the Arts, tel: 01183 788660

1/8/15/22 May, Maidenhead Community Choir; 16 May, An American in Paris: The Musical; 18 May, The Alter Eagles; 19 May, The Jigantics; 20 May, Andrea Valeri; 22 May, Chris White and Julie Matthews; 25 May, Spring into Summer with Stan Sulzmann; 26 May, Hancock and Co; 29 May, Matthew Bourne’s Cinderella; 31 May, Found


South Hill Park, Ringmead, tel: 01344 484123

11 May, The Johnny Cash Roadshow; 12 May, Dog Don’t Do Ballet; 15-19 May, Monty Python’s Spamalot; 24-25 May, Quentin Crisp: Naked Hope; 27 May, Dad’s Army Radio Hour; 28 May, Animalphabet The Musical; 31 May – 3 June, Alice in Wonderland


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