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Events and things to do in Berkshire - April 2016

PUBLISHED: 11:52 05 April 2016 | UPDATED: 11:52 05 April 2016

Enjoy the sights in the grounds at Rookwood House

Enjoy the sights in the grounds at Rookwood House

James Kerr 2014

Get ready to enjoy a Great British day out in Berkshire

Rockwood Garden & Gift Fair

An absolute must this month is the annual Rookwood Garden & Gift Fair on 21 April. If you haven’t been before don’t miss the chance to enjoy the outdoor sights at the home of Rupert and Charlotte Digby at Stockcross near Newbury.

Marvel at the gardens and wander around some 60 specially selected stalls, including nurseries offering rare and unusual plants. You’ll also find high quality garden accessories and gift stalls.

Daily Mail Weekend magazine gardening writer Constance Craig Smith will open the Early Bird Gardener Fair from 9am with a champagne breakfast celebrating HM The Queen’s 90th birthday for £15 per person, email to apply for tickets. The fair runs from 10am to 4pm.

This year Polly Wood talks on ‘Starting a Kitchen Garden’ and Jane Lawrence will host ‘Growing Cut Flowers’ with a demonstration (lecture tickets £20, including entry to fair). Entry fee just to the fair is £5, charitable donations will go to Brighter Futures, which raises funds for Great Western Hospitals and community services.


Spencer’s World of Outdoor Glory

There’s great excitement at the Stanley Spencer Gallery in Cookham as a significant exhibition gets underway - Stanley Spencer: Visionary Painter of the Natural World.

From 24 March the gallery will display a collection of his paintings of the outdoor world.

Some of Spencer’s most memorable works are on display, covering everything from vegetables in Cookham High Street front gardens to a rocky outcrop in Macedonia. Private collectors and galleries have kindly made the exhibition possible with loans.


Art fair with much to offer

Reading Contemporary Art Fair has a special spot in the town’s social life this year as this is Reading’s Year of Culture. The fair at Rivermead Leisure Complex will bring together some 130 exhibitors over the 23 to 24 April weekend.

One of this year’s highlights is a piece of work in which visitors will collaborate. Inspired by Roman and Greek pavements, it is by Reading-based artist Tom Cartmill. As you enter, the ‘red carpet’ will be a large scale ink drawing on the floor. The footfall will actively ‘weather’ the piece and transform into something expressing that impact.

You can find pieces from £40 to £4,000 by fine artists, printmakers, photographers, sculptors, ceramicists and selected galleries. The Princes Trust Canvases is always popular with small artworks donated by the exhibiting artists. Visitors can enjoy wine tasting with M-Wines and refreshments from the café.

The fair will be opened by Sir John Madejski at the Private View on 22 April. Weekend tickets are £7 on the door, but just £5 if booked via, with discounts for concessions and children. You can also buy tickets for the private view, £12 single. 

A Great British tradition

Tutti Day on 5 April is when Hungerford celebrates Hocktide, a festival going back 900 years to when John O’Gaunt left an estate to the people there, 
with the manor able to collect rent from commoners.

These days it’s a mix of old and modern fun, with an early start when the Bell Man blows a horn to summons folk to the town hall. Costumed Tutti Men accompanied by wenches head through the town, but nowadays they don’t collect rent or pennies for fishing rights, but the odd kiss on the cheek from agreeable ladies.

Spend the day, visit fascinating shops, wander the banks of the Kennet & Avon Canal. If you can’t make it on Tutti Day, Hungerford is a great choice at any time.

A feast of foodie writers

The UK’s first Literary Food Festival, Henley on Food, takes place at Shiplake College on 30 April and Sunday, 1 May, featuring some of the UK’s best-loved names.

Enjoy a feast of talks, Q&As, cookery demonstrations, samplings and wine tastings, pop-up Supper Clubs with chefs, and foodie activities for children.

The line-up includes nutritionist Madeleine Shaw, who heads there with her second book – Ready Steady Glow – set to be published days before the event. Frances Quinn, winner of the BBC’s Great British Bake Off 2013 will attend with her debut cookbook, Quinntessential Baking, while BBC MasterChef host John Torode is the author of My Kind of Food: Recipes I love to cook at home.


St George’s Day celebrations

Make the most of St George’s Day with events celebrating all things English. At Windsor Royal Shopping the fun begins at 11.30am on Saturday, 23 April when a story teller in medieval costume will reveal the patron saint’s tale.

There will be magic tricks along the way as dragons and swords are made out of balloons. For youngsters there’s a Knights and Princesses competition – just arrive in fancy dress and register before 2.30pm for judging at 3pm, with categories from under 5s to under 12s and some super prizes. See

At Dorney Court Kitchen Garden on 23 April there’s more traditional fare with cream teas in the marquee and entertainment from The Datchet Border Morris Dancers. See


The Hexagon, Queens Walk, tel: 01189 606060

13 April, Sean Lock; 14 April, Mayor’s Dance Showcase; 16 April, Ian Waite and Natalie Lowe; 21 April, Bye Bye Baby – The Story of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons; 22 April, Bellowhead: That’s All Folks

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

6 April, Russell Kane; 8 April, Liza Pulman Sings Hollywood

Progress Theatre, The Mount, Christchurch, tel: 0118 384 2195

11-16 April, Stones in His Pockets; 22 April, Georgia Mancio and Quadro

The Mill at Sonning, Sonning Eye, tel: 01189 698000

Until 7 May, Last of the Red Hot Lovers


The Watermill Theatre, Bagnor, tel: 01635 46044

6-9 April, The Railway Children; 12-23 April, One Million Tiny Plays About Britain; 17 April, An Audience with… Christopher Eccleston

Corn Exchange Newbury, Market Place, tel: 0845 5218218

1 April, Margaret Thatcher Queen of Soho; 1 April, Debra Stephenson: Night of One Hundred Voices; 5-9 April, The Wizard of Oz; 10 April, Bolshoi Live: Don Quixote; 12 April, ROH: The Royal Ballet Encore: Giselle; 15 April, The Fureys; 25 April, ROH Live: Lucia Di Lammermoor; 29 April, Barb Jungr


Theatre Royal Windsor, Thames Street, tel: 01753 853888

Until 2 April, Shadowlands; 5-9 April, Save The Last Dance For Me; 10 April, Buddy Holly and The Cricketers; 11-16 April, Death Toll; 21-23 April, Jungle Book; 24 April, You’ve Got A Friend: The Music of James Taylor and Carole King; 25-30 April, Twelfth Night


Norden Farm Centre, Altwood Road, tel: 01183 788660

1 April, Ruby Wax; 2 April, Flash – A Tribute to Queen; 7 April, West My Friend; 9 April, Strictly Laurie Holloway and his Big Band; 14 April, In Voice and Verse – Shakespeare in Song; 17 April, Vaisakhi; 22 April, The Paul Jordanous Jazz Ensemble


South Hill Park, Ringmead, tel: 01344 484123

6-10 April, Oliver!; 7-9 April, The Lamellar Project; 8 April, Lee Goodall – Bracknell Jazz; 20-23 April, Four Nights in Knaresborough; 20 April, Mark Steel; 21 April, Kathryn Tickell and The Side; 26-27 April, Invincible; 27 April, The Echo; 28 April, Shakespeare Untold


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