Berkshire events for your diary in 2017
PUBLISHED: 10:17 10 January 2017
Here's a pick of events we can look forward to all the way to the height of summer, so start planning your social calendar
Sunninghill Wheelbarrow Race - Monday 2
This charitable event organised by The Rotary Club of Ascot sees teams in fancy dress push their barrows round the village, happily stopping along the way at pubs to take on refreshments. The race starts at 11am and it’s good fun to turn out and support them in their endeavours. Nearly £10,000 was raised in 2016, see rotaryascot.org.
Burns Night - Wednesday 25
Head to your local pub for an evening with some Scottish flavour. Examples include The Wheelwright’s Arms at St Nicholas Hurst, where bagpipes will herald a traditional feast, £21.95 per person, thewheelwrightsarms.co.uk.
The menu at The Crooked Billet at Stoke Row will feature the best Highland produce, plus there will be a Ceilidh band, £15, book on 01491 681038.
Fabulous Felines - Saturday 11
The Croydon Cat Club & Southern Counties Cat Club major show sees over 400 cats spanning 60 breeds on display at the Rivermead Leisure Complex in Reading. From traditional Persian and Siamese to the more unusual Ragamuffin and Sphynx, there’s a type for everyone. There’s plenty of trade stands, too. Admission is £3 for adults, £1.50 seniors and children (under 16) £1.50, facebook.com/SouthernCountiesCatClub.
Supreme String Soloists - Wednesday 15 to Friday 17
The Windsor Festival International String Competition semi finals and finals will be held at Windsor Castle, with prizes valued at over £20,000. Exceptional young soloists from across the world compete before esteemed judges, and you could be in the audience. See wfinternationalstringcompetition.
Bride: The Wedding Show - Saturday 11 and Sunday 12
An event not to be missed at Ascot Racecourse when the prestigious two-day bridal exhibition brings together nearly 100 of the region’s finest wedding suppliers under one roof from venues to bridal designers, cake-makers to stationers and photographers to florists.
There will be sensational choreographed catwalk shows three times each day, showcasing the latest bridal fashions, live music, a champagne bar and free copies of Berkshire & Buckinghamshire Bride magazine to pick up. The first 100 brides through the doors each day will get a goody bag packed full of treats and favours to take home. Tickets are £5 each or £15 for groups of four in advance, 10am to 4pm, theweddingshow.co.uk.
The French Property Exhibition - Friday 17 and Saturday 18
Find out about owning a house in France at this event at Newbury Racecourse.
Offering both inspiration and information it includes free seminars and covers aspects of the buying process; from health and pensions to tax, mortgages and the potential impacts of Brexit.
All the choices, including a permanent residence, holiday home or buy-to-let or investment property come under scrutiny and you can register for free at www.fpenewbury.co.uk.
St John Passion - Saturday 18
An extraordinary night for music lovers is promised when Windsor and Eton Choral Society perform Bach’s masterpiece in Eton College School Hall. It’s just one of several concerts they will perform this year, starting with masses by Beethoven and Haydn on 14 January, see w-ecs.org.uk.
Windsor Racing - Monday 10
We’re well into spring and here comes summer – it’s the return of afternoon racing to Royal Windsor Racecourse with the season opener. There’s free entry to Monday night racing on 24 April and Family Fun Day is on Monday, 1 May. Pick your day out at windsor-racecourse.co.uk.
Reading Contemporary Art Fair - Saturday 22 and Sunday 23
Artists and galleries from all over the UK and Europe exhibit at Rivermead Leisure Complex in Richfield Avenue, Reading, and those attending range from people new to the art world to specialist collectors seeking a particular piece. It’s a chance to discover the art you love and perhaps pick up a piece for a very good price. Tickets £5 in advance, contemporaryartfair.co.uk.
The Betfair Lambourn Open Day - Good Friday, 14
Meet the horses at their training stables throughout the lovely Lambourn Valley. More than 25 trainers will open their yards to the public so we can see first hand what happens in the racing industry. Many will have special exhibits and demonstrations, including horses using hydrotherapy pools. Tickets are £15 and under 12s go free. Go along after 1pm and it is £7. Book online at lambournopenday.com.
Canal Boating - Sunday 23
If you’ve always fancied roaming England’s waterways during a break but are yet to get up courage, find out how easy it is with taster sessions and free trips on a skippered narrowboats on the Kennet & Avon at Aldermaston. This event is run by Drifters Waterway Holidays and the Canal & River Trust. No booking required and it runs from 11am to 4pm at ABC Boat Hire, Aldermaston Wharf, Padworth RG7 4JS. Call 01189 714123, see drifters.co.uk/openday.
Royal Windsor Jaguar Festival - Friday 5 and Saturday 6
A celebration of the history of Jaguar cars at Windsor Castle on the Long Walk with a parade through the town centre and the Castle quadrangle in the presence of HRH Prince Edward. It’ll be quite a sight with 250 cars in the parade and up to 1,000 cars displayed on the Long Walk. The festival continues at Royal Windsor Racecourse. The event is sponsored by Jaguar and organised by the Jaguar Enthusiasts Club with the Prince Philip Trust Fund and the Rotary Club of Windsor and Eton. See jec.org.uk.
Newbury Spring Festival - Saturday 6 to Saturday 20
Enjoy a fortnight of world class music in Newbury and surrounding villages. There are around 45 events across 18 venues which include international symphony orchestras, ensembles and soloists. You can book tickets from 28 February via the Corn Exchange. Find out more at newburyspringfestival.org.uk.
Rock the Moor - Saturday 20
The retro music festival for all the family but with a real emphasis on 80s music (last year’s impressive line up included Kid Creole & The Coconuts, Sister Sledge and The Beat) returns to Cookham’s Marsh Meadow for a ninth year with headliners Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark. See letsrockthemoor.com.
Cartier Polo - Sunday 18
After three weeks of tournaments, the world’s top polo players gather for the Cartier Queen’s Cup Final at Guards Polo Club. Her Majesty first presented the highly prized trophy in 1960. Tickets for this and other prestigious polo events throughout the season are available to both members and non-members, see guardspoloclub.com.
Royal Ascot - Tuesday 20 to Sunday 25
Five days of sipping champagne, eating good food, dressing up to the nines, oh yes, and hopefully having some luck on the horses. Tickets start at £32 if you book early, and go up to £82. They’re available to buy now online at ascot.co.uk.
Windsor Championship Dog Show - Thursday 29 June to Sunday 2 July
Dog lovers from across the country descend on Home Park to enjoy four days of all things canine this month. See the gundogs on the 29th, hounds and toys on the 30th, terrier and utility on 1 July and working and pastoral on 2 July. Entry is free but car parking costs £10. Find out more at windsordogshow.org.uk.
Berkshire Motor Show - Sunday 2
Raising money for good causes, this year’s show is held in Prospect Park in Reading. Among the clubs you will see are Jaguar Drivers’ Club and the Armstrong Siddeley Owners Club plus there will plenty of trade stands, fun fair, crafts and bikes on show. Car parking is a donation of £2. Find out more at berkshiremotorshow.co.uk.
Reading Festival - Friday 25 to Sunday 27
The line-up has already been announced for Reading’s major music event this year. Disclosure, Nothing But Thieves, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Imagine Dragons, Biffy Clyro and Half Moon Run are just a handful to mention. Those wanting to camp can buy weekend tickets for £213 or an early entry pass costs £20. For full price details and more on the line-up see readingfestival.com.
RetroFest - Friday 11 to Sunday 13
Vintage cars, airshows, music, steam engines and plenty of stalls selling everything from vintage signs to 1920s hairdos can be found at Newbury Showground. There’s nearly 200 acres to explore and if you’re willing to brave the British summer weather you can camp over. Early bird weekend tickets are available until 31 March and cost £40 for adults and £20 for children aged 11 to 16. After that it’s £45 for adults but still £20 for children under 16. Under 11s go free. Day tickets start from £18. Book at retrofestival.co.uk.
Royal Berkshire County Show - Saturday 16 and Sunday 17
A grand parade of livestock, bird of prey displays, cookery theatres, food fayre, flower tent, fun fair, hot air balloons and row after row of countryside shopping stalls. You really can pack a day full of fun things at the county show. At the time of going to press prices for tickets had not been announced, but go to berkshireshow.co.uk for updates.
Ascot Beer Festival - Friday 6 and Saturday 7
This will go down a treat – the beer festival is held at the racecourse so you can try some delicious ales alongside a great day’s flat racing. It’s organised by the Berkshire South East branch of CAMRA. See ascotbeerfest.org.uk and ascot.co.uk.
Hungerford Food Festival - Sunday 8
The sun shone on last year’s foodie event on the High Street which bought out plenty of visitors to experience the wonder of local produce the county has to offer. There was apple pressing, demonstrations, talks and plenty of food to sample on sale. Organisers are hoping for another helping of success this year for this must visit free event. See hungerfordfoodfestival.com.
Qipco Champions Day - Saturday 21 October
The big finale to the flat racing season takes place at Ascot – it’s the richest race day in the British calendar and attracts champion horses and jockeys from across the world. Book your tickets for an exciting day out at ascot.co.uk.
Hennessy Gold Cup Day - Saturday 25
It’s another important date in the racing calendar. Run over three miles and two-and-a-half furlongs, the £200,000 Hennessy Gold Cup is one of racing’s biggest tests for the horse and jockey. There is usually music after the event in the Outside Chance Marquee. Tickets start at around £32 and can be bought online at newburyracecourse.co.uk.
Windsor On Ice - All Month
Before or after a spot of Christmas shopping why not go along to show off your skills on the ice? The main rink is indoors with a smaller one outside, plus there’s hot food and drink to keep you warm whilst watching the family. If all that excitement and exercise isn’t enough, you can always explore the gardens and take in Windsor Castle.