Events and things to do in Berkshire - March 2016

PUBLISHED: 14:33 25 February 2016 | UPDATED: 13:54 02 March 2016

Bluebells at Cliveden, photo Marianne Beavis

Bluebells at Cliveden, photo Marianne Beavis


Spring is in the air (we hope) so enjoy a day out

Enjoy the bluebells

Berkshire’s bluebells start to provide a wonderful woodland carpet from this month. We all have our favourite spots and some of the best are at National Trust properties.

The Grade I listed gardens at Cliveden are liberally sprinkled with displays of delicate bluebells throughout the garden and woodlands, creating seas of blue in April. Look out for cowslips, snowy wood anemones and dog violets, too.

The ancient woodlands surrounding Basildon Park near Reading reveal a glorious bluebell bounty. Visitors can view them and other woodland gems such as lesser celandines and tiny dog violets on free guided walks every Friday at 11am.

The beautiful beech woodlands that fringe Greys Court near Henley also brim with densely packed bluebells. Many springtime visitors stay within the boundaries of the gardens, but there are delightful trails and a spectacular carpet of bluebells in the estate. Follow the waymarked route (1.2km) through the wood.

Windsor Spring Festival

Make the most of the Royal town this month by catching at least one of the events in this marvellous mix of music, walks, talks and community performances over eight days from 12 March. The festival spans all ages, from first school performers to those willing to share a lifetime’s discoveries.

This year sees the inaugural final of the Berkshire Young Musician of the Year on 13 March at The Guildhall, in collaboration with Berkshire Maestros. The first competition is for brass and wind players. The jury includes Anthony Pike, Principal clarinet of ECO, Nicholas Korth, Principal horn of the BBC Symphony Orchestra, London Conchord Ensemble and a composer, and representatives from the Philharmonia Orchestra.

Other musical highlights include Faure Requiem in St George’s Chapel, with Taplow Youth Choir; chamber choir Quire Voices at Holy Trinity Garrison Church; The Happy Prince children’s opera by Malcolm Williamson, presented by Music at Bray at St Michael’s Church, Bray; Windsor and Eton Choral Society and Southern Sinfonia performing Dvorak’s ‘Stabat Major’ in School Hall, Eton College; and Mozart Requiem and Symphony 41 with The Royal Free Singers and The Orchestra of London, conducted by Ben Gunner in Windsor Parish Church.

For something a little different, how about Dearest Mother, a costumed presentation of letters between a First World War Royal Engineer and his mother, at the Guildhall on 15 March. Performers Joanna Palmer and Andrew Baines, are the actual grandchildren of the army officer. Or head to the Macdonald Windsor Hotel on 18 March for a Spanish Sherry & Tapas Evening led by Giles Smith Walker, with classical guitarist Amanda Cook.

Walks this year cover subjects such as when Windsor Castle was heavily guarded against Suffragettes, a look at the Thames, the trees of the South Forest, The Queen At 90, Eton, The First World War, and Shakespeare.


Dinner with Lord Archer

He’s sold 275 million books, was Deputy Chairman of the Tories, been imprisoned (where he turned the sentence into useful writing time), raised a fortune for charity – and now he’s coming to Windsor.

There’s never a dull moment with Jeffrey Archer, who will be the speaker at a splendid three course dinner organised by Windsor Conservative Association in Beaumont House, Old Windsor on Thursday, 14 April. Also present will be MP for Windsor, Adam Afriyie. It’s an intriguing event and likely to be made all the more enjoyable by the setting of the beautiful converted Chapel of Beaumont.

Archer is currently writing the seventh, and final book in The Clifton Chronicles series. The sixth, Cometh The Hour, is published worldwide on 25 February and signed copies of The Clifton Chronicles will be available for purchase during the evening.

For tickets at £75 to include arrival drink, dinner, half bottle of wine, tea and coffee contact 01753 678693/4 or

Rookwood diary date

Mark off 21 April – that’s when the annual Rookwood Garden & Gift Fair takes place. The event, at the home of Rupert and Charlotte Digby at Stockcross near Newbury, provides a wonderful day out.

Enjoy the gardens and wander around some 60 specially selected stalls, including expert nurseries offering rare and unusual plants, high quality garden accessories and gift stalls. This year Polly Wood will give talks on ‘Starting a Kitchen Garden’ and ‘Growing Cut Flowers’ with a demonstration by Jane Lawrence. Charitable donations will go to Brighter Futures, which raises funds for Great Western Hospitals and community services. See


The Hexagon, Queens Walk, tel: 01189 606060

2 March, Academy of St Martin in the Fields with Joshua Bell; 4 March, Let’s Sing Reading!; 5 March, The Bootleg Beatles; 11 March, Dillie Keane; 13 March, Henley Symphony Orchestra; 15 March, The Stranglers; 17 March, Anton & Erin: Just Gotta Dance; 18 March, Ed Byrne

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

5 March, Henley Choral Society; 18 March, Bradfield College Spring Concert; 19 March, AGE UK Classical Concert

Shinfield Players, Whitley Wood Lane, tel: 01183 9758880

9-12 March, The Dumb Waiter by Harold Pinter and Something Unspoken by Tennessee Williams

The Mill at Sonning, tel: 01189 698000

Until 12 March, The Perfect Murder; 6 March, Stars of British Jazz; 17 March – 7 May, Last of the Red Hot Lovers

Tilehurst Village Hall, Victoria Road, tel: 01189 429984

11-12 March, Worth a Fortune

St Andrew’s Church, Albert Road, tel: 01189 484112/463202

12 March, Concerts in Caversham – The Romantic Cello

St Mary’s Church, Burghfield, tel: 01189 893860

23 March, Vivace Voices Spring Concert


The Watermill Theatre, Bagnor, tel: 01635 46044

Until 2 April – Romeo and Juliet

Corn Exchange, Market Place, tel: 0845 5218218

3 March, Breabach; 4 March, Russell Kane; 8-12 March, The Witches; 15 March, Opus 7; 16 March, Barb Jungr; 17-19 March, Showtime; 19 March, Simon Weston: My Life, My Story; 23 March, Romesh Ranganathan; 24 March, Jenny Éclair; 26 March, Three Degrees

St George’s Centre, Andover Road, Wash Common, tel: 07919 916009

9-19 March, Gaslight, by New Era Players


Theatre Royal Windsor, Thames Street, tel: 01753 853888

Until 5 March, Rehearsal For Murder; 1 March, Tosca; 2 March, Carmen; 6 March, Joe Longthorne; 8-12 March, Coppelia; 14-16 March, The Great Gatsby; 20 March, Class Act 2; 22-26 March, End of the Rainbow; 29 March – 2 April, Shadowlands

Eton College School Hall, tel: 01628 528041

19 March, Dvorak’s Stabat Mater with The Southern Sinfonia


Norden Farm Centre for the Arts, Altwood Road, tel: 01183 788660

2-5 March, Baskerville: A Sherlock Holmes Mystery; 4 March, Christian O’Connell; 5 March, A Laurie Holloway Special; 9 March, Austen’s Women; 11 March, Rory McGrath; 12 March, Dane Baptiste; 13 March, George Egg, Anarchist Cook; 15 March, WarHorse Songman: Bob Fox; 15-19 March, Maidenhead Drama Festival; 18 March, Mitch Benn; 19 March, Fred’s House; 20 March, Festival of Choirs; 24-25 March, Omid Djalili: Live 2016


South Hill Park, tel: 01344 484123

2-5 March, Hairspray; 3 March, Macbeth; 8-12 March, Calamity Jane; 11 March, Simon Allen – Bracknell Jazz; 12 March, Artree Live – Folk & Roots Music; 13 March, London Military Band; 13 March, Mission Improvable; 15 March, Romesh Ranganathan; 16 March, Pasadena Roof Orchestra; 20 March, Berkshire Young Dance Artist of the Year; 23-24 March, 13 The Musical

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