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National Trust hosts local artists’ show

Greys Court near Henley is filling its gorgeous gardens with all manner of sculptural eye candy in an exhibition to showcase local talent. The property has invited artists from The Oxford Sculptors Group, a gang of 90 established sculptors based in Oxfordshire and surrounding counties, to display their art between July 12-18 as part of Henley Arts Trail. Access to the exhibition is included in the cost of an admission ticket, so is free to National Trust members. And the best bit? If you are really taken with one of the, you can take it home (once you’ve paid for it, that is).

Wallingford’s new hotspots

The Wallingford nightlife scene is set to hot up with the opening of a new jazz and cocktail bar called ‘Soiree‘. Planning permission has been approved for the bar offering a ‘sophisticated evening drinking experience’ to open in the site formerly occupied by the Rides on Air cycle shop on St Mary’s Street. Expect table service for small plates, live music and an ‘ever-changing drinks lists’… we’ll do our best to keep up.

After a slight delay, Five Little Pigs in Wallingford has opened, to rave social media reviews for its food and seasonal changing menu, which this week featured Gariguette strawberries, rhubarb, deep fried rabbit and Orange Bakery loaves. At the helm is Aimee Hunt (also owner of Muddy award winner Lata Lata in High Wycombe), and Rob McGregor and Sam Smith, owners of The Keep bar and off licence in Wallingford. 

Cultural Happenings

A series of live music concerts recently took place in Oxford’s Covered Market – but as expected, Covid restrictions meant they were devoid of an audience. But no matter: concert promoters Oxford Contemporary Music and local indie audio production company Upcycled Sounds (who were both the brains behind the gigs) are uploading the five performances to their YouTube channels every month so everyone can benefit. They’ll be jazz, neo soul, electronica, traditional violin and trip hop. Enjoy them all here and here.

Aylesbury has a new community cinema! Funky Cinema launched earlier this month and its home is Walton Parish Hall, just a few minutes walk from the town centre. The aim is to provide Aylesbury residents with a selection of arthouse, experimental cinema combined with more mainstream titles and at just £4.50 a ticket, it’s something of a steal. Some of the evening screenings will have a BYOB policy and you are also allowed to bring your own snacks – so no need to smuggle in the Maltesers here.

New openings

The pandemic has done little to dent Beaconsfield’s status as a foodie hotspot. A new restaurant, Tarrus, serving Turkish and Mediterranean cuisine has been promised on the site of the old Phase 8 store in the new town, and alongside mezzo and steak, a ‘creative cocktail’ bar has been promised. No word on opening dates yet but rest assured, we’ve got our ears to the ground.

Talking of Beaconsfield, The Greyhound pub in the old town has just announced its new pasty chef: no less than Chris Hurter, who has a CV that boasts stints at the Michelin-starred Bybrook restaurant and Auberge Du Lac and the considerable accolade of being a finalist in the Association of Pastry Chefs UK Dessert Of The Year Awards. We’ve always been one of those people who will go out on an evening just for a glass of wine and dessert so it looks like we’ll be heading there, pronto.

Cook like a caveman in Oxford

The Jericho Kitchen Cookery School is starting its outdoor cooking classes up again from 19 June at D’Oyleys Farm, just outside Oxford and they’re kicking off with cooking over a fire with John Fernandez. With dishes including sticky grilled chicken, grilled mackerel and roasted peaches on the menu, it’s sure to be a roaring success (ahem…) and in weather like this, who wants to be stuck in the kitchen? Indoor classes are also scheduled and will be held five minutes down the road in a converted church in Stadhampton – we’ve got our eye on ‘Flavours of Southern Italy’ in July – could be the closest we get this year (…sob). The farm shop at D’Oyleys Farm is open from 10am – 2pm on Saturdays, or you can buy online for delivery or collection any day of the week. Perfect for stocking up on those lamb and beef cuts ready to flame grill.

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