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Just a couple of miles from Henley, following the Thames, sits the tiny village of Shiplake and it is here where the disused 18th century pub, The Plowden Arms, was recently subject to a plan to convert it into six homes. But… it was not to be as the team behind Four AA Rosette restaurant Orwells in Henley – chefs Ryan and Liam Simpson-Trotman (above) – have since snapped up the site and plan to turn it into a all-day-dining gastropub (renamed The Plough) with a strong focus on sustainability and seasonality. Dogs will be welcome too. Hooray! No firm date for launch yet but watch this space.

While we’re talking about the Thames, soft summer evenings lazing around on the river are what July was made for so you could do worse than heading on down to Cherwell Boathouse on Tuesdays nights (we’ll forgive them the errant apostrophe, above…). The team there are closing the kitchen in the evening (to give their staff a much-needed rest) but instead there will be street food vans, live music, opera and comedy to keep the fun flowing. For more details, check out the website.

Over in Bucks, fans of Amersham coffee house Twenty Twelve will be delighted to know that the gang are moving down the old town’s high street to a new venue, The Griffling, where alongside the usual coffee, handmade cakes and delicious lunch concoctions, there will also be fresh sourdough pizza available in the evening. It’s takeaway and collection only – but will make Saturday evenings just a little bit special. Wild mushroom, black truffle and black garlic pesto? Yes please.


Albion Fields, a brand new sculpture park, opened last week in the Little Milton conservation area, south east of Oxford. The inaugural installation includes work from Ai Weiwei, Adel Abdessemed, Vito Acconci, Ghada Amer, Kader Attia and David Adjaye across a 50 acre site and has had backing from notables such as Lord Rothschild, Lord Vaizey and Sir Anish Kapoor. The first installation will be on display until 25 September, whereupon the grounds will be refreshed with another clutch of amazing artworks. It is open to visitors on Fridays and Saturdays, between 11am and 5pm.

There is a real, intrinsic joy to be had from creating things – whether that’s just baking a simple Victoria sponge to whittling an intricate chair out of a single piece of oak. But whatever your skill level, the new craft collective and cafe – The Maker Space – in Nuffield, outside Henley, might be the place for you. The brand new venture has found a home inside an empty pub The Crown (above) and while it’s still much a work in progress, we soon hope to hear more about the workrooms, classes, shop and cafe that will populate the space. Lathes at the ready!

We’re all for a bit of breaking boundaries at Muddy so were delighted to hear that MK Gallery will host a huge exhibition of work from Dame Laura Knight – the first female artist to ever be elected into the Royal Academy. The show will run from the 9 Oct 2021 to the 20 Feb 2022 and display her portraits of women, war time and marginalised groups as well as her incredible technical skill. One for the diary, we think.

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