Monday, 20 April 2015

The Merry Month of May in Newbury

There is so much happening in Newbury over the next few weeks that the month of May is indeed lining up to be a merry one.

First up is the Car Festival, brought to you by Parkway Shopping Newbury and Newbury BID (Business Improvement District). This is taking place over the May Day Bank Holiday weekend, Saturday 2 to Monday 4 May at Parkway. Zoom along to experience the very best on four wheels: Mercedes, BMW, Maserati and lots more….

Also on Bank Holiday Monday, 4 May, is the Round Table Crafty Craft Race. This annual charity fund-raising event happens on the stretch of the Kennet & Avon Canal running between the village of Kintbury and Victoria Park in Newbury. First started in 1974, this is a fun boat race where teams in home-made boats sail along this five-mile stretch of water. Competitors navigate their vessels along the canal, carry them around the seven locks, and paddle their way to the finish line in Victoria Park. But the fun doesn’t stop there as ‘Vicky Park’ is host to a great day of entertainment for all the family. More details, including how to enter a team in the race or to reserve a stall in Victoria Park, from www.craftycraft.com.


On Saturday 9 May, Paddington Bear is coming to town! Following hot on the heels of the wonderful film about him, everyone’s favourite bear is travelling with First Great Western from the London station after which he is named to arrive in style in Newbury. Paddington will be ‘meeting and greeting’ in Parkway, where there will be special events taking place all day long. He’s going to be one busy little bear so maybe you could pack a few marmalade sandwiches…?

That same week sees the start of one of West Berkshire’s most prestigious musical events of the year: Newbury Spring Festival 2015. Running from Saturday 9 to Saturday 23 May, this is a full-on fabulous ‘Festival Fortnight’. Now in its 37th year, many venues throughout West Berkshire – from Sheepdrove Farm at Lambourn to Highclere Castle, from the Corn Exchange Newbury to Douai Abbey to name but a few – play host to leading musical talent and rising stars covering many genres. The first evening starts, as is tradition, with a classical concert at St Nicolas Church in the centre of Newbury – but don’t for one minute think the whole fortnight is about classical music. There really is something for everyone of all ages (even babies!): jazz, orchestral, poetry recitals, theatre, film … the list is endless. Full details at www.newburyspringfestival.org.uk and tickets from the Corn Exchange, www.cornexchangenew.com, Box Office 0845 5218 218.

As the Spring Festival draws to a close on the Saturday, that same weekend, on Sunday 24 May, the Bayer Newbury 10K and Under-16s Races take place. Local business Bayer is once again partnering Newbury Athletic Club (NAC) for the Bayer Newbury 10K run, plus two pre-event runs for under-16s. All races start in the Market Place, Newbury and races for the under-16s follow a route around the town centre on traffic-free roads. This year the event supports Naomi House and Jacksplace children’s hospices. Details of how to enter at www.bayer.co.uk/newbury-10k. But you don’t have to run to join in the fun – go along and cheer on the runners!

Rounding off the month is the start of this year’s Banjo Cycles Summer Cyclocross, commencing on Thursday 28 May. Competitive cyclists of all ages and experience are welcome to go along and join in at Goldwell Park in Newbury. The fun starts at 5.30pm and runs over six consecutive Thursdays, the final one being on 2 July. There will be lots of different courses to try out, suitable for those who want to push themselves and those who prefer to take things a little more steady, and all on grass tracks. Pre-register or just turn up on the night: further details at www.banjocycles.com.

And that’s just May! Summer is just around the corner, so keep a look out for more Newbury fun over the coming months.

Tuesday, 7 April 2015

Biddy on the Newbury Giant Easter Egg Hunt

A fine Bank Holiday Easter Monday … and I lured the husband into Newbury with the promise of breakfast before we hit the Giant Easter Egg Hunt trail.

Breakfast sitting outside in early April in England? Yes indeed – and at the Teashop by the Canal there are few finer spots. Fuelled by a full English with a side order of black pudding (for him) and a bacon and egg sarnie (for me), accompanied by tea in a proper teapot (leaf tea at that) and a good Americano we were fired up and ready to hit the town.

We collected our form from the special Easter Zone in Parkway (you can also get them from the Visitor Information Centre in the Market Place), where lots of children were enjoying activities and having their faces painted. Then off we went on the hunt for those Giant Easter Eggs. 

I must say it was good fun deciphering each of the 15 clever cryptic clues (most of which were not too difficult, thankfully) to find the eggs and, very importantly, the special letter displayed alongside each one. 

Without wanting to give too much away, the trail takes you all around the town centre, and follows a logical route so you don’t need to backtrack on yourself. 

The clues aside, the giant Easter eggs themselves are works of art and include a fabulous golden one, a stylish black and white one, a pretty rainbow one, even one that looks like a circus Big Top. However, there were a couple that I liked best of all. One was in … oooh I can’t tell you but it is big and yellow and covered in smaller eggs, cut out and coloured in by children, with my particular favourite being a drawing of an Easter bunny. The other was very cleverly and beautifully decorated in a d├ęcoupage style, all pink and blue and pretty … the only clue I’m going to give you is: it’s on the bridge.

So … give me a C – C!  Give me a G – G! And that really is all the help you’re getting … if you want to find out what the other letters are that will help you crack the code you’ll have to go and hunt for them. There’s still plenty of time as the competition runs until Saturday 18 April, all through the school holidays, and is a great way to while away a morning or afternoon.

And as you could be in with a chance of winning a fabulous prize – a £250 John Lewis at Home voucher, a Hotel Chocolat hamper or a giftcard from The Entertainer toyshop – it’s a bit of fun that’s too good to miss.

Happy hunting!

Biddy x