Ten of the best things to do in and around Milton Keynes in the next seven days

Mimi and the Mountain Dragon at Stantonbury Theatre
Mimi and the Mountain Dragon at Stantonbury Theatre

From family theatre to musical masterpieces, there's plenty to enjoy...

1 THEATRE
Mimi and the Mountain Dragon, Stantonbury Theatre, Sunday February 17, 2pm.
Grandad’s Island, Monday February 18, 2pm
High up in the snowy mountains of Switzerland, the villagers of Dorta bang their drums, blow their horns and ring the bells to keep the fearsome Mountain Dragon away. 
But this year is different. One snowy morning, Mimi discovers something extraordinary – a baby dragon sleeping in her woodshed.
The little creature is lost and frightened, but how did he get there and what happens when his mother comes looking for him? 
Mimi must be extremely brave if she is going to reach the Dragon’s castle at the very top of the mountain and return the baby to its mother.
With lively original songs, atmospheric storytelling and magical puppets, Mimi and the Mountain Dragon is a magical musical puppetry adventure adapted from the book by Michael Morpurgo and Helen Stephens.
In Grandad’s Island, Benji Davies’ award-winning book about love and loss is brought magically and sensitively to life on stage by the team behind Flat Stanley and Red Riding Hood.
Syd’s favourite person in the whole wide world is Grandad. And Grandad’s favourite person is Syd.
Join this intrepid duo as they head off on a heartwarming adventure filled with songs, laughter and jungles, which will change their lives forever.
www.stantonburytheatre.co.uk


2 FAMILY
The Pasty Pirate Puppet Show, Bucks County Museum, Church Street, Aylesbury, Monday and Tuesday, February 18 and 19, 11.15am and 2.15pm
Rattlebox Theatre Company will be performing this epic tale of pirates, monsters of the deep, sea battles, whales, a mermaid and nuns.
Rattlebox Theatre create brilliant, madcap shows using beautifully made puppets, props and sets. The show lasts 40 minutes and is suitable for children aged seven and over.
Tickets £5. Call to book or visit the website.
Children will also have the chance to make their own puppets in Puppet Making Workshops on February 18, 19 and 20. Families can drop in from 10am to noon or 1pm to 3pm and there will be simple puppets to make for all ages. No need to book. Cost from £4.
Bucks County Museum is also hosting a new exhibition, Hands-on Victorians, where families can discover what life was like during Queen Victoria’s reign, with plenty to touch, see and do including dressing up, climbing in a tin bath and sitting at a school desk. Hands-on Victorians runs until April 27.
01296 331441 www.buckscountymuseum.org


3 MUSIC
Cregan & Co: The Rod Stewart Songbook, The Stables, Wavendon, Tuesday February 19, 8pm
As one of the most influential guitarists in Rod Stewart’s original band The Faces, Jim Cregan co-wrote, co-produced and musically directed for Rod for almost two decades. Jim has now formed his own band, Cregan & Co, to perform that incredible musical heritage, and is taking to the road to present the very best of Rod Stewart.
stables.org


4 FAMILY
Love Your Pets, Green Dragon Eco Farm, Hogshaw, February 16 to 24
Over February half-term, there will be a special Love Your Pets theme at Green Dragon, where the animals in Pets Corner will be the stars of the show.
Staff will be hosting a variety of educational and fun experiences with the pets, including hands-on encounters, Q&A sessions and workshops on welfare, enrichment, small mammals and reptiles.
There will also be a special Love Your Pets quiz trail, ending in a prize draw with the prize of a family day pass.
At set times, local suppliers and vets will be taking part, providing advice and encouragement to budding and existing pet owners. Little ones will be fascinated by rabbits and guinea pigs, while older children and adult visitors will be excited by the exotics, including snakes, stick-insects, lizards, tarantulas, scorpions, cockroaches and poison-dart frogs.
greendragonecofarm.co.uk

5 OUTDOORS
Stowedrops
This weekend is set to be peak snowdrop season at National Trust Stowe, near Buckingham.
For a landscape designed without flowers, there are a lot of snowdrops at Stowe – so many that those at the National Trust-owned gardens refer to them as Stowedrops.
The gardeners think the tiny white flowers appeared naturally, and have allowed them to remain and proliferate because they provide such a welcome spectacle at the beginning of the year.
Quite apart from viewing the flowers, the gardens of Stowe, landscaped by Capability Brown, are a great place for a walk. The scale and beauty of Stowe have attracted visitors for over 300 years, with picture-perfect views, winding paths, lakeside walks and follies and temples galore.
www.nationaltrust.org.uk/stowe


6 POETRY AND MUSIC
Tales of Love and Longing, The Coffee Bean, Bletchley MK2 2SW, Saturday February 16, 7.30pm
Enjoy an evening of romantic poetry, music and storytelling over coffee, tea and cakes at Bletchley’s Coffee Bean cafe.
Find out how the gift of an apple can lead to true love, learn the best way to use a dining room table and what happens when an English fiddle player meets a Spanish beauty in old Texas.
Performers include storyteller Terrie Howey (aka Red Phoenix), Bards of Stony Stratford Vanessa Horton-Jonklaas and Stephen Hobbs, storytellers Richard York, Deepa Anand and Lynette Hill, and singer songwriter Dawn Iverson.
Admission is free, donations appreciated. Tea, coffee and cake for sale.

7 MUSEUM
Grand Open Day, Cowper & Newton Museum, Olney, Tuesday February 19
See all the improve-ments that have been made at the museum thanks to Heritage Lottery funding and the museum’s team of volunteers. These include the Viper Barn introduction room with AV equipment, the new Georgian Life room and the new John Newton room, all about his life in Olney.
For children, there’s a half term Holiday Trail from February 19 to 23. The decorators have been in, the house has been given a good clean and many of Mr Cowper’s and Mrs Unwin’s belongings have moved to different locations. Join in the hunt to find them.
www.cowperandnewtonmuseum.org.uk

8 THEATRE
Avenue Q, Royal & Derngate, Northampton, February 18 to 23
Guess Q’s back. The naughtiest puppets in town are coming to Royal & Derngate, as comedy musical Avenue Q returns.
Following five years in the West End, sell-out runs worldwide and smash hit tours in 2014, 2015 and 2016, packed with mischief, bad behaviour and political incorrectness, the Tony Award-winning musical, created by Jeff Marx and Robert Lopez (co-creator of Book of Mormon and writer of the songs for Disney’s Frozen), is not for the easily offended.
It’s a tale of the characters on a downtown New York street trying to make sense of life’s burning issues. Featuring comic songs including The Internet is for Porn and Everyone’s A Little Bit Racist, Avenue Q is a hilarious and warm-hearted musical, with a cast of 11 talented performers and puppets. Suitable for ages 14 and over.
www.royalandderngate.co.uk


9 MUSIC
Mozart – The Man and His Music, Saturday February 16, 7.30pm, The Venue, Walton High
Melanie Beck, CEO of MY Milton Keynes, will join the MK City Orchestra on stage to narrate an all-Mozart programme.
You will hear Mozart’s Linz (No. 36) and Jupiter (No. 41) symphonies in full as well as some of his ballet music from Idomeneo. Melanie will provide some insight into Mozart’s mind and his thoughts around the time of his compositions, from letters he wrote to friends, patrons and family. See into the humour, mind and writings of a genius whilst listening to some of his best-known works.
www.mkco.org


10 FAMILY
Dinosaur Fun at intu MK, February 15 to 24
intu Milton Keynes is teaming up with Gulliver’s Dinosaur and Farm Park and the Natural History Museum at Tring to bring dino-themed fun to the shopping centre while the kids are off school – and it’s all free to enjoy.
Meet a model dinosaur face to face, then join a fossil trail around the centre and discover something prehistoric right below your feet.
On February 18 and 22, experts from the Natural History Museum at Tring will be in the centre to answer your fossil-related questions and you can get hands on with the fossils. On February 20, rangers will be roaming the mall with three baby dinosaurs to meet and pet.
Dino-stories are on offer at Waterstones on February 18, 19, 21 and 22, and there will be dino-inspired arts and crafts, outside Charles Clinkard on February 18 and 22.
In the run-up to the event, one lucky family can also win a family ticket to Gulliver’s.
For full details of event dates and times, see intu.co.uk/miltonkeynes/whatson