It’s a whopper! 41 things to do in November
Naughty November! From cool comedy and big name art exhibitions to gift shopping and comic book heroes, here's your curated guide to the best of Berkshire this month.
MUDDY’S PICK OF THE MONTH
Illuminated Trail, Windsor Great Park, 18 Nov – 9 Jan 2022
Permission to mention the C Word… Christmas is coming and Windsor Great Park’s inaugural illuminated trail is one to book now. The trail, produced by guys behind Hyde Park Winter Wonderland, will feature a field of lights that will extend more than 1,400 sqm, fountains of projected flowers and holograms of woodland creatures. Prepare to be dazzled fro 18 Nov.
Jurassic Fireworks Night, Windsor Racecourse, 6 Nov
Windsor’s epic Jurassic display (courtesy of British Fireworks Championship double award-winners Fantastic Fireworks) is a whopper. This year the pyrotechnic team has created a 15-minute display with a roarsome dinosaur theme that’s set to music. While the star of the show is the fireworks, on terra firma you’ll find a lifelike walking, animatronic Raptor, Triceratops and rumour has it, a very hungry Tyrannosaurus Rex. The fun fair will be in full swing too, candy floss and hot dogs. So book up, it’ll be a sell out.
Other fireworks displays: Sonning Pyromusical Spectacular at Reading Blue Coat in Sonning; Bricktacular Fireworks at Legoland Windsor; Reading Lions Fireworks; Lions Fireworks Spectacular 2021 at Newbury Racecourse; Chieveley Fireworks; Wokingham Fireworks Spectacular 2021 at Cantley Park Wokingham; Thameside Firework Extravaganza at Mapledurham Lock and Pangbourne Fireworks Fiesta. Read about Berkshire’s biggest and best displays, here.
The Cherry Orchard, Theatre Royal Windsor, now – 13 Nov
Last chance to Sir Ian McKellan in Chekov’s The Cherry Orchard – a dramatic play about an aristocratic landowner who returns to her family estate to find its being sold to pay the family debts. It’s all about social change, mid-life regrets and the hope the next generation will make a difference. A limited number of on-stage seats are available so grab the best seats in the house.
Back To 5678, South Hill Park Bracknell, 2 – 3 Nov
The show must go on! No seriously, the cast rehearsed it and each production needs to fulfil its theatrical destiny. So buckle up for a musical mash up of missed opportunities. Back To 5678 is a compilation of the best bits from Back to the 80s, Chicago and Miscast III from the EBOS Musical Theatre team. Rumour has it there will be a few numbers from 42nd Street and Annie, too.
Who Killed Alfred Oliver?, Rabble Theatre Reading, 4 – 20 Nov
Prise yourself off the sofa for a local whodunnit based on real life events in Reading’s roaring Twenties. The Rabble Theatre’s latest production takes the truth is stranger than vibe and runs with it – the tobacco shop owner, Alfred Oliver, has been found bludgeoned to death in his Cross Street store and the star of the box office smash hit, The Monster, is the prime suspect. But did he do it?
Abigail’s Party, Corn Exchange Newbury, 3 Nov
The cocktails are flowing and disco music is playing- sounds like my sort of party! Don’t miss the chance to see this iconic comical satire about warring couples in 1970s British suburbia.
Candlelit Macbeth, South Hill Park Bracknell, 4 Nov and Arlington Arts Newbury, 18 Nov
Something wicked this way comes… and it’s not a hoody wearing yoof giving you attitude (just my kids then). This faithful recreation of Shakespeare’s Macbeth pops up at South Hill Park and Arlington Arts Centre this month. If you love your theatre dark and dramatic (or you have a teen studying it at GCSE), it’s an edge-of-your-seat stuff must-see.
Desert Island Flicks, South Street Arts Reading, 9 Nov
A blockbuster, adventure and romcom rolled into one, Desert Island Flicks sees two leading ladies reimagine, remake and spoof 90 of the most memorable movie moments of all time in just 90 minutes, taking on all the lead roles, stunts and special effects! It sits somewhere between a dance performance, sketch show, a night at the movies and an epic game of charades.
Giselle, Corn Exchange Newbury, 10 Nov
Love the control, creativity and magic of ballet? Then Giselle is going to be right up your street. Ballet Cymru have put their own unique stamp on this tale of love and loss, bringing relevance, poignancy and grittiness to this most romantic of ballets.
The Jungle Book, Watermill Theatre Newbury, 18 Nov – 31 Dec
Be the king of the swingers (not like that, this is a family show), a jungle VIP at The Watermill’s bookish Christmas production of The Jungle Book. This is a wild and captivating musical adaptation of Rudyard Kipling’s classic tale full of warmth, laughter and wonder.
Cinderella, South Hill Park Bracknell, 26 Nov – 3 Jan 2022
You shall go to the ball… or failing that the panto. There’s a reason why families return year after year to South Hill Park in Bracknell. Expect all the cheesy one liners, toe tapping songs and a jaw-dropping set.
Jack And The Beanstalk, Theatre Royal Windsor, 27 Nov – 14 Jan
Filed under ‘classic cheesefest’, this year the Theatre Royal’s panto is Jack And The Beanstalk. Windsor’s favourite comedy duo, Kevin Cruise and Steven Blakeley have been dusting off the panto patter and old pros Anita Harris and Basil Brush add a dash of nostalgia. It’s a great panto in a beautiful theatre. Booooom booooooom!
Candlelight Sound Bath, The Good Life Hub Hampstead Norreys, 3 Nov
And breeeeeeathe… The run up to Christmas is about as full as it gets. Take time out and enjoy a a Candleight Sound Bath at the heavenly Good Life Hub. It’s an unforgettable experience for anyone who seeks deep relaxation, rejuvenation and an acceleration of their inward journey. I’m game if you are. £22.15pp.
Eco Resin Terrazzo Square Coasters, MadeBy Tamalia, Creativ.Space Caversham, 11 Nov
Get your arty crafty vibe on at this two-hour super relaxing workshop. You’ll learn to make your very own handmade large square coasters that can be used as either coasters for drinks or trivets for pans in the kitchen. In the workshop you will learn how to make your mould, mix your resin, choose your terrazzo colours, cast your coasters and finish them so they look lovely and polished. That’s one Christmas gift nailed. Tickets £35pp.
Arm Knitting for Beginners, The Lookout Studio, The Base Greenham, 11 Nov
Channel your inner nana and knit one purl one at an arm knitting workshop. With you Mr Tickle arms and a mahoosive ball of yarn you’ll learn create woolly mammoth blanket with Sophie of A Boat Full Of Wool at The Base Greenham. Oh and there’s cake too, so winner winer.
Sausage and Cider Festival, Braywick Maidenhead, 13 Nov
Love a sizzling sausage? Who doesn’t. And what goes with bangers? Cider! Combine two of our favourite things to do – eating and drinking – but make it vaguely educational. Cheers to that!
Gin & Rum Festival, The Great Hall Reading, 26 – 26 Nov
Has gin had its day? (Not judging by Muddy consumption) Is rum the next big thing? Hedge your bets and head for the UK’s largest Gin and Rum Festival. With over 120 gins and rums to sample in an amazing venue, plus DJ, boozy masterclasses and a goodie bag, a taxi is essential and a hangover almost certainly guaranteed. Hic. Tickets £15pp
Comic Con, Rivermead Reading, 27 – 28 Nov
Kerpow! Comic Con is back for the 5th year in Reading, so if you have a superhero. sci-fi, fantasy obsessed kid (big, small OR grown up) this will be right up their street. Lots of stars of the small screen in attendance, cool props, attractions, cosplay, gaming and more. Tickets from £7.
Iain Stirling: Failing Upwards, Corn Exchange Newbury, 4 Nov
Bafta-winning stand-up and voice of Love Island is back on UK stages with his new stand up show as he ponders how people manage to be normal? Iain does. Join Iain explores his inability to function in the most basic of public settings, social media’s constant pressure to ‘live your best life’ and that one time a man stole his shoes.
Gary in Punderland, Norden Farm Maidenhead, 11 – 12 Nov
One of the most sought after joke writers in the country and longstanding Mock the Week special guest, Gary Delaney has been through the laughing glass and he’s ready to bring you a new show with hit after hit of the kind of one-liners only a master could craft. Get ready to dive into a rabbit hole of the best jokes in the world – Gary is back! This event will be streamed online, if you can’t drag yourself off the sofa.
Sara Barron: Enemies Closer, Norden Farm Maidenhead, 12 Nov
A powerhouse live act and fast rising star, Sara’s previous shows have sold out to major critical and audience acclaim. Blisteringly funny and no-holds-barred, Sara examines kindness, meanness, ex-boyfriends, current husbands, all four of her remaining friends, and two of her 12 enemies.
Jimmy Carr: Terrible Funny, The Hexagon Reading, 13 Nov
Having political correctness at a comedy show is like having health and safety at a rodeo. Not for the easily offended, but definitely for anyone who loves the LOLs. Jimmy’s brand new stand-up show contains jokes about all kinds of terrible things. Terrible things that might have affected you or people you know and love. You’ve been warned.
Russell Brand: 33, The Hexagon Reading, 15 Nov
Hello 6pm starts! it’s an early bird special for Russell Brand’s new show on the strangeness of the last 18 months: what have we learned and not learned? And how do you ‘get back to normal’ if you’ve never been normal? Head into town, grab a bite to eat and still be back for the latest episode of Succession.
Harry Hill: Fight, Norden Farm Maidenhead, 17 Nov
Part stand up, part confessional, Harry Hill – the loon off the telly – takes to the Norden Farm stage to share photos and clips from his huge home movie collection. Yes, he’s got a new book to flog, but the show is packed hull of jokes and audience participation – win the Superfan quiz and take home one of Harry artworks.
ART & EXHIBITIONS
Hockney and Hollywood, The Base Greenham, now – 28 Nov
Hockney in Berkshire? Oh yes he is. The works of Britain’s most famous living artist is on display at The Base in Greenham – and we’re giddy. The legendary David Hockney’s major photomontage Hockney and Hollywood features an extraordinary life-sized nude photographic study of Theresa Russell, commissioned by film director Nicolas Roeg for the film Insignificance.
The Invisible Dress, HUMOS Caversham, now – 28 Nov
Marilyn Monroe would be seen dead in flannelette PJs, preferring the more seductive Chanel No5 at bedtime. So we’re loving the sounds of HUMOs perfumers exhibition The Invisible Dress. This innovative exhibition from perfumer E. Gabriel De Carvalho, is a sensory catwalk of dress sketches brought to life through fragrance. Call it ‘invisible couture’.
FIELDS, MERL Reading, now – 31 Jan 2022
Before Jeremy Clarkson made farming fun, The MERL in Reading was wearing that crown. This under the radar museum is a mash up of science, art, history and humour. The latest exhibition FIELDS uses film, photography, tech and creativity to reflect on our relationship with cows, sheep, farmers and farming.
The Contemporary Art Fair, Windsor Racecourse, 12 – 14 Nov
Love art but have a blank expression to match your walls? Come we can do better than that, The Contemporary Art Fair is popping up at Windsor Racecourse with more than 160 artists, printmakers, photographers, ceramicists and independent galleries from all over the UK and Europe. Have a mooch, chat to artists and, if you find something you love, prices start at just 40 quid.
The 1971 Reading Festival – For The First Time, Reading Museum, now – 29 Jan 2022
If there’s one thing that’ll clear a field full of teenagers, it’s their parents living it up like it’s 1971. Reading Festival is 50 years old this year and to celebrate the UK’s iconic music festival an exhibition of astonishing objects and rare and unseen photos can be seen in Reading Museum’s Sir John Madejski Art Gallery.
Jools Holland 2021, The Hexagon Reading, 4 Nov
If New Year’s all about getting smashed and watching Jools Holland’s Annual Hootenany, then this might just prise you off the sofa before the end of year sit in. The legendary Jools and his Rhythm & Blues Orchestra are touring the UK and hitting the Hexagon in Reading this November. Plus they’ve smuggled Lulu and Chris Difford onto the tour bus to belt out a few numbers too. Room for one more?
Lapland UK, Whitmoor Forest Ascot, 14 Nov
Good news, kids, Santa’s quit the North Pole, perpetual darkness and Northern Lights, to set up shop in the UK. Anyhoo, they’ve only gone and set up shop in Berkshire. Journey through snowy enchanted forests, to Santa’s chalet, where he and his elves need a little assistance in preparing for the 25th December. It’s a four-hour immersive experience so pack the Kendal Mint Cake.
Wokingham Winter on Ice, Cantley Park Wokingham, 12 Nov – 7 Jan
Ice ice, baby! Wokingham first ever ice rink pops up this month, so we can slip and slide to the fun side in the run up to Christmas. The synthetic rink at Cantley Park opens on 12 Nov and a Christmas Market will open from 24 Nov. Booking is advised.
Winter Wonderland, Hills Meadow Reading, 13 Nov – 3 Jan 2022
It’s back! After a mini break, Reading’s Winter Wonderland will be popping up in Hills Meadow Car Park. Expect more festive fun than a Mariah Carey video. There’s an ice rink, fun fair, Aprés bar, Santa’s grotto, German sausage and lots and lots of mulled wine. It’s free to enter, but you can buy tickets now for Santa’s Grotto, Ice Skating and an unlimited ride pass.
Windsor On Ice, Alexandra Gardens Windsor, 20 Nov – 2 Jan
Windsor On Ice is back for the winter and whether you’re Olympic standard or a ‘cling on’ like me, they’re great for a family day out, or a fun slippy-slidey Christmas party. This year they’ll be putting up the big screen for super-cool pop up cinema, plus fun fair, food and bar. Sessions are for 45 mins. See you in A&E, I mean on the ice.
Lantern Making, 101 Arts Creation Space Greenham Business Park Newbury, 27 – 28 Nov
Oooh, sparkly lights! The annual Newbury lantern parade is a really special event. Rather than ooh and ahh on the sidelines, why not make a lantern and take part in the procession on Sun 12 Dec. Work with pros to create a traditional pyramid Lantern out of willow and paper, to carry in our Festival of Light! It takes between 1- 2 hours to make, then join the fun and light up!
Legoland at Christmas, Legoland Windsor, from 27 Nov
Legoland is all twinkly lights and snow-dusted Christmas magic. Entry price for the Christmas season includes a visit to LEGO Santa in his magic grotto for kids who’ll receive a LEGO gift to take home. There are Lego Make and Take activities a DUPLO puppet pantomime and Santa flying through the resort on his sleigh. Think of your children’s faces lighting up and the enormous gin you’ll need the you get home.
Wokingham Winter Carnival, Wokingham Town Centre, 28 Nov
A free event held in Wokingham town centre from 11am. It is massive, with fun fair rides, over 80 food and craft stalls, non-stop free entertainment from magic shows to jugglers and clowns. Santa’s Grotto in the library from 11am to 3pm.
Christmas Shopping Evening, Camp Hopson Newbury, 4 Nov
I’m calling it, it’s November and we can officially start the Christmas countdown. To get this party started, Camp Hopson are pulling out all the stops to get shake their jingle bells. On Thursday 4 November from 9am to 9pm, head to Camps for fun, fizz and an awesome 20% off almost everything. There’s a demos, lucky dip, Santa will make a guest appearance– and you work your way through that gift list like someone pulled by Prosecco.
Henley Christmas Fair, Stonor Park Henley, 25 – 28 Nov
Henley Christmas Fair at Stonor Park, Henley is a surefire way to sort out your Crimbo shopping. Lots of boutique brands to help you find the perfect gift for your friends and family or yourself. I’ll be at the mulled wine stand from 25-28 Nov (with small sleep breaks, obvs).
The Christmas Fair, Ascot Racecourse, 25 – 28 Nov
Giddee up to Ascot and nail your Crimbo shopping in one go. Loads of indie pop ups offering seasonal goodies not available on the high street. a staggering 150 pop-up boutiques selling gifts, homewares, toys, decs, fashion, stocking fillers, foodie treats and more. Shop hit the bubbles and relax. Well it is Christmas.
STATELY HOME & HERITAGE
Christmas Tour and Afternoon Tea, Highclere Castle Newbury, 26 Nov
Pinkies poised for a posh afternoon tea and festive snoop around Highclere Castle. Gather around the Christmas Tree, admire the family silver, nose around the bedrooms, head into the cellar for the Egyptian Exhibition (not the wine… darn it), before Carson and the below stairs team bring out the precision pastries and soldier sarnies. Adult £95, Child/ carer, £50.