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This week

Mon 30 Dec – Sun 5 Jan

MUDDY’S PICK OF THE WEEK

THEATRE: Singin In The Rain, Mill at Sonning, Sat 30 Nov – Sat 8 Feb

Singin in the rain Mill at Sonning

The Mill at Sonning is bringing Hollywood to Berks. Sadly not a George Clooney one man show, although I’d be front row, for sure, but Singing In The Rain, this year’s Christmas musical. All tickets before 23 Dec include a festive buffet and from Boxing Day onwards a delish two-course meal. First person to spy George and Amal wins Christmas at the Clooneys (joke, obvs). 

millatsonning.com

WELLBEING: New Year, New Intentions Yoga Workshop, Oh So Yoga Aborfield, 4 Jan

Eaaaaaaase yourself in to 2020 with a two-hour workshop that will set you on a path of blissed out wellbeing. Muddy award-winning Oh So Yoga’s New Year New Intensions Yin & Nidra will offer a combo of 90 mins mindful deep rest yin yoga and 30 mins yoga nidra (guided lying down meditation) and great for stress. Lots of goodness while lying down. And there’s cake. Where do I sign up?

 

 

PANTO: Cinderella, The Hexagon Reading, now – 5 Jan

CBeebies megastar Justin Fletcher (aka Mr Tumble) is a Reading panto regular and he’ll be laying on the charm with a trowel as Cinderella’s perky Prince. Justin’s slapstick sidekick, Paul Morse, also returns as the dame, with a wardrobe that would make Karl Lagerfeld weep (literally). Reading’s mega panto is always a sell out, so wave your magic wand and book up pronto.

 

 WELLBEING: Make 2020 Our Happiest Year Yet, FastTrack Fit Camp, Hilton St Anne’s Wokingham, Sat 4 Jan

It’s time to drag yourself off the sofa, ditch the overly ambitious resolutions and focus on YOU. Heidi Strickland-Clark of FastTrack Fit Camp is running an event that helps you see through the fog and focuses on the positives, helping you see what’s holding you back, why and what you can do about it – from sound and colour, brain and body, food, fitness and sleep. Space is limited, book up – £25pp.

 

MUSIC: New Year’s Day Concert, Norden Farm Maidenhead, 1 Jan

Pop a couple of Ibruprofen and enjoy the sounds of a classical musical concert. Norden Farm’s annual sell out concert returns for the 19th and final year. Expect everything from Handel’s Water Music Suite  to Vivaldi, Bach and more.

 

DAYS OUT: All That Sparkles: Memories of Coronation Day, Windsor Castle, 4 Jan

Queen Elizabeth II Coronation crown and sceptre

Too much for January? This was just like my New Year’s Eve outfit. And no it wasn’t fancy dress. You can get the look too, as Windsor Castle is running an art workshop celebrating The Queen’s Coronation where you can make your own Crown Jewels and older family members can add their memories of Coronation Day to Windsor Castle’s memory wall.

 

THEATRE: The Prince & The Pauper, Watermill Theatre Bagnor, now – 4 Jan

The Watermill Theatre christmas show The prince and The Pauper – prince edward tied up by two sisters

The Watermill Theatre is renowned for its high quality bookish Christmas shows – and this year it’s The Prince & The Pauper. It’s a superb alternative if you’re not a fan of panto. So don’t expect a camp, thigh slapping prince. Funny, fearless and brilliant family entertainment, it’s always a treat at Chrimbo.

 

WALKS: Winter Walk, National Trust Cliveden, throughout 2020

Marble statue of the Duke of Sutherland Cliveden Berkshire

If you’ve been cooped up for days at the relis or nursing a monumental NYE hangover, pop some pills get some fresh air at Cliveden. There’s s stonking 375 acres of gardens, woodland and riverside walks to explore. Plus the hotel is on hand for a coffee or hair of the dog.

 

PANTO: Aladdin, South Hill Park Bracknell, now – 4 Jan 

Aladdin South Hill Park Braccknell Widow Twankey dancing

Aladdin will be rubbing his lamp this year in Bracknell and dame Brad Clapson is up to his neck in laundry (I hear you) as Widow Twankey. South Hill Park always put on a fun, their creative staging is award-winning. Jump on that magic carpet and book your tickets pronto.

 

WALKS: Winter Walk, Basildon Park Lower Basildon

Basildon Park Georgian national trust house and snow covered parkland

West Berkshire’s National Trust belter is a great place for walkies, with stride outs that are gentle for the hungover to challengind stomps for the smugly sober and over eager. If you’f like to pick the brains of the pros, join  the Park’s ranger on 13 Jan for a Tree ID stroll and play nature’s answer to spot the difference.

 

HERITAGE: Christmas At Windsor, Windsor Castle, now – Sun 9 Dec

Windsor Castle 200ft Christmas tree

Something a little spesh at Windsor Castle. No, Meghan and Kate will not be scrapping on the steps of St George’s Chapel. Ogle the 200ft tree from Windsor Great Park and, this year, to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the births of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, the Octagon Dining Room will feature a special display of gifts exchanged between the royal couple during the many Christmases they spent together at the castle.

 

PANTO: Aladdin, Theatre Royal Windsor, now – 5 Jan

There’s a reason why families return to the Theatre Royal Windsor year after year. Filed under ‘classic cheesefest’, this year they’re putting on Aladdin. Windsor’s brilliant comedy duo, Kevin Cruise and Steven Blakeley are celebrating their 10th year in panto together at the Theatre Royal, so it’s guaranteed to be bigger and more bonkers than ever. Fans of ’80s nostalgia will be thrilled to hear that Paul Nicholas, Marti Webb and Basil Brush are joining the cast. Booooom booooooom!

 

ICE SKATING: Windsor On Ice, Alexandra Gardens Windsor, now– Sun 5 Jan

Woman wearing multi coloured stripy socks lacing up ice skates

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. There are two rinks here. The main one is under cover and there’s a smaller open-air rink. There’s also food and other attractions including an ice bar and grill. Sessions are for 45 mins. See you in A&E, I mean on the ice.

windsoronice.com

 

XMAS: Winter Wonderland, Forbury Garden Reading, now – Sun 5 Jan

It’s back! After a mini break, Reading’s Winter Wonderland is popping up at Forbury Gardens with 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.

 

PANTO: Sleeping Beauty, Corn Exchange Newbury, now – 4 Jan

I got insanely drunk on my 18th birthday but Sleeping Beauty celebrated hers by pricking her finger on a spinning wheel and falling asleep for hundreds of years. Bummer, eh! Step up Nanny and the dream team as they battle to save the day. Will they defeat the evil fairy? Will love conquer all? You know the drill.

 

NATIONAL TRUST: Christmas at Basildon Park, Lower Basildon, now – Sun 5 Jan 2019

Basildon Park Christmas

Basildon Park is blinged out for festive fun. This year, we’re time travelling to the Victorian period – multiple trees wearing more accessories than Sue Pollard, with special candlelit tours available. Crack open the Black Tower, pass the nuts, and introduce your kids to life before Netflix.

nationaltrust.org.uk

 

EXHIBITION: Swan Upping at Cookham, Stanley Spencer Gallery Cookham, now – 22 Mar 2020

Stanley Spencer Swan Upping at Cookham Oil Painting Tate

On loan from the Tate, Stanley Spencer’s most famous paintings – Swan Upping at Cookham, is on display to celebrate 100 years since its completion. Inspired by the sounds he heard from Holy Trinity Church as Cookham villagers as the annual swan count took palce, he started work on this oil painting in 1915, but was only half-way through when forced to leave the village to serve in The Great War.

stanleyspencer.org.uk

 

FURTHER AFIELD

EXHIBITION: The Dress of the Year, Fashion Museum, Bath, Weds 1 Jan

Fashion Museum Bath Pink Tulle Gown

Dress of the Year 2019, as chosen by Donna Wallace, Fashion and Accessories Editor at British Vogue is a pleated pink tulle dress by Giambattista Valli for H&M.​ Go drool.

 

Illuminated Light Trail, Blenheim Palace, Woodstock, now – 1 Jan

Blenheim is kicking off festivities this week with its annual Illuminated Light Trail – over 100,000 for the Tunnel of Light, a Laser Garden, scented Fire Garden and light finale on the Water Terrace and front of the Palace set to music. For kids there’ll be a Victorian-style fairground and Santa.

 

XMAS: Christmas at Waddesdon, Waddesdon Manor, Aylesbury, until 5 Jan

Love a festive display? Waddesdon has started it’s Christmas season pretty early this year with the Manor decked out with festive accessories and a light trail around the Aviary combining light, sound colour and movement. There’ll also be two light shows performed on the facade of the Manor.

 

Southbank Centre Winter Festival, London, Fri 8 Nov – Sun 5 Jan
As well as purchasing Christmas produce, artisan treats and other goodies from the Nordic-themed chalets, visitors are in for a treat with Christmas shows, including Circus 1907 and Black Beauty, workshops, performances and other family-orientated fun.

southbankcentre.co.uk

 

Kew Gardens, London, now –  Sun 5 Jan

A spectacular winter trail with over a million twinkling lights and thousands of laser beams, Kew’s light show is awe-inspiring. You can be mesmerised by the Fire Garden, walk through the moonlit woods and check out the laser garden. Mulled wine, hot choc and spiced cider will help keep you warm and the kids can whizz round on vintage fairground rides whilst looking out for Santa and his elves.

kew.org

 

Hogwarts in the Snow, Harry Potter Studios, Watford, until Sun 27 Jan

Hogwarts in the Snow – as regular as Christmas!  The festive makeover sees Christmas trees line the Great Hall, the Gryffindor common room dressed for the season and a blanket of filmmaking snow covering the majestic Hogwarts castle model. Visitors can touch samples of the different types of ‘snow’ used during production, each selected for its ability to float, crunch under foot or glisten in the light like ice. Trust me, your kids will love it.

wbstudiotour.co.uk

 

THEATRE: A Christmas Carol, The Old Vic, now – 18 Jan

A Christmas carol old vic 2019 – man stand on wooden cart with lanterns in the sky

This production of festive classic A Christmas Carol staged by The Old Vic’s artistic director Matthew Warchus had such great reviews that it’s returning for round three. It’s adapted by Jack Thorne, co-writer of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.  oldvictheatre.com

 

Peter Pan Goes Wrong, Alexandra Palace, now – 5 Jan

Assuredly NOT a panto, this West End production (it showed at the Apollo Theatre in 2015 and 2016) comes to Ally Pally, promising a riotous spin on JM Barrie’s classic tale. From the creators of award-winning The Play That Goes Wrong and The Comedy About A Bank Robberyalexandrapalace.com

 

EXHIBITIONS 

Another newbie is Tutankhamun – Treasures of the Golden Pharaoh at the Saatchi Gallery. One of the biggest cultural events in the winter calendar, the exhibit features 150+ original artefacts found in the Pharaoh’s tomb that was unearthed in 1922 (until 3 May).

Mama Mia! A brand new (and, quite frankly, must-see) exhibition is coming to The O2, London this month – ABBA: Super Troupers is a journey through the Swedish band’s career and will feature personal items and artefacts never seen before in the UK (until 21 Aug 2020).

Other exhibitions worth a snoop are Vogue fashion and portrait photographer Tim Walker‘s enchanting, fantastical, frankly insane collection of work at the V&A (until 8 March); William Blake at Tate Britain, with the visionary painter and poets work blown up to enormous scale using digital technology (until 2 Feb 2020); Into the Night: Cabarets & Clubs in Modern Art at the Barbican  – a history of cabarets, clubs, dancefloors and party spaces that inspired artists from the 1880s to the 1960s (until 19 Jan).

 

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