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This week

31 Dec 2018 – Sun 6 Jan 2019

MUDDY’S PICK OF THE WEEK

EXHIBITION: Light In The Lens, Thames Valley Park 2 Reading, Thu 3 – Mon 7 Jan

FRabbit Can't look in grass –≠ light in the lens exhibition

If you’re looking to up your game on Insta in 2019, then check out how the pros do it. Light In The Lens – a brilliant exhibition from The Photographic Angle – let’s you into a little secret. It’s all about light. Know light and you’ll nail photography. Now if I could just take a selfie without gurning that would be magic.

thephotographicangle.co.uk

 

PARTY: New Year’s Eve Party, the Hind’s Head Bray, Mon 31 Dec

If you can’t have a right royal knees up on New Year’s Eve, when can you? Party where Prince Philip had his stag do (you know that was a wild night) and see in 2019 at Heston’s Michelin star posh pub The Hind’s Head in Bray. Scoff signature snacks in The Royal Lounge, followed by a five-course tasting menu, with wine pairing (an extra £50pp, but oh so worth it), with live music and a casino. Cost £120 pp.

hindsheadbray.com 

 

WALKS: Winter walk, National Trust Cliveden, throughout 2019

Frosty image of the ornamental south parterre at Cliveden National Trust

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.

nationaltrust.org,uk/cliveden

 

ART: Stanley Spencer: Friends and Family, Stanley Spencer Gallery Cookham, now – 24 Mar  2019

Stanley Spencer Portrait of Mr and Mrs Baggett

Not a loyalty scheme, but the latest exhibition at the brilliant Stanley Spencer Gallery on Cookham High Street. Although more famous for his local landscapes, his portraits are world class – in fact one on his first self portraits hangs in the Tate Britain. This new exhibition is an intimate snapshot of the artist’s private life, demonstrating his immense talent at capturing the mood and character of those closest to him.

spencerstanley.org.uk

 

FAMILY FUN: Crowns and Coronations, Windsor Castle, Sat 5 and Sat 19 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 a crown inspired by the Crown Jewels. Need more pomp and pageantry? On Sat 26 Jan, listen to the story of The Queen’s Coronation, read by Olivia Armstrong, and see a role play of the ceremony.

rct.uk

 

HEALTH: Make 2019 Our Happiest Year Yet, FastTrack Fit Camp, Hilton St Anne’s Wokingham, Sat 5 Jan

Smiley face to symbolise the start of a new year of happiness

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 family to food, fitness to fun and sleep. Space is limited, book up – £20pp.

fasttrack-fitcamp.co.uk

 

CHRISTMAS: Dick Whittington & His Cat, South Hill Park Bracknell, now – Sun 6 Jan 2019

Dick Whittington sea scene Dame dressed in stripy dress and boat hat

Like an X Factor finalist, Dick Whittington is everywhere this season seeking fame and fortune. Dick and his Cat will be taking to the gold plated streets of Bracknell battling with Simon Cowell, sorry King Rat, getting flirty with the groupies and belting out a few toe-tapping tunes along the way. Always brilliantly staged, you’ll love the panto bants.

southhillpark.org.uk

 

THEATRE: Dick Whittington, Theatre Royal Windsor, now – Sun 6 Jan 2019

The fur’s gonna a fly with fox in the house. It’s a flashback to the 80s with Basil Brush, DJ Mike Read, Marti Webb and Anita Harris standing in for Governess  Anne Hegarty while she’ downing blended fish eyes and snacking on witchety grubs. She’ll take up her role as Queen Rat from Tue 18 Dec. Read my review here.

theatreroyalwindsor.co.uk

 

THEATRE: Guys & Dolls, Mill at Sonning, now – Sat 23 Feb 2019

Guys and Dolls Mill at Sonning woman in yellow dress held in the air.

Get your glad rags on because The Mill at Sonning are bringing New York to Berks with Guys & Dolls. Director Joseph Pitcher and Conductor Charles Ingles, who put on last year’s My Fair Lady, are back along with the promise of post-show piano tunes on Friday and Saturday evenings and cocktails from the Waterwheel Bar – music to my ears. First person to spy George wins Christmas at the Clooneys (joke, obvs). Ticket price also includes lunch/dinner.

millatsonning.com

 

DAYS OUT: Christmas at Basildon Park, Lower Basildon, now – Sun 6 Jan 2019

Basildon Park is blinged out for festive fun. The family usually spent Crimbo in France, where they would party with Grace Kelly. Does it get more fabulous than that? Every 10th year they celebrated at Basildon Park. To mark the 40th anniversary of its donation to the National Trust, the house is being decorated to show Crimbo through the centuries. Crack open the Black Tower, pass the nuts, and introduce your kids to life before Netflix.

nationaltrust.org.uk

 

EXHIBITION: A Royal Wedding: Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Windsor Castle, now – 26 Jan 2019

Roll up roll up, it’s your last chance to see Meghan’s Givenchy bridal gown designed by Artistic Director Clare Waight Keller is, her 5m veil embroidered with flora symbolising the 53 Commonwealth countries and the 1932 Queen Mary diamond and platinum tiara loaned to the Duchess by the Queen. We can all look forward to the collection of Royal maternity clothes in the summer. (Only joking).

rct.uk

 

THEATRE: Jack & The Beanstalk, Corn Exchange Newbury, now – Sun 6 Jan 2019

Fee, Fi, Fo, Fum, we smell lots of panto fun! Expect adventure, mayhem and and the return of the utterly brilliant Matthew Grace – aka Billy Bumpkin. He missed his train to Newbury last year, bless him, and spent the season riding the Circle Line. But he’s back and we couldn’t be more excited.

cornexchangenew.com

 

ACTIVITY: Windsor On Ice, Alexandra Gardens Windsor, now – Sun 6 Jan 2019

Woman wearing black leggings and white leather skates glide across the ice rink

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

 

DAYS OUT: Grey’s Court, Henley, Oxon, until Sun 6 Jan

One of my favourite National Trust estates, catch Greys Court decorated for a Swiss Christmas, exploring the links the Brunner family had to Switzerland, and they’ll be different festive recipes baked in the kitchen with tasters available.

nationaltrust.org.uk

 

FURTHER AFIELD…

CHRISTMAS: Christmas Carnival, Waddesdon Manor, now – Wed 2 Jan

Using the amazing artworks in the Waddesdon collection for inspiration, the house and grounds are a feast for the senses this Christmas. The house is decorated beautifully, inspired by the Venetian carnival and 18th century fancy dress, and the manor is hosting its biggest Christmas fair ever with food and gifts on offer from charming wooden chalets (Sat 10 Nov – Sun 16 Dec). There’s also a light show by the Guildhall School, this year projected onto the stables, and featuring Waddesdon’s objects, gardens and architecture until Wed 2 Jan. Muddy went to the opening night – read our review here.

 

CHRISTMAS: Illuminated Christmas Lights Trail, Blenheim Palace, now until Sat 6 Jan

Blenheim’s Christmas light shows are pretty spectacular and this year’s trail has even more lasers, projections and thousands of pea-lights. There’s a new Field of Light, the scented Fire Garden, a Canopy of Light and Singing Trees. Santa and his elves will also be popping up along the way too. The house opens up this Sat decorated with the theme of Cinderella and the Christmas Market begins in the Great Court with rustic wooden chalets selling all sorts of festive gifts.

blenheimpalace.com

 

CHRISTMAS: Winter Wonderland, Hyde Park London, now – Sun 6 Jan 2019

hyde park winter wonderland illuminated heater skelter and fairground ride London

Go big or go home when it comes to festive fun, London’s Winter Wonderland is huuuuge. Free to enter but once inside, prepare to sell a kidney. The costs can get out of control – particularly if you hit the glühwein a little too hard. What to expect? Winter markets, fairground rides and ice skating. Major attractions this year include the Magical Ice Kingdom Secret Forest, an immersive showcase of woodland animals and mythical creatures created from ice and snow; a Bavarian village offering an authentic Oktoberfest experience; karaoke cabins, ice sculpting workshops, the Winter Wonderland Comedy Club, immersive screenings of The Snowman and plus Peter Pan on Ice. 

hydeparkwinterwonderland.com

 

CHRISTMAS: Kew Gardens, London, now –  Sat 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

 

LIVE SCREENINGS: Linbury Theatre, Royal Opera House, London, now – Mon 7 Jan

See a live screening of The Nutcracker, followed by 20 screenings of great operas and ballets with memorable casts as the Linbury Theatre (within the ROH) becomes a cinema for 5 weeks. ROH staff and well-known artists will introduce the screenings and on selected weekend matinees, children 5 -15 go free. Opera highlights include La bohème, La Traviata and Otello. Undoubtably, one of the ballet highlights will be Darcey Bussell introducing the screening of Sylvia, starring herself, and offering her unique insights into the role.

roh.org.uk

 

THEATRE: A Christmas Carol, The Old Vic, London, now – Sat 19 Jan 2019

The smash hit of Dickens’ classic adapted by Jack Thorne (Harry Potter and the Cursed Child) and directed by Matthew Warchus returns to the Old Vic and this time Stephen Tompkinson stars as Ebenezer Scrooge. This big-hearted and warm production’s unique staging immerses the audience in the story and there’s music, mince pies and much merriment for a fab festive night out.

theoldvic.com

 

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

Hogwarts in the Snow – as regular as Christmas!  The festive makeover will see 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 will even be able to touch samples of the different types of ‘snow’ used during production, each selected for its ability to float like falling snow, crunch under foot or glisten in the light like ice. Trust me, your kids will love it.

wbstudiotour.co.uk

 

BOOK NOW

THEATRE: Madagascar The Musical, Hexagon Reading, Feb 2019

Madagascar The Musical Reading Hexagon 2018 Matt Terry as Lion

You got to move it, move it… because X Factor 2016 winner Matt Terry takes on the role of Alex the Lion in the awesome Dreamworks musical adaptation of Madagascar, and it’s a guaranteed sell out. The animals are escaping the zoo and heading to the Hexagon Reading, follow the trail of destruction and book now. Tickets from £25.50

readingarts.com 

 

EXHIBITION: Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams, Victoria & Albert Museum, London, Sat 2 Feb

Christian Dior by Maria Grazia Chiuri (b. 1964), Éventail de vos hasards, Dress, Haute Couture, Spring/Summer 2018. Dior Héritage collection, Paris

This is going to be maaassive! The V&A is showing the largest House of Dior exhibition ever staged in the UK, tracing the history of Christian Dior and the six artistic directors who succeeded him. The exhibition is based on the major exhibition Christian Dior: Couturier du Rêve, organised by the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Paris, and there will be a new section exploring Dior’s fascination with British culture. A highlight will be the Christian Dior dress worn by Princess Margaret for her 21st birthday celebrations, on loan from the Museum of London.

vam.ac.uk

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