My Favourites

My Favourites

Save your favourites with a single click and you’ll never forget a brilliant Muddy recommendation.

THINGS TO DO. ARTS. EAT. TRAVEL. FASHION. BEAUTY. KIDS. HOME

Get the inside line on what’s unique, special and new near you, straight to your inbox across 28 counties

Ad
Ad
Ad
d
Back to This week

It’s Christmaaas! What’s on from now to NYE

Festive film nights, twinkly lights, pantos, parties and paddling - Berkshire is going into full Christmas overdrive. Here's where to find the fun.

MUDDY’S PICK OF THE FORTNIGHT

Family Race Day, Newbury Racecourse, 29 Dec

Newbury Races silhouette of horses

That tricky period between Christmas and New Year when you’re sick of the sight of cheese and Quality Street. Pull yourself out of that TV coma, stat. Book tickets to Newbury Racecourse’s family race day – the MansionBet Challow Hurdle Day to give it it’s proper name – on 29 Dec . Fresh air, fun and rumour has it there are some special guests ready to meet your little ones. Tickets from £20. Under 18s FREE.

FESTIVE FUN

Garter Tower Illuminations, Windsor Castle, now – 6 Jan

Garter Tower Illuminations
Image: Gill Asper

Light ’em up! With the permission of the Queen (or orf with your head) the world’s most recognised castle provides the backdrop for Windsor’s daily spectacular of illuminations. Standing over 50ft high, Garter Tower is projected with images of the stained glass architecture and motifs from St George’s Chapel dating back to the 15th century and images provided by local schools in Windsor.

Silchester Farm Market, Silchester Farm Reading, 21 Dec

Silchester Farm

Last minute gift givers and lovers of fancy festive food, get your skates on and head over to Silchester Farm Market. For one day only you’ll get all the Christmas grazing goodies from posh cheese and handmade choccies to baked goods and cured meats. It’s on from 4pm to 8pm.

Yule Magic in The Woods, Path Hill Outdoors Goring Heath, 21 Dec

Celebrate the Winter Solstice. Gather round an open fire and connect to the magic of Yule. If you’re into woo and mindfulness, you’ll love the Celtic ceremony, soothing meditation and honouring of the elements. For anyone going along for the ride, there are hot drinks and cake.

Christmas Paddleboarding

Swim, SUP, Sail, Bray Lake Watersports, 23 and 24 Dec

Make a splash before your trotters up for the Christmas break. Head to Bray Lake Watersports for the last Open Swim Session on 23 Dec. If you prefer to stay on top on the water as much as possible, the last paddle board and sailing session is on 24 Dec.

Boxing day Swim & SUP, Caversham Lakes, 26 Dec

You’ve opened the presents, sung a carol or two, had an early nibble of something naughty, leftover lunch from Christmas Day is in the oven and now it’s time to take the plunge. The Boxing Day swim is something of a mad tradition. But you can embrace it at Caversham Lake from 9am-11am, there’s a mince pie and mulled wine in it for you, if you dare.

Once Upon a Bus: Yuletide, Fifield Inn Maidenhead, 21-22 Dec

Once Upon a Bus- Yuletide

Ding Ding! All Aboooooooard. A fictional world on wheels awaits at Fifield Inn. Once Upon a Bus has parked up with a special Christmas themed theatrical experience. Choose to visit the ‘Polar Bus’ based on the Polar Express or ‘A Christmas Carol’ based on Scrooge and enjoy on an interactive storytelling experience by Arti the Elf and Jane Deane (as seen on Cbeebies).

Lapland UK, Whitmoor Forest Ascot, now – 24 Dec

LAPLAND UK ELVES

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.

Christmas Day Park Run, Dinton Pastures Country Park Wokingham, 25 Dec

Oh come all ye running faithful. Earn that massive plate of roast turkey with a cheeky 5km around Dinton Pastures on Christmas Day. Meet up at 9am and shake your jingle bells around the course with a double helping of festive cheer. Just imagine how smug you can be for the rest of the day.

Christmas At Windsor, Windsor Castle, now – 31 Jan

WINDSOR CASTLE CHRISTMAS panto costumes and panels

Something a little spesh at Windsor Castle. No, Meghan and Kate will not be scrapping on the steps of St George’s Chapel. The Queen’s home from home has been transformed for Christmas. See the State Apartments dressed with shimmering Christmas trees, twinkling lights and festive garlands. In the Waterloo Chamber, for the first time you’ll be able to the Queen and Princess Margaret’s panto costumes in the same spot they were originally performed 80 years ago.

Winter Wonderland, Hills Meadow Reading, now – 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, now – 2 Jan

Windsor in Ice

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.

Legoland at Christmas, Legoland Windsor, now – ? Jan

Lego brick father christmas throwing a snow ball in avenue of christmas trees

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.

PANTOS & CHRISTMAS SHOWS

Beauty & The Beast, The Hexagon Theatre Reading, now – 3 Jan

CBeebies demigod, Justin Fletcher and award-winning Dame, Paul Morse return to the Reading stage as Billy and Nanny Pastry in the Covid postponed Beauty And The Beast. Join Lumière and his pottery pals for a spin round the Beast’s ballroom and enjoy the sizzling on stage chemistry between Justin and Paul. Oh no you won’t! Oh yes you… (sorry, I’ll stop).

The Snow Queen, Rabble Theatre Reading, now – 24 Dec

For a show that’s light on cheese, book The Snow Queen – a new play, written by Anna Wheatley based on the original Hans Christian Andersen story. Set in mid-winter, two besties’ worlds are torn apart when one of them mysteriously disappears and the other is forced to set out on a treacherous journey across Scandinavia to find him. The Rabble Theatre has a fab reputation, so worth booking in.

Kipper’s Snowy Day, Norden Farm Maidenhead, now – 30 Dec

Looking for a Christmas show that dials down the crazy? Norden Farm always put on an atmospheric, bookish production with puppets. This year, Kipper’s Snowy Day will be brought to life – a classic children’s tale nails the Christmas Eve excitement. It’s perfect for littles and SEND children.

Cinderella, Corn Exchange Newbury, now – 2 Jan

Image: The Other Richard

Can’t stand Z-list pantos? The Corn Exchange continues its policy of not bothering with the soap star brigade, with its in-house panto. Watch Cinderella outwit the wicked Step Mother and her Ugly Sisters to find her Prince Charming and generally have a rip-roaring time. You can also see Cinderella ‘as live’ from your living room from now until 30 Dec.

Cinderella, South Hill Park Bracknell, now – 3 Jan 2022

South Hill Park Bracknell Cinderella

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, now – 14 Jan

JACK AND THE BEANSTALK WINDSOR

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!

The Jungle Book, Watermill Theatre Newbury, now – 31 Dec

JUNGLE BOOK WATERMILL

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.

LIGHT TRAILS

Twilight Trail Biscuit Town, Abbey Quarter Reading, now – 31 Dec

READING TWILIGHT TRAIL

Is it even Christmas without the flicker of candlelight or a megawatt display to ooh and ahh? Reading’s Twilight Trail is back – a magical festive wander through a sea of sparkles and illuminations in the iconic Abbey Quarter. This year the trail features a light installation that celebrates Reading’s biscuit-making past, interactive elements and the Abbey Ruins come alive with sound and light. It’s basically Reading’s answer to Studio 54 – there’s even a bar. Tickets (adults £8, kids £6) must be booked in advance. Under 2s are free.

Windsor Great Park Illuminated, Windsor, Berks, now – 9 Jan

WINDSOR GREAT PARK ILLUMINATED

Christmas is coming and Windsor Great Park’s inaugural illuminated trail is the one to book. 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. Open from 4.30pm-10pm. Tickets: Adults £21.45, Child, £13.20 and Family £74.80.

The Illuminated Garden at West Green House, near Hartley Wintney, Hook, now – 30 Dec

Gigantic shimmering flowers, glowing fairies and a forest of illuminated red tulips – the famous Opera Garden at West Green House in North Hampshire undergoes it’s stunning annual winter transformation from late November. Look out for lit water lilies floating on lakes, bridges turned into tunnels of lights and classical follies twinkling in the darkness. Beautiful.

HERITAGE

Christmas at Highclere, Highclere Castle Newbury, 20-21 Dec

Highclere castle in snow with iron gates

At the beginning of December you can spend Christmas at Downton, I mean Highclere. Frock up, we’re off to impress Lord and Lady Carnavon for a festive snoop and gift shopping. As we all start to down tools for the holidays, you can head back to Highclere for a special performance of A Christmas Carol (20-21 Dec). Drink Champagne in the Library, before the performance by Gerald Dickens, Great-Great Grandson of Charles Dickens.

Lights & Liminality, Basildon Park Pangbourne, now – 5 Jan

Basildon-Park-Winter-Walks

Basildon Park is blinged out for festive fun. This year, the house has a nature theme inside and out with lots of sensory surprises. The Dining Room has been transformed into an indoor terrarium, walks are lit by fairy lights and the smell of dried oranges and cinnamon will fill the house. So crack open the Black Tower, pass the nuts, and introduce your kids to life before Netflix. Basildon Park is also running after dark candlelit tours on the 3 and 10 Dec.

Percy the Park Keeper Winter Wander Trail, Cliveden National Trust Taplow, now – 23 Dec 

CLIVEDEN SOUTH PARTERRE WINTER

A fun Christmas trail around the grounds where kids need to help Percy The Park Keeper. You’ll have the help of Percy’s animal friends who will accompany you around the Cliveden estate, noticing what’s around in winter and how to look after animals and habitats.  Follow clues and a note from Percy to find lost items and get the tasks done.

STAGE & SCREEN

The Screen, The Old Court Windsor, now – 31 Dec

Carnage from Columbia Pictures' VENOM: LET THERE BE CARNAGE.
Image: Sony Pictures

No multiplex in Windsor, but it does have a super-cool, arty cinema at The Old Court. On the movie rell over the festive period is: Venom – Let There Be Carnage (23 Dec); Dune (22, 27 & 29 Dec) Dear Evan Hansen (28 & 30 Dec) and

The Grinch at the Brewery, West Berkshire Brewery Taproom Yattendon, 20 Dec

How-Grinch-Stole-Christmas

Ron Howard’s How The Grinch Stole Christmas is a Jim Carrey masterpiece. He’s the king of physical comedy and put in an energetic shift to bring this famous cartoon character to life. You can seeThe Grinch at West Berkshire Brewery on 20 Dec.

ROH Live: The Nutcracker, Norden Farm Maidenhead, 22 & 30 Dec and South Hill Park Bracknell, 24 Dec

The Royal Ballet The Nutcracker

There’s nothing like a sea of tutus, twinkly lights, sugar plum fairies to lift the spirits… it can only be the Nutcracker – an 18th century prequel to Toy Story. The Royal Ballet’s staging of this classic ballet is jaw-dropping. Peter Wright’s reworked production is available to watch live without leaving the county. Pass the popcorn, it’s a cracker.

ROH Live: Tosca, Norden Farm Maidenhead, 29 Dec

ROH Live Tosca

Drama bomb! It’s hard to believe ROH Live wasn’t a product of the pandemic. But no, the opportunity to see world class opera without schlepping into London and selling a kidney for a ticket has been going in for a while. See political thriller Tosca on the big screen at Norden Farm – we can guarantee there won’t be a wine and cheese work meeting.

CAROLS CONCERTS & MUSIC

Drag queen

Queermas Carols, The Market House Reading, 22 Dec

Camping up Christmas with Queermas Carols. Book at table at The Market House Reading for sing-along carols, Over the Rainbow cocktails and the best dressed wins a £100 tab behind the bar – all in aid of Support U a charity that provides specialist support for lgbt+ people.

Silent disco santa with retro ghetto blaster star sunglasses and santa suit

Christmas Catch Up Shenanigans, The Old Court Windsor, 24 Dec

Twas the night before Christmas. Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse. But over in Windsor there was fun in the mix. Mulled wine warming nicely and DJ Martin Madigan’s musical tricks. No more terrible poetry from me. The festivities kick off at 7pm and end at 11pm, be there or be square.

Martin Kemp’s Back To The 80s Party, Sub89 Reading, 21 Dec

MARTIN KEMP

Martin Kemp is 24kt GOLD, so don’t miss his floor-filling DJ set. Setting a course for the untouchable Eighties, where discos were dominated by pop’s finest pedigree, from Duran Duran to Chaka Khan, George Michael to Michael Jackson, Spandau Ballet and beyond; Martin Kemp’s Back To The 80s will take you on a whistlestop tour through all of the era’s most electrifying pop moments… and back again. Heaven.

Christmas with the Queen’s Six, Norden Farm Maidenhead, 23 Dec

The Queen's Six Christmas Carols Cliveden

You can’t beat a good carol concert (unless Ma Muddy is belting out Silent Night, she can’t sing a note, bless her), but when you have the The Queen’s Six (half of the Lay Clerks of St George’s Chapel) carolling all the Xmas feels are guaranteed.

NEW YEAR’S EVE

NYE Tunes, The Old Court Windsor, 31 Dec

Chad jackson

Hear The Drummer Get Wicked! NYE does not get better than this. Chad Jackson – former resident DJ at Manchester’s Hacienda Club, World DJ Mixing Champion, dance pioneer and music icon – will be raising the roof at The Old Court Windsor to say tata 2021 and let’s be ‘avin you 2022.

New Years Eve 2021, Hurley House Hotel Maidenhead, 31 Dec

The Overtones

If you’re a go big or go home kinda gal – Hurley House in Hurley, sure know how to throw a party. On offer this year is your own private gig with man band The Overtones top of the bill. There will be Champers, canapés and a four-course festive feast. Bring your A game, this is going to be mega black tie bash to remember (£285pp).

Decadance, Claytons Marlow, 31 Dec

Claytons Marlow is celebrating the arrival of the new decade with slick tracks and spinning vinyl from the Seventies through to modern day music. Claytons regular DJ Tony White’s on the decks.

Tell us what you think

Your email address will not be published.

* Required
* Required

Little Black Book

The Little Black Book

Our A-Z of the grooviest local businesses to help make your life easier

View the businesses
Reader Treats Just For You!