FRI 23 – SUN 25 NOV
MUDDY’S PICK OF THE WEEKEND
SHOPPING & TOUR: The Country Home & Interiors Show, Thurs 22 – Sun 25 Nov & Candlelit Tours, Thurs 22 Nov – Sun 9 Dec, Stonor Park, Henley
It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas… Don’t fight, people. Shake your baubles and jingle all the way to Stonor Park near Henley and immerse yourself in the festive feels. The house has been decorated with the theme Star of Wonder – each room individually designed and transformed with lights and decorations, in keeping with the family antiques and portraits, and holly, larch and mistletoe have been used from the park. New for this year, you can book a candlelit tour where you can see many of the rooms by twinkling lights and candlelight. Drinks and dinner are also on offer in the Pantry in the Medieval Hall. The weekend Thurs 22 – Sun 25 Nov, Stonor is once again hosting the Country Home and Interiors Show in stylish marquees in the grounds. More than 100 sellers of crafts, lifestyle products, gifts and homewares will be tempting you with their wares, plus there will be demos from new country businesses. A great opportunity to get your Christmas list ticked off in style.
THEATRE: The Fir Tree, Norden Farm Maidenhead, now – Fri 30 Dec
If you have young children the Norden Farm Christmas Show will give you all the warm and fuzzy feels of the festive season. This year, the Moomin Family will be heading to Maidenhead to tell the tale of The Fir Tree – an innocent take on Christmas featuring live puppetry and music – set in peaceful Moominvalley. Suitable for 3+. Keep yours eyes peeled for the review
PANTO: Dick Whittington, Theatre Royal Windsor, now – Sun 6 Jan
Filed under ‘classic cheesefest’, the Theatre Royal’s celebrating 80 years of panto with Dick Whittington. The Governess, Anne Hegerty, screamed ‘I’m a celebrity get me out off here’ and has entered the jungle. She will return to Windsor in December to play Queen Rat – alongside resident dame Steven Blakeley. Fans of ’80s nostalgia will be thrilled to hear that Basil Brush will once again co-stars alongside Anita Harris, DJ Mike Read and Marti Webb. Booooom booooooom!
MUSIC: The Vinyl Frontier: My Favourite vs Your Favourite, Norden Farm Maidenhead, Sat 24 Nov
Think your musical tastes are good enough to win a play off? New to the awesome The Vinyl Frontier, six challengers play their favourite in a specific category against the host Jeff Lloyd’s choice. Music has just got personal, sure my 80s cheese fest is quite up to it. But I’m game if you are.
SPORT: Santa Dash 5k, Long Walk Windsor, Sun 25 Nov
With so many parties, drinks and mince pies going down the hatch a cheeky 5k in a Santa suit could take you one step closer to not looking like a Christmas pud by 25 Dec. Dust off your trainers and make for the start line on Long Walk Windsor and run 5k towards the castle and through Windsor town centre and raise a few quid for children’s hospice Alexander Devine.
Alternatively, there’s a Santa Dash at Swinley Forest in Bracknell Sun 25 Nov, 10am, in aid of Thames Hospice; and Dorney Lake Eton, 1pm, in aid of Alzheimers Dementia Support
FAMILY FUN: Lapland UK, Whitmoor Forest Ascot, now – 24 Dec
Good news, kids, Santa’s quit the North Pole, perpetual darkness and Northern Lights, to set up shop in the UK. The big man heard post-Brexit Britain will be a tax haven. 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 25thDecember. It’s a four-hour immersive experience so pack the tramadol and Kendal Mint Cake.
Lapland UK, Whitmoor Forest, Swinley Road, Ascot SL5 8BD
ART: Stanley Spencer: Friends and Family, Stanley Spencer Gallery Cookham, now – Mar 2019
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.
THEATRE: Robin Hood, Watermill Theatre Bagnor, now – Sat 5 Jan 2019
The Watermill Theatre is renowned for its high quality bookish Christmas shows – and this year it’s Robin Hood. It’s a superb alternative if you’re not a fab of panto. So don’t expect a camp, thigh slapping Robin. Funny, fearless and brilliant family entertainment, it’s always a treat at Crimbo.
ACTIVITY: Windsor On Ice, Alexandra Gardens Windsor, now – Jan 2019
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.
WALKS: Illuminated Woodland Walk, Basildon Park, Thu 1 Nov – 31 Jan 2019
Wrap up, wellies on and trudge through the woods to see the trees in all their glory – preferably before the leaves get blown off. Now that we are spending most of our time in darkness, we might as well get something out of it. In this case, an enchanting woodland walk, twinkly lights and all the Winter wonderland magic that goes with it. No need to book.
Illuminated Christmas Lights Trail, Blenheim Palace Woodstock, Fri 23 Nov – Tue 1 Jan 2019
Blenheim doesn’t do things by halves and this Christmas is no exception. The Illuminated Light Trail will be back to light up Oxon’s skies with lasers, along with a brand spanking new Christmas market in the Great Court promising a hand-picked curation of gifts from textiles and homewares to leather goods, accessories and food. Also making its debut this Yuletide is the Cinderella experience, with the Palace State Rooms being transformed into scenes from the fairytale, Nov 23 – Jan 13. Entry included in grounds admission, adult tickets £16, child tickets £7.40.
EVENT: Winter Wonderland, Hyde Park London, Thu 22 Nov – Sun 6 Jan
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.
THEATRE: True West, Vaudeville Theatre, London, 23 Nov 2018 – 23 Feb 2019
Head to town for the West End Premiere of Pulitzer Prize-winner Sam Shepard’s ferociously funny, modern classic, True West, which opens today. Directed by Matthew Dunster, an Olivier-nominated director, playwright, actor and Associate Director at Shakespeare’s Globe, and starring Kit Harington (of Game of Thrones fame) and Johnny Flynn (Genius) as warring brothers, this sure sounds like a goodie.
ART: Edward Burne-Jones, Tate Britain, London, now – Sun 24 Feb
Pre-Raphaelite artist Burne-Jones was one of the most influential British talents of the 19th century and this exhibition will bring together 150 works including paintings, stained glass and tapestry in a major new retrospective. Rejecting the starched world of the Victorians, he looked to myths, legends and the Bible to create his otherworldly work. He wanted to bring beautiful design to everyone and along with his friend William Morris, pioneered the Arts and Crafts Movement.
PANTO: Dick Whittington & His Cat, South Hill Park Bracknell, Fri 30 Nov – Sat 5 Jan 2019
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 a few toe-tapping tunes along the way. Always brilliantly staged, packed full of panto bants.
EVENT: Santa Landing, Stubbings Nursery Maidenhead, Sat 1 Dec
Incommiiiiiiing! Santa knows how to make an entrance and it doesn’t get bigger and better than a helicopter. Sleighs are so last century. This event will seriously blow your kids’ minds. Thrill seeking Santa handing out gifts, meet the reindeer (poor fellas have been redundant), carols, meet Princesses Belle and Elsa, biscuit decorating and more. Tickets £6.
THEATRE: Madagascar The Musical, Hexagon Reading, Jan 2019
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