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What’s on this week in Berkshire

Is it Halloween this week? I hadn't noticed. No tricks just plenty of treats from Frankenstein and a spooky drive in cinema to Halloween trails and Elton John.

Drive-In Cinema, The Wellington Arms, Stratfield Turgis, Thu 29-Sat 31 Oct

Hotel Transylvannia

Things that go bump in the night – as long as it’s not you hitting in the car in front. Pull up for the new drive-in cinema at The Wellington Arms in Stratfield Turgis. Three days of great movies, including family classics like E.T., Secret Life of Pets 2, Hotel Transylvania, Sing and more. The best rom-com of all time – yes, that is Dirty Dancing or fright-night films like The Blair Witch Project. Yikes. Film, food, fun and all safely socially distanced.

EXHIBITION: Quentin Blake and John Yoeman – 50 Years of Children’s Books, The Base Greenham, now – Sun 6 Dec

QUENTIN BLAKE JOHN YEOMAN exhibition The Base Newbury

Just like wine and cheese, Quentin Blake and Roald Dahl trip off the tongue. But a new exhibition at The Base in Greenham Common reveals Quentin Blake’s longest collaboration was in fact with the author John Yeoman. House of Illustration’s 50 Years of Children’s Books exhibition is the first to celebrate this partnership. It features the original drawings for A Drink of Water, and 10 other projects – from picture books and short novels.

THEATRE: National Theatre Live – Frankenstein, Wed 28 and Sat 31 Oct

National Theatre Live Frankenstein Benedict Cumberbatch and Jonny Lee Miller

Captured live on stage in 2011, this thrilling, sold-out production of Frankenstein, directed by Danny Boyle, became an international sensation, experienced by almost half a million people in cinemas around the world. Benedict Cumberbatch and Jonny Lee Miller took it in turns to play Frankenstein and the monster. You can experience the same at Norden Farm’s encore screening: Jonny Lee Miller as Frankenstein and Benedict Cumberbatch as the creature on 28 Oct and vice versa on 31 Oct.

KIDS: Where’s Wally? Spooky Museum Search, Reading Museum

Kids in Msueums Where's Wally

Taking place in 75 museums nationwide and organised by Walker Books and Kids in Museums, to celebrate the release of the new book, Where’s Wally? Spooky Spotlight Search, this hunt will bring an extra element of fun to museum visits this half term. There will be mini Wally stands hidden alongside letters to spell out a spooky phrase, with prizes available for all who complete the challenge. Reading Museum, the Ashmoleon in Oxford, London’s V&A and Southampton City Art Gallery are just a few taking part.

MUSIC: Elton John – It’s A Little Bit Funny, Corn Exchange Newbury, Thu 29 – Fri 30 Oct

Elton John Little Bit Funny

A fun night of confessions, anecdotes, jokes and – of course – fabulous Elton John songs. Superfan Martin Kaye (star of Million Dollar Quartet) tells the tale of one extraordinary night in Las Vegas when Martin Kaye bumps into the bespectacled star and happens to spend the evening with him. We’re intrigued!

PYO Pumpkin, Cobbs Farm Shop Hungerford, Sat 10 – Sat 31 Oct

Cobbs Farm PYO pumpkin

Slime and seeds – pumpkin carving is a nightmare, but it definitely keeps the kids busy for a bit. Head to Cobbs Farm and pick your own pumpkin (pay for it)  Check in at the new bus café, you have one hour to find your perfect pumpkin. Then head home for creative carving, or paint it (much easier0 Entry is £3.50 per child!

EXHIBITION: HRH Princess Beatrice Wedding Dress, Windsor Castle, Thu 24 Sep – Sun 22 Nov

princess-beatrice-WEDDING GOWN ON display

No fuss, no pomp or ceremony, on the 17 Jul 2020 Princess Beatrice quietly married Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi at Royal Chapel of All Saints in Windsor wearing her ‘something borrowed’ vintage Norman Hartnell borrowed from Granny. It helps she’s the Queen. Now we get to see this masterclass in craftsmanship up close now that it is on display at Windsor Castle. The queen famously wore this gown to the premiere of Lawrence Arabia at the Oden Leicester Square in 1962. It was nothing short of perfection.

KIDS: Concertini: Spooky Music, Norden Farm Maidenhead, Sat 31 Oct

The Rocky Horror Picture Show

What makes horror movies so blinkin terrifying? The music. Perfect timing for the Wiltshire Piano Duo to join Concertini at Norden Farm to be playing a  spooky concert with songs from The Rocky Horror Picture Show and Little Shop Of Horrors. Tickets £8 

KIDS: Brick or Treat, Legoland Windsor, now – Sun 8 Nov

Lifesize Lego Halloween figures dracula orange lego brick with lashes and witches hat and frankenstein

I’ve run out of jokes about Brick or Treat – that’s how long this Legoland event has been running! But there’s some new bits to sink your teeth into: The Haunted Lighthouse Halloween Show, Scarecrow joins the spooky Brick or Treat crew, plus 55 ‘spooktacular’ rides, live shows and attractions.

THEATRE: Lone Flyer, The Watermill Theatre Newbury, now – Sat 21 Nov

Inside the watermill theatre Newbury

The Watermill Theatre’s indoor season is off to a flying start – quite literrally, with Lone Flyer. Another socially-distant one-actor production, this time starring Amy Johnson as the first woman to fly solo from England to Oz. But the outbreak of war changed everything.

KIDS: Hallowellyeen, Wellington Country Park Riseley, Sat 24 – Sat 31 Oct

halloween Wellington Country Park girl with pumpkin

A week of spooktacular fun for the kids at Wellington Country Park from 24 – 31 October – Storytime, monster’s mischief and magic shows, a creepy craft room, scary face painting, a haunted Halloween train ride, pumpkin carving and much more! Book em up. 

FAMILY FUN: Halloween Trail, Beale Park Pangbourne, now – Sun 1 Nov

Head to Beale Park like a bat out of her for its Halloween Trail. Just look for the clues that will be dotted around the Park, ooh and ah at the many different animals and join in the spooky fun. Kids get in for free if they come dressed to scare (with a fee paying adult).


FESTIVAL: London Mural Festival, various locations, until 30 Nov

This brand new arts festival is in full swing with open-air graffiti and artwork from 200+ artists and 75 large-scale murals and activations in locations across the city from Walthamstow to Wembley Park (click here for the map to start planning your route).

Halloween at Waddesdon Manor, Aylesbury, 24 Oct – 1 Nov 

Waddesdon Manor halloween afternoon tea

The National Trust site is piling on the activities for autumn half term including a ghostly trail around the grounds, pumpkin carving in The Stables and – our personal favourite – a spooky-themed Halloween afternoon tea (how cute is that little ghost meringue?!). Booking essential. 

IF Oxford Science & Ideas Festival, online, now – 17 Nov 

giant gold earth Oxford science fest

The city’s annual science and tech fest is taking everything online this year with loads of digital events across half term for kids including storytelling and coding workshops.

Fright Night Fearstival, Thorpe Park, Surrey, Fri 16 Oct – Sun 1 Nov

Thorpe Park Fright Night

A dead cert hit with adrenaline junkie teens, it’s the 19th annual Fright Night at Thorpe Park. Expect thrilling rollercoaster rides, spooks, ghouls and social distancing. Recommended for ages 13+.

EXHIBITION: Among The Trees, The Hayward Gallery, Southbank, until 31 Oct

From Colombian rainforests and remote Japanese islands to olive orchards in Israel and a 9,550-year-old spruce in Sweden, this mixed media exhibition explores trees relationship to humans, featuring work from 37 international artists. You’re right on the Southbank so plenty of foodie options to head to after your culture fix.

Find more ideas here

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