FRI 16 – SUN 18 NOV
MUDDY’S PICK OF THE WEEK
SHOPPING: Christmas Market, Douai Park Upper Woolhampton, Sun 18 Nov
Save yourself the airfare to Europe, a brand spanking new Christmas market is coming to West Berkshire. The Douai Park – in the stunning location of Upper Woolhampton – will be turned into an alpine marketplace with mini chalets popping up with gifts galore from cool local indies like Turtle Dove Living and Rosebourne, Lala and Bea, Cotton & Gems, BAE plush food hampers, Xmas trees and more. Grab yourself a mulled wine and sit yourself on Santa’s knee (yes, there’s a grotto), its going to be a cracker. Free entry.
FAMILY FUN: Lapland UK, Whitmoor Forest Ascot, Sat 17 Nov – Mon 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 25th December. It’s a four-hour immersive experience so pack the tramadol and Kendal Mint Cake.
Lapland UK, Whitmoor Forest, Swinley Road, Ascot SL5 8BD
THEATRE: A Christmas Carol, Theatre Royal Windsor, Mon 12- Sat 17 Nov
The perfect time of year to see the Dickens classic, A Christmas Carol – and this one has been adapted by Broadway heavy hitters Alan Menken (Disney’s Beauty And The Beast & The Little Mermaid) and Lynn Ahrens (Ragtime & Seussical). So don’t expect the same old, same old. Plus if you’re teen’s studying it at school, drag him away fro YouTube and see the story come alive.
EXHIBITION: A Royal Wedding: Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Windsor Castle, now – 26 Jan 2019
Better late than never, but we’ve all been invited to Windsor Castle to get up close and personal with newlyweds Harry and Meghan. OK, so they won’t actually be there but a new exhibition will display 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. It’s not all about the bride (even though we known it is really), Harry’s Blues and Royals frock designed by Dege & Skinner on Savile Row will also be standing to attention.
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.
FESTIVE FUN: Christmas Light Switch On, Thu 15 Nov – Sun 18 Nov
Eton, Thu 15 Nov – It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas… particularly if you’re in Eton on Thursday night. The Christmas countdown klaxon will be sounded. Enjoy a carol service at Eton College Chapel at 6pm, followed by a parade through the the High Street to Jubilee Square the big light switch on. Bit of shopping, Santa will be taking the wish lists alongside his reindeer.
Windsor, Sat 17 Nov – Her majesty probably won’t be hitting the switch herself, but Windsor Castle is a pretty impressive back drop as the historic streets of Windsor are lit up for Christmas with a lantern procession and festive festoons.
Newbury, Sun 18 Nov – Wrap up warm and head into Newbury this Sunday to the main man himself parading through town before flicking the switch on the festive lights in Market Place. While in there, pop into Muddy favourite B The Lifestyle Shop for a free hot chocolate and spot of Crimbo shopping.
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.
Artisan Fair, Norden Farm Maidenhead, Sat 17 Nov
If you’re on the hunt for arty crafty, meaningful gifts this year, Norden Farm’s Artisan Market is the perfect pitstop. Local artists and artisans will be selling their handmade gifts in the 18th century Long Barn. You’ll find jewellery, ceramics, glassware, decorations, candles, textile gifts and more! Mulled wine and festive flavoured coffee on tap. Free entry.
ACTIVITY: Windsor On Ice, Alexandra Gardens Windsor, Sat 17 Nov
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.
Windsor Christmas Fair, Windsor Racecourse, Sat 17 – Sun 18 Nov
Did someone say samples? Cue a Muddy stampede. Christmas foodie and drinkie delights with lots of tasters to get you in the mood. There’s also gifts galore.
WALKS: Illuminated Woodland Walk, Basildon Park, now – 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.
ART: Approaching Thunder, River & Rowing Museum, Henley, now – 13 Jan
With Remembrance Sunday approaching, now’s a good time to visit the River & Rowing Museum to see their exhibition of 1940s prints and drawings by leading 20th Century British artists. With materials strictly rationed and a stagnant art market, artists including Edward Bawden, John Piper and Vanessa Bell turned to paper to record their experiences of life in wartime Britain.
FILM: Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, UK cinema release, Sun 18 Nov
If you’re looking for something thrilling, but still suitable for tweens, dark magic will be creeping into cinemas worldwide as the highly anticipated new Fantastic Beasts film, Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald. is released on Nov 18. Johnny Depp will be reprising his role as the oh-so-evil, bleach blonde Grindelwald alongside good guys Eddie Redmayne and Jude Law.
CULTURE: Bacterial World, Oxford University Museum of Natural History, 19 Oct – 28 May 2019
It might not seem the most interesting subject but the excellent Museum of Natural History has pulled out all the stops to excite visitors about their new Bacterial World exhibition by installing a giant (92 feet long) inflatable E.coli bacterium, hanging from the ceiling. The sculpture by Luke Jerram is just one of the exhibits aiming to educate people about the oldest form of life on earth. Bacteria are remarkable organisms and scientists are convinced they will help us tackle environmental problems so we really should learn to love ’em.
CULTURE: Month of Sundays Festival, Royal Opera House, London, now – Sun 25 Nov
The Royal Opera House is opening itself up for a month of interactive fun. They’ll be live demos from technicians and craftspeople who work on the ROH productions, you can take guided tours and learn new moves in a dance class, sing tunes from opera classics and make something crafty to take home. The Royal Ballet and the Royal Opera artists will be performing in the public areas and there’s a sound installation that explores the history of the Opera House.
ART: Whistler and Nature, Compton Verney, Warks, now – 16 Dec
Warwickshire’s Compton Verney is casting a new light on the work of the great late-Victorian master, James McNeill Whistler, in Whistler and Nature (Sat Oct 20 – Dec 16), curated in partnership with The Hunterian at the University of Glasgow. The exhibition, which includes 90 oil paintings, explores the artist’s revolutionary attitude towards the natural world.
THEATRE: Shakespeare’s Troilus and Cressida, RST, Stratford-upon-Avon, now – Sat 17 Nov
Directed by RSC Artistic Director Gregory Doran, this is the company’s first gender-equal production of Shakespeare’s “most testosterone-fuelled” play. Set in a futuristic dystopian Troy, it will involve close collaboration with the virtuoso percussionist, Evelyn Glennie.
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.
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