What’s On in Oxon/Bucks: Thurs 17 – Weds 23 Dec
Christmas with Mole & Toad, River and Rowing Museum, Mon 21 Dec
The ever-charming River & Rowing museum celebrates the festive season with Mole and the characters from Wind in the Willows, with Crimbo crafts, carol singing, paper chain making, snow flakes and a Christmas mole for the top of your tree! Best Christmas jumper wins a prize (go on, I dare you).
River and Rowing Musuem, Henley, rrm.co.uk. Free with admission.
Massive further discounts at Bicester Village, now!
Whey hey!! Went up to BV yesterday and can happily report new whopper discounts of up to 70% (yup, you’re reading it right) – very tasty indeed. PLUS there’s a new Asics store opening this weekend, so you can pig out at Christmas knowing that you have your clean-living trainers pristine and ready for the New Year. Liking the bellboys too!
Christmas Concerto by Candlelight, Exeter College Chapel, Sun 20 Dec
A way to grab a little bit of peace and tranquility late on Sunday afternoon and evening. Christmas Concerto by Candelight is performed by the City of Oxford Orchestra, featuring Vivaldi’s Winter, and Corelli’s Christmas Concerto. Exeter College Chapel is beautiful too so I can’t think this will be anything other than exquisite.
Concerts at 5pm and 8pm. Exeter College Chapel, Oxford, cityofoxfordorchestra.co.uk
The Snow Dragon, Cornerstone Arts, Sat 19 – Thurs 24 Dec
Can’t bear panto? Here’s a great alternative. Tall Stories is putting on The Snow Dragon at the Cornerstone in Didcot. It’s a story about Billy, a spoilt young goat whose parents give him everything he wants. The legendary Snow Dragon is meant to bring more presents, but Billy is caught in the woods by a pack of hungry wolves – how can he escape them and does he deserve his presents at all? (And will your kids get the hint about being grateful for what they have? Er, no!). For kids 3+
Coffee Concerts, Holywell Music Rooms, Oxford, Sun 20 Dec
Such a lovely thing to do on a Sunday morning! Have a coffee at The Vaults café nearby, then head on for an hour or so of classical music. The Holywell Music, fact fans, is the oldest purpose built concert hall in Europe – now over 250 years old – and the concerts are performed by the Adderbury Ensemble – a group of world-class musicians who started up in 1986 from the village of Adderbury North Oxfordshire. A lovely diversion.
Children’s Christmas Fun Day, Sulgrave Manor, Banbury, Sun 20 Dec
Did you know that Sulgrave Manor near Banbury is the home of George Washington’s ancestors? Well you do now! On an entirely different note, there’s a children’s Christmas house tour today, plus storytelling, a visit to Santa Grotto & gift, christmas crafts and activities.
Children £12, adults free when accompanied by a ‘paying’ child! Sulgrave Manor, Manor Road, Sulgrave, Nr. Banbury, Oxfordshire, sulgravemanor.org.uk
A Christmas Carol, Oxford Castle Quarter, now until Sat 19 Dec
Love the idea of this one – it’s pop up theatre in the the old Chinese restaurant next to la Tasca in the Oxford Castle Quarter (no chop suey at half time, don’t even ask). As the joy of Christmas fills the streets of Oxford one door is left undecorated – Scrooge’s. Cue carols, dancing, ghostly happenings and a bit of bah humbug.
7:30pm. £14 Adults, £9 children. Oxford Castle Quarter, Oxford. oxfordcastlequarter.com
Oxford Christmas Market, until Sun 20 Dec
If you didn’t make it yet, then this pretty chalet market bang in the Broad St, one of my favourite Oxford streets, is worth the detour if you’re in central Oxford. Loads of indie traders offering handmade gifts, plus live music every day from local brass bands, school choirs, jazz and general Christmas magic. Open 10 – 6 on Sun 20 Dec for last minute inspiration.
Broad St, Oxford, oxfordchristmasmarket.co.uk
Illuminate, MK Gallery, Milton Keynes, Sat 19 Dec
I really rate the MK Gallery so we’re hopping briefly over the border into Milton Keynes for a moment. This family event on Saturday is for kids aged 0-11 and their families and sees the MK Gallery space interactively transformed with two local artists using sound making, live projection and light and colour-inspired activities. It’s free, possibly a bit left-field and something a bit different if you’re looking for respite from shopping for a few hours.
Free. 1-3pm, booking essential. MK Gallery, 900 Midsummer Blvd, Milton Keynes, mkgallery.org
Last Chance to see Lawrence Weiner at Blenheim Palace, until 20 Dec
Last few days to see American artist and one of the founding figures of conceptual art Lawrence WINER at Blenheim Palace. His exhibition Within a Realm of Distance showcases the his works spanning the last 50 years plus new, site-specific works, created especially for the Palace. The clash of the modern and the UNESCO heritage of Blenhein Palace works so well – remember the Ai Wei Wei exhibition? – so if you love architecture and art you’ll be in heaven.
Blenheim Palace, Woodstock, blenheimpalace.com
Some great reasons to head into the big smoke with the kids over the Christmas hols. A few goodies to whet your thespy appetite…
The Little Match Girl, Sadler’s Wells, Sat 12 Dec – 3 Jan 2016
Following a sell-out season last year, celebrated director and choreographer Arthur Pita returns to the Lilian Baylis Studio in Roseberry Ave with dance theatre show, The Little Match Girl. Based on Hans Christian Andersen’s classic story, this tale of an impoverished young street girl’s hopes and dreams is told through dance, song and original music. The Observer gave it five stars and described it as ‘Magical. Wonderfully inventive. A gem.’
The Firework-Maker’s Daughter, Royal Opera House, now to 2 Jan 2016
Composer David Bruce and poet Glyn Maxwell turned to Philip Pullman’s acclaimed children’s novel The Firework-Maker’s Daughter for their 2013 opera. They had the perfect heroine in Lila, a bold and resourceful girl determined to achieve her dreams. John Fulljames’s masterfully imaginative production was created in collaboration with designer Dick Bird and puppetry group Indefinite Articles. Shadow puppets and inventive light projections bring to life Lila’s world as she discovers the meaning of friendship.
Suitable for all ages. Royal Opera House, Bow Street, Covent Garden, London WC2, roh.org.uk