What’s on: The Muddy Guide 21-27 Nov, 2014
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Loads of lovely festive bits going on this week. Have fun peeps!
Oxford’s Christmas Festival , now until 4 Jan 2015
No procession through St Giles this year (sob) to launch the Oxford Christmas lights and the festive season but there’s a fantastic range of art, culture and Xmas fun that’s just launched and goes through to January. This evening (21st) it’s worth checking out Muddy fave The Ashmolean, with its special Oxfordshire Artweeks’ Christmas Marketplace, a cappella singalong (Lord help us all), and cabaret in the Victorian Christmas Parlour. There are light installations in the front lawn of the Natural History museum, a pop-up festival on the weekend (22-23rd) with dance, arts, food in one of the funkiest stretches of road in East Oxford; an acid house installation created with Lego, and it goes on and on until January. Check out the full programme here, it’s really impressive.
Henley Children’s Theatre, Hunt the Apple, Henley, ends 30 Nov
A great little comp for kids in the Henley area, with 15 apples hidden in various shop windows around the town. All your little darling needs to do is write the names of the shops and what type of apple they’re displaying, then enter online. The winner will get a family ticket (4 people) to the well-respected Henley Children’s Theatre production of Snow White, plus a backstage tour and chance to meet Snow White herself (clue: don’t eat the apple). What do you get out of it, weary parents? A chance to do your Christmas shopping in peace. Here’s hoping the apples are in Cara shoes, Lemongrove Gallery and Mint Velvet then!
henleychildrenstheatre.co.uk/competition for more info and the entry form.
Christmas Fair, Waddesdon Manor, Weds 26- Sun 30 Nov
The craft shows keep a-comin’. The best one in Bucks is Waddesdon Manor’s classy Christmas Fair, held for the first time on the magnificent South Front of the manor, overlooking the parterre. Expect 55 hand-selected stall holders housed in rustic wooden chalets. When the buying frenzy gets too much for you, just slope off around the corner and enjoy Bruce Munro’s latest wonderful outdoor light installation for some P&Q.
While we’re on gifts, in Oxford the Old Fire Station has just launched its Christmas shop, stocking predominantly Oxfordshire craftspeople on the funkier side of things. It’s just on George St (off Cornmarket in central Oxford) so you can just pop in to or from the cinema, New Theatre or the Muddy kids’ favourite Byron Burger.
Or head to Blenheim Palace for its Living Crafts fair, which started yesterday and goes on until Sunday, show-casing 150 British designer-makers in ceramics, millinery, toys, fashions, designer jewellery, hand-made soaps, studio glass, decorations, wreaths etc.
Christmas Fair, Waddesdon Manor: 10am-5pm (7pm on Friday, Saturday and Sunday). Normal admission charges apply
Blenheim Living Crafts: 10am -5.30pm. Adults £6, concessions, £4.50 and children £2.
OFS: 10am-5pm Tues-Sat; 12-5pm Sun. Closed Mondays.
Rowing Blazers, River and Rowing Museum, starts 15 Nov
Fit blokes in rowing blazers, displayed on the walls of the River and Rowing Museum. Tell the kids you want to show them the Wind in the Willows interactive exhibition (worth seeing actually) and then, oops! – wander into the gallery space to cop an eyeful of photos by leading American fash photographer F E Castleberry.
Christmas Treasure Trail, Marlow, from today
Tom Kerridge, much lauded double Michelin-starred chef from The Hand and Flowers pub, did the Christmas-light honours last night in Marlow, heralding in a brand new Christmas Treasure Trail while he was at it, where you (or your kids) get a stamp from all the local shops on the list and get in the running to win £1000 of prizes from the various retailers. It’s just a way to get you to shop locally of course, but we love that at Muddy so ra-ra-ra!
Ice Skating at Hampton Court Palace, opens 21 Nov
As someone with two bionic knees and a back that concertiners at inappropriate times, ice-skating is never top of my must-try list, but even I can see there’s something wonderfully festive about it. Perhaps one of the prettiest outside London is Hampton Court Ice Rink, which returns today and stays open until 4 Jan (closed on Christmas Day). You can book an evening session to see Henry VIII’s Tudor palace lit up after dark if you can take your eyes off your skates/ hands off the railings for long enough. Keep an eye out early next week for my definitive guide to the best ice-skating rinks locally too if you want to keep the injuries closer to home!
Christmas at Kew, Kew Gardens, Weds 26 Nov -3 Jan 2015
A glittering new trail for 2014 (it says here!). It does sound rather lovely actually. Guided by snowflakes, you follow a new one-mile glittering trail as it winds its way through the gardens, passing giant light sculptures, the Tunnel of Lights, Mistletoe Moments for those romantically inclined (I think that means the unmarried – boom boom!), and music along the way. It’ open from 5pm – 1opm but you need to book a time slot so you’re not walking en masse (which would be massively irritating wouldn’t it?), so see the website here.
Win £500 at Eden Centre, High Wycombe, until 22 Dec
This is just too easy to pass up. Basically next time you go to the Eden Centre in High Wycombe, just take a selfie of yourself or plus mates by the whopper Eden Christmas tree outside M&S. Upload it to Instagram, FB or Twitter tagging #Edentreeandme. and like/follow Eden Centre on the relevant platform ( here are the Facebook Twitter or Instagram links) and you’re in to win a £500 Eden Gift Card to spend in any store (Zara or House of Fraser for me, thanks). I’m going down there today as it happens so keep an eye out for an embarrassingly unattractive Muddy shot.