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It’s Christmaaaas! What’s on this week?

Reindeers, twinkly lights, pantos and more - Bucks & Oxon is going into full festive overdrive for the run up to Christmas. Here's where to find the fun.

KIDS & FAMILY

Kids will enjoy Waterperry Gardens’ Reindeer Trail, running until 23 Dec, which also gives parents a chance to appreciate the horticulture. Give Rudolph a hello from us. 

Waterperry Gardens’ Reindeer Trail

Bletchley Park is putting on some Christmas specials this year including a lost toy trail, festive afternoon tea and grotto, plus there’s a festive drop-in codebreaking workshop 18-23 and 28-30 Dec, suitable for children aged 7+, accompanied by an adult.

Between 18 Dec – 3 Jan there’s a Festive Favourites Family Trail at the Oxford Natural History Museum, a great way to get festive (and educated!) with the littl’uns. 

THEATRE

Masks, hand sanitiser and Dames at the ready! There are plenty of pantos to get your theatre fix this week including Aylesbury Waterside Theatre’s production of Cinderella (read my review here) starring panto veteran BBC Three Counties Breakfast presenter Andy Collins, CBBC’s Mark Rhodes and Britain’s Got Talent‘s divalicious La Voix (until 2 Jan).

Elsewhere, at Wycombe Swan you can see TV bad boys Jake Wood (Eastenders) and Jake Canuso (Benidorm) in Peter Pan which I also reviewed here (until 2 Jan). Or there’s Rapunzel at Chippy Theatre (until 2 Jan) which as usual punches well above its weight and is as cheekily charming as ever (review here)

And finally, if you want a change from the traditional cheese-brigade, there’s New Theatre Oxford’s head-banging School of Rock (until 1 Jan) – glam rock sequins optional! This is our top pick if you have fussy teens who are ‘way too old, mum, god’ for your classic Mother Goose fare (review here).

Read Muddy’s full guide here for 9 more rip-roaring local pantos.

FESTIVE

At Waddesdon ManorChristmas lasts until 23 Jan. Expect a stonker of a Christmas light trail, and charming wooden chalets harking fragrant festive food along with local artisan gifts. You can also enjoy Christmas dining at The Five Arrows: roast turkey, herb-crusted hake, plant-based bourguignon — sumptuous stuff indeed. 

Christmas at Blenheim Palace lasts until 2 Jan and involves an after-dark illuminated trail, winter street food, and the story of The Nutcracker re-imagined within the Palace’s rooms.

Over at Whipsnade ZooSanta Paws is Coming to Town on weekends until 24 Dec. Learn about reindeer, give “a gift” (some food) to the animals, and take your little ones to meet Father Christmas. 

EXHIBITIONS

‘Tis the season for heading indoors (with a mask, of course) out of the cold to take in a brilliant local exhibition. On our hitlist is MK Gallery for its free exhibition Sanctuary: The Unlikely Home of British Rave which asks how an unsuspecting Milton Keynes warehouse become one of the UK’s largest and most beloved rave venues (until 23 Jan).

Or, also at the gallery you can catch the ambitious retrospective of one of the twentieth century’s most underrated painters Dame Laura Knight (read my review here) which offers a graphic, poignant, mundane and yet sexy view on life on Britain (until 20 Feb).

Over in then city at Modern Art Oxford there’s Anish Kapoor’s exhibition, Painting, which has gained a lot of press for its raw and sometimes gory paintings tackling religion, violence and bodily functions (until 13 Feb). Or the Ashmolean has terrific free exhibitions Tokyo (until 1 Jan) and Dante which looks at the painters as the inventor of celebrity (until 9 Jan).

Find more ideas here

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