What’s on this weekend
FRI 24 - SUN 26 NOV
Christmas Through the Ages, Avebury, 22 Nov
Have you ever wondered how Christmas was celebrated in Tudor times, or wanted to wander back through memory lane to see Christmas in the 1930’s? Be the first to see Avebury Manor decorated for Christmas throughout the ages. Each room in Avebury Manor is set in a different period, reflecting the lives of people who lived here from the 16th century to the early 20th century.
A Little Party Never Killed Nobody – A Jazz-Age Inspired Christmas, American Museum in Britain, 23 Nov – 17 Dec
Get a wiggle on to the American Museum in Britain this winter for a party like no other. Party through the ages in their period rooms and discover what Americans did to let their hair down in days gone by. The jewel in the crown is the dazzling Central Hall Christmas tree, bedecked in decadent decorations, glorious glitz, and Gatsby-esque glamour of the 1920’s. Whether you’re a dancing dame or a fancy fella, our Jazz Age inspired Christmas is set to be the swankiest soirée in town!
Fast Love – A Tribute To George Michael, Melksham, 23 Nov
Get ready for an unforgettable evening with a global superstar, as he puts the Boom Boom into your heart in the all new production for 2017.
Salisbury Christmas Market, 23 Nov – 22 Dec
Salisbury Christmas Market returns to the heart of the beautiful city of Salisbury for its sixth consecutive year. This year sees a mixture of new and returning exhibitors who will be housed in German style wooden chalets.
Middle Eastern Supper Club, Harts Barn Cookery School, Longhope, Fri 24 Nov
Warm up with this Middle Eastern-themed supper club at the lovely Harts Barn Cookery School. Falafels, baba ganoush, flatbreads and roasted red pepper houmous for starts, Turkish spiced chicken, grilled aubergines, couscous and freekeh salad for main, and apricot almond cake and rose Turkish delight for pud. I’m salivating! hartsbarncookeryschool.co.uk
Russian State Ballet – The Nutcracker and Romeo & Juliet, Swindon, 21-22 Nov
Russian State Ballet and Opera House is back with this vibrant, breath-taking and enchanting ballet production, which will be a feast for the eyes and will delight the whole family.
Hannah Ryggen, Modern Art Oxford, to 18 Feb 2018I’m always excited when Modern Art Oxford introduces a new exhibition and this one is going to be a corker. Hannah Ryggen was one of Scandinavia’s most outstanding artistic figures of the 20th century, an impassioned artist responding to the socio-political events of her time, from the the rise of fascism and the Nazi occupation of Norway, to nuclear power and media coverage of the Vietnam War. This is the first major presentation of the artist’s work in the UK and surveys her career from early portraiture through to the intricate tapestries that characterised her career from the 1920s onward. Don’t forget that Modern Art Oxford is free entry, and there’s a corker of a cafe on site too.
Hogwarts in the Snow, Harry Potter Studios, to 4 Feb
Hogwarts in the Snow – as regular as Christmas! The festive makeover will see Christmas trees line the Great Hall, the Gryffindor common room dressed for the season and a blanket of filmmaking snow covering the majestic Hogwarts castle model. Visitors will even be able to touch samples of the different types of ‘snow’ used during production, each selected for its ability to float like falling snow, crunch under foot or glisten in the light like ice. Trust me, your kids will love it.
Warner Bros. Studio Tour London, Studio Tour Drive, Leavesden, wbstudiotour.co.uk
Black Swan Arts Open 2017, Frome, to Weds 29 Nov
Browse and buy contemporary original art selected from over 900 entries by judges including writer and broadcaster Mariella Frostrup and Dea Vanagan, director of Hauser & Wirth Somerset. This is the fifteenth year of the annual competition. Everything’s for sale, priced from £90 to £12,000. Go Weds for the preview night and enjoy live music and DJs.
Romeo and Juliet, Bristol Hippodrome, Tues 21–Sat 25 Nov
The English National Ballet won Outstanding Company at the 2016 National Dance Award, so we’re expecting great things from their version of their world’s greatest love story. Review coming up.
Dick Whittington And His Cat, Everyman Theatre, Cheltenham, Fri 24 Nov to Sun 7 Jan, 2018
It’s panto time! And Tweedy the Clown returns to the Everyman stage with his comic-book licks and tricks in this year’s show, Dick Whittington And His Cat, who travels from Gloucester to London in search of his fortune. Expect the usual high jinx and laughs. everymantheatre.org.uk
Cheltenham Christmas lights switch on, Sat 25 Nov
Who needs Oxford Street when you’ve got Cheltenham’s Christmas lights switch on? I have to say there’s something chic and discreet about the lit-up trees which makes me proud to hail from the Regency town. There’ll be the annual Christmas market to mooch around, too, so it’s the perfect place to get yourself in the mood a month before the big day.
Roller Disco, Melksham, 25 Nov
Let’s get them skates back on and get back down to Melksham Assembly Hall. With skate hire available, and friendly skate marshals and instructors on hand to help.
Judy Pfaff: Roots Up, Messums Wiltshire, Tisbury, until Sun 26 Nov
Judy Pfaff’s Roots Up exhibition, which also features paintings and drawings by her, is the first one American Pfaff has held in the UK. There has been two years of preparation for the exhibition, it will take three weeks to install and the installation process is being recorded and documented as it happens. messumswiltshire.com
A Christmas Carol, Berkeley Castle, Berkeley, Wed 29 Nov to Fri 8 Dec
The perfect outing to get you in the mood for Christmas! Dickens’ touching tale of the transformation of Ebeneezer Scrooge through the ghosts of Christmas past, present and future is brought to the stage by Split Second Productions, who are regulars at Gloucestershire’s most historic castle, which is possibly home to a few ghosts itself. berkeley-castle.com
Softer: Jenny Holzer Exhibition at Blenheim Palace, until Sun 31 Dec
The fourth artist to to showcase contemporary art at Blenheim Palace (my kids still talk about Ai Wei Wei back in 2015), Holzer will be creating new work directly addressing our military and political history – eeek! For this show she’s developing large-scale light projections that will transform the Formal Gardens after dark in a series of night time public events. Sounds cool right? Plus visitors can also explore more meditative areas featuring examples of Holzer’s best known work. blenheimpalace.com
Whales Beneath the Surface
■ Natural History Museum, London SW7 ■ to Feb 2018
A major new exhibition exploring the extraordinary life of whales. Dive through one of the world’s most compelling evolutionary journeys in this family exhibition, when more than 100 specimens from the Museum’s collection will be on display together for the first time, from parts of a colossal blue whale to a small harbour porpoise. Travel back 50 million years to the beginning of the evolution of the whale. See how whales became sociable, aquatic mammals, some of which can communicate over vast distances.
■ Natural History Museum, Cromwell Road, London SW7 5BD. nhm.ac.uk
Christmas at Kew, Kew Gardens, London, Weds 22 Nov – 1 Jan 2018
Such a brilliant time to visit Kew as they do the Crimbo thing so well with it one mile sparkling path winding its way through the world-famous Gardens. This year they promise a million twinkling lights, Singing Trees, ribbons of light and a flickering Fire Garden, plus Father C and his elves at the North Pole Village, vintage fairground rides (a fee for that one) and shopping. Worth going with the fam.
The Tate Modern’s comprehensive retrospective of Modigliani’s work is going to be a treat. During his brief, turbulent life Modigliani developed a unique and instantly recognisable style. His nudes that are a highlight of the exhibition – with 12 nudes on display, this is the largest group ever reunited in the UK. First shown in 1917, police closed down his only ever solo exhibition on the grounds of indecency. Also expect sculptures, and portraits of his friends, lovers and supporters, including Pablo Picasso and his partner Jeanne Hébuterne.
Ghost Tours, Hampton Court, selected dates from 5 Nov – Jan 2018
Want to petrify your kids? Course you do! There are Family Tours on 5 Nov at 6.30 (and also 7 Jan 2018, but seriously I’m not even thinking next year yet!). It’s a 75-90 minute walking tour hearing stories of ghostly apparitions and paranormal activity Minimum age is 8 years and a maximum of 3 children per accompanying adult.
Hampton Court Palace, Molesey, East Molesey, hrp.org.uk