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This week

MON 18 TO SUN 24 DEC

NEW YEAR’S EVE SORTED!

Tropical Tea Party, The Marshall Rooms, Stroud, 10pm Sun 31 Dec to 5am Mon 1 Jan 2018

tropical cocktail

It’s going to be a hot Hogmanay at Stroud’s new club as it transforms itself into a tropical paradise with free punch face-painting, limbo, slusky cocktails and a super-hot vibe. Surprise headliners still to be revealed, but already on the line-up are Afriquoi, Suntrap and Sandi. Party like it’s, er, 2018. facebook.com/events

 

New Year’s Eve Party, The Prince Albert, Stroud, Sun 31 Dec

You’ll need to book early for this shindig as it’s always a sell-out. This year’s theme is Barbie and other Super Heroes so crack out those pink, fluffy dresses and red capes. theprincealbertstroud.co.uk

 

New Year’s Eve Gala Dinner, Whatley Manor, Easton Grey, Malmesbury, Sun 31 Dec

Whatley Manor in Wiltshire lit up at night

Fine dine your way into the New Year in the splendiferous surroundings of Whatley Manor, which is transformed during the Christmas period into a bit of  magical festive dream. It kicks off with a champagne and canapé reception, followed by a six-course meal and then live music in the Drawing Room and a midnight toast. whatleymanor.com

 

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A Christmas Carol, Salisbury Playhouse, Tue 19 to Sat 23 Dec

Dickens’ mystical Christmas fable is brought to life by Olivier Award-winner Guy Masterson, veteran of smash hit solo shows including Under Milk Wood and Animal Farm. Famed for bringing multiple characters to vivid life, Masterson recreates Scrooge, Marley, the Fezziwigs, Tiny Tim and more in an enchanting performance that will dazzle and linger long in the memory. Guaranteed to get you into the Christmas Spirit – in many more ways than one! salisburyplayhouse.com

 

Bingo, Stroud Brewery, Thrupp, near Stroud, Thu 21 Dec

The brewery’s regular bingo night returns for a pre-Christmas outing with cards for £1, beer on tap and prizes to be won. All proceeds to a local charity. Kicks off at 7.30pm for 8pm. stroudbrewery.co.uk

 

The Camp Kitchen’s Friday Night Food Club, The Camp, see delivery zone here, Fri 22 Dec 

shin of beef

The Camp Kitchen’s incredible shin of beef at the Miserden Café pop-up

Twice a month this healthy takeaway company near Bisley sends out restaurant quality food to hungry couples, families and outsourcing dinner party hosts – and I can vouch for its deliciousness, having attended its pop-up at Miserden Garden Café last weekend. We’re talking seriously good, imaginative fare here and I’m loving the look of Friday’s menu: smoked & pulled ham hock with marmalade & mustard crumbs; parsley, lemon & cannellini bean salad; honey roast carrots with tahini yoghurt dressing & fresh coriander; herbed potato & watercress salad; and The Camp Kitchen’s signature brownies. Order by midnight on Wednesday 20 Dec and sit back on Friday and await your foodie parcel which will be delivered between 7pm and 8pm. thecampkitchen.co.uk

 

Salisbury Christmas Market, Salisbury, Wilts, until Fri 22 Dec

This magical Christmas market sees the beautiful medieval cathedral city transformed into a winter wonderland that rivals the best of Germany’s famous Christmas markets. From jewellery and crafted handmade furniture to every flavour of liqueur you could dream of, this one could get jolly! The opening night is always special with loads of street entertainers and a real festive spirit, then on Thu 30 Nov, there’s the annual Christmas Lantern Parade which this year is in association with the Salisbury Arts Centre and is another it-feels-good-to-be-alive event. salisburychristmasmarket.co.uk

 

A Country House Christmas, Lydiard Park, Swindon, until Sat 23 Dec

mantlepiece dressed for Christmas

Step back in time and experience the decorated halls for the festive season. See all the elegant State Rooms adorned with traditional foliage, a beautiful Christmas tree decorated with handmade decorations and a traditional kissing ball. lydiardpark.co.uk

 

Counter Measures, live music at Stroud Brewery, Thrupp, near Stroud, Sat 23 Dec

four-part male harmony singing group from Cirencester

The Cirencester quartet will be playing live in the bar belting out soothing harmonies, poetry set to music and some classic male voice choir numbers sung in Welsh. stroudbrewery.co.uk

 

The Royal Ballet: The Nutcracker, Wiltshire Music Centre, Bradford-on-Avon, Sat 23 Dec

ballerina in The Nutcracker in front of a giant Christmas tree

Livestream ballet: a young girl’s enchanted present leads her on a wonderful Christmas adventure in this beautiful ballet, danced to Tchaikovsky’s magnificent score. wiltshiremusic.org.uk

 

The Three Elvises, The Marshall Rooms, Stroud, Sat 23 8pm to Sun 24 Dec 3am

They smashed it at Womad, then again at Stroud Fringe and now The Three Elvises will take your festive mood to the next level as the nine piece follows the King’s journey from black leather-clad to white jumpsuit-wearing gyrator. Fancy dress optional. themarshallrooms.co.uk

 

Christmas Eve at The Vault, Nailsworth, Sun 24 Dec

This sounds like my kind of Christmas Eve – bottomless Mimosas and Bloody Marys, tapas-style nibbles and live music at the Muddy Best Bar. The Reverend Stretch will be playing his acoustic Americana sounds from 2.30-4.30pm, so expect dulcet tones and a super-chilled atmosphere, which hopefully you’ll be able to carry into the next day. Do you hear that family?! Super-chilled atmosphere! thevaultnailsworth.co.uk

 

The Cotswold Reindeer Herd, Ampney Crucis, until Sun 24 Dec

This is the place to go and get your Christmas tree this year. Not only is it on one of the stunning back roads around the Ampneys, but there are reindeer! Yes, real-life reindeers that will get the kids (and adults) tingling with festive excitement. Santa will be there in his Christmas grotto too. The festive season starts here. facebook.com/cotswoldreindeerherd

 

Enchanted Christmas Market, Gloucester Quays, Gloucester, until Sun 24 Dec

Expect street food vendors, a Ferris Wheel, tons of festive stalls, a real ale tent, brass bands and an open-air ice rink. I’ll see you dancing on ice! gloucesterquayschristmas.co.uk

 

Santa Clause and the Magical Christmas Journey, Wyvern Theatre, Swindon, until Sun 24 Dec

It’s Christmas Eve, and Santa Claus is flying high above the clouds delivering presents to all the good boys and girls around the world. Hiding in the back are two naughty elves Charlie and Kara who have snuck on-board for the ride…All is well until suddenly the Sat Nav goes haywire and breaks leaving him stranded without his list of postcodes to deliver presents to. With the clock ticking and morning fast approaching it’s down to Charlie, Kara and Muffin the bear to come up with a clever plan to save Christmas. From the producers of last year’s record-breaking production, this brand-new adventure filled with songs, nursery rhymes and magic promises to be the Christmas treat you won’t want to miss. A truly unforgettable experience which includes the magical moment when snowflakes fall over the audience – a guaranteed white Christmas at every show! swindontheatres.co.uk

 

 

Crafted for Christmas, New Brewery Arts, Cirencester, until Sun 31 Dec

New Brewery Arts, Cirencester’s go-to creative hot spot, puts on a fantabulous Christmas shopping extravaganza which showcase its regular and guest makers. Expect high-quality, individual gifts and unique homewares that will be very hard to resist. newbreweryarts.org.uk

 

Little Robin Redbreast, Salisbury Playhouse, until Sun 31 Dec

Christmas is coming and little Robin is very excited. To help him count down the days, Mummy and Daddy have given him an advent calendar. Behind every window is a picture and every picture tells a story. Join Robin as he links the pictures together on a magical quest towards Christmas Day. From the writers of last year’s The Night Before Christmas, this brand new production will be full of song, magic and surprises for all the family. salisburyplayhouse.com

 

Dick Whittington, Everyman Theatre, Cheltenham, until Sun 7 Jan 2018

Join Dick and his cat as he travels from Gloucester to London to make his fortune and runs into a crazy cast of characters on his journey from zero to here. Molly McGuire plays Dick, with Ben Goffe as Tommy the Cat and, of course, expect to see Tweedy the Clown. Regulars to the Everyman panto and Gifford’s Circus will know his genius, but if you haven’t had the pleasure of experiencing Tweedy, he’s like a comic book character come to life. Brilliant basically. Always a sell-out, be sure to book soon, as Everyman chief exec Mark Goucher says, “It wouldn’t be Christmas without a great family pantomime.” everymantheatre.org.uk

 

Snow Globe, Colston Hall, Bristol, until Sun 7 Jan 2018

Kid Carpet (that’s him above) used found objects – Casio keyboards, cardboard, broken toys, sellotape – to make ‘kiddy disco punk’. Here he shakes a storyteller’s snow globe to create a musical mix up of tales, rhymes and stories for 3 to 7 year olds. colstonhall,org

 

Jack and the Beanstalk, Oxford Playhouse, until Sun 7 Jan 2018

Jack the lad is also bean-counting in Oxford this festive season, at the Playhouse. This one isn’t a celeb-fest but nevertheless looks very sweet and is suitable for very young children. Oxford Playhouse, 11-12 Beaumont St, Oxford, oxfordplayhouse.com

 

Peter Pan, The Hexagon Reading, until Sun 7 Jan 2018

Mr TUUUUUUUUUMBBBBBLE! The irrepressible CBeebies demi-god Justin Fletcher may make you reach for the gin bottle but any small people in your charge will surely go insane in the membrane at the prospect of seeing him live on stage. He plays hapless trainee pirate Mr Smee in his sixth panto for The Hexagon. The Hexagon Theatre, Queens Walk, Reading, readingarts.com

 

Sleeping Beauty, The Theatre Chipping Norton, until Sun 14 Jan 2018

I got insanely drunk on my 18th birthday but Sleeping Beauty celebrated hers by pricking her finger on a spinning wheel and falling asleep for hundreds of years. Bummer, eh! This promises to be a curveball, time-travelling rendering of the classic tale, spanning from Tudor times to the flower-powered late 1960s. The Theatre Chipping Norton, 2 Spring Street, Chipping Norton, Oxon, chippingnortontheatre.com

 

The Little Matchgirl and Other Happier Stories, Bristol Old Vic, until Sun 14 Jan 2018

Photo: Steve Tanner

After premiering up at Shakepeare’s Globe in London, the critically acclaimed production comes to Bristol. An impoverished girl strikes a series of matches to keep warm on the icy cold streets; each time she escapes into a different Hans Christian Andersen story. Expect cockles to be warmed. bristololdvic.org.uk

 

Beauty and the Beast, Tobacco Factory, Bristol, until Sun 14 Jan 2018

Photo Camilla Adams

As you can tell from the pic, not a another stage version of the Disney film. This is a quirky re-telling of the classic French fairy tale, reminding us that beauty (or beastliness) is only skin deep. Littlies can enjoy the story of family, feathers and fitting in, in The Ugly Duckling (Sun 10 Dec to Sun 14 Jan). tobaccofactorytheatres.com

 

The Little Mermaid, The Egg, Bath, until Sun 14 Jan 2018

Mermaid in a bath tub

This is a Hans Christian Andersen and mythical Cornish Mermaid of Zennor mash up.  Morgan lives at the bottom of the ocean in a shipwrecked 1950s cruise liner and surfaces in a 1980s yacht party on the English Riviera.  A period drama-cum-rom com with a jig-along classic 1980s pop soundtrack. theatreroyal.com

 

Hogwarts in the Snow, Harry Potter Studios, Leavesden, near London, until Sun 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. wbstudiotour.co.uk

 

Cézanne Portraits, National Portrait Gallery, London, until Sun 11 Feb 2018

This started just last week, Brings together over 50 of Cézanne’s portraits from collections across the world, including works which have never been on public display in the UK . Over a working life of some forty-five years, Cézanne made almost 1,000 paintings of which around 160 are portraits and this exhibition offers a fascinating insight into this central aspect of his work. npg.org.uk

 

Imagining the Divine: Art and the Rise of World Religions, Ashmolean, Oxford, until Sun 18 Feb

Could have had a catchier title truth be told! But anyhoo, this major exhibition will be the first to look at the art of the five world religions as they spread across continents in the first millennium AD. Blimey! Brand new research from a major project between The Ashmolean Museum, the British Museum and Oxford Uni, with amazing objects created when the iconography of each of the major religions was still being developed. ashmolean.org

 

Twelfth Night, RST, Stratford, until Sat 24 Feb 2018

Photo by Paul Stuart (c) RSC

The RSC’s winter production Twelfth Night sees Ade Edmondson, of The Young Ones and Bottom fame, as Olivia – Kara Tointon’s dour steward Malvolio in Shakespeare’s bittersweet comedy. Directed by Christopher Luscombe, who recreated Warwickshire’s Charlecote Park on stage for the RSC’s fabulous Love’s Labour’s Lost and Much Ado About Nothing, it’s set in Victorian Britain. Also starring Birmingham’s Dinita Gohil as Viola and Michael Cochrane as Sir Andrew Aguecheek. rsc

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