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This weekend


Stroud Book Festival, various locations, Stroud, Fri 3 to Sun 5 Nov

Yeah, yeah, Cheltenham may be the big cheese around here for literature festivals, but Stroud Book Festival punches well above its weight and is small but perfectly formed. Featuring the best of the best in new writing from brilliant novelists, non-fiction writers and poets to children’s writers and storytellers, there are over 30 events happening all over the town. Some of the highlights include Guardian columnist Polly Toynbee discussing what the state has ever done for you (answers on a postcard please), a sneak preview of poet Adam Horovitz’s new book and food critic Matthew Fort’s culinary travels through Italy.


The Kite Runner, Everyman Theatre, Cheltenham, Fri 3 to Sat 4 Nov

A haunting tale of two childhood friends whose lives are shattered by a terrible incident, this stripped-down stage adaptation of Khaled Hosseini’s bestselling novel left weeping West End audiences in its wake. Bring the tissues and go easy on the mascara.


Fairview Fireworks Party, Cheltenham Cricket Club, Fri 3 Nov, entry from 5pm

This is a great option if you’ve got young ‘uns who don’t like loud bangs, as there’s an early display at 5.45pm which is ‘quiet’ followed by the main display at 7.30pm which lets rip. There’ll be live music, fairground stalls and an indoor children’s area, as well as food, cask ale and mulled wine to fill your face with. £7.50, accompanying kids go free. Tel: 01242 523364


Bonfire and Fireworks Display, QEII Field, Stow-on-the-Wold, Fri 3 Nov, from 6pm

As well as the pyrotechnics, you can also look forward to a nice fat pig roast bar and funfair rides in one of the Cotswolds prettiest villages. And it’s free!


Lydney Fireworks, Bathurst Park, Whitecross Road, Lydney, Fri 3 Nov, from 7pm

The lovely Victorian Park will host a fab display of fireworks lighting up the Lydney sky with a bonfire that’ll be lit at 7.15pm to stay warm round. £5 adults; £2 children; under 5s free. Tel: 01594 842234


Firework Extravaganza, Cheltenham Racecourse, Sat 4 Nov, doors open 5pm, display starts 7pm

If you’re in the bigger the better camp, then check out this display at Cheltenham Racecourse. Run by Cheltenham Round Table, it’s the the biggest fireworks display in the south west, so expect crowds – and Kids’ TV characters Marshall & Skye from Paw Patrol. There will also be a fairground, hot and cold food, free parking and an undercover viewing area. Proceeds go to local charities: £7 for adults, £5 for children on the door, £19 for a family ticket (two adults, two kids) booked in advance;


Cirencester Fireworks, Victoria Road Playing Fields, Cirencester, Sat 4 Nov, gates open 5pm

Bonfire, tick, fireworks, tick, funfair, tick, live music, tick, face-painting, tick – the market town’s Round Table ticks all the boxes with its annual event. The bonfire will be lit at 6pm by Deirdre the Dragon (who she? you ask. Better go find out) and the fireworks start blasting at 7pm. All proceeds to charity: adults, £7 in advance, £8 on the door; children, students, OAPs, £4 in advance, £5 on the door; family ticket (2 adults, 2 children) £17 in advance, £20 on the door; under 5s free;


Charity Fireworks Display, The Red Lion, Wainlode, near Gloucester, Sat 4 Nov, from 5pm

This lovely riverside pub is hosting its first fireworks display this year and it sounds like a goodie. Overlooking the Severn, you’ll be getting some nice reflections and if it gets chilly or wet you can retreat inside the pub and tuck into some bonfire food. All proceeds to Great Western Air Ambulance; £5 for adults, £3 for children, £15 for a family ticket. Tel: 01452 730935


Dursley Fireworks Display, War Memorial Recreational Ground, Dursley, Sat 4 Nov, from 5pm

You get a swing band with your fireworks here, as well as a barbecue, beer tent and glow stall, which adds up to a good night out in my books! £6 for adults, £5 for children, under threes free. Tel: 01453 547758


Speech House Fireworks, Speech House field, near Coleford, Sat 4 Nov, gates open 5pm

This atmospheric setting is perfect for this family event (no booze please people) where there’ll be a massive bonfire (lit at 6pm) and a fab display of fireworks at 7.30pm. Danter’s Fun Fair will also be there and there’ll be lots to much on. All proceeds to good local causes. £6 for adults, primary school age and younger free.


Bisley Fireworks Display, Bisley, near Stroud, Sat 4 Nov, gates open 5.30pm

The village primary school’s PTA annual spectacular in deepest, darkest Bisley (no light pollution here) is always a fantastic show (often accompanied by Star Wars music) and also delivers on the food and drink front with burgers, chilli con carne, beer and mulled wine. £5 for adults; £3 for children; £15 for a family ticket (2 adults, 3 kids); pre-schoolers free. Tel: 01452 770251


Tewksbury Bonfire & Fireworks Display, Vineyards Playing Fields, Sat 4 Nov, gates open at 6.15pm

Watch the fireworks fly into the air at 7.15pm with the Abbey as a backdrop. This display is one of the most atmospheric in the area.


Fireworks Displays, Kemble Primary School, Sat 4 Nov, times to be confirmed

A super child-friendly setting, alongside the razzle dazzle of fireworks, there’ll also be a mini disco, glow toys, treats to eat and drinks for the grow-ups. Adults, £6 on the gate, £5 in advance; children £4 on the gate, £3 in advance; £14 for a family in advance.


The Summer of Love,The Roses Theatre, Tewkesbury, Sat 4 Nov

This nostalgic trip back to 1967’s famous summer of love will get you swaying in your seat as an explosion of flowers, psychedelia, freedom, peace and love and, of course, timeless music entertains you. With original 1960s film footage and a live band, it’ll be California Dreaming all night long.

Fancy Dress & Fireworks Party, The Woolpack, Slad, near Stroud, Sat 4 Nov, 8pm-1am

At the David Bowie tribute shindig last year – The Woolpack is a pub that knows how to party!

The valleys’ hippest pub (it was number one in The Times recent Cool Guide to the Cotswolds, don’t you know) is laying on a grown-up fireworks party for big kids with a dress-up theme of whatever takes your fancy, ales on tap (as well as wine, gin, vodka, etc), live music from soul funk band The Ragged Edge and fireworks. Food will be available until 9pm, then the music begins and the fireworks follow at 10pm. Note the 1am finish – pace yourselves people!


Still Lifes Michael Martin & Gaynor Dowling, Chapel Arts, Cheltenham, until Sun 5 Nov

The sublime sculpture of this local duo who create beautifully textured, hand-carved wooden vessels from their studio in Stroud will take your breath away. And you’ll definitely want to take one home with you, so come after pay day.


Dark Arts, Harry Potter Warner Bros Studios, London until Sun 12 Nov

Harry Potter Warner Bros Studios are brilliant at ringing the changes with their events and for this one the Great Hall will be decorated with over 100 floating pumpkins, just as seen as in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, along with a table laden with a Halloween feast of red apples, pumpkins and cauldrons of lollipops. Kids can also delve into the sinister world of the Dark Art – wand combat techniques and Death Eater duels as well as filmmaking snot, blood and drool. Er, nice!


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.

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Things to doThis weekend

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