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Winter Workshops & pop-up Christmas Cinema: Frozen Singalong, Fargo Village, Coventry, Sat Nov 18- Sun Nov 19

Get ready for Christmas with 5 festive workshops – learning how to make Artisan Christmas Decoration, Christmas biscuit making, boozy choc truffles, a fabric wreath and Spray Art Christmas cards. And if you have younger children they may like to see one of two Frozen (1.30pm & 4pm) screenings at the pop-up Christmas cinema with sing-along words!

Check out the #lovefargo winter programme here.

An Evening with Lau, Butterworth Hall, Warwick Arts Centre, Sat Nov 18

Lau © Genevieve Stevenson

Award-winning contemporary folk trio celebrating their first retrospective album Decade (The Best of 2007-2017). Two sets spanning the first 10 years.

Book here.

Twelfth Night, RST, Stratford, Thurs Nov 2- Feb 24 2018

Dinita Gohil as Viola. Pic credic: Manuel Harlan (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.


The Lost Words, Compton Verney, until Dec 17

Otters: credit artist Jackie Morris, 2017 The Lost Words

One of two brilliantly family-friendly exhibitions celebrating the best of British illustration and literature with The Lost Words based on the new modern spell book by writer Robert Macfarlane, and Birmingham-born artist Jackie Morris (The White Fox, Tell Me a Dragon); alongside Quentin Blake’s Inside Stories – a very personal and insightful ‘behind the page’ look at Britain’s best-loved illustrator In The Lost Words Macfarlane has created a series of 20 spell-poems – one for each lost word – while Morris, inspired by her lifelong passion for Britain’s landscapes and wildlife, has painted more than 50 beautiful watercolours – using gold leaf. Families can venture out on Spell Walks in the grounds of this stunning country mansion via two specifically commissioned digital trails that can be downloaded straight to your smart phone.

Gareth Malone, Symphony Hall, Birmingham, Sun Nov 19

The TV choirmaster will be joined by five-times A Capella group The Swinglers and The Ayoub Sisters in this one-off autumn musical extravaganza.

Book here.

New ceramics by James Hake, Peter Wills, Stephan Parry & Rhian Malin @Stratford Gallery, Sheep Street, Stratford

Rectangular vase with Three Tenmoku Lines, 2017, James Hake

Looking for some original art as a Christmas present? I really like James Hake’s collection of rectangular stoneware vases who takes his inspiration from Oriental ceramics – they’ll set you back £360 a piece! But I’m torn as Peter Wills porcelain bowls are really gorgeous too, as are Stephan Parry and Rhian Malin’s quirky jars and vases.


Sing-a-Long-a Sound of Music, Royal Spa Centre, Leamington Spa, Sat Nov 18

Join Julie Andrews and the rest of the cast for this interactive screening where the audience is the star of the show in glorious, full-screen Technicolor, with subtitles so that everyone can sing along, 7pm.


Finding Joy, Belgrade Theatre, Coventry, Thurs Nov 16-Sat Nov 18

Finding Joy performed to residents at a Coventry retirement village earlier this year

Vamos Theatre’s award-winning Finding Joy is a show is specially targeted at people living with dementia and their carers telling the story of 83-year -old Joy who is losing her memory. Her grandson Danny is rebellious, bright and always getting into trouble. When Danny decides to look after Joy, they discover a shared playfulness and growing love. But is that enough to face the challenges ahead? Two Alzheimer’s Society’s Dementia Friends info sessions will take place on Tues Nov 14 & Tues Nov 28.


Quentin Blake: Inside Stories, Compton Verney, until Dec 17

A rare insight into some of Quentin Blake’s best known and popular creations. Blake himself introduces illustrations for his own books and collaborations with other writers, bringing together rough drawings and finished artwork to demonstrate how his ideas evolved into unforgettable illustrations and bestselling books. Featuring a huge range of his witty illustrated characters, including Roald Dahl’s The TwitsThe BFG and Matilda to The Boy in the Dress and Michael Rosen’s Sad Book. This is one of two family-friendly exhibitions this autumn at Compton Verney and includes more than 140 original works, many never seen before outside Blake’s studio, as well as some of his artist tools. Blake’s candid personal commentary and extensive selection of works make this his most intimate and revealing exhibition to date.


Imperium Part I: Conspirator, The Swan, Stratford, Thurs Nov 16 – Feb 10 2018

RSC Artistic Director Gregory Doran directs Richard McCabe in the epic title role of Robert Harris’ best-selling Cicero trilogy along with Siobhan Redmond. It follows playwright Mike Poulton’s highly successful RSC adaptation of Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall and Bring up the Bodies.


The Ballad of Lady Bessy, The Loft Theatre, Leamington Spa, Tues Nov 14 – Sat Nov 18

Photo credit: Richard Smith Photography

A new play taking inspiration from an epic, but little known, poem – The Most Pleasant Song of Lady Bessy – which shines a different light on characters found in Shakespeare’s Richard III and the 2013 BBC drama The White Queen. The central character is Henry VIII’s mother Bessy – Elizabeth of York, daughter of Edward IV. History sees her as a dynastic pawn who accepted her role with meekness. The Ballad, tells a very different story. In it Bessy is an intelligent, resourceful and ambitious young woman who plays a significant role in Henry Tudor’s seizure of the crown. Between two Saturday performances  there’s a Director’s Discussion about the play and its historical setting from 6.45pm-7.30pm.

The Douglas Ford Studio at The Loft Theatre, Victoria Colonnade, Leamington Spa, loft-theatre, email:, Tel: 01926 800360 (answerphone service), or Box Office, 7-8pm on performance evenings.

TEDx Leamington Spa, All Saints Church, Priory Terrace, Leamington Spa, Sat Nov 18

Birmingham Uni’s Dr. Melrose Stewart most recently seen in Channel 4’s Old People’s Home for 4-year-olds, travel writer and BBC correspondent Simon Parker and award-winning creative designer and artist MrASingh are just three of the speakers at the third TEDx Leamington Spa. It follows two sold out event. Speakers will have 18 minutes or less to talk about this year’s theme – Home. There’ll also be a panel discussion on homelessness and performances from The Ellipsis, singer-songwriter Joe Dolman and award-winning poet, Gwyneth Box.

Muddy readers will receive £15 off the £60 ticket by using the discount code TEDXLEAMBUSINESS, including all talks, performances, other entertainment, food and drink, a goodie bag and the after party at Zou Bisou in Regent Court until 11pm, tedxleamingtonspa

Saturday Crafternoons, Cotesbach Educational Trust’s cafe space, Sat Nov 18 

A series of free events suitable for all ages, crafting and making gifts with more dates to be announced in December from 1pm – 3pm; this Saturday making felt Christmas tree ornaments and creating a festive rag wreath on Sat Nov 25.

Main Street, Cotesbach, Leicestershire LE17 4HX, Tel: 01455 558373.

Warwick Masterclass: Exploring Photographic Techniques and Getting Creative with your Camera, Warwick Arts Centre, Sun Nov 19

This one day creative photography workshop for ages 16+ is run by Midlands photographer and film maker Kate Green,, and is the third in a series of masterclasses, 10am-5pm.

Book here.

Crafts of the Punjab, The Herbert Art Gallery & Museum, Coventry, until Jan 21 2018

A rare opportunity to view these stunning works from the V&A’s South Asian Collection outside London. Discover the skilful art of Buddhist, Hindu and Jain sculpture, Amritsar’s delicately carved ivories, Hoshiarpur’s elaborate musical instruments and Sialkot’s gold-inlaid steel artefacts. One of the most extraordinary pieces on show will be the Golden Throne made by a Muslim craftsman in Lahore for Ranjit Singh, the first Sikh Maharaja of the Punjab.


Peter and the Wolf, Mill Arts Centre, Banbury, Sat 18 Nov

Featuring animal antics of singing birds, waddling ducks, sneaky cats, and a rocking wolf this production features new music lovingly inspired by Prokofiev’s classic – including real musical vegetables (the mind boggles) plus puppetry and physical comedy for kids 4+.

The Mill Arts Centre, Spiceball Park, Spiceball Park Rd, Banbury,


North – Fashioning Identity, Somerset House, London, Wed Nov 8 – Feb 4 2018

Alice-Hawkins, LOVE magazine, ‘The Liver Birds’, 2012

Forget the north/south divide, London doffs its hat to Manchester, Newcastle et al in this new exhibition. Social documentary film and photography detailing life in the north of England in the mid-20th century sits alongside works by photographers, designers and artists inspired by the parts of our green and pleasant land beyond the Watford Gap. Contributors include Nottingham’s finest Paul Smith and Manchester’s Factory Records designer Peter Saville. If you visit after 15 Nov,  you can also take a twirl on Somerset House’s gorgeous outdoor ice rink.

Eat and Drink Festival, Manchester’s EventCity, Thurs Nov 9 – 12; & London Olympia, Nov 22 – 26 

Champagne Bar

Fizz-themed dishes are apparently the big foodie trend this Christmas with food retailers such as Waitrose, Marks & Spencer and Sainsbury’s stocking their shelves with Prosecco-filled turkey, raspberry and Prosecco panna cotta terrine and Prosecco panettone. You can sample all these goodies, shop for fresh produce, stock up on festive treats and chat to wine expert Olly Smith and other Christmas tipple experts at the Eat and Drink Festival.

eatanddrinkfestival, Tel: 0844 209 7330, children under 16 enter free

Codebreaker and Groundbreakers, Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, until Feb 4

Benedict Cumberbatch in The Imitation Game, the Oscar-winning film about the life of Alan Turing

A pioneering exhibition to feed your mind celebrating the genius of Second World War codebreakers like Alan Turing at Bletchley Park with Michael Ventris who in the same year deceiphered Linear B, the ancient Greek language.  It includes an Enigma machine, a rare loan from GCHQ, and unique archival documents held at the University of Cambridge, as well as encouraging visitors to explore ‘codebreaking’ in all its forms.


Oxford’s Christmas Light Festival, Fri Nov 17 – Sun Nov 19

Oooh, sparkly lights! This free festival will be taking over the city’s streets and open spaces for three days, with the newly opened Westgate Oxford (let us worship) as one of the main venues, along with Oxford Castle quarter, Gloucester Green and Broad Street. The Westgate will be hosting art installations, and will also form part of the route taken through the city as part of the popular lantern parade. Expect street artists, outdoor exhibitions, markets, music and dance throughout the weekend.

Two new public artworks by David Cotterrell and Bedwyr Williams, Chester Waterways & Storyhouse, Chester, on now

Chester’s impressive new state-of-the-art arts centre and cinema, Storyhouse

If you’re heading up north there’s two new digital artworks in Chester – Bedwyr Williams’ Hypercaust which brings back to life Chester’s Roman Fortress Bathhouse recreated through historically accurate 3D renderings; and Maelstrom by installation artist David Cotterell, acknowledging Chester’s relationship with water as a whirlpool appears and disappears in the Shropshire Canal. War artist David Cotterell went to Afghanistan in 2007, spending time with British forces and documenting the medical treatment of casualties and their journey away from the frontline to medical treatment back in the UK. His  work Gateway II is on display at London’s Imperial War Museum as part of Age of Terror: Art since 9/11 until May 28 2018.

Hypercaust  (2017) is screened at Storyhouse, Hunter Street, Chester,; while Maelstrom can be seen at King Charles Tower, Chester City Walls, 

Finnish Rooftop Sauna, Queen Elizabeth Roof Terrace, South Bank, Fri Nov 10 – Sat Dec 30

woman sauna finnish

And now for something completely different. Why not warm up and unwind in a one-of-a-kind Finnish sauna experience in the heart of London? There’s a specially designed Nordic sauna that on the Queen Elizabeth Roof Terrace, combining beautiful Nordic design with a bespoke artistic commission. If 90 degrees celsius is a bit sweaty for you, cool down in the open air (or with cold water buckets – go on, dare you!), while enjoying some stonking views of the Thames below.

London Jazz Festival, Fri  Nov 10 – Sun Nov 19

One of the biggest jazz festivals in the world, with ten jam-packed days of international talent. This year the numbers are dizzying – more than 350 performances in 60 venues with many of the events free.

Hogwarts in the Snow, Harry Potter Studios, Sat Nov 18 – Feb 4

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,

Peter and the Wolf, Mill Arts Centre, Banbury, Sat 18 Nov

Featuring animal antics of singing birds, waddling ducks, sneaky cats, and a rocking wolf this production features new music lovingly inspired by Prokofiev’s classic – including real musical vegetables (the mind boggles) plus puppetry and physical comedy for kids 4+.

The Mill Arts Centre, Spiceball Park, Spiceball Park Rd, Banbury,

 Ghost Tours, Hampton Court, selected dates until 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,

Find more ideas here

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