My Faves

Click the bookmark icon to save all the stuff you love.

The 2019 Muddy Stilettos Awards Finals are live!

Vote here

Muddy Stilettos Awards logo
Reader Treats Just For You!

What’s On This Week



MUSIC: David Byrne supported by 2015 Mercury Prize-winner Benjamin Clementine, Genting Arena, Fri Oct 26

Photo by Jody-Rogac

David Byrne begins each night on the highly unorthodox tour for his most recent album, America Utopia seated at a table stroking a brain in what he has called “The most ambitious show I’ve done since the shows that were filmed for Stop Making Sense.” On stage with an animated 12-piece band in grey Kenzo suits and barefoot he will be performing classics from his solo career and his days with post-punk band Talking Heads.



HALLOWEEN: The Haunted Castle, Warwick Castle, Oct 20 – Nov 4

Half-term Halloween attractions include the Haunted Hollows for the spooky woodland trail, Dead Centre Stage (open from 11am) the Witches Tower and new for 2018, the Escape Room – an actor-led attraction set within the medieval jail and the House of Wax scare mazeFire jousting returns, promising an awesome display of horseback heroics. Children aged 10+ can enter The Castle Dungeon, a live-actor experience that plunges victims into the deathly darkness of the Middle Ages, while maximum fear factor belongs to Séance a sonic performance that uses innovative binaural spatial audio technology to share spirits’ stories of life on ‘the other side’: prepare to be petrified!

Book entrance and accommodation online at warwick-castle


THEATRE: Shakespeare’s Troilus and CressidaRST, Stratford-upon-Avon, Fri Oct 12 –  Sat Nov 17

Photo by Helen Maybanks

Directed by RSC Artistic Director Gregory Doran, this is the company’s first gender-equal production of Shakespeare’s “most testosterone-fuelled” play. Set in a futuristic dystopian Troy, it will involve close collaboration with the virtuoso percussionist, Evelyn Glennie. It’s on for one month only!



MUSIC: Jon Spencer (of the Blues Explosion), Birmingham O2 Academy 2, Tues Oct 23

Jon Spencer (left) with the rest of the Blues Explosion back in the day

If you’ve seen Edgar Wright’s superlative heist movie Babydriver you’ll recognise the opening track as Jon Spencer Blues Explosion’s belter tune Bellbottoms. The man himself will be touring solo with The Melvins.


COMEDY FOR KIDS! Harry Hill’s Kidz Show How To Be Funny – For Kids! Butterworth Hall, Warwick Arts Centre, Tues Oct 23

The award winning comedian is taking to the road for the first time in five years to offer hints, tips and anecdotes for children who fancy themselves as a bit of a joker, running through his dos and do nots, as well as offering kids the chance to try out their own comedy skills.


DANCE: BalletLorent’s Rumpelstiltskin, Warwick Arts Centre, Fri Oct 26 – Sat Oct 27

This fantastical kids’ show by award-winning BalletLorent has an updated script by poet laureate Carol Ann Duffy, a score by Murray Gold (Dr Who), costumes by Michele Clapton (GoT) and is narrated by GoT actor Ben Crompton. It sounds as equally appealing to adults, as children.



THEATRE: Debbie Isitt’s Nativity! The Musical, Belgrade Theatre, Coventry, Tues Oct 23 – 28

The children pictured are Amyah Stevens (Solihull), Rex Murphy Hogg (Solihull), Olivia Rose Brown (Birmingham), Erin Jones (Birmingham), Niamh Crowley (Birmingham), Daisy Egerton (Birmingham, Hudson Mansour Webb (Coventry) and Daisy Fitzpatrick (Staffordshire). Photo by Joe Bailey

Co-produced by the Belgrade Theatre the second UK tour of Birmingham Repertory Theatre’s production of Nativity! The Musical kicks off in Coventry this October starring local schoolchildren, Simon Lipkin as Mr Poppy, Scott Garnham as Mr Maddens and Wicked star Ashleigh Gray.

Tel: 024 7655 3055, belgrade


MUSIC: Slow Moving Clouds, Warwick Arts Centre, Tue 23 Oct

Slow Moving Clouds are a contemporary acoustic band based in Dublin. They combine roots in Nordic and Irish traditional music with minimalist and experimental influences to create a sound unlike anything you’ve heard before.



HALLOWEEN: Fright Nights, Kenilworth Castle, Thurs Oct 25 – Sat Oct 27

As day turns to night the castle and grounds will be transformed into a spine-chilling house of horrors – with a cast of creepy characters making themselves at home. Five to 10-year-olds will enjoy more child-friendly frights from 6-7pm, before the fear factor is taken up a level from 7pm. After 7pm it’s recommended anyone with a nervous disposition and children under 10 do not attend! Ticket price includes entry to site and event.

Booking is recommended, Tel: 0370 333 1181


MUSIC:The Robert Cray Band, Butterworth Hall, Warwick Arts Centre, Wed Oct 24

A rare opportunity to witness this genre defining artist perform some of the most powerful material in his four-decade long back catalogue. His UK tour follows the success of his most recent album – the Blues Music Awards nominated Robert Cray & Hi Rhythm.



KIDS THEATRE: Three Sat Under the Banyan Tree, Belgrade Theatre, Coventry, Fri Oct 26 & Sat Oct 27

Described as “India’s Aesop’s Fables”, The Panchatantra is the most frequently translated work of Indian literature, exploring the question of what it means to live a good life through extraordinary tales featuring animal characters. In this delightful new show from Tara Arts and Polka Theatre, a multi-talented cast of three bring these stories vividly to life. Ideal for children aged 7+.

belgrade, Tel: 024 7655 3055


COMEDY: Ross Noble, El Hablador, Butterworth Hall, Warwick Arts Centre, Thu Oct 25 – Sat Oct 27 

Ross Noble returns to dance around the stage spinning out all the nonsense in his head into a new stand up show. At some point, he may wander into a shadowy part of the stage and look a bit shadowy. Age 15+, 8pm.



MUSEUMS AT NIGHT:  Nightmare and Nibbles, Old Grammar School, Coventry, Fri Oct 26 – Wed Oct 31

A darkly humorous bodily buffet will slay your hunger pangs while experimental cocktail concoctions will unleash your inner monster. Scenery will feature historic taxidermy from The Herbert Art Gallery and Museum’s collection. All food is vegan – despite its appearance. Gluten free is catered for on request. Suitable for age 18+ £25 including a large glass of wine Absolutely not for the faint hearted! The perfect treat for pre-Halloween celebrations or the big night itself.



Whistler and Nature, Compton Verney, Sat Oct 20 – Dec 16


One of The Times’ Autumn ‘must-sees’. Warwickshire’s Compton Verney is casting a new light on the work of the great late-Victorian painter, James McNeill Whistler, in respect of his family’s army background. Whistler and Nature (Sat Oct 20 – Dec 16), curated in partnership with The Hunterian at the University of Glasgow. The exhibition, which includes 90 oil paintings, explores the artist’s revolutionary attitude towards the natural world.

Compton Verney


UK SCHOOLS & THEATRE TOUR: First Encounters with Shakespeare: The Comedy of Errors, Swan Theatre, Stratford, Fri Oct 19 – Nov 2

Designed by RSC Visual Communications (c) RSC

Wondering what’s the perfect introduction to Shakespeare for 7 – 13-year-olds? The RSC’s fab First Encounters with Shakespeare: The Comedy of Errorsa 90-minute abridged version just for kids, is touring several partner schools and theatres across the UK including Leamington, Warwick, Nuneaton, Birmingham, Northampton, Blackpool, Middlesbrough, Kent, York, Bradford and Stoke-on-Trent. It will have a number of public performances in The Swan. A lovely experience for families.



Pumpkin Carving ZooLab & Puppet Theatre, Mary Arden’s Farm, Wilmcote, Stratford, Daily, Sat Oct 27 – Nov 4

Get creative with your own pumpkin designs in a marquee in the Falconer’s Field, (£1.50-£3, depending on the size of the pumpkin!), ZooLab  return with their entertaining Tudor creature workshop on Mon Oct 29 (12 – 4pm) and see Muddy Stilettos’ Award-winning best Children’s Business  in action –  Castle Small Puppet Theatre  – who are presenting a special Halloween show on Wed Oct 31 (12.30 & 2.30pm).



THEATRE: War Horse, Birmingham Hippodrome, Wed Oct 10 – Sat Nov 3

Soooo excited that the outstanding National Theatre production of War Horse is coming to Birmingham in October. Based on the novel by Michael Morpurgo and featuring those incredible, life-size puppets of the horses, it’s likely to sell-out, so please don’t leave it too late to book.



Pumpkin Spooktacular, Hatton Adventure World, near Warwick, throughout half-term

During the day on this 100-acre rural farm you can pick and carve your own free pumpkin, visit the Haunted House, ride the Bewitching Trailer Ride, listen to Terrifying Tales of Agnes The Witch, watch Halloween Magic and Puppet Shows. Phew! You can also take part in Zombie Run and Death Match Laser Combat Battles and see Snakes Alive and Tame the Dragon. Children are also encouraged to come dressed in Halloween-themed costumes with spot prizes for the best dressed. This year on Oct 26, 27, 30 and 31, the venue is also open after dark. Dragons, scarecrows and ghosts will become illuminated on the Bewitching Trailer Ride, Magic and Mayhem form up for amazing Illusion Shows whilst Fire-Eaters mingle with Jugglers.

hattonworld, Tel: 01926 843411


THEATRE: Tartuffe, Swan Theatre, Stratford, until Feb 23

Asif Khan as Tartuffe and Sasha Behar as Amira. Production photos by Topher McGrillis (c) RSC

BAFTA and Emmy-Award winning TV writers Anil Gupta and Richard Pinto – creators of The Kumars at No. 42, Goodness Gracious Me, Citizen Khan and The Office – have reimagined Moliere’s great French comedy in modern-day Birmingham. The result is a sharp, vigorously funny and topical comedy set within the home of a well-to-do Brummie Pakistani family. It cleverly blends themes of religious hypocrisy, #metoo “victim shaming”, Brexit jokes and music styles including a freestyle beatbox rap battle. Review here.


Children’s Halloween Evening & Half-term Haunting, Tamworth Castle, Oct 27 – Nov 2

The Children’s Halloween evening is a fun evening hosted by the Friends of Tamworth Castle charity on Oct 27. Bring all the family, get dressed up in your spookiest costume and enjoy the ghostly goings on around the Castle.  Free pumpkin lantern for all paying children. (Timed slots from 5pm – 8pm.) Throughout half-term expect a week of ghostly goings-on for 6 – 11-year-olds in this famous haunted castle, 11am – 4pm.



KIDS ACTIVITIES:  Rugby Art Gallery and Museum, Sat Oct 27 – Sat Nov 3

Children can join in a spooky Halloween hunt around the gallery, there’s Sensory Splats for babies and toddlers (Mon); while under 5’s can sing-a-long in a Mini Explorers Halloween special (Tue Oct 30, 11am) and listen to Room on a Broom (Thurs Nov 1). Older children can create a paper pumpkin (Tues, 2pm – 4pm), decorate their own spooky rock (Wed Oct 31, 2 – 4pm) and Paint and Glaze in the Café (Fri Nov 2, 10am – 1pm).



 THEATRE: Christopher Marlowe’s Tamburlaine, Swan Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon, until  Dec 1
An actor in gold armour playing a warrior

Jude Owusu as the king of Persia, Tamburlaine Photo by Ellie Kurttz (c) RSC

Watch Jude Owusu’s chillingly charismatic portrait of Christopher Marlowe’s violent 14th century warlord, who started life as a shepherd, before conquering Asia. Directed by former RSC Artistic Director Michael Boyd, who stepped down in 2012. A big critical hit.



FILM: The House with a Clock in its Walls (PG), Royal Spa Centre, Leamington, Fri Oct 26 – 30

See a spooky family film for Halloween.  Ten-year-old Lewis goes to live with his uncle (Jack Black) in a creaky old house that contains a mysterious tick-tock noise. When Lewis accidentally causes trouble, the town’s sleepy facade magically springs to life uncovering a secret world of witches and warlocks. Also starring Cate Blanchett.



SPOKEN WORD: Grayson Perry: Them & Us, Symphony Hall, Sun Oct 28

The award-winning artist; Bafta-winning TV presenter and Reith Lecturer discusses “cultural divisions” in the topsy turvy world of Brexit, Trump and whatever else is thrown at us before this gig!


ART: Carrie Reichardt: ShakespeariAnne, Shakespeare’s Birthplace, Stratford-upon-Avon, until Dec 21

The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust’s first ever artist-in-residence dedicates her first exhibition to re framing Anne Hathaway and Shakespeare, who she casts as “a bit like a Tudor mix of Del Boy Trotter, Madonna, and the Big Brother series”.  Vintage souvenirs, Shakespearean merchandise and pre-loved items are re-made with a new twist to re-imagine the couple for the cell phone-toting, selfie-taking era.

Free entry with Shakespeare’s Birthplace and Full Story tickets,


MUSIC: False Lights, Warwick Arts Centre, Sun Oct 28

Photo by Redwood Photography

This game-changing six-piece electric folk group led by multiple BBC Folk Award winners Sam Carter and Jim Moray won 5-star reviews for their their first album, Salvor, a BBC Radio 2 Folk Award nomination for best album, and copious airplay on BBC Radio 2 and 6 Music. Now they return with Harmonograph, an even more ambitious and charged set of songs encompassing 18th century pirates, blizzards of shoegaze guitars, and pro-EU drinking songs. What’s not to like?


KIDS THEATRE: The Twits, The Albany Theatre, Coventry, Fri Oct 26 

Roald Dahl created some really revolting characters but surely few can beat the noxious Mr and Mrs Twit!  David Wood’s brilliant adaptation mixes music, song, slapstick, audience participation, shouting beards, bird pies and balloons in this interactive family-friendly production for children ages 3+. Time: 3pm




HALF-TERM: Potion-making, Murder & Mayhem and Gunpowder plot live drama, Shakespeare’s New Place, Stratford, Sat Oct 27 – Nov 4


Macbeth comes to New Place, with potion-making around the cauldron in a witches’ cave in the Great Garden (daily, 12pm – 4pm). Learn how New Place was also the site of two real murders that could have been plucked from one of Shakespeare’s plays (daily, 2pm) and on Sat Nov 3 see a 30-min costumed presentation about The Gunpowder Plot and how the plotters escaped into Warwickshire by Live’n History (12noon & 1pm).



PICK YOUR OWN PUMPKIN: Malt Kiln Farm Shop, Stretton-under-Fosse, Rugby & Pumpkins R Us, Leamington Road Kenilworth CV8 2LP

Fancy picking your own pumpkin?



HALF-TERM: Halloween-themed crafts & Zoolab Creature Workshops, Anne Hathaway’s Cottage, Shottery


Head to the Family Activity Marquee and make some spooky crafts to take home. On Thurs Nov 1 meet the creatures around when Shakespeare was growing up with the brilliant ZooLab.



KIDS: Meet a Pumpkin Patch Tarantula, Stratford Butterfly Farm, throughout half-term

New to the Butterfly farm this Halloween is The Pumpkin Patch, a spider originating from Colombia, with distinctive, brightly-coloured orange and yellow markings on its stomach. Although fairly small in size, it has plenty of attitude and is on display in Minibeast Metropolis. Throughout half-term the twice-daily Meet the Mini-Beast sessions will have a spooky theme.

butterflyfarm, Tel: 01789 299288


FILM: Halloween, nationwide from Fri Oct 19

Although the film is the eleventh instalment, it takes the story back to where the first one finished with Jamie Lee Curtis returning to the role of Laurie Strode. Expect real visceral horror with the film returning to its roots plus some funny moments to release the tension. Fans of the original are raving about it.



Dr Nerium’s Garden of Ghouls, Birmingham Botanical Gardens, Fri Oct 26 – Sun Nov 4 

A live action spooky trail through the Birmingham Botanical Gardens featuring street food, performers, music and entertainment, with earlier time slots available suitable for the whole family and all ages. Time slots booked after 7pm are recommended only for visitors aged 14+.



Spooky Science Night, Thinktank, Birmingham, Sat Oct 27

An after-hours Spooky Science Night making your own family light photos and glow-in-the-dark slime, see the science-of-fright show and dance in a silent Zombie disco. During the day throughout half-term there’s The Science of Fright show, Spooky Storytelling and arts activities, plus the Planetarium and Science Garden.

To check out all events at Birmingham’s 8 museums and galleries see here.


BOOK NOW! An Evening with Nigella Lawson, Symphony Hall, Birmingham, Thurs Nov 8

Celebrate the 20th anniversary of TV chef Nigella’s ground-breaking debut cookbook, How to Eat: The Pleasures and Principles of Good Food, as she talks about her life in food and what she’s cooking right now, followed by a 1-hour book-signing.



BOOK NOW: Othello, Warwick Arts Centre, Tues Nov 6 – Sat Nov  10

Othello is one of Shakespeare’s most startlingly contemporary plays – a masterful depiction of a life torn apart by prejudice. Venice; a Western colonial power employs the newly-married Othello, a Muslim general, to lead their army against the impending Turkish invasion. The strain of fitting into a society driven by discrimination and fear soon takes its toll. Manipulated by Iago, Othello’s life quickly unravels as he turns on everything he holds dear. Director Richard Twyman’s original modern-dress production received rave reviews. For ages 12+ Running time: 3hrs.



ONE FOR YOUR DIARY! ‘Discover:Gather:Give’ Arts Fair, Stratford-upon-Avon Town Hall, Nov 3 & 4

Looking for artisan Christmas gifts? Look no further…This fabulous and free art fair is now in its fifth year and features 40 artists exhibiting more than 500 pieces of original and passionately created art, offering an exciting and eclectic mix of paintings, illustrations, ceramics, jewellery, glasswork, decoupage, textiles, wood turning, digital art, sculpture and book binding, #Cafdgg. Don’t miss out on The Golden Cup Cafe upstairs in the Ballroom where visitors can enjoy tea and coffee from Monsoon Estates served in elegant vintage golden tea sets on crisp white linen with fresh flowers and and delicious cake!



BOOK NOW! Stratford Literary Festival, Nov 9 – 17

Channel 4 News presenter Cathy Newman

The impressive winter festival line-up features internationally best-selling author, Jodi Picoult, historian and TV presenter Lucy Worsley OBE, who will be talking about her latest book The Many Faces of Queen Victoria, Sir Michael Parkinson, sharing his admiration for the legendary footballer, George Best; and Channel 4 News presenter Cathy Newman whose critically acclaimed new book, Bloody Brilliant Women, highlights forgotten but ground-breaking women from history.

Jodi Picoult, by Nina Subin

For the full itinerary go to: stratlitfest


BOOK NOW! Mimbre’s Fierce Sisters at New Place, Stratford-upon-Avon, Dec 11 – 15

Very exciting this! A specially commissioned promenade performance with all-female acrobatic theatre group, Mimbre in the gardens at Shakespeare’s New PlaceBe enchanted as they weave their spell with their evocative choreography and contemporary soundscapes to explore the essence of Shakespeare’s female characters, bursting out of their stories to claim their own space in today’s world. Playful interactive stations invite you to explore these themes and contribute your thoughts and feelings on how women are interpreted and portrayed, then and now.

Booking required at shakespeare or Tel: 01789 204016.




THEME-PARK: Scarefest – Alton Towers, Staffs, Oct 19 – Nov 2

Alton Towers Resort’s £16m thrill attraction, Wicker Man, fusing wood with fire launched this spring.

Alton Towers’ hugely popular Scarefest attraction returns this month with live shows, award-winning scare mazes, the brand new CBeebies Monster Ball and immersive rollercoaster Wicker Man experience with new six-storey high flaming effigy.



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

Over Halloween the Great Hall will be decorated with more 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. The hand-carved pumpkins are created by Head Propmaker on all the Harry Potter films, Pierre Bohanna, and modelled on those found in Hagrid’s pumpkin patch in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban – no two are alike! Kids can also delve into the sinister world of the Dark Art – wand combat techniques and Death Eater duels as well as film-making snot, blood and drool. Lovely!

Warner Bros. Studio Tour london, Studio Tour Dr, Watford, Leavesden,


The Luna Cinema’s Halloween Screenings, Natural History Museum, London, Oct 28 & 29

When all the visitors have left for the day, it’s time to settle in for a Movie Night at the Museum. On the bill are Ghostbusters (12), Blair Witch Project (15), The Silence of the Lambs (already sold out) and The Shining (15). Tickets include complimentary popcorn and free entry into the museum’s Life in the Dark exhibition. An atmospheric  experience for older children and teens.



Halloween Horrors, Chatsworth House, Bakewell, Derbyshire, Oct 27 – Nov 4

Follow the frighteningly fun Creepy Collection trail in the house, hunt for hidden pumpkins and scarecrows, dare to enter the abandoned tunnel and listen to spine-tingling storytelling in the garden. For families there’s also facepainting, reptile handling and fright flights. You can also enjoy the garden exhibition,  Chatsworth Outdoors: Grounds for Sculpture, curated seasonal park walks, grab a bite to eat in one of the five restaurants or cafes and a visit to the award-winning farm shop with more than half of all products prepared on the Chatsworth estate.



Xscape, Milton Keynes

How cool is this? We’ve already had a test of the new Rush VR (virtual reality) immersive experience and it’s totally awesome! Nothing like fighting zombies building castles or wandering through a Mayan maze after a few coffees. If you’re heading up to Xscape, you can also check out Hollywood Bowl, Snozone, iFly and Cineworld. Boom – a day of half-term sorted!

Find more ideas here

Things to DoThis Week

Tell us what you think

Your email address will not be published.

* Required
* Required

Little Black Book

The Little Black Book

Our A-Z of the grooviest local businesses to help make your life easier

View the businesses
Home icon Back Home

The Urban Guide to the Countryside - Warwickshire