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What’s on in December in Warks and the West Mids?

What a festive feast we have for you lucky Muddy fans this month, with local events for shoppers, kids, ravers, foodies, fun-seekers, music, and art lovers across the region.

MUSIC

Madness, Utilita Arena, Birmingham 17 Dec

Grab your Harrington, Madness are coming to Birmingham. Not only that, Squeeze are coming along too. Expect all their well-known hits and some new stuff too. Perfect if you’re a mega fan or just fancy a Friday night boogie.

Orchestra of the Swan, Stratford & Birmingham, 7&8 Dec

The Stratford-based orchestra is working with vocal quintet Papagena for a show of music and words featuring excerpts from classic seasonal literature by T.S. Eliot, Charles Dickens, C.S. Lewis and Dylan Thomas. The ’12 Tales of Christmas’ will be performed at Stratford Playhouse on 7 Dec followed by the gorgeous Birmingham Conservatoire the next day. That’s Christmas and culture wrapped up in a big beautiful bow. 

The Snowman, Coventry Cathedral, 23 Dec

Photo by Gareth Widdowson

Fancy a film with a difference? Not only is this Christmas classic going to be screened at Coventry Cathedral, it’ll be accompanied by a live orchestra. Once you’ve finished here why not pop to the outdoor ice skating rink at the nearby cathedral ruins for a full on festive day out?

Andy Bennett, Holy Trinity Church, Leamington, 18 Dec

You might know Andy Bennett best for his time as the bassist in Ocean Colour Scene, but he’s also performed alongside the likes of Liam Gallagher and Paul Weller. He’ll be playing a ‘rock n roll’ Christmas show in Leamington so expect some well known hits and great acoustics.

Toscana Strings, Compton Verney, 11&18 Dec

This all-female string quintet will perform music from The Nutcracker and The Snowman accompanied by ballet dancer Laura Tye in this original and beautiful show. The performance is only 40 minutes so work it into a trip to gorgeous Compton Verney which is lit up for Christmas with a reindeer trail, Santa’s grotto and serving luxury afternoon teas in the Adam Hall. 

Dabbers Christmas Bingo, Fargo Village, Coventry, 18 Dec

Expect tunes from top London djs at this popular event which sees bingo, music and games morphed into a huge night out. Festive fancy dress is encouraged and you don’t even have to leave your seat – cocktails and street food are delivered. This is why we bloody love Fargo!

FESTIVE FAIRS & MARKETS

Victorian Christmas Market, Stratford-upon-Avon, 9-12 Dec

This market in the centre of town is always a hit with some 125,000 people going to the last event. And it doesn’t look like this year will be much different, Muddy fave The Arden Hotel is already fully booked and we hear there’s visitors from Brighton to Bournemouth coming. There’s around 300 stalls for shopping, food and drink, entertainment and a traditional funfair. Pull on your warmest coat, order a mulled wine and make a day of it. 

Christmas Fair at Audley Binswood, Leamington 2 Dec

Luxe retirement village Audley Binswod is hosting its annual Christmas fair between 11am and 2pm. It’ll be packed full of community stalls selling gifts and Christmas decs, and there’s a light lunch available too. Sold! 

Makers Market, Fargo Village, Coventry, 4, 5, 11&12 Dec

There’s more than 65 local indie businesses at this year’s market selling food, drink and handmade gifts. Expect awesome streetfood and the Christmas staple of choirs and a brass band too. There’s loads going on in Cov this month, check out our other picks here.

EXHIBITIONS

See James Bond’s car, British Motor Museum, until Jan 2022

Seen the new James Bond movie? Until the end of Jan there’s chance to see the Land Rover Defender used by Daniel Craig in No Time To Die at the museum in Gaydon. There’s also heaps of festive activities going on between Dec 17-23 like a jigsaw trail finding pieces of Santa’s sleigh and card making.

FOOD & DRINK

Gin & Fizz Festival, Leamington, 18 Dec

Gin and bubbles together, you heard that right. This boozy event is being held in the stunning Pump Rooms and includes loads of local and small batch distillers, live local music, games corner and Insta selfie station. Expect heaps of vintage decor and even more gin. Cheers to that.

Beer & Food Festival, Berkswell, 10&11 Dec

The beautiful and historic St John the Baptist Church is hosting a two day festival with the first night focused on church ales between 7pm and 10.30pm. Expect local beers from the likes of Twisted Barrel Ale Brewery and Fargo’s Tap House, Byatts Brewery and Church End Brewery in Warwick. From 10.30am to 3.30pm on Sunday there’s more of a foodie focus with local offerings alongside festive dishes from Slovakia, Italy, Sri Lanka and Poland. There’s talks on medieval hangover cures too (sign us up) and lots of activities for the kids. 

THEATRE

Goldilocks and the Three Bears, Birmingham, 18 Dec-30 Jan

Jason Donovan makes his pantomime debut as the Evil Ringmaster in the Hippodrome’s festive offering. He’s joined by Eastenders actor Matt Slack, and with sets and costumes straight from the London Palladium, it promises to be a good one. And if one’s not enough, check up our roundup of all the best local pantos.

The Magician’s Elephant, Royal Shakespeare Theatre, until Jan 1

The RSC’s latest musical is adapted from Kate DiCamillo’s prize-winning novel and tells the story of a quiet town where nothing extraordinary ever happens. Then one day, a magician conjures an elephant from the sky, setting off a chain of events so remarkable that it changes the town forever. Sounds pretty exciting to us! This is one for the whole family and marks the reopening of the theatre following the pandemic.

COMEDY

Bill Bailey, Utilita Arena, Birmingham, 21 Dec

This comedy legend will be revealing his thoughts on isolation and getting back into everyday life in his show En Route to Normal. Of course expect plenty of songs with your comedy in true Bailey style.

KIDS

Very Hungry Caterpillar, Warwick Arts Centre, 18-24 Dec

Pretty sure we’ve all heard of this iconic book, but have you seen the show? It’s had multiple seasons in London and New York but is playing a festive run on our patch with 75 puppets coming to life on stage (thanks to 4 puppet masters). It’s suitable for kids from age 1.

Christmas at the Castle, Warwick Castle, until 3 Jan

Skating around with gorgeous Warwick Castle lit up behind you? Dreamy. There’ll be Christmas hits playing, aids if you aren’t too hot on your skates (hands up!) and more importantly mulled wine and snack stalls. Inside there’s also the chance for story time with Mr & Mrs Claus and there’s also a stunning light trail to wander around.

Luminate at Coombe Abbey, Coventry, until 24 Dec

As if Coombe Abbey Park isn’t magical enough, see it all lit up on this mesmerising mile-long trail. There’s ambient music too so you can really get in the festive mood and a dessert parlour has just opened up so stop off there to warm up on the way back (although yes, ice cream is acceptable in December).

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