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This week

Mon 29 Oct - Sun 4 Nov 2018


EVENT: Tring Festival of Light, Tring Park, Tring, Mon 29 Oct

Well trodden by ramblers and dog walkers by day, Tring Park’s lime tree avenue will be illuminated for one magical evening, giving families the chance to experience it in a whole new light. An addition to this year’s event is A Secret Symphony – like a silent disco, but with sounds of the woods rather than beats from the DJ decks. There will also be food and craft activities for the kids and you can channel your inner Girl Guide and huddle around the campfire with a hot choccy afterwards. Now, who’s bringing the marshmallows…?



THEATRE: Dinosaur World, Broadway Theatre, Letchworth, Mon 29 Oct

Remarkably life-like dinosaurs appear right in front of you in this pre-historic interactive show for the family.  Tyrannosaurus Rex, a Triceratops, Giraffatitan, Microraptor and Segnosaurus all pitch up to thrill and roar, and you get to learn lots of dino facts too.

COMEDY: Ross Noble, Alban Arena, Tues 30 and Wed 31 Oct
Regular of Have I Got News For You, Mock the Week and Live at the Apollo, Ross Noble’s stand up show El Hablador comes to St Albans.  Apparently he starts the show bursting through a huge inflatable of his head and continues with his surreal and hilarious musings in a show that seems to be delighting fans.



HALLOWEEN FUN: various locations

If wandering round your neighbourhood trick or treating just isn’t going to cut it this Halloween, try something more extreme….The 17th annual Fright Nights season returns to Thorpe Park with seven new intense live-action scare mazes and horror zones, including The Walking Dead: Do or Die and Vulcan Peak. Also new this year is the Screamplexx 4D, showing short indie horror films.

By day, Mead Open Farm, just over the border in Beds, is holding its Halloween Freaky FunFest for kids (20 – 31st Oct) with Haunted Hotel, the Shed of Dread, pumpkin carving, and ghost stories. By night, it transforms itself into The Howl for 12 + (if with an adult) Halloween horror with 5 mazes, street food, live music and a bar.

The Harry Potter Warner Bros Studios Great Hall is currently decorated with over 100 floating pumpkins, as seen 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 Arts from now until Nov 10.

All sorts of pumpkin / Halloween activities for kids at Knebworth House with fancy dress and pumpkin carving competition (all children’s own work please). Participation in games like Tunnel Terror and What’s in the Box lead to stamps in your pumpkin passport which lead to a goody bag, plus storytelling and a pumpkin trail.



SHOPPING: Returned to Glory, Berkhamsted, Thurs 1 Nov

Grab a glass of fizz and nibbles whilst browsing the upcycled furniture, bespoke homeware items and festive gifts at this shopping event in aid of St Francis Hospices. They’ll be ideas on how to dress your Christmas table and decorate the house and lots of gift ideas crafted or upholstered from designer fabric by the Create and Make volunteer craft team.



THEATRE: Roald Dahl’s The Witches, Watford Palace Theatre, Fri 2 – Sun 4 Nov 

‘Double, double toil and trouble; Fire burn, and cauldron bubble.’ Nope, it’s not Macbeth, it’s much funnier than that, plus, the kids will enjoy it. Herts’ home grown young actors will be casting a spell over Watford Palace Theatre for the first week of the month to perform Roald Dahl’s The Witches. Be careful who you end up sitting next to because it looks like the witches will be picking on the audience…



MUSIC: The Coull String Quartet, Benslow Music, Hitchin, Fri 2 Nov

The Coull Quartet have been playing and recording music together since the 1980s, from the complete Mendelssohn and Schubert quartets to contemporary British chamber music. Tonight they play Haydn: String Quartet Op 54 No 2 in C major, Kodaly: String Quartet No 2 Op 10 and Dvořák: String Quartet No 10 Op 51 in E flat major in the large Victorian house, Little Benslow Hills, that is home to Benslow Music. Tickets are £15 but in a bid to encourage younger audiences, 8 – 25 year olds can go for free.



POP-UP CINEMA: Vintage Cinema, College Lake, Tring, Sat 3 Nov

Freak yourself out by going to the College Lake Nature Reserve and watching The Evil Dead, courtesy of Chilterns Vintage Cinema who will provide the bean bags and popcorn. There’s also a bar should you need a stiff drink.



SHOPPING: Christmas Market, Hatfield House, Sat 3 Nov

Yes it’s on its way so get organised and come along to the charity Christmas market being held in the stables at Hatfield House. They’ll be a range of stalls with gift ideas from local businesses and although the main house and gardens are closed for the season, it’s a lovely location to browse the merch. Beats elbowing your way through a shopping centre in my book.



FIREWORKS: St Albans Cathedral, Verulamium Park, St Albans, Sat 3 Nov

The annual spectacular is back in Verulamium Park with the stunning backdrop of the cathedral and the fireworks reflected in the lake. There’s a whole food village with street food offerings and a selection of bars, provided by Tring Brewery. It’s worth taking a torch as you’re out in a large park in the dark (thanks mum).



THEATRE: Hansel & Gretel, Broadway Theatre, Letchworth Garden City, Sun 4 Nov

A new version of the famous fairytale uses the poetry of Simon Armitage and chamber music by composer Matthew Kaner to bring table top puppets to life. Shadow play and animations also feature and the viola, cello, clarinet, horn and toy pianos, with the voice of Adey Grummet, create an eeriness that turns this fairytale into a nightmare. Suitable for 12+





CULTURE: Royal Opera House, Month of Festival, London, Sun 4 – Sun 25 Nov


The Royal Opera House is opening itself up for a month of interactive fun. They’ll be live demos from technicians and craftspeople who work on the ROH productions, you can take guided tours and learn new moves in a dance class, sing tunes from opera classics and make something crafty to take home. The Royal Ballet and the Royal Opera artists will be performing in the public areas and there’s a sound installation that explores the history of the Opera House.



ART: Edward Burne-Jones, Tate Britain, London, now until 24 Feb

Sir Edward Coley Burne-Jones ‘Love Among the Ruins’ 1870-1973 Private Collection

Pre-Raphaelite artist Burne-Jones was one of the most influential British talents of the 19th century and this exhibition will bring together 150 works including paintings, stained glass and tapestry in a major new retrospective. Rejecting the starched world of the Victorians, he looked to myths, legends and the Bible to create his otherworldly work. He wanted to bring beautiful design to everyone and along with his friend William Morris, pioneered the Arts and Crafts Movement.



THEATRE: The Wider Earth, The Natural History Museum, now – Sun 30 Dec

Exciting news – there’s a theatre being opened in the Jerwood Gallery at the Natural History Museum for the European premiere of award-winning drama The Wider Earth, a play about the young Charles Darwin. Puppets, an original score and cinematic animations make this theatrical event a great draw for kids plus they’ll learn a helluva lot in the process.





THEATRE: The Girl on the Train, Milton Keynes Theatre, Wed 23- Sat 26 Jan

I loved this book by Paula Hawkins and enjoyed the film (although shame it was set in the US instead of London) and now there’s a stage play. Starring Samantha Womack (Eastenders, Game On and Kingsman) critics are raving about it. Even if you already know the story of Rachel Watson and her obsession with her past life, apparently there are plenty of surprises in this gripping new play.



THEATRE: The Lehman Trilogy, Piccadilly Theatre, London, from 11 May

Heads up – tickets go on sale on Nov 2 for this National Theatre play directed by Sam Mendes and staring Simon Russell Beale, Ben Miles and Adam Godley. Tracing 150 years of the banking family, it doesn’t sound like riveting entertainment but it has been a sell out at the National and is transferring to the West End next spring. Grab a ticket whilst you can.



THEATRE: Rob Lowe: Stories I Only Tell My Friends, The Royal Albert Hall, Sat 1 Dec

Tickets for Rob Lowe’s live show are still available (it was a sell out in the States). Inspired by his memoirs of the same name and his previous book Love Life, Mr Lowe will spill the beans on a career from the Brat Pack to The West Wing to Parks and Rec and beyond. Apparently, he’s quite the raconteur with loads of witty anecdotes that touch on his career, fame, Hollywood, fatherhood and marriage. Keep your eyes peeled come November – Rob is filming in London and Lincolnshire for a new ITV Drama called Wild Bill about a UK cop who moves to Lincolnshire!

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