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This week

Mon 26 Nov - Sun 2 Dec 2018


PANTO: Pinocchio, Hertford Theatre, Sat 1 Dec to Tues 1 Jan

Photo by James Leask Frazer, Area 1 Photography

Panto season is upon us – oh no it isn’t, oh yes it is! This production of Pinocchio promises toe-tapping songs, awesome dance routines and loads of slapstick fun as the wooden puppet with a heart strives to become a real child. The production team have previously had smash-hits with Rapunzel, Little Red Riding Hood and Hansel and Gretel so your panto is in safe hands.


 SKIING: Soul at The Snow Centre, St Albans, Mon 26 Nov

Very old school and very cool, literally. St Albans’ The Snow Centre is hosting a soul night on the slopes with all music played on vinyl records by ‘Sounds of Soul.’ Tickets are only £5.

8pm until late.


BOOKS: Ben Aaronovitch, Letchworth Central Methodist Church, Letchworth Garden City, Mon 26 Nov

Such is the popularity of scriptwriter and novelist Ben Aaronovitch that David’s Bookshop has moved this event to the more spacious church. Ben will be talking about his latest book  Lies Sleeping, with Peter Grant, Detective Constable and apprentice wizard, taking the central role once again. Ben used to be a scriptwriter on Dr Who and although he is now a full time novelist, I’m sure he’ll be happy to spill a few beans if asked.


KIDS: Santa Spectacular, Willows Activity Farm, now until Mon 24 Dec 

Willows Activity Farm are pulling out all the stops for this year’s Santa Spectacular including a synthetic ice rink, live reindeer and loads of festive shows. There’ll also be a grotto, make your own soft toy stall and Christmas wish-list writing workshops with a free reply from the big man himself.


PANTO: Peter Pan, Gordon Craig Theatre, now until Tues 22 Jan

Swashbucking pirates ahoy in the form of Britain’s Got Talent’s dance troupe Twist & Pulse, Emmerdale’s Tom Lister as Captain Hook and Stevenage’s panto dame veteran Paul Laidlow as the hapless Mrs Smee. Gordon Craig Theatre’s regular comic Aidan O’Neill will be playing Paul’s hubby, Mr Smee. You can check out our guide to the best local pantos here.



The Stables, Hatfield House, Thurs 29 Nov

All the shops at the stables will be open late so you can get that Christmas shopping started.  Retailers include Tudor Gems, Fiona Rae Goldsmith & Enameller and the Hatfield House Gift Shop which will be offering 50% off some items. You can also design and paint your own Christmas decorations with Pots of Art (with 50% off too). Mulled wine, cinnamon hot chocolate and mince pies will be on offer plus there’s live music to get you in the festive spirit.

Tring Christmas Festival, Fri 30 Nov

Tring’s Christmas Festival is the town’s biggest free event with High Street offering gift and food stalls where you can eat and order your Christmas Turkey, massage chairs (weird, but we will roll with it!) and gin cocktails. Tring’s schools and dance academies will be out in force and the shops will be staying open late.

St Albans Christmas Market, 30 Nov- 22 Dec

St Albans’ Christmas Market is handing over the reigns to Meraki Festival this year and is promising more than your bog-standard hot dogs and mulled wine tent. Expect German sausage, hog roast and vegan goodies galore along with 40 German-style wooden shacks with crafts and gifts. Meraki’s 3-Tipis Firepit Bar will make its debut at the annual market and will be playing live acoustic music every evening. Your classic Santa experience and Christmas fair ground will also be there.


ART: Letchworth Squares, Letchworth Settlement, Letchworth, Sat 1 Dec

Support our local independent adult education centre (one of only a few left in the UK) by heading down to their exhibition which runs all day. More than 140 individual square pieces of canvas celebrating a range of art forms by the Settlement’s art tutors and students will be on display and for sale. All proceeds will go to the continued upkeep of The Settlement and you’ll be guaranteed a truly original and unique piece of art.


MUSIC: Kings Chamber Orchestra, The Chapel, Harpenden, Sat 1 Dec

KCO are a London based professional chamber orchestra and they are performing in Harpenden’s candle-lit Chapel. Known, not just for their playing, but their witty stories and audience interaction, the KCO aim to get everyone in the festive mood. There will be carols as well as Strauss, Bernstein and Percy Grainger on the programme. Apparently a large balloon and some fire are also involved – the mind boggles. Proceeds go to a local charity working with Ugandan orphans.



EVENT: Winter Wonderland, Hyde Park London, now until Sun 6 Jan

hyde park winter wonderland illuminated heater skelter and fairground ride London

Go big or go home when it comes to festive fun, London’s Winter Wonderland is huuuuge. Free to enter but once inside, prepare to sell a kidney. The costs can get out of control – particularly if you hit the glühwein a little too hard. What to expect? Winter markets, fairground rides and ice skating. Major attractions this year include the Magical Ice Kingdom Secret Forest, an immersive showcase of woodland animals and mythical creatures created from ice and snow; a Bavarian village offering an authentic Oktoberfest experience; karaoke cabins, ice sculpting workshops, the Winter Wonderland Comedy Club, immersive screenings of The Snowman and plus Peter Pan on Ice.


CHRISTMAS LIGHTS: Kew Gardens, London, now until 5 Jan

Photo: RBG Kew

A spectacular winter trail with over a million twinkling lights and thousands of laser beams, Kew’s light show is awe-inspiring. You can be mesmerised by the Fire Garden, walk through the moonlit woods and check out the laser garden. Mulled wine, hot choc and spiced cider will help keep you warm and the kids can whizz round on vintage fairground rides whilst looking out for Santa and his elves.


OPEN HOUSE: Mortimer House, Fitzrovia, London, Thurs 29 Nov – Sun 2 Dec

This cool and diverse 6 floored Art Deco venue is opening its doors to members and non-members to celebrate its first anniversary with a whole host of activities. A new type of members club, Mortimer House offers a place for people to create, work or relax and find that all elusive life/work balance. There are meeting rooms, event spaces, a living room, terrace, studio and gym so you can be in a meeting one minute, joining a yoga class the next and then moving onto a screening, workshop or cookery lesson. Activities this weekend include a Jingle Bell Rock workout, a flower crown workshop, ravioli cooking class, Vinyasa yoga class, film screening and games to entertain the kids. Check it out whilst you can.

Find more ideas here

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