Mon 5 – Sun 11 Feb 2018
Imagine Children’s Festival, Southbank Centre, Weds 7 Feb – Sun 18 Feb
12 days of jam-packed half-term fun in this brilliant annual festival by kids for kids. Aimed at 0-12 year olds, there’s a mind-boggling array of activities and events, including a whole clutch of free possibilities in The Clore Ballroom, Roald Dahl’s Revolting Rhymes, dance-theatre Tidy Up, Fun DMC, Bedtime stories, plus debut authors comedian Harry Hill and Radio One’s Greg James.
Kate Terry, A System of Parallels, Broadway Gallery, Letchworth, Fri 9 Feb – Sun 22 April
I’m really looking forward to this. The exhibitions at Broadway Gallery seem to get better and better. Kate Terry lives in London and for this exhibition she will be creating a thread installation in the gallery, together with sculpture and drawings. Can’t wait to see how she does it.
Broadway Gallery The Arcade, Letchworth, SG6 3EW
Orchid Festival, Kew Gardens, London, 10 Feb – 11 March
Things are going totally tropical this month at London’s gorgeous Kew Gardens. Their annual orchid festival takes in Insta-friendly displays of the vibrant Thai blooms, Thai street food and musical performances, workshops on how to grow these notoriously tricky flowers and Thai afternoon tea at The Botanical restaurant. King prawn, lemongrass and coriander tartlet followed by Thai sticky coconut cream rice with mango salsa? Yes please.
Early Man Quest, Audley End, Essex, Sat 10 – Sun 18 Feb
A quest designed for children in Audley End House and Gardens. Follow the clues and search for Dug, Hognob and others in the Early Man tribe. (The film is currently on general release). Uncover centuries of history in one day. Early Man mini model making kit for successful adventurers. 10am – 4pm.
Audley End Saffron Walden, Essex, CB11 4JF
Lucy Porter, The Old Town Hall, Hemel Hempstead, Sat 10 Feb
Lucy Porter is on tour with her brand new show, Choose Your Battles. In these combative times, it’s easy to be irritated, offended or downright enraged by other people. How do we know which causes are worth fighting for? 8pm.
The Old Town Hall, High Street, Hemel Hempstead, HP1 3AE.
Guess How Much I Love You, Hertford Theatre, Fri 9 – Sun 11 Feb
It’s cuddle time! Little and Nutbrown Hare are coming to Hertford with Guess How Much I Love You. Ideal for children aged 3+, prepare yourselves for puppets, live music and interactive play.
Hertford Theatre, The Wash, SG14 1PS
Benington Lordship Gardens, near Stevenage, Weds 7 Feb – Sun 4 March
The Big One. It’s impossible to talk snowdrops without naming Benington. Close to Walkern and Stevenage, Benington has got the lot and it’s often cited as one of the best snowdrop sites in the country. Possibly the world. There are over 200 named varieties of snowdrop in the gardens and around the Norman castle and moat. The most familiar and abundant are the single and double Galanthus nivalis, both of which are on sale. While stocks last! Catch a snowdrop concert in St Peter’s Church. Cream teas and soup. Sadly no dogs.
Benington Lordship Gardens Stevenage SG2 7BS
Hansel & Gretel, Pop Up Opera, Broadway Theatre, Sat 10 Feb.
Prepare to be scared. In the forest you will find the Sandman, the Dew Fairy and the Witch. To counter the darkness, there is also magic. This operatic fairy tale is at the Spirella Ballroom, a suitably enchanting venue. Ages 7+ 7.30pm.
Hansel & Gretel, Spirella Ballroom, Bridge Rd, Letchworth Garden City SG6 4ET
Walkern Hall, near Stevenage, Sat 10 – Sun 11 Feb
At the time of writing, Kate de Boinville, who lives at Walkern Hall, tells me that there are lots of snowdrops everywhere she looks. But don’t look too closely at the photo, because I think it might be a daffodil shot. This stunning house is in a medieval hunting park and is also a wedding venue. Eight acres of snowdrops and aconites to admire. Warming soup and homemade cakes.
Walkern Hall, Stevenage, SG2 7JA
Bedtime tales of love, passion and lust, 40 Winks hotel, Mon 12 and Tues 13 Feb
PJs at the ready. And perhaps take your fluffy mules. ‘Tales of love, passion and lust’ is the theme for these two bedtime story nights at the fabulous 40 Winks hotel in Stepney, London. There are prizes for the most glammy gloo nightdress and these events are so special, you won’t want to be slumping around in threadbare wincyette. Doors open at 7pm and of course you’ll be handed a cocktail on arrival. You’ll then cosy up, listen to a story or two, and then it’s more drinks and canapés. These evenings are magical! The night ends at 10.45pm. Stepney Green is the nearest tube station. £30 per head. You definitely need to book.
40 Winks, 109 Mile End Road, London E1 4UJ.
Rhythm & Reaction, The Age of Jazz in Britain – until Sun 22 April
This new exhibition brings together painting, cartoons, film, instruments and sound to examine the influence of jazz on British art and design. It’s in the neo-Gothic mansion that was built for William Waldorf Astor in 1895 as his London Estate Office.
Two Temple Place London WC2R 3BD