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What’s On: Muddy Herts Guide 19-25 Nov 2015

It’s been a windy old week so far.  The weekend is a great time to get your hair back out of your face and figure out where to go and what to do.  Here’s hoping for a less blustery, more fun few days ahead…

Absolutely Christmas, Nude Tin Can Gallery, St Albans, 24 Nov-22 Dec

 Nude Tin Can Gallery Shop Front.JPG-pwrt3

It’s definitely that time of year already, and you can’t turn around right now without accidentally walking into a Christmas fair.  This makes a great alternative, I reckon: the very cool Nude Tin Can Gallery will be full to the roof with orginal art, sculpture, prints, t-shirts, jewellery,  cards, photography, prints, you name it.  You are absolutely certain to find gifts here that you won’t find anywhere else.

Christmas Craft Fair, Tring Park School, 22 Nov, 2-5.30pm

 tring park

The other Christmas fair I’m going to be nipping into is the one at Tring Park School – mostly partly because it’s a great excuse to go and have a look at the utterly gorgeous Rothschild mansion itself.  It’s free to get in (hoorah!) and there’ll be cream teas and mulled wine (mmm…) – which sounds like a cracking combination.

Tring Park School, Tring, HP23 5LX

Hatfield Christmas Light Switch-On, 21 Nov, 1-5.30pm


I’m also not going to list every Christmas light switch-on across the county because, well, life is too short.  But when Paddington is switching the lights on, they’ve got my attention.  Love that bear.  You even get to meet the duffle-coated fella, and take part in marmalade-eating competitions (I will so win those).  Loads of other, non-Paddington shenanigans, too, of course.  And Santa will be making an appearance (busy chap).

White Lion Square, Hatfield, AL10 0JJ,

Santa Spectacular, Willow Farm, London Colney, 25 Nov-24 Nov


Ok, one more Christmas thing and then I’ll put a sock (or should that be a stocking…) in it.  Willows Farm is opening up its grotto and kicking off its Santa Spectacular this week, running all the way up to Christmas Eve.  All the usual festive fun – Santa, reindeer, snowballs, skating – as well as some extra bits you might not be expecting.  Make your own Christmas bear in the Elves Workshop, take a Festive Wood Ride, and see the Nativity story with real farmyard animals.  Oh, and buy your tickets online in advance and it’ll be 25% cheaper.

Willows Farm, Coursers Road, London Colney, AL4 0PF,

Dickens Abridged, Hertford Theatre, 24 & 25 Nov, 8pm

 dickens abridged

Remember The Reduced Shakespeare Company?  Well, the same brains behind that – Adam Long – has now turned his attention to a pile of great thick doorstop Victorian novels  and produced ‘Dickens Abridged.’  They manage to cram hundreds of the characters you know and love (or read once and have since forgotten about) from Dickens’ novels into just 70 minutes of music and madness.  Sounds bonkers.

The Old Town Hall, High Street,Hemel Hempstead, HP1 3AE,

Christmas Gothic, Maltings Art Theatre, St Albans, 25-26 Nov, 8pm

 DIFF malting_Christmas_Gothic

You’d better book this one soon if you want to catch it – it’s only on for a couple of nights.  And flippin’ spooky nights they’re going to be, too!  Dyad Productions are getting all Victorian, with Christmas Gothic – a spectral narrator will be chilling your flesh and goosing your bumps with three tales of terror for a dark winter’s night.  *shudder*

The Maltings Arts Theatre, Level 2, The Maltings, St Albans, AL1 3HL,

Hitchin Food and Wine Festival, 21 Nov, 10am-4pm (food), 11am-6pm (wine)


Get your eating boots on for Hitchin’s 7th annual wine and food festival.  The Market Square will be crammed with food stalls, and there are wine masterclasses (2, 3 and 4pm) and exhibitors in the Sun Hotel (just £5 to get in).  And there are a load of great local food producers in the Hitchin area so it’s bound to be a real treat – there’ll be South African and Caribbean food, cupcakes, cheese, baklava (*swoon*), sausages, churros and chocolate (*double-swoon*), the most delicious falafel you’ve ever eaten, and… well, do you actually still have any room left?  Yes?  There’ll be loads more.

Josh Widdicombe: What do I do now?  Broxbourne Civic Hall, 25 Nov, 8pm


If you missed Josh Widdicombe at Watford Palace last week, there’s just a handful of tickets left for his appearance at Broxbourne Civic Hall next week – so don’t hang around if you’re wanting to book.  He’s been doing loads of telly and radio since his last tour, and now even hosts ‘Fighting Talk’ on 5Live – you’re bound to have seen him on something.  And his tour has had some 5 star reviews, which is good to know.

Broxbourne Civic Hall, High Street, Hoddesdon, EN11 8BE

The Nutcracker, Vienna Festival Ballet


The Vienna Festival Ballet are touring The Nutcracker, and there are two chances to catch it locally in the next week or so. On 22 Nov, you can see them at Wyllyotts Theatre – or on 28 Nov at the Alban Arena.  A perfect festive family treat if you have any small ballet-loving people nearby —  Clara, the Mouse King, the Land of Snow, the Sugar Plum Fairy, the Kingdom of Sweets.  I defy you not to feel Christmassy!

Wyllyotts Theatre, Wyllotts Place, Darkes Ln, Potters Bar, EN6 2HN

Alban Arena, Civic Centre, St Albans, AL1 3LD

Stewart Francis: Pun Gent, Watford Colosseum, 26 Nov, 8pm


There aren’t many tickets left for Stewart Francis’ standup show next week at the Watford Colosseum.  He’s a man known for his one-liners – and some truly terrible puns.  He’s one of those comics where Mr C laughs and I really don’t, but he does have a huge following.  Bear in mind, though, that his standup is much ruder than he is on the telly – the age guidance on this is 16+.

Watford Colosseum, Rickmansworth Road, Watford, WD17 3JN,

Discover What’s Beneath Your Feet, Natural History Museum, Tring, 26 Nov, 7-8pm


The Natural History Museum at Tring has some brilliant events and workshops going on all the time – loads of great stuff for kids, but some interesting stuff for grown-ups, too.  If you’re a gardener, you’ll know how much good earthworms do – love their little wiggly ways.  Learn more about them from people who almost certainly know more about worms than you can even imagine there is to know.  And learn what you can do to be kind to them.

Natural History Museum, Akeman Street, Tring, HP23 6AP,

The Enchanted Woodland 2015, Syon Park, Brentford, 20 Nov-6 Dec, Fri, Sat and Sun only, doors open 5pm, last entry 8pm, lights off 9pm

enchanted woodland

This looks lovely.  An illuminated trail through Capability Brown gardens and a historic arboretum, all round an ornamental lake ending at the Great Conservatory – and the photos from previous years look gorgeous.  Amazing lighting in a beautiful setting.  Wrap up warm (where are those long johns…?) and give it a go.  I’d love to hear about it if you make it over there.

Syon Park, London Rd, Brentford, Middlesex, TW8 8JF,

St Albans’ Sustainability Week, 21-28 November


There’s loads going around St Albans this week – with events aimed at just about everyone, indoors and out.  Art exhibitions, yoga classes, films, markets, music, a foodswap, you name it.  All with the focus firmly on the environment and sustainability.  Check out the full programme.

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