PANTO: Aladdin, Cambridge Arts Theatre, now until Sun 6 Jan
Want to see a panto? Oh yes you do! This year Cambridge Arts Theatre is performing Aladdin featuring Royal Ballet veteran Wayne Sleep, West End performer Andy Abraham and Matt Crosby as Widow Twankey; this will be Matt’s 14th panto for the venue so he must be doing something right.
THEATRE: Snow White, Cambridge Junction, Wed 5 Dec – Mon 31 Dec
An original version of the Brothers Grimm’s tale by New International Encounter, who previously brought Beauty and the Beast and Around the World in 80 Days to the Cambridge Junction. They’ll be live music, adventure, danger and festive fun, suitable for anyone over the age of 5.
BALLET: The Nutcracker Ballet, ADC Theatre, Thurs 13 – Sat 15 Dec
Central School of Ballet’s touring group Ballet Central will be performing Yuletide classic, The Nutcracker, at ADC Theatre, Cambs’ oldest university playhouse. The 45 minute show (not too long for the kids) sold out last year so grab a ticket early if you fancy.
POP-UP: Thirsty Wintergarden pop-up, Goneville Hotel, weekends until Mon 31 Dec
Local spirit and wine merchant Thirsty Cambridge are taking over the grounds of Goneville Hotel at weekends throughout December. Local Cambs food trucks will be out in force, along with giant tipis (with fire pits) and the Thirstybus that’ll be serving up all sort of tipple from craft beer and wine to cocktails and fizz. Thirsty Wintergarten is open Fri – Sun, 6 – 10pm.
SCREENING: CBeebies Christmas Show, Arts Picture House, Sat 15 – Sun 16 Dec
CBeebies favourites Cat Sandion and Maddie Moate star in the CBeebies Christmas Show, Thumbelina, showing at Cambs Arts Picture House. The screening includes an added show made especially for cinema: Justin Fletcher’s Countdown to Christmas, a.k.a. the infamous Mr Tumble.
COMEDY: The Backroom Comedy Club with Ali Woods, Thirsty Cambridge, Thurs 27 Dec
Bringing some post-Crimbo comedy to Cambs, up and coming comedian Ali Woods will be performing at Thirsty Cambridge. Ali’s creds include Leicester Square New Comedian of the Year 2017 runner up and BBC New Comedian of the Year 2018 Nominee. 8pm.
Get tickets here
BOOKS: Bring your own book, Wimpole Estate, Thurs 27 Dec – Sun 6 Jan
National Trust site Wimpole Estate will open up it’s library for a short period to let us get some well needed relaxation after the festive stress. The Library is one of the National Trust’s largest and is home to over 6000 books collected by previous tenants including Elsie Bambridge, The Jungle Book author Rudyard Kipling’s daughter. Bring a book, slippers, hip flask.
LIVE SCREENINGS: Linbury Theatre, Royal Opera House, London, Mon 3 Dec – 7 Jan
See a live screening of The Nutcracker, followed by 20 screenings of great operas and ballets with memorable casts as the Linbury Theatre (within the ROH) becomes a cinema for 5 weeks. ROH staff and well-known artists will introduce the screenings and on selected weekend matinees, children 5 -15 go free. Opera highlights include La bohème, La Traviata and Otello. Undoubtably, one of the ballet highlights will be Darcey Bussell introducing the screening of Sylvia, starring herself, and offering her unique insight into the role.
THEATRE: A Christmas Carol, The Old Vic, London, Wed 5 Dec – 19 Jan
The smash hit of Dickens’ classic adapted by Jack Thorne (Harry Potter and the Cursed Child) and directed by Matthew Warchus returns to the Old Vic and this time Stephen Tompkinson stars as Ebenezer Scrooge. This big-hearted and warm production’s unique staging immerses the audience in the story and there’s music, mince pies and much merriment for a fab festive night out.
HISTFEST, London, Fri 7 – Sun 9 Dec
A brand new festival taking place in London with talks, workshops, panel discussions and live performances to entertain and educate. Award winning historian and broadcaster, Betthany Hughes, is the keynote speaker, talking about Istanbul, plus other celeb historians include Kate Williams on Mary, Queen of Scots, and Janina Ramirez on Beowulf.
KIDS: Hogwarts in the Snow, Harry Potter Studios, Watford, now until Sun 27 Jan
Hogwarts in the Snow – as regular as Christmas! The festive makeover will see Christmas trees line the Great Hall, the Gryffindor common room dressed for the season and a blanket of filmmaking snow covering the majestic Hogwarts castle model. Visitors will even be able to touch samples of the different types of ‘snow’ used during production, each selected for its ability to float like falling snow, crunch under foot or glisten in the light like ice. Trust me, your kids will love it.
CHRISTMAS: Winter Wonderland, Hyde Park London, now until Sun 6 Jan
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: Kew Gardens, London, now until 5 Jan
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.
ALREADY GONE THIS MONTH..
DINNER & DRINKS: Winter botanical Pop-Up, Cambridge Distillery, Tues 4, Wed 5, Fri 7, Sat 8 Dec
Masterchef runner-up Alex Rushmer and fellow chef Lawrence Butler are teaming up with Cambridge Distillery to create a seasonal menu inspired by botanicals used in the distillery’s award-winning range of gins. Alex Rushmer previously owned The Hole in the Wall, Little Wilbraham, that ranked in The Sunday Times top 100 restaurants. Expect bold dishes with big flavours, a great night out….and a hangover in the morning.
CHRISTMAS MARKET: Mill Road Winter Fair, Sat 1 Dec
The usual crew of stalls selling locally made items, jewellery, books and more. One for foodies, there’ll be over 40 food and drink stalls offering gourmet gifts and street food, as well as festive entertainment. 10.30am- 4.30pm.
DRINKS: Ports and fortified wine fair, University Centre, Sat 1 Dec
Sherry and port? Oh go on, it’s Christmas. Award winning Cambridge Wine Merchants are holding a port and fortified wine fair for those looking for some traditional Christmas tipple. There’ll be tasters, discounts and a cheese/meat platter included in the ticket price. 2pm-4.30pm.
CABARET: Neon Moon Supper Club, The Willow Tree Bourne, Sun 2 Dec
High kicks at the ready for Cambs based burlesque and cabaret club New Moon’s show at The Willow Tree, a Sunday Times hotspot and Cambs No.2 restaurant as rated by Bookatable and Michelin. A ticket will get you a three course meal, cabaret show, bubbly on arrival and a pair of complementary nipple tassles (well we can all but hope). 7pm – 12am.
KIDS: Creative Movements, Stir Cambridge, Mondays 2.45pm, 3.45pm & Fridays 3.45pm
The cafe at Stir Cambridge hosts loads of regular events in their aptly named, The Back Room, from pilates to ‘Knit & Natter’ afternoons. New to December is kid’s dance class, Creative Movements, suitable for nippers seven months to eight years old, that aims to build confidence in little people. Stir is also home to a bakery that sells a range of sourdough loaves and cakes so you can scoff whilst your little one dances.
DRINKS: Gin Club, Cambridge Wine Merchants, Tues 4 Dec
Raise your G&T for Cambridge Wine Merchants’ last gin club meeting. The club has been running since July and teaches how to taste spirits and pick out each gin’s unique flavour. You’ll learn about 5 new gins and, most importantly, get to drink them.
Get tickets here
SCREENING: Home Alone, Arts Picture House, Wed 5 Dec
Kicking off the festive film period is Cambs Arts Picture House with a screening of Macaulay Culkin’s cuter days in Home Alone as Kevin, who is accidentally left behind when his family takes off for a vacation in France over the holiday season. Part of their 12 days of Christmas – a selection of festive classics – to get you in the Christmas mood.
COMEDY: Pick of the Fringe: Lisa Klevemark, Thirsty Cambridge, Thurs 6 Dec
Didn’t make it up to Edinburgh? The Fringe comes to Cambridge with Swedish actor/comedian Lisa Klevemark’s Lemons, a character comedy about a depressed motivational speaker. Lisa made her solo debut at the Fringe in August and is definitely one to watch.
Get tickets here
SCREENING: Antony and Cleopatra, Cambridge Arts Picture House, Thurs 6 Dec
Cambridge Arts Picture House will be showing Ralph Fiennes in all his glory (nope, not Voldemort) as General Mark Antony in a live screening of London National Theatre’s Antony and Cleopatra. The play, directed by the theatre’s Associate Director Simon Goodwin, recently saw Ralph and his Cleopatra, Sophie Okonedo, pick up best actor and actress at the 64th Evening Standard Theatre Awards. 2pm.
ART & CHEESE: Cheese Tasting, Cambridge Contemporary Art, Wed 12 Dec
Cambridge Contemporary Art will be staying open late for a night of cheese tasting with handmade, local produce from Hum-Closen. You’ll also get a free glass of wine and tote bag with the gallery’s exclusive design. 6-8pm.
BOOKS: Children’s book launch, Heffers Bookshop, Wed 12 Dec
Award winning children’s author/illustrators Matty Long and Elys Dolan will be in much loved city centre bookshop Heffers to celebrate the launch of their new Christmas books Super Frozen Magic Forest and Santa’s Wonderful Workshop. Matty’s previous creds include Super Happy Magic Forest’ (I’m sensing a theme here) whilst Elys has previously written Weasels and Mr Bunny’s Chocolate Factory, recently shortlisted for children’s book awards the Lollies. 6.30pm.