THEATRE: Matilda the Musical, Cambridge Theatre, Thurs 1 Nov until Sun 20 Oct 2019
A touching and joyous story of loneliness and rebellion, it deserves all 85 and counting of its international awards. Writer Dennis Kelly and composer / lyricist Tim Minchin go to top of the class with their interpretation of Roald Dahl’s classic tale. Don’t miss it!
ART: Virginia Woolf: An Exhibition Inspired by her Writings, The Fitzwilliam Museum, now until Sun 9 Dec
This exhibition is themed around the centenary of suffrage and the connections between pioneering feminist Virginia Woolf, her contemporaries and those inspired by her writings. It includes works by over 80 artists from 1854 to the present day and explores perspectives on public life, domesticity, the home and the private self.
RACING & FAMILY FUN: Newmarket Racecourse, Fri 2 – Sat 3 Nov
The last 2 days of the racing season end in style. Friday is more adult-orientated with a very convivial atmosphere (pass the fizz) whilst on Saturday, families are welcomed with apple bobbing, candy floss, face painters, soft play, indoor garden games, a kids club activity zone, penny for the guy competitions and an autumn leaves mural. Dig out your thermals and bid farewell to the racing season for another year.
FAMILY: All Saints Fair & Family Fun Day, St Ives Corn Exchange, Sat 3 Nov
Pop along between 10am and 3pm for this free event with arts and crafts, stalls, gifts, games and kids activities, including soft play, and a family friendly cafe.
BONFIRE NIGHT: Fireworks in Hemingford, St Ives, Sat 3 Nov
An extravaganza awaits with a firework display set to music and one of the biggest bonfires in Cambridgeshire. A funfair and food and drinks stall mean you can hang feed and entertain the kids in one fell swoop. Family tickets cost £10, adults £5 and children under 16 £2. Bargain!
SCIENCE: Family Activities, Cambridge Science Centre, Sat 3 – Sun 4 Nov
A weekend of fun family talks, creativity and workshops. Meet Darwin and his family and learn why they look alike, zoom in on DNA and make a bracelet out of beads to resemble a section of the double helix, learn about recycling in nature and why it’s so important, make bird feeders from old plastic bottles and find out what happens to your food between your gums and your bum!
EXHIBITION: Designers & Jewellery 1850-1940, Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, now until Sun 11 Nov
It’s your last couple of weeks to see some of the exquisitely-designed and often hand-crafted jewellery and metalwork, dating from the late 19th and early 20th centuries that is held in the museum’s permanent collection. There’s a wide range of styles on display with pieces by some of the of the finest jewellers of the time.
I loved this Oscar-winning (it nabbed seven, no less!) film with Gwyneth Paltrow (before she went all annoyingly Goopy) and Joseph Fiennes, and the West End hit by Lee Hall is now touring our ‘hood. It’s a great Elizabethan romp and a witty homage to Shakespeare that will give you a warm glow – perfect for a cold autumn night.
FIREWORKS: Midsummer Common, Cambridge, Mon 5 Nov
This free event is on from 6-10pm with fireworks starting at 7pm, followed by the lighting of the bonfire. The display is run by Pains Fireworks, who lit up the sky for Charles and Diana’s wedding, the opening of Shakespeare’s Globe and even the inauguration of New York’s Statue of Liberty in 1886. Yup, they’ve been around for nearly 200 years so they certainly know what they’re doing. Fairground rides and food stalls will be in situ so you can make a night of it.
DRINKS: Gin Club, Cambridge Wine Merchants, Tue 6 Nov
Raise your G&T and get ready to enjoy the Cambridge Wine Merchants monthly gin club. You will be taught how to taste spirits in order to pick out each gin’s unique flavour. It’s a fun and informative night, something to look forward too at the beginning of each month.
Gin Club, £16.76, 7pm-10pm, Cambridge Wine Merchants,163, Cherry Hinton Road, CB1 7BX
ENTERTAINMENT: New Escape Room, Oliver Cromwell’s House, Ely, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays
Find yourself locked in Cromwell’s former Tithe Office, an original 17th century, oak panelled room, where Oliver would have counted the local taxation payments, search for clues and solve puzzles to unravel a plot to murder Queen Victoria. The new escape room at Oliver Cromwell’s House is running a series of Friday night sessions throughout November and December so grab the family, friends or your office colleagues for an unusual night out.
EVENT: Remembrance events at Cambridge University, Sun 11 Nov
All Cambridge colleges will be holding Remembrance services in their chapels this Sunday to mark 100 years since the end of World War I. In Clare College, 199 unique orders of service will be printed, each telling the story of a different soldier, who either did not take up their place at Clare or left midway through or after their studies, and were killed in action. Newnham College is unveiling a book recording the work done by more than 700 Newnham women during the War. And King’s College’s service, with music from the world-renowned choir, will be attended by a delegation from Heidelberg, the German city which has been twinned with Cambridge since soon after the Second World War.
THEATRE: The Nightingales, Cambridge Arts Theatre, Mon 12 – Sat 17 Nov
Well-know writer and actress, Ruth Jones (made famous by Gavin and Stacey) returns to the stage in a new play written by William Gaminara (of Silent Witness fame). The story centres around a choir who are put forward for a life-changing talent show but the changes they experience are not what anyone would have anticipated. The show is produced by Christopher Luscombe, an associate artist of the Royal Shakespeare Company so with this cast and crew, it should be a corker.
MUSIC: Cambridge Music Festival, Wed 14 – Mon 26 Nov
You can enjoy 10 days of Latin, jazz and classical music in a festival of music which opens with the choir of King’s College Chapel singing works from the last year of Mozart’s life, including his Requieum. Other highlights include a concert by the Aquarelle Guitar Quartet playing South American tango, the Takacs Quartet playing Mozart, Shostakovich and Mendelssohn and award-winning female vocal trio, Juice Ensemble, singing contemporary music. Don’t miss the opportunity to go inside Cambridge University’s Senate House to hear Chineke! – the celebrated black and ethnic minorities orchestra – play Beethoven.
ARTS & CRAFTS: Willow Wreaths & Basketry course, Cambridge Botanic Garden, Wed 14 and Thurs 15 Nov
Impress your friends and family this Christmas with a homemade willow wreath, decorations and a variety of presents. You can let your creativity flow in this two day workshop where you’ll learn how to weave willow into trees, stars, reindeer, baskets, wreaths and more. The willow and some decorations will be provided but bring your own extra ribbons, baubles, pine cones etc to add to your creations.
MUSIC: Federico Pecchia, St Leger’s Chapel, St Ives, Sat 17 Nov
Talented young Argentinian composer, singer and guitarist, Frederico Pecchia, performs in the Chapel for one night only. Apparently he plays a mean Tango but also delves into Latin America’s songbook, contemporary genres and jazz.
EVENT: Christmas Lights & Entertainment, Market Square, Cambridge, Sun 18 Nov
Gold Medalist and Strictly contestant Jonnie Peacock MBE will be doing the honours switching on the lights that will stretch across the entire city centre. Instead of a traditional Christmas tree, there will be a walk-through illuminated tree, plus live entertainment from arts groups, local schools, choirs and singers. Performances start at noon with the lights going on at 5pm.
MUSIC: ‘Carols from Kings’, Kings College Chapel, Cambridge, 24 Dec
The utterly gorgeous Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols (better known as Carols from Kings) will be broadcast live on Radio 4, but you can go and listen for yourself for free. Open to the public should they wish to start queuing from 7am (no kidding!) the lucky ones will be issued tickets – make sure you’re in the first 500!
Christmas is coming – so are the family films… so grab the kids and a jumbo bucket of popcorn. Dodgy green face paint is no more as Dr Seuss’ The Grinch gets a remake, released on Nov 9, in 3D computer animation. The trailer, where we get a first glimpse of Benedict Cumberbatch in the starring role, already has over three million views on YouTube, no doubt a million from my kids- they’re desperate to see it. The Nutcracker will make the leap, or should I say sauté, from ballet to big screen with The Nutcracker and the Four Realms. The film’s got an all-star cast of Keira Knightley, Helen Mirren, Richard E Grant and Morgan Freeman, released Nov 2. If you’re looking for something a little more thrilling, but still suitable for tweens, dark magic will be creeping into cinemas worldwide as the highly anticipated new Fantastic Beasts film, Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald. is released on Nov 18. Johnny Depp will be reprising his role as the oh-so-evil, bleach blonde Grindelwald alongside good guys Eddie Redmayne and Jude Law. Last up looks like a proper feel-good festive film and comes in the form of everyone’s favourite flying lady- Mary Poppins. The film will follow on from the original with Poppins floating back in to the lives of grown up Micheal and Jane Banks. The umbrella baton has been passed to Emily Blunt who will star alongside Muddy favourites Julie Walters and Meryl Streep. Mary Poppins Returns hits cinemas just in time for Christmas on Dec 21.
Huddled by the fire? Don’t blame you – we’ll be round in five mins with a massive box of Maltesers so get the telly on. Darkly delicious political thriller House Of Cards returns to Netflix on 2 Nov with its sixth and final season, which was hastily rewritten after Kevin Spacey, who played the President, detonated his career. First Lady Claire Underwood makes a power grab – we can’t wait to see what the excellent Robin Wright does with the role now she’s going solo. Back on this side of the Atlantic, series 5 of London police drama Luther is imminent. The BBC are being cagey about the start date but they’ve just made the first four series available on iPlayer for we reckon it’ll be this month. Welcome back Idris Elba – we’re swooning at the very thought of you returning to moodily stomp around the city fighting crime in your swishy wool coat. This time Hermione Norris will be joining him, playing a psychiatrist. On a lighter note, people are going barking mad on social media about Dogs, a new Netflix documentary which drops 16 Nov. It tells six stories of unconditional love between pooch and owner, including one involving a beloved pet being trapped in a Syrian warzone. It looks like a total tear-jerker. Finally, need a new read? We’ve got six new stonkers for you this month – check out the reviews here.
FESTIVAL: Knebworth Winter Festival, Herts, Fri 9 – Sun 11 Nov
Knebworth House is pulling out all the stops with a winter festival which includes an enchanted Christmas garden, an interactive Father Christmas experience, artisan shopping, festive street food and cocktails in an Aprés Ski Lodge complete with log fires. As well as all that, some of the biggest names in British comedy – Rhod Gilbert, Angela Barnes, Greg Davies, etc – will be performing. There’s even a rare appearance by Bjorn the Polar Bear.
SHOPPING: The Sandringham Christmas Craft, Food & Gift Fair, Sandringham, Norfolk, Fri 16th – Sun 18th November
Living Heritage Craft Fairs presents a sparkly winter wonderland in the middle of the Sandringham estate, so if you want to get ahead with your Christmas shopping, pop along to browse over three hundred stalls packed with crafty and nibbly gifts! There’ll be live music and top chefs will be sharing their recipes – and who knows? Santa may even make an appearance too…
EVENT: Winter Wonderland, Hyde Park London, Thu 22 Nov – 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.
HERITAGE: Candlelight Tours, Holkham Hall, Norfolk, Thurs 29th November
Experience the beauty of Holkham Hall in all its Christmas glory as you meander through the state rooms by candlelight! Marvel at the winter wonderland of the Statue Gallery and see the hall transformed into a magical festive spectacle. Oh, and tickets include a mince pie and a glass of Prosecco too. Perfect!
Book tickets for £20 (children £12)
THEATRE: True West, Vaudeville Theatre, London, from Fri 23 Nov
Head to town for the West End Premiere of Pulitzer Prize-winner Sam Shepard’s ferociously funny, modern classic, True West, which opens today. Directed by Matthew Dunster, an Olivier-nominated director, playwright, actor and Associate Director at Shakespeare’s Globe, and starring Kit Harington (of Game of Thrones fame) and Johnny Flynn (Genius) as warring brothers, this sure sounds like a goodie.
CULTURE: Royal Opera House, Month of Sundays 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.
SCREENING: 2001: A Space Odyssey, Science Museum, London, Thurs 1 Nov – Sat 24 Nov
To celebrate 50 years of the 1968 epic, you can head to the Science Museum’s IMAX cinema to watch Stanley Kubrick’s masterpiece exploring our prehistoric past and the rise of man versus machine. Oscar winning director Christopher Nolan has created a new print from the original which will look stunning on the giant IMAX screen. Then follow the museum’s Kubrick trail to discover the rich collection of objects from the history of space travel.