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Things to do: December

FESTIVE EVENTS: Christmas at Polesden Lacey
■ Polesden Lacey, Great Bookham ■ now until Sun 23 Dec

The National Trust property and former country retreat of Margaret Greville is going back to the 1930s to celebrate Christmas with a glamorous high society soireé. The house has been transformed with an 18ft Christmas tree, scents of nutmeg and cinnamon, seasonal flowers, 1930s tunes and the scents of nutmeg and cinnamon. Take it all in before wandering into the courtyard where local choirs and bands will sing and play live at weekends (from 11am-3pm), and on some days in the week before Christmas. On the weekends there will be horse and carriage ride around the grounds betwen 11am-1pm and 2-4pm (cost is £3).

BALLET: The Nutcracker
■ New Victoria Theatre, Woking ■ Tues 27 Nov – Sat 1 Dec

Northern Ballet – The Nutcracker

The Northern Ballet brings this enchanting festive favourite to Woking, which this year is choreographed and directed by ballet company’s artistic director David Nixon OBE and set to the famous Tchaikovsky core played live by the Northern Ballet Sinfonia. A must for lovers of dance.

FESTIVE EVENTS: Christmas as Bocketts Farm
■ Fetcham, near Leatherhead ■ now until Sun 24 Dec

Say hello to the jolly fellow in red at in his traditional haybarn workshop Bocketts Farm this festive period. Children will board hop on board the Santa Express trailer with one of the elves for a short ride to the barn from the Farm Bark. Once through the magical gates, you’ll enter his workshop and meet Father Christmas in his grotto where he’ll give you a wrapped present. The farm is hosting other festive events alongside the visit to Santa, including a festive craft corner and a giant snow globe.

PANTO: Peter Pan and the Loose Boys 
■ The Back Room of The Star Inn, Guildford ■ Thurs 29 Nov – Sat 5 Jan

Who says panto is for the kids? This panto is full of rudeness and staged in a pub, so best leave the kids at home. Expect a load of naughtiness and innuendo, crude comedy and plenty of laughs. Not for prudish types.

COMEDY: Godalming Gag House
■ Godalming Borough Hall, Bridge Street, Godalming ■ Sat 1 Dec

Photo credit: Steve Ullathorne

Clever gags and sharp wit are on the cards as the monthly professional Godalming Gag House Comedy Club.  And what an impressive comedy line-up they’ve assembled for you: prepare to be thoroughly entertained by Jon Long, Saskia Preston, Paul Ricketss and Luke Honnoraty.

MUSIC: Candlelit evening of carols, opera and musicals
■ Claygate Centre, Elm Road, Claygate ■ Sat 1 Dec

Get festive with an evening of song and music by new local ensemble of classically trained singers, KT Tenuto. Guest singers include Emma Selway and Trevor Alexander, who have appeared at the Royal Opera House, ENO, Glyndebourne and Opera North. The ticket price includes mulled wine and mince pies. The group will also perform on Sat 8 Dec at Christ Church in Esher Green. Claygate:; Esher Green:
Haselmere Christmas Market
■ Haslemere Town Centre, Haslemere Museum & Georgian House Hotel ■ Sun 2 Dec
A great community event with street entertainment, market stalls, Santa’s grotto, a farmers’ market and festive food and drink. Free entry. It’s on from 10am-4pm.

German Christmas Mini Market
■ The Guildhall, High Street, Guildford ■ Sun 2 Dec

Expect stalls selling new and traditional German goodies, including Lebkuchen (spiced biscuits), glühwein (mulled wine) and wooden toys and Christmas decorations. It’s on from 11am-4pm, and entry is free.

EXHIBITION: Mary Watts: Pioneering Suffragist
■ Watts Gallery, Guildford ■ ends Sun 2 Dec

Mary Watts by Frederic Hollyer

To coincide with the anniversaries of enabling women’s right to vote, Watts gallery will be Drawing on new research undertaken by Dr Lucy Ella Rose, exploring Mary Watts as a figurehead of non- militant feminism in her community. It also features strong female figures and symbols of freedom, that appear in Mary Watts’s work. Free with admission.

MUSIC: Kate Rusby
■ G Live, Guildford ■ Mon 3 Dec

Fans of folk singer / songwriter Kate Rusby are in for a treat when she brings her Christmas concert to Guildford this month. Embracing and sharing a local South Yorkshire tradition, she’ll sing her own unique version of traditional carols as well as her other music.

FILM: Royal Opera House Cinema Festival
■ Linbury Theatre, Royal Opera House, London ■ Mon 3 Dec – Mon 7 Jan

It’s the 10th anniversary for the Royal Opera House’s Cinema Festival and it begins on 3 Dec in the Linbury Theatre with a live screening of The Nutcracker for which children aged 5 – 15 go free. Cool, huh? This is followed over the next month by 20 screenings of operas and ballets with memorable casts. Operas include Renée Fleming and Joseph Calleja performing La Traviata and Jonas Kaufmann singing Verdi’s Otello. Ballets include Sarah Lamb and Vadim Muntagirov in Manon as well as Swan Lake and Giselle which brings the festival to a close. Perfect for a festive London day out, I reckon.

MUSIC: Katie Melua and the Gori Women’s Choir – SOLD OUT
■ G Live, Guildford ■ Tues 4 Dec

Joined by members of the Gori Women’s Choir, Katie will perform songs from her 2016 album In Winter alongside brand new recordings and catalogue classics adapted for the stage.

FESTIVE THEATRE: Hansel and Gretel
■ The Rose Theatre, Kingston ■ Thurs 6 Dec – Sun 6 Jan

A festive version of the Brothers Grimm’s much-loved fairy tale comes to the Rose Theatre this Christmas. Battling magical beasts, enlisting a crew of fairy tale bandits and learning the secrets of their past, Hansel and Gretel must race to save their town from the Witch’s Curse. And all in time for Christmas!

PANTO: Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
■ The Harlequin Theatre, Redhill ■ Fri 7 – Mon 31 Dec

If you loved Dame Ann Widdecombe when she played the jokester on Strictly a few years back, you’re in for a treat as she steps into the role of the Wicked Queen in Redhill this year. She’ll be joined by returning Redhill favourites Neil Wheatley, Simon Bashford and Abi Welford, as well as Britain’s Got Talent star Jai McDowell playing Snow White’s handsome prince.

PANTO: Cinderella
■ Yvonne Arnaud Theatre, Guildford ■ Fri 7 Dec – Sun 6 Jan

EastEnder and R&B artist Michelle Gayle comes to Guildford this Christmas as the fairy godmother in this popular panto. She’ll be joined by Yvonne Arnaud panto regulars, Kit Hesketh-Harvey, Peter Gordon and Jamie Brook, plus Georgie Leatherland, Cameron Burt and Nick Barclay.

PANTO: Cinderella
■ New Victoria Theatre, Woking ■ Fri 7 Dec – Sun 6 Jan

Will Cinders make it to the ball in time. Not if the wicked stepmother can help it. And with the ultimate panto dame, Strictly’s Craig Revel Horwood, cha-cha-cha-ing his way across the stage as the stepmother anything could happen. Paul Chuckle and Phil Butler joins the cast. It’s a 10 from us for comedy casting, dahling!

FAIR: Hampton Court Palace Festive Fayre
■ Hampton Court Palace, East Molesey ■ Fri 7 – Sun 9 Dec

Eat, drink and be merry at Henry’s old house as the palace courtyards are transformed into a festive food-lovers wonderland for Christmas. There will be live cooking demonstrations in the kitchen, carols from local choirs and music. Entry included in palace admission, £19.20 adults, £9.60 children.

FUN RUN: Denbies 5k Santa fun run
■ Denbies Wine Estate, Dorking ■ Sun 9 Dec

Get into the Christmas spirit and run off some of those minced pies at Denbies 5k Santa fun run. Don your red suit and beard, then run, jog or walk around a pretty, traffic-free course against a backdrop of festive tunes and entertainment. And at the end, there’ll be a glass of mulled wine, a mince pie and a medal waiting for you. Entry is £25 for adults and £15 for kids under 15 (they’ll get a soft drink instead of wine) and includes the santa suit.


PANTO: Sleeping Beauty
■ Camberley Theatre ■ Mon 10 – Mon 31 Dec

Can’t stand Z-list pantos? Camberley Theatre doesn’t bother with the soap star brigade for its hugely successful in-house panto – and this year is no different. Expect singalong songs, high energy choreography, beautiful scenery and a host of side-splitting jokes!

FESTIVE EVENT: Late night shopping and craft fair with Epsom Rock Choir
■ Denbies Wine Estate, Dorking ■ Mon 10 Dec

Original gifts, music from the Epsom Rock Choir, carolling, free mulled wine and mince pies and a special visit from Santa! It’s all happening at Denbies Wine Estate on Mon 10 Dec. You can also enjoy a ride on Santas festive horse and carriage (for a charity donation). It’s on from 5-8pm and admission and parking is free.

FESTIVE THEATRE: The Christmas Crocodile
■ Arthur Cotterell Theatre, Kingston College ■ Tues 11 – Sat 15 Dec

A new Christmassy adventure from the team behind The Three Little Christmas Pigs and The Forgotten Christmas Elf, this story – for kiddos aged 3 to 7 – tells the tale of Clara, her young family, and how a local legend was born with a little bit of Christmas Magic….and a crocodile!

FESTIVE THEATRE: The Wintershall Nativity Play
■ Wintershall Estate, Guildford ■ Wed 12 – Sun 16 Dec

Now in its 28th year, the annual Nativity Play is back again on the Wintershall Estate near Guildford. It starts in the open air with the shepherds, before audiences move to their seats in the atmospheric barn to hear the story of Jesus’ birth.

FESTIVE THEATRE: Santa Claus and the Night Before Christmas
■ G Live, Guildford ■ Wed 12 – Mon 24 Dec

Following on from last year’s hit production, the next story in the tale of Santa Claus comes to G Live’s Bellerby Studio. With magic tricks, songs and stories, this promises to be an unforgettable experience which includes the magical moment when snowflakes fall over the audience – a guaranteed white Christmas at every show.

EVENT: Luxury Festive Champagne Tasting
■ The Glass Barn, High Clandon Estate Vineyard, East Clandon ■ Thurs 13 Dec

The perfect way to kick off the festive season, this evening is hosted by Heather Dougherty, the UK’s 2018 Champagne Ambassador, who knows a good Champagne when she tastes one – and she loves sharing her enthusiasm in an unstuffy way. Tickets are £75, but Muddy readers will get a 10% using the code Fizzfan.

KIDS’ THEATRE: Santa’s New Sleigh
■ Camberley Theatre ■ Fri 14 – Sun 16 Dec

Perfect for toddlers, this touring show stars Sproket and Dibs who must build a new sleigh to save Christmas from being cancelled. Expect audience participation and sing-alongs and – making this truly exciting for little ones – a present from Santa for every child.

PANTO: Jack and the Beanstalk
■ Epsom Playhouse ■ Fri 14 Dec – Sun 6 Jan

Fee, Fi, Fo, Fum, we smell lots of panto fun! Expect adventure, mayhem and a terrifying giant.

TALKS: Joanna Lumley: It’s All About Me
■ The Theatre in the Woods, West Horsley Place, West Horsley ■  Sat 15 Dec

Joanna Lumley brings her sold-out national tour to Surrey for a one-off final afternoon show at the Theatre in the Woods where she’ll joust and jest with TV producer Clive Tulloh about 50 years in show business.  She’ll talk about Patsy, Purdey, On the Buses, Off the Buses, Under the Buses. Expect lots of laughs. Show starts at 3pm.

PANTO: Beauty and the Beast
■ Dorking Halls ■ Sat 15 – Sat 29 Dec

The classic French fairy tale comes to Dorking Halls, promising impressive music, energetic dance routines as well as plenty of jokes, slapstick and heaps of audience participation!

FAMILY EVENT: Rudolph Rave
■ G Live, Guildford ■ Sat 16 Dec

Party with Santa, Rudolph and friends at this family Christmas disco. DJs will be on the decks playing classic dance tunes, a sprinkling of Christmas songs and chart tunes. There will also be glow sticks, gallons of glitter, giant balloons, a spectacular laser-light display and a licensed bar for the big kid. It’s from 2pm-4pm.

■ Rose Theatre, Kingston ■ Mon 17 Dec

Sing your heart out to the Disney classic Frozen on the big screen in the main auditorium. Warm up those vocals and come dressed as your favourite Frozen character. Wrap up warm and get ready to join Anna as she sets off on an epic journey with Kristoff and Olaf to find her sister Elsa, whose icy powers have trapped the kingdom of Arendelle in eternal winter.

PANTO: Aladdin
■ The Leatherhead Theatre ■ Thurs 20 – Sun 30 Dec

A great local venue for Aladdin, promising a ‘traditional family pantomime’ by family show specialists LP Creatives. Expect plenty of sparkle – and a truly amazing set with plenty of jaw dropping illusions – plus a mix of magic, comedy, puppets, music and adventure.

FILM: National Theatre Live: Antony & Cleopatra 
■ Cranleigh Arts Centre ■ Thurs 20 Dec

These National Theatre live screenings are fab. No need to schlep into London and pay through the nose. Super thesps Ralph Fiennes and Sophie Okonedo star in Shakespeare’s tale of ill-fated lovers in war torn Ancient Rome and Egypt. With celebrated director Simon Goodwin in charge and award-winning designer Hildegard Bechtler, it promises to be a special theatrical event. Tickets: £17.50.

FILM: The Snowman
■ G Live, Guildford ■ Fri 21 Dec

Brought to life on screen, experience the magic of The Snowman film with live orchestra accompaniment.  The BAFTA-winning classic, featuring the song Walking in the Air, will be performed by Orpheus Sinfonia.

THEATRE: A Festive Evening of Burlesque – THIS EVENT IS NOW SOLD OUT
■ Yvonne Arnaud’s Millbrook Theatre, Guildford ■ Sat 22 Dec

The Hundred Watt Club bring their hot toddy of a show, packed with festive, glittering burlesque, cabaret, cirucs and drag acts. If you like your winter nights bawdy and a little bit naughty, this is for you. Over 18s only.

EVENT: Festive Illuminations
■ Painshill, Cobham ■ until Sun 23 Dec

New this year, Painshill landscaped gardens have been transformed with twinkling lights and laser beams. Walk around the magical winter trail to discover glowing follies, amazing reflections and breath-taking illuminations. The winter festivities continue under the stars with a live band, food stalls and a marshmallow camp fire. Families can also enjoy the brand new children’s experience, Santa’s Toy Factory.

WALK: Boxing Day Walk
■ Polesden Lacey, Great Bookham ■ Wed 26 Dec

Come with all the family to walk off that Christmas pudding on the  1,400 acre estate at Polesden Lacey. One of the National Trust’s expert rangers will guide you around the estate so you can take in all the best seasonal bits.

WALK: Boxing Day Walk
■ Winkworth Arboretum, Godalming ■ Wed 26 Dec

Blow off the cobwebs and some of the Christmas stuffing with a stroll around these beautiful National Trust gardens with a member of the gardens team. It’s from 2-3pm and normal and the cost is £3.

INTERACTIVE THEATRE: Polesden Lacey comes to life
■ Polesden Lacey, Great Bookham ■ Thurs 27 Dec – Thurs 3 Jan 

The Cat’s Grin theatre Company brings Maggie Greville’s guest and servants to life at Polesden Lace with low key dramatic interludes in the house. There will also be talks – at 11.30am, 1.30pm and 2.30pm – where you can learn a little about socialite Maggie and her fabulous party house Polesden Lacey. Tickets to the house will be timed.

KIDS’ THEATRE: Goldilocks and the Three Polar Bears
■ Richard Mayo Centre, Kingston ■ Sat 29 Dec

A wintery take on the classic tale of Goldilocks and the three bears, this story of friendship and snowflakes is animated live with fantastic puppets. Performances are at 10am and 11.30am.

KIDS’ EVENT: New Year’s Eve Party
■ Godstone Farm ■ Sat 29 – Mon 31 Dec

It’s a big ask for little eyes to stay open for the midnight countdown, so Godstone Farm has come up with its own kid-friendly celebrations. Not one, but three New Year bashes! Get face glitter in the cosy Wiglet’s Play Village and take part in party dances and games throughout the day in the heated indoor playbarn.  There are even pretend countdowns – any excuse for a party popper!

EVENT: Christmas Grotto
Hever Castle, Edenbridge ■ until 24 Dec

Nothing says ‘Christmas’ quite like a visit to Father Christmas at Hever Castle. Children will be enchanted by the magical Grotto where they will be greeted by Mother Christmas and taken by an elf, through the snowy ‘forest’, to meet Father Christmas in his log cabin and receive a gift. Ride the carousel and enjoy vintage fairground stalls, meet characters along the Christmas trail and even meet the Huskies! You won’t be bored at Hever this winter.

EVENT: New Year’s Eve Party
■ G Live, Guildford ■ Mon 31 Dec

Eat, drink and ring in the new year at this party extravaganza at G Live. You’ll arrive on the red carpet, enjoy a glass of bubbly, then settle in for a three-course dinner. After dinner, the dancing begins with live band Letters to Daisy.

EVENT: Christmas Glow at Wisley
■ Royal Horticultural Society ■ now until Wed 2 Jan

Jigantics floral light installations at night. Christmas Glow event at RHS Garden Wisley.

Back for a fourth year, the ‘Christmas Glow’ returns, with fantastical gigantic flowers, dramatic installations and brilliantly illuminated trees. Wander the trail to see floating installations on the water creating rippling reflections, light shows on trees, and spectacular views of the historical Laboratory reflected in the Jellicoe Canal.

EVENT: A Taste of Christmas at the Savill Gardens
■ Englefield Green, Egham ■ now until Wed 2 Jan

There’s plenty of festive fun going on at the Savill Gardens, including the Winter Sprite Trail, an hour-long trail where you go in search of the magical winter sprites; vintage carousels (from 15 Dec); carol singing; and carriage rides. 

EVENT: Christmas at Kew
■ Kew Gardens, London ■ now until Sat 5 Jan

Such a brilliant time to visit Kew as they do the Crimbo thing so well with over a million twinkling pea-lights and thousands of laser beam winding  through the world-famous Gardens. New this year are the Moonlit Woods and step into a laser garden where lines of light playfully bounce across the branches. There will also be a festive flotilla of glowing boats on the lake, a Canopy of Light and a sculptural Fire Garden, plus Father Christmas and his elves at the North Pole Village, vintage fairground rides (a fee for that one) and shopping. All in all a magical lit up wonderland – and well worth a visit with the family. Worth going with the fam.

ICE SKATING: Hampton Court Palace
■ Hampton Court Palace, East Moseley ■  now until Sun 6 Jan

‘Skate back in time’ they say and you’ve a seriously stunning backdrop for your triple salchow at Henry VIII’s old gaff in Surrey, floodlit with colours for the evening. Skating sessions are 45 minutes, and booking is recommended. The cafe serves up pies, rum punches and fizz. Make a day of it, and tour the palace while you’re there.

EXHIBITION: In print: Making Impressions
■ Watts Gallery, Compton ■ until Sun 6 Jan

The In print: Making Impressions exhibition celebrates the art of print making, in all of its variety. It features some of the foremost names in British printmaking today, including Chris Orr Ra whose work has been seen at The British Museum and National Portrait Gallery (to name a few.)

EXHIBITION: Duke and Duchess of Sussex Exhibition
■ Windsor Castle, Windsor ■ now until Sun 6 Jan

Prince Harry and Meghan – Duke and Duchess of Sussex Royal Wedding 2018 Windsor Castle steps

Better late than never, but we’ve all been invited to Windsor Castle to get up close and personal with newlyweds Harry and Meghan. Ok, so they won’t actually be there but a new exhibition will display Meghan’s Givenchy bridal gown designed by Artistic Director Clare Waight Keller is, her 5m veil embroidered with flora symbolising the 53 Commonwealth countries and the 1932 Queen Mary diamond and platinum tiara loaned to the Duchess by the Queen. It’s not all about the bride (even though we known it is really), Harry’s Blues and Royals frock designed by Dege & Skinner on Savile Row will also be standing to attention.

EXHIBITION: Impressionism: The Art of Life
■ The Lightbox, Woking ■ now until Sun 13 Jan

Detail from Alfred Sisley (1839–1899) 14 July at Marly, France, 1875 Oil on canvas © The Higgins Art Gallery & Museum, Bedford

Works by world-renowned artists such as Paul Cézanne, Edgar Degas and Pierre-Auguste Renoir, all of whom exhibited artwork in the very first Impressionist group exhibition in France. It showcases a rare combination of French Impressionist paintings and sculpture, spanning from the early 1860s to the beginning of the First World War.


THEATRE: A Christmas Carol
■ The Old Vic, London ■ now until 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.

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

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.

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