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What’s on in December… Futon Company presents ideas from across the UK

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It’s nearly Christmas and there’s a fabulous array of festive events happening across the country. Check out what’s happening in your neck of the woods with Futon Company…


EDINBURGH

Christmas Fizz
Join Lothian Wine School for an evening of festive fizz and decadence! To get you in the mood for the party season, this 2 hour evening tasting is all about celebrating some of the world’s very best sparkling wines. Learn all about how sparkling wines are made and why champagne is special. 11th December 2015 from 7-9pm. £30 per head.

The Real Scottish Christmas
This festive event brings together Scottish makers, designers and traders from across Scotland. Located in Ocean Terminal, First Floor from now until Christmas Eve 2015.

Edinburgh’s Christmas
Edinburgh boasts three Christmas markets which promise to bring warmth and festive cheers to the city as it transforms itself into a magical winter wonderland: The Scottish Market in St Andrew Square for food and drink plus Scottish jewellery and crafts; the European Market in the Mound Precinct for gifts; and the Children’s Market for toys. All run from now until 4th January 2016.

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BRISTOL
Bristol German Christmas Market
Welcome to the 7th German Christmas Market in the Broadmead part of Bristol Shopping Quarter from now until 22nd December 2015. Open 10am to 8pm every day with beer garden open from 10am to 10pm. The 38 traditional chalets decorated with festive greenery and colourful lights, the Christmas nativity Pyramid, giant advent calendar and beer gardens combine to create a festive atmosphere in the heart of the city centre shopping area. This year’s entertainer is Der Alpen Klaus. Klaus does a lot of entertaining at the Munich Beer festival and similar events all over the country. For the Xmas Market he will deliver a lot of Xmas style music on top of his repertoire which consists of over 500 titles.

Millennium Square Ice Rink
Bristol’s Millennium Square will be transformed into a winter playground this winter where you can skate with friends and family next to the giant bauble that is the At-Bristol 3D Planetarium. Open from now until 5th January 2016.

Bath Christmas Market
If you really want to make a day of it in the West Country, head to Bath – a 15 minute train ride from Bristol – where you’ll find plenty of inspiration for gifts among the 170 wooden chalets lining the streets surrounding the historic Roman Baths and Abbey. Open from now until December 13th.


NOTTINGHAM

Winter Wonderland
Nottingham’s Winter Wonderland is set to be bigger and better than ever. Now in its third year, the annual event sees traditional wooden stalls, an outdoor bar, an ice rink and fairground rides set up shop in the Old Market Square from now until 3rd January 2016. Key highlights include the biggest ice rink in the Midlands, a 40 foot Christmas tree, a festive market, an Old England themed event and much much more.

Birmingham Christmas Market
If you’re planning to make a weekend of your trip to the Midlands, Birmingham’s just an hour away and its Frankfurt Christmas Market boasts more than 180 stalls, with food as one of the main attractions. Enjoy pretzels, schnitzels and bratwurst washed down with mulled wine. At the Craft Market you’ll find local produce such as home-made chutneys and delicious cheeses. Runs until December 22nd.

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CHESTER
Father Christmas Story Time
If you can’t wait until the Lantern Magic to get a glimpse of Father Christmas and his sleigh, then we’re giving you the opportunity to meet him during the day. He’ll be reading stories at Chester Zoo’s beautiful Oakfield House during the day before the Lantern Magic event in the evening. He’ll help little ones make a gift for local wildlife, plus every child will get a gift to take home. The experience will be most enjoyable for children under the age of 7. £6.99 per child, advance booking vital. Events throughout December 2015.

Chester Christmas Market
Chester Christmas Market returns to Chester Town Hall Square from now until 20th December 2015 with over 70 traditional wooden chalets, all wrapped around the huge sparkling Christmas tree. Shoppers will delight at the range of stalls with gifts and festive treats galore, including clothing, accessories, jewellery, unique gifts, quality local and regional products, crafts, and stocking fillers which are sure to make the perfect gift for someone special. Free to visit, open 7 days a week from 10am until 6pm from Sunday to Wednesday with late night shopping on Thursdays until 8pm and until 7pm on Friday and Saturday.

Manchester Christmas Market
If you’re planning to make a weekend of it in the northwest why not visit nearby Manchester? An impressive 300 stalls take over the centre of Manchester from now until December 21st, selling everything from Dutch cheeses and Spanish chorizo to Hungarian goulash. You’ll also find lots of unusual gift ideas such as pretty silk scarves, ceramics and amber jewellery.


TOTTENHAM COURT ROAD

Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park
At this annual festive bonanza in London’s Hyde Park there are rides, an ice rink, live music and circus shows. You’ll find more than 200 Bavarian style wooden chalets offering beautiful jewellery, handmade crafts, traditional decorations and more. There’s something to suit every taste and budget. Open from now until 3rd January 2016 with ice skating, big top shows, the observation wheel and a huge Christmas market.

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TUNRBIDGE WELLS

Cinderella
Cinderella will make her way to the Assembly Hall Theatre this Christmas. The most magical fairy tale of them all will be spectacularly brought to life through stunning costumes, beautiful sets, real Shetland ponies, the hilarious ugly sisters and amazing special effects. Starring CBBC’s Tracey Beaker Dani Harmer as Cinderella and Eastender star Louise Jameson as the Fairy Godmother, this spectacular pantomime is perfect for the whole family. From Friday 11th December 2015 until Sunday 3rd January 2016.

Santa Specials on the Spa Valley Railway
Christmas at the Spa Valley Railway starts at Eridge station where visitors are met with the smell of hot chestnuts and a roaring coal fire in the festively decorated waiting room. Board your train to the strains of Christmas music, then sit back and enjoy a ride through the winter countryside to Tunbridge Wells West. Santa and his elves will be on board, and every child will receive a gift and enjoy entertainment from the balloon modeller who will help get you into the Christmas spirit. Upon arrival at Tunbridge Wells West station Santa transfers to his sleigh in the Victorian engine shed where he will be happy to pose for photographs.


PLYMOUTH

Christmas Experience
Plymouth really does love Christmas, so for 2015 the festivities are even bigger and better than ever before. The city has been transformed into a winter wonderland sparkling with magic. You could say there’s more activity taking place than in Santa’s workshop! What’s new? Brand new Christmas lights are stunning gold and white with snow falling affect features to line the streets. The Nutcracker trail is too – pick up a trail booklet and #FindTheNutcrackers situated in 20 secret locations around the city. There’s also late night shopping, a winter ice rink, Santa’s Grotto, Santa Fun Run and much, much more. For the full details visit

Winter Ice Rink
Plymouth City Centre Piazza is once again transformed into the annual Winter Wonderland Ice Rink. This hugely popular event promises skating events and activities for all the family. Whether it’s a romantic date, an after work catch up or a festive treat, wrap up warm and visit the city’s must-do winter experience.

Christmas Craft & Food Market
Finding the perfect gift for Christmas can sometimes be difficult so this Market promises to make things a little easier. A wide selection of independent businesses and food producers offering everything from traditional Christmas puddings to unique gift ideas will be situated along Armada Way in the heart of the city centre. Traditional log cabin style stalls decorated with highly visible Christmas lights and traditional garlands will create a magical Christmas experience that will attract visitors from all over the region. Whether it’s something to fuel your late night shopping sprees, a Christmas dinner treat or a special stocking filler, there’s plenty to choose from.

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OXFORD
Christmas Market
The city of dreaming spires will again be filled with festive joy as the Oxford Christmas Market returns to the heart of the city on beautiful and historic Broad Street. With the sound of choirs singing Christmas carols, market traders offering unusual and handmade gifts, colourful decorations brightening wooden stalls and the aroma of mulled wine and cinnamon drifting in the air – a visit to Oxford Christmas Market is a truly magical Christmas experience.

Santa River Cruise
The ever popular Santa Cruises will feature a well renowned family entertainer – Fred in the Shed along with the star attraction, Santa Claus himself. Fred is a member of the magic circle and his interactive family show will involve audience participation, incredible illusions and lots of family fun. The river trip lasts 1 ½ hours and includes a visit from Father Christmas when the vessel docks back at Hobbs boatyard.


CHELMSFORD

Yuletide Stride
Make sure you and your friends and family have got the evening of Thursday 10th December 2015 in your diary for the annual Yuletide Stride! See the Christmas lights of Chelmsford by night and return to warming refreshments in a festive atmosphere. The walk, approximately 5 miles in length, will leave from Anglia Ruskin University at 7pm, heading along the river before taking in the High Street and Moulsham Street, then circling back to the University. Walk leaders will guide you from the front and back, so all walking speeds will be catered for. There is a small charge to take part with all proceeds donated to Macmillan Cancer Support and the British Heart Foundation.

Woodland Walks
Blow away the cobwebs as the Royal Horticultural Society takes you on a guided tour of Hyde Hall’s woodlands. Tours start at 11am and will take place on December 1st, 8th, 15th, 22nd and 29th. Afterwards enjoy a hearty bowl of soup and cheese scone for just £4.

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CAMBRIDGE
The North Pole
The North Pole has returned to Parker’s Piece, Parkside, Cambridge, CB2 1AA until 4th January 2016. Entry to the North Pole is free, but you can buy tickets in advance online or at the onsite box office for the attractions. Attractions include an ice rink, fabulous fairground rides, an undercover alpine bar, Christmas markets, festive food and that all important Santa’s Grotto, which arrives on 28th November. There’s an early bird offer for individuals and groups who book the ice rink by 19th November, with an automatic 20% off.


NORWICH

White Christmas at the Forum
It’s going to be a White Christmas at The Forum – and that’s guaranteed! Once an hour, everyday throughout December up until Christmas Even, an artificial snow shower will fall in front of the building creating a festive treat for visitors and city centre shoppers. Local choirs and musicians will be performing at weekends. There’s also a Christmas Craft & Gift Fair and Children’s Christmas Rides.

Alphonse Mucha: In Quest of Beauty
Czech-born Alphonse Mucha (1860-1939) is one of the most celebrated artists of the fin-de-siecle. Rising to international fame with his elegant designs for decorative panels, and stunning advertising posters, ‘le style Mucha’ became synonymous with the Art Nouveau movement. Alphonse Mucha: In Quest of Beauty explores the work of the artist, around the theme of beauty – the core principle underlying his artistic philosophy. The show will include over 60 works. From now until March 20th 2016 at The Sainsbury Centre.

Deepdale Christmas Market
The Deepdale Christmas Market is set to take place at St Mary’s Church in Burnham on Friday 4th December until Sunday 6th December 2015. This festive weekend celebrates all that is Christmas on the beautiful North Norfolk Coast. It will open 2pm until 8pm on the Friday and 10am until 4pm over the weekend. There will be entertainment throughout the weekend.

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YORK
The Ice Trail
For one weekend the Ice Trail will transform York, sprinkling some magic across the city. The Ice Trail is a beautiful addition to York’s Christmas celebrations that will take place during the weekend of 12th and 13th December and is set to be a glittering celebration of the city. During your visit you will follow the trail to find 30 beautiful carved figures made from crystal-clear ice sprinkled around the city centre and lining the surrounding streets. In addition to the ethereal icy creations you can enjoy some alfresco treats at the food and drink stalls, sipping mulled wine as you decide which sculpture to see next. This is a highlight in York’s festive calendar and a truly unforgettable addition to Christmas.

The Great Gatsby
A brand new theatrical experience takes up residence at The Fleeting Arms, Gillygate, from 23rd December until 31st December 2015. Step into a world of jazz, liquor and excess across three floors of dancing and debauchery. A new adaptation of F Scott Fitzgerald’s seminal jazz-age story sees Jay Gatsby’s parties come to life in a new immersive, theatrical experience. Expect music, cocktails and more than a little scandal. 1920s dress encouraged. Friday and Saturday performances include Gatsby Lates, an after-show party until 1am. 23rd December Christmas special includes champagne reception and canapés. 31st December New Years Eve special including champagne reception, canapés and exclusive New Year’s Even after show party. £10-15.

York Christmas Markets
York is a Christmas shopping heaven with its eclectic mix of shops as well as wonderful Christmas markets throughout the city’s atmospheric streets! The festive shopping starts with the ever popular St Nicholas Market on from now until December 23rd 2015. During St Nicholas Market, there is a sense of stepping into a scene from a Dicken’s tale with bustling Victorian market stalls selling everything from local produce to traditional gifts and crafts, all accompanied by the smell of roasting chestnuts and the sound of carol singers.


BATTERSEA

Jackson’s Way: The Christmas Top-Up-Power-Seminar
Will Adamsdale’s Perrier award-winning look at motivational speeches, delivered by his hopeless self-help guru character Chris John Jackson. This time performed with a festive twist. At Battersea Arts Centre from 1st-12th December 2015.

Cinderella and The Beanstalk
Prepare for panto pandemonium as award-winning comedy trio Sleeping Trees return to Theatre503 after a sell-out run. Directed by critically-acclaimed Tom Attenborough, this three-man pantomime combines all the classical elements of a well-loved pantomime with an astonishing range of fast-paced, physical and bare-knuckled comedy. Join Josh, John and James as they attempt to stage their laugh-out-loud new pantomime, playing every character you’d expect to see in a panto and some you might not! From now until 2nd January 2016 at the Latchmere Pub.


BRIGHTON

Creative Christmas Fair
Wild Strawberry Events invites you to the Creative Craft & Gift Christmas Fairs. Showcasing some of Sussex’s best and most creative crafty people and their wares, the Fair presents a full range of crafts. The aim is to give local crafters and makers a beautiful place to showcase their talents at an affordable price without them having to pass on that cost to the buyer. Includes jewellery, handbags, sweet treats, paintings, clothing, photographs and much, much more. Saturday 5th December at Brighton Unitarian Church from 11am.

Emporium Panto 2015
The Brighton Emporium’s annual Christmas Show returns. This year’s big event is Aladdin. Expect boo-able villains, toe-tapping numbers, loveable heroes, jaw-dropping sets and stunning costumes. Emporium’s Aladdin is an exotic cavalcade of dance, laughs, thrills and romance. And the occasional song. Torn lightly from the pages of the 1001 Nights, this will be the brightest, bounciest, bazaar-est tale ever told, guaranteed to tease and transport anyone who has ever believed in magic. From 2nd December 2015 to 9th January 2016.

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CHISWICK
St Michael & All Angels Advent Calendar
Every year St Michael & All Angels Church, Bath Road, W4 1TT have an advent calendar with local art work which can be seen both in the church and online. Each day a new door will be opened. This year all the pictures have been created by local artists. The Advent Calendar seeks to raise money in aid of three charities: The Upper Room, Hamlin Fistula UK and The Mulberry Centre. From now until Christmas eve.

Children’s Christmas Show
Based on the award-winning children’s books about Kipper the dog by Mick Inkpen, Kipper’s Snowy Day comes to Waterman’s Arts Centre from Saturday 5th December until Wednesday 23rd December 2015. A magical world of puppets and mischief, filled with original songs and music. This warm-hearted Christmas show is the perfect festive treat for children and their families.

Bollo House Craft & Vintage Christmas Fair
Held each Saturday in December, the weekly Fair will offer Christmas tree stalls, craft, handmade and vintage items, tea and cakes, beer and wine as well as lots of great gift ideas. Hot food and mulled wine will also be available in case you get chilly! Free entry. Also, from December 13th the Santas Grotto will provide Christmas cheers to all good little boys and girls.


KINGSTON

BBC Good Food Festive Fayre
Enjoy Hampton Court Palace’s very first BBC Good Food Festive Fayre, part of the palace’s 500th anniversary event programme. Browse more than 50 artisan food and drink stalls in the courtyard and watch live cookery demonstrations from chefs and food experts in the Winter Kitchen, set around the roaring open fire of the palace’s beautiful Tudor Kitchen. From 4th-6th December 2015.

Carols Through the Ages
Enjoy seasonal music and carols through the ages this December at Hampton Court Palace, performed by a host of celebrated musicians and vocalists. From the English and German carols known and loved by the Georgian monarchs and their court, to Victorian carols in regal brass arrangements which still define Christmas today, this timeless programme of music is the perfect way to get into the festive spirit. From now until 20th December 2015.


GUILDFORD

Jack and the Beanstalk on Ice
Fee-fi-fo-fum at Guildford Spectrum’s ice pantomime! Spectrum will be home to a big, bad giant, a golden goose and a magical beanstalk this Christmas as the popular pantomime Jack and the Beanstalk takes to the ice. The three day festive ice show will run from 11th to 13th December and will feature performances by some of the region’s rising skating stars.

William Hill Winter Festival 2015
Kempton Park Racecourse’s William Hill Winter Festival 2015 promises a great day of racing including the Desert Orchid Chase and a whole host of family fun. Tickets from £17 on Saturday and £12 on Sunday. December 26th and 27th 2015.

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EXETER
Christmas Market
Exeter’s annual Christmas Market will run from now until Saturday 19th December 2015. The Cathedral Green, at the heart of the city centre, will be brought to life by the Market, with stalls offering unique, handmade and unusual gifts, decorations and food items – everything needed for a perfect Christmas celebration. This year’s Market will host over 50 traders with a good mix of local and international.

Jack and the Beanstalk
One minute Jack’s mother is chucking his magic beans in the bin, the next thing he knows he’s whisked off to a land of giants where great treasures await…unless he ends up in an enormous cooking pot! With a stellar cast, Kickline Theatre returns to Exeter Corn Exchange for December and January with an incredible mix of magic, laughs and silly sing-alongs.


MUSWELL HILL

Cinderella on Ice Pantomime
This Christmas Alexanda Palace’s annual panto on ice returns with a magical recreation of the classic fairy tale Cinderella. The perfect way for the whole family to get into the festive spirit, this enchanting tale will be brought to life on the ice with songs and fantastic choreographed routines. From 14th-21st December 2015.

Go Crackers for Christmas
Alexandra Palace’s Learning & Community team are hosting free family activities in the ice rink this Christmas. Drop in to discover who invented crackers, what was originally put inside them and what inspired adding the ‘bang’. Find out why Christmas party hats look like crowns and make your own Ally Pally themed cracker to pull on Christmas day. Book your free session in December on the official website.

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