Cheltenham Craft Festival at Cheltenham Town Hall
Don’t miss the Craft Festival’s new Christmas show at Cheltenham Town Hall. From ceramics to leather to silver, enjoy meeting the makers and getting a fascinating insight into their design process. Keep an eye out for the bold, colourful and flirtatious sculptures, made from recycled materials, by Michaela McMillan in Warwickshire. Then there’s jewellery designer Maria Frantzi, who creates stunning rings, earrings and necklaces from her Cheltenham workshop inspired by her Greek Heritage, and an array of beautiful textiles from the likes of Cotswolds Knit. Afterwards, hotfoot it to No.131 Terrace restaurant, where there’s a free glass of fizz for every Craft Fair visitor (wearing a wristband), who orders lunch or supper.
26th-27th November. Cheltenham Town Hall, Imperial Square, Cheltenham, GL50 1QA. 01626 836846; www.craftfestival.co.uk/cheltenham
The November Meeting at Cheltenham Racecourse
Gear up for three fabulous days of racing. It’s true that all roads lead to The Festival but the magic starts at The November Meeting. Don’t miss the first day – not only is there the Glenfarclas Cross Country Chase, one of the most exciting spectacles in horse racing, it is the Tattersalls Cheltenham November Sale, where you can purchase English and Irish point to pointers and National Hunt Form Horses. The Saturday is unmissable, too, with seven incredible races including the iconic Paddy Power Gold Cup. Then there’s Sunday, which is packed full of family fun, alongside exhilarating action on the track.
11th-13th November. Cheltenham Racecourse, Evesham Rd, Cheltenham, GL50 4SH. 01242 513 014; www.thejockeyclub.co.uk
National Theatre Live: The Seagull at the Bacon Theatre
Emilia Clarke (Game of Thrones), along with a roster of great names, wowed the West End in this 21st-century retelling of Anton Chekhov’s The Seagull. And now you can catch it on screen at the Bacon Theatre. A tale of love and loneliness, this beautiful production follows a young woman who is desperate for fame and a way out. There’s also a young man who is pining after the woman of his dreams. A successful writer longing for a sense of achievement. An actress who wants to fight the changing of the times. But, in a secluded country house, with nowhere left to turn, the only option is to turn on each other.
3rd November. Bacon Theatre, Dean Close School, Hatherley Road, Cheltenham, GL51 6EP. 01242 258002; www.bacontheatre.co.uk
An evening with Lucy Worsley on Agatha Christie at Cheltenham Town Hall
Spend an evening with the Queen of History, Lucy Worsley, as she uncovers the real Agatha Christie. Based on research from the writer’s personal letters and papers, prepare to be enthralled as Lucy looks at why Agatha Christie spent her career pretending that she was ‘just’ an ordinary housewife, when she clearly wasn’t? Agatha went surfing in Hawaii, she loved fast cars and she was intrigued by the new science of psychology, which helped her through devastating mental illness. So why – despite all the evidence to the contrary – did she present herself as a retiring Edwardian lady of leisure? Go and find out.
7th November. Cheltenham Town Hall, Imperial Square, Cheltenham, GL50 1QA. 01242 528764; www.cheltenhamtownhall.org.uk
Three of the Best Christmas Trails
The Nutcracker trail in Cheltenham city centre
The Christmassy magic of the Nutcracker is hard to beat. So, it’s brilliant news that ten Nutcracker Kings will be coming to Cheltenham this Christmas and lining the streets of the town centre. From the artistic enclaves of The Wilson Art Gallery & Museum to the fashion-filled Regent Arcade to the grand Georgian architecture of The Promenade, it’s the perfect way to explore Cheltenham while you do some Christmas shopping. And with nutcrackers, according to folklore, serving as the traditional messenger of good luck and goodwill, what could be a better way to kick off the festive season?
From 19th November. Various locations around Cheltenham.
Spectacle of Light at Sudeley Castle
Quite possibly the best Christmas lighting trail in the Cotswolds, the Spectacle of Light is back and as magnificent as ever. Grab a hot chocolate or glass of mulled wine then follow the illuminated trail around the beautiful castle grounds, marvelling at the majestic trees and romantic ruins. Discover the dazzling Carpet of Colour and the flickering flowers of the Queens’ garden. Gaze at the sparkling water features and the mesmerising Field of Fire. Then there’s light beams, lanterns and much more – all to the sound of rousing music. In between lap up the extraordinary history – the castle was one of King Henry VIII's royal residences.
On selected evenings from 25th November to 30th December. Sudeley Castle & Gardens, Winchcombe, GL54 5LP. 01242 604244; www.sudeleycastle.co.uk
Enchanted Light Trail at Cotswolds Farm Park
Put on your wellies and head down to Adam Henson’s Cotswolds Farm Park for a thrilling experience as you immerse yourself in the frozen farmlands. Showcasing marvellous creations, installations and illuminations created by local creative artists, lighting designers and craft-persons, the Enchanted Light Trail is a feast for the eyes. Inquisitive young brains will love the clues and puzzles you can do along the way – plus Father Christmas will be making an appearance. Then, of course, there’s the 50–plus rare breeds of British farm animals, not to mention the ever-popular pedal tractors and adventure barn where you can watch chicks hatch.
From 25th November to 31st December. Cotswolds Farm Park, Guiting Power, Cheltenham, GL54 5FL. 01451 850307; www.cotswoldfarmpark.co.uk