Local firework displays, Fri 1 Nov – Sat 9 Nov
The Christmas Shop, Sue Davies Flowers, Sutton Valence, OPEN NOW
Super-talented Sue is the flower power house behind this florist and really knows her ‘stuff’ having worked in the industry for years. A florist all year round and a magical Christmas shop for the festive season which is opening its doors again this October! If you’re anywhere near Sutton Valence you really must visit… suedaviesflowers.com
Celebrate Halloween & Bonfire Night with Bill’s, NOW – 17 Nov
Fun night with the girls coming up! The sparks are going to fly with Bill’s exclusive Gunpowder Cocktail this Halloween. Or if you’re feeling brave, play Trick or Treat, Bill’s style and win their Warm Salted Caramel Doughnuts (to redeem use before 28 Nov & buy a main course). Everyone’s a winner so what will you get? bills-halloween.co.uk
Canterbury Festival, NOW – Sat 2 Nov
Canterbury Festival 2019 is a two week extravaganza of music, performance, talks, family events and much more, Canterbury’s annual celebration of the arts brings together a programme that is packed to the brim with global stars, emerging local talent and stunning live performances. With venues including Canterbury Cathedral, The Marlowe Theatre, Kent College’s newly built Great Hall and the spectacular touring Salon Perdu Spiegeltent; Canterbury’s most ambitious Festival unifies the city’s cultural hubs and invites audiences of all ages and backgrounds to be inspired, delighted and stunned. Get your tickets now: canterburyfestival.co.uk
Design-Your-Own Accessory, Elvis & Kresse, Tonge Mill, Sat 2 Nov
Elvis & Kresse, is the incredibly cool brand that makes luxury bags and goodies from reclaimed materials and Burberry’s off cuts (you read about them here before, remember?). They are hugely current, have a big cult following being an eco-friendly, sustainable business. Now it’s your chance to learn how to make and design your own luxury accessory in Elvis & Kresse’s very own workshop at Tonge Mill. On 2 Nov, choose between the wide selection of leather colours and textures, then design and assemble your very own piece. The crafts team at Elvis & Kresse will the finish your piece and send it out to you in their wonderful reclaimed packaging. Including a light lunch. Spaces are limited, book now! elvisandkresse.com
Visual Roars Interiors Christmas Event, Whitstable, 2 & 3 Nov
Visual Roar Interiors is THE place to go if you are looking for stylish and individual items for your home plus the showroom is just outside the pretty seaside town of Whitstable so you can make a day of it! Don’t miss their Christmas shopping event this November with 10% OFF EVERYTHING in-store! Get ready for a stylish Christmas with Visual Roars Interiors. visualroarsinteriors.co.uk
The Tiger Who Came To Tea, Bateman’s, NOW – Sun 3 Nov
Plenty of The Tiger Who Came To Tea themed fun still going on at Bateman’s! Join them everyday of the week until Sun 3 Nov to see The Tiger Who Came To Tea anniversary exhibition and try the Tiger themed goodies in The Mulberry Tea Room – find the stripy veg growing in the garden! First published in 1968, the children’s book had sold over five million copies by 2008 and been translated into eleven languages. Set in the family home of author Rudyard Kipling, displays of Judith Kerr’s illustrations will delight all tiger-loving generations. Discover Sophie’s room from the story where children can sit on the bed and listen to a recording of the tale before visiting the Tiger in the kitchen downstairs. Littles ones can enjoy interactive play with a life-size tiger in the kitchen. Delve into the dressing-up chest and grab a mini stripy Tiger or Mog onesie, have fun making ‘tea’ in their fully interactive play kitchen and can even sit with the tiger, fab photo op! nationaltrust.org.uk
British Wildlife Photography Awards, Bodiam Castle, NOW – Sun 5 Jan 2020
This year marks the 10th anniversary of the British Wildlife Photography Awards (BWPA) and Bodiam Castle is hosting an exhibition of winning photographs. The towers of the castle provide the perfect backdrop to showcase British wildlife captured in stunning photographic detail. Discover a new space in the castle as the 1st floor of the West Tower will open for the public for the first time to host the exhibition. Climb the steep spiral staircases to get to the top of the towers and be rewarded with incredible views – cameras at the ready! nationaltrust.org.uk
The Shakespeare Project, Macbeth, Salomon’s Estate, Thurs 7 – Sun 24 Nov
The Shakespeare Project is a collective of professional actors and creatives who are bringing quality Shakespeare productions to the South East. Using an ensemble of experienced classical actors, their aim is to bring Shakespeare’s plays to life, with superb storytelling being at the very heart of what they do. Based at the beautiful Salomons Estate, making fantastic use of their Victorian Theatre space. Don’t miss their inaugural production of Macbeth which is arguably one of Shakespeare’s greatest plays with themes of the supernatural, fate, and the corrosive nature of ambition. Based on true events (yes, really!), they follow the descent of Macbeth from war hero to murderous tyrant. The project’s cast and creatives have worked at such prestigious institutions as The Royal Shakespeare Company, London’s Globe and The National Theatre. Book your tickets now: theshakespeareproject.co.uk
Weekend Yoga Retreat with Samsara, Maidstone, Fri 8 – Sun 10 Nov
Samsara Retreat and Yoga invite you to spend a soul nourishing weekend of yoga, meditation, treatments, delicious food, a healing gong bath and a two night stay at their unique luxury location with them. The retreat timetable contains nine hours of Yoga all in various style including Hatha, Vinyasa and Ashtanga. Spend the night in their glamping tent, slumber in one of their Shepherds Hut or choose to stay inside one of the bedrooms in their charming 15th century cottage. During your free time, wander around the garden or relax around the firepit in the surrounds of the countryside. If you don’t feel like spending the night, day passes are also available. Only a few space left! For the full programme and to book: eventbrite.co.uk
Themed Supper Clubs, Deal Pier Kitchen, Sat 9 & 16 & 30
Deal Pier Kitchen is a fab new eaterie at the end of Deal’s iconic pier, don’t miss their hosting Supper Clubs this November! It’s unique location means you are surrounded by the ocean with an exceptional view of the town’s seafront. Sat 9 – seven course Seafood Tasting Menu, Sat 16 – Steak and Lobster evening, Sat 30 – Vegan/Veg Menu. Book your table now: booking.resdiary.com
Chef Collab: The Compasses & The Small Holding, Mon 11 – Tues 12 Nov
Two of Kent’s best chefs are collaborating to cook together on consecutive nights in each other’s restaurant. On Mon 11 – Tues 12 Nov, Robert Taylor from The Compasses Inn and Will Devlin from The Small Holding will cook an 8-course menu together, preparing 4 courses each in their own style. Both chefs are recognised as being at the top of Kent’s restaurant scene. The Compasses is listed as one of the UK’s Top 50 Gastro Pubs and won Best Food Pub in the Country in the John Smith’s Great British Pub Awards. Will Devlin from The Small Holding has won Kent Chef of the Year and Best Restaurant in the Taste of Kent Awards. The Small Holding and The Compasses are both in the Michelin Guide and in the Good Food Guide 2020. This unique collaboration is £80 per person with the option of an additional paired wine flight. Call to book your table at either restaurant: thecompassescrundale.co.uk OR thesmallholding.restaurant
A night with pianist David Rees-Williams and Oboist Ian Crowther, The Ambrette, 13 Nov
For one night only renowned pianist David Rees-Williams will team up with Ian Crowther from the famous Crowthers of Canterbury to perform at the Ambrette Restaurant Canterbury. Enjoy a six course tasting menu just £39.99 pp. Book now: cloudeu01.avenista.net
Children’s Book Festival, Knole Park, Sat 16 – Sun 17 Nov
Don’t miss Knole’s second Children’s Book Festival this November as it promises to be bigger and better than ever. Much-loved names include newly-crowned Children’s Laureate Cressida Cowell, her predecessor Chris Riddell, and the queen of the Dumping Ground herself, Jacqueline Wilson. With Gromit and Shaun the Sheep workshops from animation favourites Aardman and a visit from a certain multi-coloured elephant, there’s something for everyone whether you’re 1 or 99. Book your tickets now: nationaltrust.org.uk
Comedy Club, Trinity Theatre, Sat 16 Nov
Trinity Theatre deliver the best on the comedy circuit with their infamous Comedy Club evenings! With national acts taking to the stage in Tunbridge Wells after the Edinburgh Fringe. This month’s line-up is Mike Gunn, Fin Taylor and James Redmond. So kick back with a Trinity lager for a night to remember… £20 for ticket & meal. For the menu and tickets: trinitytheatre.net
One Day Retreat with Core Belief, Reuthe’s Nursery & Gardens, Thurs 21 & Sun 24 Nov
Hosted at Reuthe’s, the famous Lost Gardens of Sevenoaks, enjoy this one day retreat with Core Belief. They’ve got some fantastic wellness trainers and practitioners coming for the day, enjoy a challenging Pilates Class, afternoon Yoga Flow and a Full Body Burn all held in the spacious outdoor studio. Or try the Aquatics class in the indoor pool. In the peace and tranquility of the Bell Tent, expert therapists will be on hand to offer a range of treatments including massage, hot stone therapy, facials and skin care consultations. Have time to sit in the sauna, be spoilt by the beautiful views and even have a tour of the gardens where you can discover the ancient plants, homegrown botanicals, berries and herbs. Sounds gorgeous doesn’t it? Book your place here: corebeliefworld.com
Christmas Market at Chartwell, Thurs 21 – Sun 24 Nov
The popular Chartwell market returns to kick start your festive shopping (free admission). Discover a wide range of gifts from local businesses from chocolate to candles, jewellery and hats! Local businesses will be there such as Half-cut Candles, Stas Chocolatier, High Weald Dairy and Momapaws. Get stuck into the samples and then stop off for a warming mulled wine and minced pie in the cafe. You could even let your little ones explore the garden in their interactive 12 Days of Christmas Trail daily from 21 Nov – 5 Jan 2020. nationaltrust.org.uk
Margate Bookie, Various locations, Fri 22 – Sun 24 Nov
The friendly literature festival by the sea, Margate Bookie, is back for its fifth year with a line-up that’s bigger and better than ever! Headliners are Mark Billingham, creator of the Tom Thorne crime series, and Lisa Jewell, who’s sold over 4.5 million copies of her psychological thrillers. Who will be joined by Louis de Bernières (Captain Corelli’s Mandolin), Alison Weir (the top-selling female historian in the United Kingdom) and Richard Skinner (head of the Faber & Faber academy). A whole host of talks, readings and workshops are taking place at Turner Contemporary, The Sands and The Lifeboat all over the weekend. For the whole programme and to grab your tickets: margatebookie.com
Christmas at Bedgebury, Fri 22 Nov – Mon 30 Dec
It’s the most wonderful time of the year as the tree-tops begin to glisten and shimmer. After last year’s sell-out event, it’s back and their 2019 winter trail is set to look very different. The sights and sounds of Christmas await under unique canopies with new installations rising high into the night sky. A dynamic Vortex Tunnel leads onto colour changing and immersive ribbons of light. If you went last year, rest rest assured, the towering Tunnel of Light will twinkle yet again with thousands of pea-lights as you walk into a world festooned with seasonal cheer. Complete your walk under the stars with spiced cider, mulled wine or hot chocolate and gather around the fire-pit with family and friends to toast marshmallows. Tickets are almost gone! christmasatbedgebury.seetickets.com
Christmas at Hever Castle, 23 Nov Wed-Sun & Daily from 9 – 24 Dec
This year’s theme at Hever Castle is Alice in Wonderland! Wrap up and follow the themed interactive trail and wander through the illuminated gardens in the dark. All the Castle Rooms will be decorated beautifully with welcoming log fires and twinkling Christmas trees. Bring your little ones to meet Father Christmas in the magical Grotto where they’ll be led by an elf through the snowy forest to meet Father Christmas in his log cabin. Or enjoy some Christmas shopping in the Gift Shop. hevercastle.co.uk
An evening with Anno Distillers, Port Lympne Hotel, 23 Nov
Port Lympne Reserve is hosting an event with Kent based distillers, Anno this November. Held in the spacious Aspinall Suite, adjoining the historic Port Lympne Hotel, guests will have the opportunity to meet head and founder of Anno, Dr. Andy Reason and learn more about this award winning distillers. Starting at 6.30pm, canapes will be served with a delicious cocktail of Anno elderflower vodka and prosecco, before guests enjoy a six course tasting menu, where each course will be paired with a tempting tipple from the Anno distillers. Tickets are £49.95 pp, to book call the Events Team on 1303 234111 or email: email@example.com.
Father Christmas & Christmas Market, Leeds Castle, Weekends only 23 Nov – 15 Dec
Have the chance to meet the big man himself at Leeds Castle! Follow an enchanted path to a magical grotto, where only those who have been good will receive a gift to take home. After your meet and greet, head to the Marker to discover a splendid array of seasonal gifts, toys, festive decorations, specialist food and drink. Not forgetting the birds of prey, traditional fun fair rides and live music to keep everyone entertained. leeds-castle.com
Spa Christmas Evening, Green Farm Spa, Weds 27 Nov
Join Green Farm for their Spa Christmas Evening, look at their new range of beautiful ESPA Christmas gifts and personalise a box to make the perfect gift for your loved ones. Or grab Spa & Retreat gift cards as well as Green Farm produced chutneys and art work from local artists. The wine will be flowing and scrumptious nibbles will be provided. A warm relaxed evening to kick start the festive season. greenfarmkent.co.uk
Mother Goose, The Marlowe Theatre, Thurs 28 Nov – Sun 12 Jan 2020
The mother of all pantomimes! Don’t miss The Marlowe’s fun-filled family pantomime, Mother Goose, starring Dr Ranj (CBeebies, This Morning, Strictly Come Dancing), Jenna Russell (EastEnders, West End Star), the egg-cellent Ben Roddy (in his tenth Marlowe pantomime!), Canterbury favourite Lloyd Hollett, and Marc Pickering (Boardwalk Empire, Les Misérables). With hilarious comedy, beautiful sets and costumes, and fantastic music, Mother Goose will be our funniest and most spectacular pantomime ever! Book now for the best seats! marlowetheatre.com
The Enchanted Forest, Friday Street Farm, Sat 30 Nov
Roll up, Roll up – this should be on your radar from Muddy favourites, Twisted Bramble, who were created to shake up the world of corporate events by hosting unusual outdoor venues with magical decor, engaging entertainment and sumptuous feasts. The Enchanted Forest will be held in a beautiful sailcloth tent, The Enchanted Forest is a totally uique event that invites guests to relax whilst being entertained, by engaging, enchanted woodland themed performances that will take place around the tables as you dine and unwind. I am all for sitting and eating while the action takes place around me. Tables of 12 are £1,200 + VAT and include: Arrival drinks, a 3-course meal, tea and coffee, half a bottle of wine each, entertainment throughout the evening, a fully stocked cash bar, DJ, dance floor and cloakroom. Head here to pick up your tickets and put the traditional Christmas party to bed: twistedbramble.co.uk
Christmas Fair, Goodnestone Park, Sat 30 Nov
A Christmas Fair set in Goodnestone Park, the privately owned stately home near Canterbury. Come along for lovely and original gifts for your loved ones this year, admission is £2 in aid of Kidney Research. goodnestoneparkgardens.co.uk
Candelit Ghost Tours, Lamb House, Sat 30 Nov – 7 Dec
Take part in a spooky tour this festive season! Experience an atmospheric tour of Lamb House following Joan Aiken’s book The Haunting of Lamb House with excerpts from the book which spans the whole history of the house from the Lambs to E F Benson. All tickets included a mince pie and mulled wine. nationaltrust.org.uk
Father Christmas at Howletts Animal Park, Sat 30 Nov – Mon 23 Dec
This winter season treat your little ones to meet Father Christmas and his merry elves at this popular wild animal park. Santa will be meeting children in the magical grotto every weekend from Sat 30 Nov until Sun 15 Dec and then everyday from Tues 17 – Mon 23 Dec. Every child will get a gift and souvenir photos will be available to purchase. Book your slot now: aspinallfoundation.org
Kipling’s Just So Stories, Bateman’s, 30 Nov – Sun 5 Jan 2020
There’ll be magic at Bateman’s this festive season as the rooms will be decorated in rich, opulent colours inspired by Kipling’s travels and his Just So Stories. Enjoy wandering through the 17th-century house or venturing out into the garden and estate for a wintery walk through the Winter Garden Trail. Bateman’s festive celebrations are based around Kipling’s Just So Stories, which will cast their magic around his family home. Event is open daily, 11 am – 4pm. Free. nationaltrust.org.uk
Advent Refresher Day, Ismini Philips Studio, Sun 1 Dec
Don’t miss Ismini Philip’s sell-out Advent Refresher Day. It’s a day to concentrate on yourself, meet new people and experience a range of classes. The Day Pass includes 5 classes (including bootybarre, stretch, Pilates and more), lunch and refreshments. Even have a treatment like reiki, reflexology or massage. Spoil yourself before the hectic festive season begins! Day pass is £90 and treatments are available at an extra cost, discounts on Day Pass when you book a treatment. To book: email firstname.lastname@example.org OR call the studio on 01732 669683.
The Hairy Bikers, Leas Cliff Hall, Sun 29 Nov 2020
Join Dave and Si for an evening of food, frolics and tales from a life on the road. Following a major UK tour, The Hairy Bikers have announced their 2020 live return due to demand. Don’t miss this epic night of cooking and conversation, tickets on sale now! atgtickets.com
Country Living Christmas Fair, Business Design Centre, London, 13 – 17 Nov
It’s Christmaaaaas! Well, not just yet, but head London’s Business Design Centre this month and you’ll find heaps of festive stalls from hundreds of British designers, makers, food artisans and crafters. As well as shopping there’ll also be live workshops and talks, plus Prue Leith will be chatting to Country Living’s Editor about all things food at Christmas time on Wed 13.
ART & EXHIBITIONS
Vogue fashion and portrait photographer Tim Walker‘s enchanting, fantastical, frankly insane work is the subject of a new V&A exhibition (until 8 March). Tilda Swinton (below), Björk and, er, Sir David Attenborough are among his subjects and he’s also created 10 new works for the show.
Meanwhile this autumn’s big-hitter is William Blake at Tate Britain, below, (until 2 Feb 2020). The visionary painter and poet’s work will be imaginatively displayed – some of it blown up to enormous scale using digital technology, other works in an immersive room that recreates the space in which Blake first showed his art in 1809.
Elsewhere Into the Night: Cabarets & Clubs in Modern Art at the Barbican (4 Oct – 19 Jan) is probably the nearest I’ll get to clubbing this autumn. It’s such a cool concept – a history of cabarets, clubs, dancefloors and party spaces that inspired artists from the 1880s to the 1960s, including the Berlin cabaret scene in Weimar Germany and Harlem’s jazz clubs and lifesize recreations of some of the hotspots.
Then there’s a major retrospective of 88-year-old Bridget Riley‘s life’s work at the Hayward Gallery (23 Oct – 26 Jan), taking in her famous monochrome, makes-your-eyes-go-funny Op Art paintings from the 1960s among its 70 year career span.
And finally, playing “spot the Angel Of The North” as we drive up the A1 to Newcastle is a family ritual in our house (Geordie in-laws, you see), so I’ve got a soft spot for Antony Gormley’s striking sculpture. His new show at the Royal Academy (until 3 Dec) is billed as his most ambitious in a decade and involves six tonnes of steel mesh, eight km of coiled tubing and a gallery flooded with clay and sea water.
Excuse me, after writing that lot I think I need to lie down until December.