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MARKET: Giant Flea Market, Bath & West Showground, Shepton Mallet, Sun 6 Jan

One of the biggest and best in the West, with over 250 stalls selling all manner of intriguing old stuff  – and, very handily, with banking facilities if you run out of cash.


WALK: New Year’s Bath Skyline ramble, Bath, Sun 6 Jan

Around seven miles of brisk walking around the outskirts of the city, with a stop off for hot choc.


THEATRE: Crimes on the Nile, Ustinov Studio, Bath, Tues 8 – Sat 26 Jan

Agatha Christie-inspired comedy whodunnit with lascivious lawyers, fastidious physicians, feuding femme fatales and, bien sûr, a Belgian detective.


THEATRE: Motown the Musical, Hippodrome, Bristol, Thurs 10 Jan – Sat 2 Feb

Photo Tristram Kenton

Stop! In the Name of Love, I Heard it though the Grapevine that Berry Gordy started the legendary record label with just $800 borrowed from his family. Over 50 Motown tracks, live orchestra.  I’ll be There.



FILM: Stan & Ollie, released in cinemas around Somerset on Fri Jan 11

Do you remember the days when you’d come home from school and Laurel and Hardy would be on TV? Steve Coogan has this week been nominated for a Best Actor award at the BAFTAs for his turn as as iconic comedian in Laurel and Hardy biopic Stan & Ollie with John C Reilly in what has been described as ‘ a wonderfully funny tribute’ to the slapstick duo.


FOOD: Swan supper evenings, WWT Slimbridge, Wetland Centre, Slimbridge, Gloucs, Fri 11 & Sat 12 Jan (also Fri 18, Sat 19, Fr 25, Sat 26 Jan)

Not eating ’em (unless you’re Henry VIII), but watching – hundreds of wild swans newly migrated in, on a floodlit lake – and then tucking into a two-course meal at the Kingfisher Kitchen.


WELLBEING: Free Yoga and Breathwork sessions, Boudavida, Bath, Fri 11 Jan & Fri 25  Jan

FREE two-hour ashtanga yoga and transformational breathwork class, teaching your body-mind new ways to respond to negative stressors. 11 am–1pm at  Boudavida’s shop in Milsom Place (which just happens to have a fab selection of yoga and other active wear).

Reserve a place:


ART: Masters of Japanese prints: Life in the city, Bristol Museum & Art Gallery, Bristol, Sat 12 Jan – Sun 12 May

Beauty with a Hand Towel by Kitagawa Utamaro © Bristol Culture

Over 50 rare and colourful prints from the museum’s collection of ‘floating world pictures’ (ukiyo-e) celebrating life in Japan. Impressively, it’s in the top five regional UK collections. The second in the series of three exhibitions


CINEMA:  NT Live, The Tragedy of King Richard the Second, The Brewhouse, Taunton,  Tues 15 Jan

Photo Marc Brenner

Simon Russell-Beale’s the irresponsible, foolish and vain king whose kingdom falls into disarray. Enter stage left, Bolingbroke, ready to take over. Beamed in to The Brewhouse and other venues, live from Islington’s Almeida Theatre.


THEATRE: Rain Man, Theatre Royal, Bath, Tues 15 – Sat 19 Jan

Stage version of the famous feel-good movie. Super selfish salesman Charlie Babbitt (Chris Fountain – Hollyoaks, Corrie) discovers his father’s left his millions to long-lost brother and autistic savant Raymond (Paul Nicholls – EastEnders, etc). Cue a kidnap and ensuing road trip during which Charlie grows to understand and love his brother and become a better man.


FASHION: Waller & Wood, Bath, Thurs 17 – Sun 20 Jan

Wear your art on your sleeve. Sale of gorgeous garb all hand-painted by Bath’s acclaimed textile artist Carole Waller.


WORKSHOP: Fused glass workshop, Newton Farm, Newton St Loe, nr Bath, Thurs 17 Jan

Glass specialist Jo Eddleston will show you how to make something spectacular like this (no experience required) in a barn on the farm.  £45 (+ optional £5 for special dichroic glass), which includes refreshments, materials, equipment and your pieces to take home. 10am – 1pm. To book, call Roz on 01225 873707, ext 3 or email


COMEDY: Slapstick Festival, Bristol, Fri 18 Jan – Sun 20 Jan

14 rib-tickling events over three days, curated by Richard Herring. From Oliver & Hardy via Lucy Porter, Tony Slattery and Little & Large to The Inbetweeners.


TRADITIONAL: Wassailing at Glastonbury Tor, Glastonbury, Sat 19 Jan

Drink cider, sing to the trees in the Avalon Orchard and scare away evil spirits. It’s what we do in Somerset.


BALLET: The Nutcracker, Theatre Royal, Bath, Sun 20 – Weds 23 Jan

Moscow City Ballet and live orchestra with the fantastical ballet performed in the Russian classical tradition (that is, flipping spectacular – look at that grand jete). Kids go half price when with an adult.


OPERA: ROH Live, The Queen of Spades, Tues 22 Jan, venues around Somerset

Penniless soldier falls in love with best friend’s girl and aims to wrest her grandma’s three-card trick formula in order to win a fortune  – and the girl – at the gambling table. This production, loosely based on a Pushkin story, puts its composer Tchaikovsky at the heart of the action. Tra la la la!

Find a screening near you


THEATRE: Wise Children, Bristol Old Vic, Weds 23 Jan – Sat 16 Feb

Twin chorus girls Nora and Dora Chance celebrate their 75th birthday; their father Melchior Hazard is 100 on the same day. Expect show girls and Shakespeare, sex and scandal, music, mischief and mistaken identity – and butterflies by the thousand – in this adaptation of Angela Carter’s last great novel.


EVENT: Murder Mystery Burns Night, Bristol Museum & Art Gallery, Fri 25 Jan

Hosted in the Winterstoke and Wills Halls, take a wee dram, pipe in the haggis, disco, dinner and solve a murder.


DANCE: Richard Alston Dance Company, Theatre Royal, Bath, Fri 25 – Sat 26 Jan

Brahms Hungarian. Joshua Hariette and Monique Jonas. Photo Chris Nash

Celebrating 50 years and on their penultimate tour (they’re closing next year), the programme includes two world premieres of and a whistle stop journey through each decade of Alston’s career.


MORE FOOD: EAT vegan festival, Winter Gardens, Weston-super-Mare, Sat 26 Jan

Over 60 locally focused vegan food and drink producers, wine tasting, cook school and chefs’ demos.


THEATRE:  The Circus of Horrors, Octagon, Yeovil, Sun 27 Jan

Brand new show with the usual sword swallowers, knife throwers, hair hangers, twisted contortionists and dark magic – all to a rock soundtrack. Take your granny.


FILM: Shoplifters, The Brewhouse, Taunton, Tues 29 Jan

Not many places in Somerset to see an award-winning (Palme d’Or, Cannes 2018) Japanese film.  A family relies on shoplifting to cope with a life of poverty.


OPERA: ROH Live Screening,  La Traviata, Weds 30 Jan, venues around Somerset

Photo (c) ROH Johan Persson

The most performed opera in the world. Richard Eyre’s naturalistic production of Verdi’s doomed love affair between a posh young man and courtesan with TB. Take tissues.

Find a screening near you.


THEATRE: NT Live I’m Not Running, The Brewhouse, Taunton, Thurs 31 Jan

David Hare’s new play live from the National Theatre. Junior doc Pauline Gibson goes from leading a campaign to save her local hospital to becoming an independent MP. In Parliament, she meets an old boyfriend, climbing the ranks of the Labour Party. When pressure mounts for her to run for leadership of the Party, she’s faced with a difficult decision…. On at The Brewhouse and other venues.



Matilda Temperley: A view from the hill,  Somerset Rural Life Museum, Glastonbury,   until Sat 1 June

Tinker’s Bubble

Award-winning documentary and fashion snapper turns her lens on Somerset’s elverers, peat-diggers, cheddar cheese makers, cider farmers, withy growers, changing landscape, alternative communities and annual celebrations.

Find more ideas here

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The Urban Guide to the Countryside - Dorset & Somerset