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Things to do this month: December

Festive fun – Christmas lights, fashion, theatre, drive-in cinema, night-time train rides (not forgetting panto) – this month around Somerset and Dorset

ART: Wish List, Andelli Art, South Horrington, near Wells, Weds 2 – Mon 21 Dec

Ellie has curated a selection of unique, inspiring and unexpected gifts from 19th and 20th century and contemporary art, to studio pottery, folk art and collectibles. Open Tues to Sat, 10am – 5pm.

LIVE ONLINE THEATRE: The Flying Lovers of Vitebsk, Bristol Old Vic, live Thurs 3 – Sat 5 Dec; on demand Fri 11 – Fri 18 Dec

Bristol Old Vic/Kneehigh/Wise Children production traces partners in life and on canvas, Marc and Bella Chagall, as they navigate the Pogroms, the Russian Revolution and each other, with music and dance inspired by Russian Jewish traditions. Sounds awesome.

THEATRE: Oleanna, Theatre Royal Bath, Thurs 3 Dec – Sat 16 Jan 2021

A seemingly innocuous conversation between a college prof and his female student warps into a nightmare which threatens to destroy them both, when she files a claim of sexual harassment against him. Fascinating to see David Mamet’s 30-year-old play from the perspective of the #MeToo era.

OUTDOORS: Bath Christmas Light Trail, around the city centre, from Thurs 3 Dec

The city all lit up, especially around Abbey Churchyard, Abbey Green, Kingston Parade, Kingsmead Square, Old Bond Street, Northumberland Place and SouthGate Bath.

OUTDOORS: Christmas at Stourhead, Stourhead Estate, Stourton, near Mere, Fri 4 Dec – Sun 3 Jan 2021

Surround yourself with sparkles in the grounds of the National Trust property. We went last year and it was truly, madly, magical. Follow the trail through a tunnel made up of thousands of fairy lights, past giant baubles and snowflakes, a fire garden, trees draped in lights, a field of lights, and I’ll wager a million more lights, reflected in the lake. Mulled wine and hot choc to go with, and accompanied by an atmospheric soundtrack. Book tickets.

LIVE PANTO: Rapunzel, Weymouth Pavilion, Fri 4 Dec – Sat 2 Jan 2021

You and your bubble can let down your hair (socially distanced, of course) at the Pavillion. Relaxed performance on Tues 29 Dec and adults-only show Weds 30 Dec, Fri 1, Sat 2 and Sun 3 Jan.

OUTDOORS: Steam and Lights, Swanage Railway, Swanage, Sat 5 – Weds 30 Dec

Last few tickets aboard a steam train festooned with lights wending its way through the Dorset countryside past the atmospheric ruins of Corfe Castle at night on an hour-long trip.

FASHION: Bristol Preloved Vintage Kilo Sale, Bristol Beacon, Bristol, Sun 6 Dec

Know the drill? Rummage amongst t6 tonnes of quality vintage clobber from around the world and pay by the weight – £15/kilo – for what you buy. Sartorial delights, as cheap as chips.

ONLINE THEATRE: Raymond Briggs’ Father Christmas, Tobacco Factory Theatres, Weds 9 – Thurs 24 Dec

Photo Richard Lakos

A grumpy but loveable Father Christmas gets ready for his busiest day of the year. The show, with fab puppets and terrific tunes, has been a regular at the Hammersmith Lyric for years but this production has been specifically designed to be watched in your own home (and as many times as you like for the duration of the run). Age 8 and under.

FASHION: Paul Smith Warehouse Sale, Kilver Court Designer Village, Shepton Mallet, Thurs 10 – Mon 14 Dec

Last few tickets only! Men’s and women’s clothing, accessories and shoes from Paul Smith (an incredible 50 years in the biz this year!) with up to 80% off RRP. Entry by pre-booked slot only, with the £3 fee donated to The Shepton Mallet Food Bank.

OUTDOORS: Ignite at Kingston Lacy, Wimborne Minster, Fri Dec 11 & weekends leading up to Christmas & New Year

The garden and parklands at the National Trust property will be lit up with lights and lanterns, with stars and spheres, fiery fish, fairies and giant sculpted willow wildlife.

FILM: FilmBath Festival, Green Park Station, Bath, Fri 11 – Weds 16 Dec

Nine brilliant new films projected onto a 26-foot screen, with sound broadcasted to personal receivers, so you can listen on your own headphones. Hint: bring a cushion if you’re seeing more than one film. See the programme and buy tickets

LIVE PANTO: Nurse Nellie Saves Panto, Octagon Theatre, Yeovil, assorted dates between Fri 11 Dec – Sun 3 Jan 2021

When a baddie steals the joy from Christmas, it’s Nurse Nellie to the rescue (oh yes it is!). The Octagon’s famed for its trad pantos so not to disappoint, writer Paul Hendy and some of the regulars are back for a special, socially distanced, 70-minute romp with everyone’s fave panto moments.

OUTDOORS: Festive Lights, Frogmary Green Farm, South Petherton, Weds & Fri eves throughout Dec

Take an evening stroll around the gardens and arboretum – they’re all lit up! The Field & Farm cafe is open for winter treats. It’s free and you can just rock up.

MARKET: Christmas market, Shire Hall Historic Courthouse, Dorchester, Sat 12 & Sun 13 Dec

Thirty local biz selling their wares, might be worth a look for pressies? Have a peep into the historic prison cells while you’re there.

DRIVE IN PANTO & CINEMA: Cinderella and Christmas films, Adventure Wonderland car park, Christchurch, Sat 12 Dec – Sun 3 Jan 2021

A combo of pre-recorded panto on screen and stand-up comedy, karaoke carol singing, car bingo for Cinderella and a long list of seasonal and blockbuster films.

KIDS: David Baddiel, Bath Forum, Sat 12 Dec

The man’s in town to talk about his new kids’ book Future Friend, a humourous time-slip adventure about friendship.

LIVE THEATRE: Bea and the Winter Winds, Merlin Theatre, Frome, Weds 16 – Sat 19 Dec

A magical musical play about a little girl’s journey of discovery, deceit and adventure. Three shows each day with a relaxed performance on Sat 19 Dec.

LIVE THEATRE: The Play that Goes Wrong, Theatre Royal Bath, Thurs 17 Dec – Sat 16 Jan 2021

The Cornley Polytechnic Drama Society are putting on a 1920s murder mystery but guess what – it all goes (hilariously, natch) wrong. Age 8+

ONLINE THEATRE: Living Spit’s Beauty and the Beast, Bristol Old Vic, Fri 18 Dec – 9 Jan

Disney-defying version of the classic French tale about what it means to be truly beautiful in the 18th century. Age 12+

LIVE PANTO: Happy Ever After, Lighthouse Poole, Fri 18 Dec – Sun 3 Jan 2021

One for the littlies: CBeebies favourite Chris Jarvis and CBBC presenters Naomi Wilkinson and Ed Petrie a in a one-hour Christmas show with songs, jokes and just a smidge of panto.

LIVE PANTO: Aladdin, McMillan Theatre, Bridgwater, Fri 18 – Tues 29 Dec

The show must go on! Socially distanced Aladdin and the gang for family bubbles. Live stream if you prefer.

DRIVE IN CINEMA: Christmas films, Mount Pleasant Park & Ride, Weymouth, Sat 19 – Thurs 24 Dec

Some of the classic Christmas flicks, including Home Alone, Polar Express, The Holiday, Arthur Christmas, and of course, a singalong Frozen …. but you won’t be, all cosy in your car.

DRIVE-IN PANTO: Horrible Christmas, The Royal Bath & West Showground, Shepton Mallet, Tues 22 Dec

The inimitable Horrible Histories are supposed to be for kids but I love them. In this show, when Christmas comes under threat from a jolly man dressed in red it’s up to a young boy to save the day. Cue a rollicking tour through the history of Christmas in the company of Charles Dickens, Oliver Cromwell, King Henry VIII, St Nicholas and more.


MARKET: Bath Christmas Market, until Fri 1 Jan 2021

bath market
Paper Star Lights

Browse the myriad of local makers and producers that usually set up shop in little wooden chalets at the famous Christmas market from your sofa. You’ll have to provide your own mulled wine this yeqr though.

ART: Bath Society of Artists: Virtual Open Exhibition 2020, Victoria Art Gallery, Bath, until Sun 3 Jan 2021

Rooftop, Rodden, Frome by Amanda Bee

The annual Bath Society of Artists exhibition goes online – and all the stuff’s for sale. Up for some arty Chrimbo shopping?

Find more ideas here

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