Exclusive invitaion to SeeN @ Christmas

Written by Kate Wilton on .

Steve Gold

Penny Varley

Sarah B Smith

Claire Reika Wright

Christine O'Sullivan

Exclusive invitation to SeeN @ Christmas

Exhibition of select paintings, photographs prints and ceramics.
At the intimate Coal Wharf Studio, Cropredy OX17 1PN. 
Friday 14th - Sunday 16th December

Please book your place by visiting the website www.seen.uk.net or phone Steve Gold on 07932 164663


What the Dickens?

Written by Jeremy Wilton on .



Visitors to Cherwell will be transported back in time with a series of themed markets being planned for Christmas.

Banbury will host a Victorian Christmas market on Friday, 7 December, when costumed entertainers will wander streets thick with the scent of roasting chestnuts.

The event will take place throughout the town centre and traders are being urged to join in, perhaps dressing up or putting on period window displays.

They have also been invited to have stalls outside their shops and pubs might consider serving mulled wine.

On Saturday, 1 December, Bicester will welcome an Edwardian Christmas market to Sheep Street.

Cherwell District Council lead member for estates and the economy, Councillor Norman Bolster, said: "We are pulling out the stops in a bid to boost trade in the district.

"These events will really get people in the Christmas spirit and with the help of traders we have the chance to create something really special.

"Charles Dickens wrote a series of atmospheric Christmas stories, what better way to bring those alive than a Victorian evening."

A traditional Christmas Fair has been organised to take place in High Street and Watts Way, Kidlington on Friday, 30 November.

These events are being organised in partnership with Banbury Market operator Sketts and the respective town councils.

The Banbury and Bicester markets will run between 9am and 8pm and Kidlington's will be from 9am to 5pm. If they prove successful, the events could take place annually.

The Banbury event already features a Reindeer Trail which will have youngsters trying to spot Rudolph and his friends at stores throughout the town centre for a chance to win vouchers.

Leader of Banbury Town Council, Councillor Kieron Mallon, said: “Banbury’s Christmas market should be a tremendous boost to the town in the run-up to the festive season.

"I hope shoppers will turn out in their thousands to see what is on offer, and will spend money in the town’s shops and at the stalls.

"It will be a wonderful opportunity for shoppers to discover what the old town has to offer, in addition to what is available in Castle Quay.”

Halloween family fun in Shakespeare Country!

Written by Cathy on .

875Celebrate Halloween and the October half term from Saturday 27 October – Sunday 4 November with a host of spooky family events in Shakespeare Country. Carve pumpkins, enjoy family ghost trails, make spooky pom-pom bats, learn how to make potions, repel witches and take part in magic lessons. For the very brave there are plenty of ghost hunts, ghost tours and séances plus a special visit to the haunted Guys Tower at Warwick Castle…...

Thrill seekers and those with an interest in the living dead should head straight to Warwick Castle where The Haunted Castle returns for its 5th year and where a week of ghoulish goings-on will chill you to the bone. For the first time ever, the Castle will stay open until 9pm every night. The Witches of Warwick boasts perhaps the highest fright factor at the Castle and marks its first Halloween by terrifying even the most dedicated scare seekers! The Haunted Hollows Trail returns and once more there will be pumpkins a plenty. Headless spirits will roam the Castle and Warwick's Duelling Dead will perform their dazzling display of swordsmanship. Exclusive for Halloween is a visit to Guys Tower where a paranormal investigator will play some of the weird sounds that have been recorded within the Castle.

Children will enjoy a performance of Claytime, an interactive theatre experience for 3 – 6 year olds in the Swan Room at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre from Monday 29 October – Sunday 4 November. Claytime, the play with clay, was a big hit at the Edinburgh Festival in 2007 and has proved hugely popular with family audiences at venues the length and breadth of the land. Each performance is unique: the story, setting and characters are spontaneously suggested by the audience and modelled out of a mound of clay by the performers.

Help the Apothecary make the potion from Macbeth, see the cauldron bubble and learn about Tudor medicines atShakespeare’s Birthplace. At Nash’s House & New Place match the dates of the coins excavated with important historical events and get hands-on with family archaeology activities. Find out if you would have survived the plague with a quiz at Hall’s Croft. Learn about Tudor superstitions and how to repel witches with a Cottage Trail at Anne Hathaway’s Cottage. On 31 October only – brave a ghost walk at 11.30am and 2.30pm to hear dark tales of bloody deeds and ghostly happenings. Walk a haunted trail at Mary Arden’s Farm plus make soul cakes and carve a pumpkin. On the 2 November at 6pm enjoy some Friday Fright Night fiendish fun with mulled wine and nibbles.

Enjoy 'Model Planes, Creepy Crafts, The Big Draw and more' at the Heritage Motor Centre. There will be a special Halloween themed Museum Trail and craft activities making spooky pom-pom bats and bean-bag witches on Tuesday 30 October. As part of the National Big Draw campaign, the HMC is encouraging families to 'doodle, draw, stick, paint and create' on Thursday 1 November. This year the HMC is including 'Doodle Doors', cut-out 3D Minis, Land Rovers and the chance for children and parents to contribute their artistic flair to the half scale Land Rover model.

Take part in a Halloween Ghost Tour at Kenilworth Castle on Friday 26, Saturday 27 & Wednesday 31 October at 7pm, 8pm and 9pm. Especially for Halloween, join in with an eerie evening tour around the Castle and Gatehouse. Hear tales of dark deeds, ghostly apparitions and scary happenings. A Halloween Family Fun Trail takes place from 27 October - 3 November. Discover spooky secrets, ghastly tales and search the Castle grounds exploring the dark and scary places to find the clues and complete the challenge.

Now in its 7th year, the month long annual Halloween Festival in Stratford-upon-Avon will once again take place at the award winning Creaky Cauldron, Magic Alley and the House of Wizardry from 1 – 31 October. The festival is an absolute must for those interested in ghosts and ghouls! Activities include pumpkin-carving workshops, ghost stories and magical lessons at Magic School plus spook-tacular competitions. There will also be magical street entertainers in Henley Street and "A Fright on the Town" on 31 October where all the family can come dressed up as zombies and witches. Adult activities include overnight Gothic Ghost Hunts and Victorian Séances which take place every weekend in October.

The Falstaff Experience will be hosting special Halloween shows featuring Tudor Crime and Punishment plus quizzes to make the spooky time of year something to remember. By completing the quiz younger guests will receive a Halloween treat. Stratford's most famous son William Shakespeare will be offering special Halloween tours of his hometown every day. The famous Lantern Lit Ghost Tours will also run every night. Take a tour of Stratford with Dashing Jack on hisHaunted Pub Walk on 27 & 31 October. For those feeling brave there will be two overnight Ghost Hunts on 27 & 31 October. New for 2012 is a new Family Friendly Ghost Tour taking place at 5:30pm every evening. Led by Buster, the family friendly interactive active ghost tour will guarantee laughs and thrills for all the family.

Visitors to Ragley Hall can enjoy some additional Halloween fun including 'The Ghostly Garden Walk', Monster Maze Quest and Bat Bike Trail plus pumpkin carving, face painting in the haunted hall and creepy craft activities! An amazing firework display will be held on Saturday 3 November with the bonfire being lit at 6:30pm and fireworks lighting up the skies at 7:30pm. There will also be a fairground, bouncy castles, a huge bouncy slide, quad bikes, a fire eater plus a great selection of food and drink.

Hurry over to Sulgrave Manor near Banbury for a Halloween Spooky Craft Workshop from 29 – 31 October from 11am - 12 noon. From 29 October - 2 November take part in family tours, brass rubbing and games plus enjoy a half term challenge: Hunt for 'Herbie Hedgehog & his friends'!

Guess the weight of the pumpkin at The One Elm in Stratford-upon-Avon from Wednesday 10 October - Wednesday 31 October. The winner will be announced at the pubs big Halloween party on 31 October. All proceeds will go to local charities.

Discover all about ‘Crazy Clay’ on Wednesday 31 October at Market Hall Museum in Warwick and on Thursday 1 November at Stratford-upon-Avon Library. Learn how clay can be used to make useful and decorative objects and see pots, tiles and ceramics from ancient Egypt to modern times! See a magic lantern show from the Banham Collection, held at Warwickshire County Record Office and make a Victorian optical illusion to take home on Friday 2 November at St Johns House Museum in Warwick.

Drop in to the Learning Centre at Compton Verney art gallery to take part in this year's Big Draw. Take a line for a walk by using threads to map out your journey on an aerial view of Compton Verney's grounds.

If you fancy something different for Half Term try Mr Karting's popular School Holiday Special Offer, 3 x 10 minute sessions for just £20.00, All safety equipment supplied and lap time print out at the end of every session. Trophy for fastest boy and girl at the end of the week. Available 10.00 – 17.00 Monday to Friday, advance booking essential.

Children can take part in a Mrs Tiggy-Winkle's Trail workshop at Hill Close Gardens on Thursday 1 November at 10.30am or 2pm. Activities are around the theme of wildlife in the autumn including the habits of the hedgehog.


Rag Rug courses in Four Shires

Written by Jeremy Wilton on .

RagbRag rug workshops are being held at Gloucester Docks on Oct 6th and November 4th.

So now is the time to learn some traditional boaters’ crafts.


There are three fabulous courses:



Traditional “Roses” painting course with Tony Watkins – 20 October.   Cost: £40 all day*



Traditional “Castles” painting course with Tony Watkins – 21 October.  Cost: £40 all day*



Rag rug making with the Boaters Craft  Group - 4 November. Cost: £30 all day, £70 all day 

Tel 01452 318200.



Model Aircraft thrill audiences

Written by Jeremy Wilton on .

AircraftModel aircraft fans will be able to view over 100 large static radio controlled model aircraft when the Heritage Motor Centre hosts the annual ‘Large Model Aircraft Show’ on Sunday 28 October from 10am – 4pm. Organised by The Large Model Association, this exciting premier family event offers visitors the chance to see the models “up close and personal” without the restriction of the flight line fencing at public shows and also speak to the builders and pilots about their projects.  Models on display will include RAF bombers such as the Wellington, Lancaster, Vulcan and Victor with wingspans from 10ft – 22ft. 
  The show will also have a huge trade area offering everything from miniature propellers to small jet engines and pre-assembled models - everything you need to get a flying start in a new hobby! Visitors can also enjoy model building demonstrations plus try their hand on the radio controlled model aircraft simulator. There will also be engine start up demonstrations and the cinema will show footage of the planes flying during the show season.
  Emma Rawlinson, Event Executive at the Heritage Motor Centre stated “The Large Model Aircraft show is a very popular show celebrating the design, build and flying of large model aircraft. If you want a really enjoyable day out, you can literally spend the entire day looking at the wide variety of cars in the Museum, the exceptional range of models in the static display and spend a little on that winter project you have been dreaming about all summer!”
  Normal entry fees apply giving access to the museum and the Large Model Aircraft Show.  Entry fees are: Adults priced at £11, Children priced at £8 (5-16 years) under 5’s are free, Concessions are priced at £9 and a Family ticket is priced at £34. Discount prices are available for LMA & BMFA members on production of their current membership card - £8 for 2 people.
  For more information about the Heritage Motor Centre please visit www.heritage-motor-centre.co.uk or call 01926 641188. For more information about the Large Model Association please visit www.largemodelassociation.com