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What’s on in Northants this December

And just like that... here we are in December and, oh boy, it's a good one. There are loads of brilliant events happening so scroll on to find the festive fun.

MUDDY’S PICK OF THE MONTH

Lap of Lights, Silverstone Circuit, until 3 Jan

We’re getting all revved up for Silverstone Circuit‘s Lap of Lights, which is back for a second year after 2020’s sell-out success. If you’re still shielding this is a lovely way to get festive whilst not actually having to leave your car, and even if you’re not so worried, it’s an absolutely banger of a show. You’ll follow Santa on his journey across the globe (and have the chance to drive around the world-famous race-track) plus, new for this year, there’s an ice-rink in the iconic pit lane (you will need to get out of the car for that one), axe-throwing, curling, a kids’ movie area and a huge ski-lodge style après bar with food, drink and live music (Read our review here).

EXHIBITIONS

Northampton  Museum

As part of the 60 miles by Rail or Road intergenerational arts and heritage project, which explores Northampton’s New Town heritage, People and Personalities of Northampton’s Eastern District goes on display in a new exhibition at Northampton Museum & Art Gallery. Award-winning photographer Christian Sinibaldi and the 60 Miles by Rail or Road community, arts & heritage project have captured portraits of the people and personalities currently living on New Town estates in Northampton’s Eastern District, with over 200 portraits featured and capturing 190 residents across Northampton with their own voices and stories. Until 17 December.

It’s time to get euphoric at the MK Gallery from 4 Dec – 23 Jan, with a free exhibition Sanctuary: The Unlikely Home of British Rave. Asking how an unsuspecting Milton Keynes warehouse become one of the UK’s largest and most beloved rave venues, this examines the pioneering nightlife history of the city alongside a new documentary film by Turner Prize winning artist Jeremy Deller, Everybody in the Place: An Incomplete History of Britain 1984-1992.

MK Gallery‘s other big exhibition Laura Knight, A Panoramic View, charts pioneering 20th century artist Laura Knight’s glass-ceiling-smashing career, on until 20 Feb. Read our review here.

The Heseltine Open Exhibition 2021 continues at The Heseltine Gallery in Middleton Cheney, showcasing work by local artists and it’s all available to buy, so you can get your cultural Christmas pressies in the bag. Runs until 16 Dec.

IT’S CHRISTMAAAS

Delapre Winter light trail

Delapré Abbey‘s Winter Light Trail in Northampton is a festive wonderland, with a magical light installation throughout the woodland, walled garden and abbey grounds with tunnels of light, soundscapes and larger than life illuminations. Until 2 Jan.

Rockingham Castle‘s Victorian Christmas event continues from 2-5 Dec. With candle lit trees, roaring fires and period costumes you’ll be transported back to Christmas Eve 1849 and entertained by servants’ stories of Victorian family life, plus there’ll be plenty of festive food on the menu.

There’s loads happening at Rushden Lakes this month so why not make a day (or two) of it and nail Christmas all in one go? The Nene Wetlands Festive Weekend takes place on Sat 4 and Sun 5 Dec. The Visitor Centre will have live music, festive crafts, sustainable shopping and free mulled wine and mince pies (only if you get there before I do!). Then the Handmade and Vintage Fair returns for a Christmas extravaganza on 4-5 and 11-12 Dec, with loads of stalls from local artisans and producers.

Our pals at Ironstone Wellbeing in Kettering will be joined by Santa’s little helpers on 10 Dec for their annual Elf Day fundraiser in aid of Alzheimer Society. Head on over for their Christmas market with loads of gorgeous local brands, exercise classes and therapies to try out and make sure you book classes in advance.

The lovely people at Woodhouse Toad in Preston Capes will have Christmas stalls, food and real Christmas trees to take home on 4 & 5 and 11 & 12, 2-6.30pm, alongside their usual outdoor cooking paraphernalia (there’s surely never a bad time to buy a firepit?).

Beautiful Lamport Hall‘s Christmas Market takes place 4 & 5 Dec, showcasing over 90 stalls selling jewellery, gifts, arts and crafts and artisan foods and loads more, plus refreshments from Saul’s of Spratton to keep your shopping energy level’s on point. The Hall and Garden will also be open to visitors, with a separate entry fee. Then take a deep dive into the imagery of the Twelve Days of Christmas carol in a talk with Art Historian Conny Bailey at Lamport on 11 Dec and find out more about what all those birds and leaping lords actually mean. Wine included, count me in.

FOOD AND DRINK

Muddled Lime at Ruby and Claret

Muddy favourites Muddled Lime Fine Cocktails are taking over Ruby and Claret in Earls Barton! Well, for the night anyway. Head to the Best Bar in Northants (Muddy Awards 2021) on Sat 4 Dec for deli boards and cocktails a-plenty! Book your tickets in advance here. Muddled Lime‘s Cocktail and Tapas nights at Pohutukawa in Long Buckby always get booked up well in advance, so make sure you don’t miss out and reserve your table pronto. Every Fri and Sat evening.

Stretchy waistbands at the ready for Bite Street’s Festive Weekend at the County Ground on 3 & 4 Dec, with Bottomless Brunch on the Saturday afternoon for pre-booked slots only. Tickets get you bottomless Prosecco and beer plus a main dish and there’s a DJ playing all afternoon for party vibes.

Then head to Silverstone Distillery on Sat 11 Dec, 12-2pm for a Very Merry Afternoon G & Tea event from Muddy favourites The Copper Kitchen and Amy’s Vintage Teas. Cake with gin, you say? Don’t mind if we do. On Sat 18 Dec, the bar at Silverstone Distillery will be open for Christmassy cocktails from Muddled Lime using Silverstone Distillery’s own Muddy Award winning spirits. Tom Cruise eat your heart out! No booking is required but guests must be aged 18 or over.

ON STAGE

It’s panto season! Oh no it isn’t… (budum-tish!) and there are some cracking productions lined up. Sleeping Beauty opens at the Castle Theatre in Wellingborough on Sat 4 Dec, then there’s a drag-tastic version of Sleeping Beauty starring Ru Paul’s Drag Race favourite Divina De Campo on at Core at Corby Cube (17-31 Dec). Over at the Royal and Derngate in Northampton it’s Dick Whittington (9 Dec-2 Jan), starring the one and only Mister Maker (if you know, you know), and little ones will love the stage production of Julia Donaldson’s modern classic The Gruffalo, on at the R&D from 13 Dec-1 Jan.

Head to Lamport Hall for a new adaptation of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. Set in the historic stately home, this interactive performance allows the audience to move through the house, stepping into Victorian London to follow Ebenezer Scrooge on his haunted journey of redemption. 17-19 Dec, matinee and evening performances.

MUSIC

Lamport Hall Christmas

Lamport Hall (above), always huge supporters of the performing arts, will host Music Before Christmas with Fiori Musicali, Fri 10 Dec, 7-9pm. This pre-Christmas concert by the fire in the Oak Room will include music by some of the masters of the Baroque (Vivaldi, Monteverdi, Buxtehude and Corelli). Ticket entry includes a glass of mulled wine and a mince pie, sounds right up our festive street. Then head to the beautiful Evenley Wood Garden, just outside Brackley, on 16 Dec for a Christmas Carol Concert with the Phoenix Singers chamber choir and refreshments.

FURTHER AFIELD

At Waddesdon ManorChristmas lasts until 23 Jan. Expect a stonker of a Christmas light trail, and charming wooden chalets harking fragrant festive food along with local artisan gifts.

Christmas at Blenheim Palace lasts until 2 Jan and involves an after-dark illuminated trail, winter street food, and the story of The Nutcracker re-imagined within the Palace’s rooms. The bustling Christmas market likewise runs until 19 Dec.

The Banbury Choral Society is putting on a Christmas performance including singing Vivaldi’s Gloria, Chilcott’s The Lily and The Rose, and a load of familiar Christmas carols. It’s at St Mary’s Church on 4 Dec 7.30-10pm and costs £5 a ticket.

Bletchley Park‘s Christmas celebrations include a lost toy trail, festive afternoon tea and grotto, plus there’s a festive drop-in codebreaking workshop 18-23 and 28-30 Dec, suitable for children aged 7+, accompanied by an adult.

Bridge Street Community Garden in Banbury has everyone in the house – and garden – covered this Christmas, with its workshop this Sat 4 Dec, making edible Christmas decorations for birds. During the drop-in, 11am-1pm, you can make Christmas ornaments out of popcorn, raisins, seeds, and dehydrated oranges to hang outside. There’s also an outdoor option, if weather allows, to help build their planters and get them ready for planting up in the spring.

BOOK NOW

MUSIC: Music Plus Sport, Franklin’s Gardens, various dates

Already dreaming of summer? We hear ya! There are two fabulous concerts at Franklin’s Gardens in Northampton this June, so book ‘em now to make sure you don’t miss out. Catch Pete Tong & The Heritage Orchestra on 24 June, followed by the loveable Olly Murs plus special guests The Feeling on 25 June. Hot weather, we’re soooo ready for you! 

More festive fun times

Silverstone Lap of Lights

The Best Places in Northants to get your Christmas tree

Festive Light Trails in Northants and Beyond

Where to go Ice-Skating

Party Season Essentials to add to your Beauty Bag

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