WATCH THE NUTCRACKER HERE: Picturehouse Cinemas, UK-wide
Picturehouse Cinemas will screen a one-off live performance of the Royal Opera House’s production of The Nutcracker on 10th December across its London and UK venues. The Nutcracker has long been one of the best ways to discover ballet – and this cinema experience makes for a seasonal family treat. Tchaikovsky’s much-loved music is matched to a magical adventure on Christmas Eve for protagonist Clara and her nutcracker doll. Their journey to the Land of Sweets brings with it some of the most familiar of all ballet moments, such as the Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy and the Waltz of the Flowers. Peter Wright’s production for The Royal Ballet keeps true to the spirit of this Russian ballet classic, with period details and dancing snowflakes.
Various locations; 10th December
CHECK OUT MANCHESTER’S HOTTEST NEW RESTAURANT: Dishoom, Manchester
Following a successful soft-launch – which saw the inevitable queues that London fans are well used to – Dishoom Manchester will officially open on 6th December. The ever-popular Irani-Indian restaurant group has based its newest site inside Grade II-listed Manchester Hall. Dishoom will be open from 8am on weekdays and 9am at weekends with a breakfast menu including its famous bacon naans, its lunch and dinner menu will include bites such as okra fries, keema pau and samosas; and main dishes such as biryanis and curries, and a selection of grilled meat and fish dishes. We can’t wait to check out the bar, The Permit Room, for a post-work pick-me-up.
32 Bridge Street, Manchester, M3 3BT; opens 6th December
TAKE AFTERNOON TEA HERE: The Chace Hotel, Coventry
Following the successful launches of Laura Ashley The Tea Room in Solihull and Burnham, the design company has opened a third spot at The Chace Hotel in Coventry. Tastefully decorated in signature Laura Ashley style, the tearoom features stylish home furnishing and accessories – think Belvedere Midnight wallpaper complemented by Pistachio painted walls. The venue overlooks the hotel’s landscaped gardens and serves traditional afternoon tea favourites, including freshly made finger sandwiches, warm scones with clotted cream and fruit preserves, cakes and pastries, plus a glass or champagne or prosecco.
London Road, Coventry, CV3 4EQ
TRY A NEW BAR HERE: The Lost & Found, Sheffield
Mythical professor of horticulture and conservationist Victoria B Darcy is the inspiration behind new restaurant and bar The Lost & Found. Inspired by Sheffield’s heritage and its location near the Botanical Gardens, The Lost & Found juxtaposes industrial elements and raw materials with softer florals, which also make their way into the cocktails. From the heated outdoor patio to the sun-filled conservatory and secret bar, the venue provides the plenty of hideaways for parties. The all-day menu features seasonal fare including wagyu beef burgers, and mussels in a cream and white wine sauce. Come Saturday, tables will be filled with bottomless brunchers tucking into Turkish eggs or buttermilk pancakes while sipping flutes of prosecco or mimosas.
516 Ecclesall Road, Sheffield, S11 8PY
BOOK SOME R&R HERE: Padstow Townhouse, Cornwall
This winter, Cornwall’s Padstow Townhouse is inviting guests to enjoy a self-care break. The perfect place for some much-needed time out, the six-bedroom property, owned by chef Paul Ainsworth, has launched a new menu of non-alcoholic cocktails, while encouraging guests to head out on bracing beach walks and relax with calming in-room treatments. A coastal escape, the luxury bolthole offers space for guests to switch off and spend quality downtime with friends and family. After a bracing walk, guests can warm up at Michelin-starred restaurant Paul Ainsworth at No.6. The final flourish in the self-care ritual arrives in the turndown service which includes a steaming flask of hot chocolate served with homemade macarons.
16-18 High Street, Padstow, PL28 8BB
FEEL FESTIVE HERE: The Ivy, Harrogate
This winter, The Ivy Harrogate is collaborating with Harrogate-based Slingsby Gin to celebrate the brasserie’s first birthday. Until January, The Ivy Harrogate’s garden terrace will be transformed into a beautiful ‘Winter Botanical’ garden. Complete with a floral installation featuring warming winter tones and juniper berries, the terrace will also feature candles, lanterns, fairy lights and cosy rugs to ensure guests are kept warm throughout. Continuing the winter theme, the brasserie’s bar team have worked with Slingsby Gin to create three limited-edition, festive cocktails – ‘Gooseberry Fizz’, ‘Rhubarb & Plum Flip’ and ‘The Harrogate Fog’.
7-9 Parliament Street, Harrogate, HG1 2QU
BOOK AHEAD FOR YOUR TV FAVES HERE: Strictly Come Dancing Live Tour, UK-wide
Strictly fans should pop the upcoming Strictly Come Dancing live tour on their Christmas wish list. The first couples announced to appear on next year’s arena tour are documentary maker Stacey Dooley and Aljaž Škorjanec, This Morning’s Dr Ranj Singh and Janette Manrara, and YouTube sensation Joe Sugg and Dianne Buswell. The trio will be joined by judges Craig Revel Horwood, Dame Darcey Bussell, Shirley Ballas and Bruno Tonioli, plus more celebrities and professional dancers from this year’s series, as they as they cha-cha around the country for 29 shows. After opening in Birmingham, the tour will visit Leeds’ First Direct Arena, Manchester Arena, Liverpool’s Echo Arena, Sheffield’s Fly DSA Arena, The SSE Hydro in Glasgow, Nottingham’s Motorpoint Arena and The SSE Arena, Wembley. The tour culminates with four shows at The O2 Arena on 9th and 10th February.
Various locations; from 18th January
WATCH CINDERELLA HERE: Scottish Ballet, Edinburgh
Devised by Royal New Zealand Ballet in 2007, Scottish Ballet staged the European premiere of Cinderella to widespread acclaim in 2015. This year it’s back for another season, taking in a string of dates at Edinburgh’s Festival Theatre. Christopher Hampson’s Cinderella is everything that’s magic about the classic fairy tale – made fresh, funny and touching. We meet Cinderella at the saddest of times, then see her taken for granted by her wicked stepmother and two nasty stepsisters. But there’s no time for despair: Cinderella’s fairy godmother is casting spells of dressmaker spiders, magical roses and a very special glass slipper. Will love conquer loneliness, and light chase away the dark? Rediscover this classic tale, as Prokofiev’s famous score is performed live by the Scottish Ballet Orchestra.
Festival Theatre, 13-29 Nicolson Street, Edinburgh, EH8 9FT; various dates from 10th-30th December
BE BEWITCHED HERE: Ashmolean Museum, Oxford
Explore the history of magic over eight centuries at the Ashmolean’s Spellbound: Magic, Ritual & Witchcraft exhibition. The intriguing objects on display show how our ancestors used magical thinking to cope with the unpredictable world around them. They range from the fantastical and macabre (a unicorn’s horn, a human heart encased in lead), the beautiful and mysterious (exquisitely engraved rings to bind a lover and medieval books of ritual magic), to the deeply moving confessions of women accused of witchcraft. The exhibition asks us to examine our own beliefs and rituals, and aims to show how, even in this sceptical age, we still use magical thinking and why we might need a bit of magic in our lives.
Beaumont Street, Oxford, OX1 2PH; until 6th January
WATCH A MOVIE MARATHON HERE: Sneaky Experience, Leeds
Sneaky Experience has created the ultimate festive film event on 22nd December. Held at Canal Mills, the team will be showing not one but three seasonal films in one day – Love Actually from 1-4pm; Home Alone from 5-8pm; and Elf from 9pm-12am, followed by an after party. Guests are encouraged to dig out their elf onesies and reindeer antlers to kick off the Christmas season with big laughs, silly jumpers and plenty of street food and drinks.
Canal Mills, Brandon Street, Leeds, LS12 2EB; 22nd December