The Herts magazine with the information young families want
FREE Issue No.35 Nov/Dec 2010
Out & About: Pantos, carol concerts, Christmas fairs, firework displays, festivals, Christmas lights switch-ons and lots more!
Win Hamleys vouchers worth ÂŁ250 Two digital camcorders worth ÂŁ149 each to be won Four Christmas DVD sets to be won
20 th Anniversary!
Next Issue Jan/Feb: Nurseries
Deadline for Jan/Feb: 3rd December
From your Editor …
In this issue:
Where are we?
It’s November and we’re heading towards the deepest, darkest winter – short days and long nights. Happily, we have the warmth and shining lights of Christmas/ Chanukah/Diwali* beckoning along the way to give some respite. (*delete as appropriate) As always, we put a lot of effort into producing our Out & About section, especially at this time of year. We’ve squeezed in as much as space would allow and there is more online at www.familiesherts.co.uk. Did you notice the flash on the front cover? Yes, Families has turned 20 (don’t we look good?) and Families Herts is very proud to be part of a group of such vibrant and dynamic magazines. Enjoy the festive season, have a wonderful Christmas break and New Year.
News & Views Education
From Birth to Teens: The Many Benefits to Children of Reading
8 10 10 11
Christmas Gift Guide Competitions
Baldock, Borehamwood, Chorleywood, Harpenden, Hatfield, Hemel Hempstead, Hertford, Hitchin, Kings Langley, Knebworth, Letchworth, Radlett, St Albans, Stevenage, Ware, Welwyn GC. Pick it up from cafes, playgroups, nurseries, schools, activity groups, selected children’s shops, surgeries, leisure centres and libraries. Get in touch to request copies for your venue.
Tilly in the Village
Don’t miss a copy
Families Herts by post for just (£9.30 for 6 issues (1 year) or £18 for 12 issues (2 years). Call or email for a subscription form.
Out & About
Families Herts, PO Box 434, Pinner, HA5 9AH Tel/Fax: 020 8428 6384 firstname.lastname@example.org www.familiesherts.co.uk
20 th Anniversary!
Copy deadline for Jan/Feb: 3rd December
News & Views
Families Magazines Celebrates Twenty Years!
oday, Families Herts is part of a thriving group of franchised magazines across the UK from the Solent to Fife, but twenty years ago it was a much smaller operation. Starting as Families® South West (London) the first issue was published in October 1990. It was a cut and paste affair (meaning actual
scissors and glue) in black and white with a small print run of only 4,000 copies. Today’s colour magazine was first seen in October 2000. Families started franchising the magazine in 1995, when the experts at the time said that “it would never work in publishing”. There are now 30 editions of Families in the UK and across the group, well over 500,000 copies are printed every issue. Throughout this successful period of growth Families has always remained true to the original thinking; it is a hands-on magazine for busy mums with useful information, centred on the local community.
Going on-line and interactive We’ve had a web presence since 1997 and
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our own site www.familiesonline.co.uk was launched in 2000. Last December saw a massive re-launch of the website which is a powerful resource that reaches into nearly all areas of the UK. Go to Familiesherts.co.uk, your local section, for local articles and listings. Register as a user and you will get a list of relevant companies local to you at the end of your chosen articles - the info comes to you – it’s that simple. Plus, you can enter all of our brilliant competitions and reader offers. We think (well, of course we would!) that Families magazines, in print and online, are now, and will always be, the best source of local information about news, events and attractions for parents. Well done, you’re reading the right publication.
News & Views
Best Goes Top Marks Wild (West) for Top Hat Here’s an update on the performance by students of Top Hat Stage and Screen School at the London Palladium on 18th July. The show was staged in memory of Tracy Kindley, mum to Top Hat Student, Max (aged 14) and also to support Breakthrough Breast Cancer. Over 350 students (aged 9-17 years) performed to 1,600 people in this musical variety show. They were supported by a live band and celebrity stars including Zoe Tyler (Loose Women), Ray Quinn, Deborah Stevenson and Tom Law (Eastenders). So far, £8,000 has been raised. Donations
First Class, Best Theatre Arts’ classes for 4 to 6 year olds in St Albans and Hertford, are pioneering their way into the Wild West following a summer under the waves. “Our Funky Fish Tale summer course was a wonderful way to finish three fantastic weeks of fun! Now it’s term-time we're exploring the world of cowboys and cowgirls for a showing to parents at Christmas. We always try to have themes that leave us plenty of room for fun and imagination,” says Annette Holland, Best’s Principal, “and this term we’ve been trying some line dancing!” Best’s summer courses were a huge success and Best is planning an ‘early bird’ discount for next year’s courses. Provisional dates are 11-15 April (Spring), 1 - 5 August, 8 - 13 August, 15 19 August (Summer). There are limited spaces available in First Class in St Albans and Hertford for 4 to 6 year olds, and also a few in the Best schools for 6 to 16 year olds. Call Liz on 01442 866118 (email@example.com) or go to www.besttheatrearts.com to find out more.
are still being accepted and you can donate at www.justgiving.com/tophatatthepalladium to support this worthy cause. To find out more about Top Hat’s term time classes and holiday courses go to www.tophatstageschool.co.uk
Safe Cycle Route for Children The Fundamentals Foundation, a local organisation based in Kimpton, have launched an ambitious project to develop a cycle route for children living in and around Kimpton. The aim is for children to be able to cycle safely to their secondary schools in Harpenden. The path will be open to all so that individuals and families can explore the countryside and drivers and residents will benefit from less rush hour traffic. The ultimate goal is to develop a network of cycle routes linking rural communities to Harpenden and other areas. To find out more, the local community turned out for a lovely October walk along one potential route. Setting off after breakfast at the White Horse the group wandered gently up to the Cross Keys in Gustard Wood for coffee and muffins, then along through Mackerye End down into Harpenden ending up at the Amble Inn for a BBQ.
If you would be interested to help with this project or wish to find out more email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01438 831204.
For inclusion in News & Views pages please ring 020 8428 6384
News & Views Monkey Music Wins National Award
Tessa Osborne and Nina Davis who run Monkey Music classes in St Albans and Harpenden are thrilled that Monkey Music has won ‘The Best National Pre-schooler Development Activity’ category of ‘The What’s On 4 Little Ones Awards’ . The winners were presented with their award by Phil Gallagher from CBeebies’ ‘Mister Maker’. The ear is the first organ to develop fully in the womb, enabling babies to take comfort in the music of their mother’s voice at just 11 weeks. All children are born with instinctive musicality but only if this is encouraged early enough will a child fulfil their full musical potential. One parent commented that, “We have been going to Monkey Music classes since my child was 4 months old. His concentration and listening skills are highly developed as a result
of the high quality and structured teaching that he experiences.” To find out more about Monkey Music and to book your complimentary trial class call Nina on 0845 680 0248 for Harpenden area classes or Tessa on 01727 831 867 for St Albans area classes or visit www.monkeymusic.co.uk
Sculpture Trail Opens A group of 7 and 8 year olds from St John the Baptist C of E Primary School in Great Amwell have worked with sculpture, Maxine King, and have created thirty-one bronzes inspired by Henry Moore. The bronzes have been placed along a five mile sculpture trail which follows a route through town and country. The children were amazed to discover their fantastical creations along the route, some hidden in trees and others camouflaged beside rivers. Starting at Great Amwell, the trail
meanders along New River to Ware and finishes at Hertford Castle. It's a great family day out with lots of interesting places along the way and it can also be explored as a shorter walk. Leaflets with a map of the sculpture trail are available from Tourist Information, libraries, museums and public buildings in Ware and Hertford.
Panto Mad –
Cinders at the Campus Conjure up the magic of Christmas with ‘Cinderella’ the world’s greatest fairytale. Produced by ’Mad About Productions’ and directed by Michael Courtney (nominated as the UK ‘Producer Of The Year’) it stars Bobby Dazzler of ‘Hearbeat’ and ‘Emmerdale’. Bobby Dazzler as Button s This family pantomime at the Hawthorne Theatre at Campus West, Welwyn Garden City promises to be a stunning show with music, magic and mayhem, special effects, breathtaking sets, loads of laughs and lavish costumes it’s bound to be a Christmas treat for the whole family. Schools tickets are just £7, Family ticket available from £46. To book call the Box Office ong 01707 357117 or to book online and pick your own seats go to www.welhat.gov.uk/cw
or email email@example.com
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Older children’s programme now available, all levels, all ages!
Education From Birth to Teens: The Many Benefits to Children of Reading. Snuggling up with your child, opening a book and sharing a magical place together helps to build a strong parent/child bond. Reading to your child helps to develop language, improve listening skills and strengthen a sense of curiosity. There’s no wonder that children whose parents read to them perform better in school. Reading is equally important for older children. Recreational reading produces many benefits; it builds intellect and gives children the tools to succeed at school, later on at work and in life generally. The problem is finding “the book” that will fire your child’s imagination. It is important to choose books that provide your children with an imaginative journey of discovery, books that will make them laugh out loud or think about the world around them. When young readers are hooked on a story they read more fluently, because they want to read! Here are some suggestions from David’s Bookshop in Letchworth.
Infant – Toddler: Even newborn babies can benefit from looking at books and from being read to and what could be nicer than putting your feet up for ten minutes and introducing your baby to the wonderful world of books? Your child’s first books will be chewed, misused but very much loved. Try these: My Animals by Xavier Deneux The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle. Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown
Preschool: For this age range there is an abundance of picture books with wonderfully imaginative stories as well as ones mirroring the everyday experiences of childhood. Dinosaurs Love Underpants by Clare Freedman. Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak Dogger by Shirley Hughes.
Young Readers: It is easy to fall into the trap of concentrating on school reading schemes with their easy to follow progression but there are lots of interesting reads which will help your child to become a fluent reader. Series such as Beast Quest by Adam Blade, Rainbow Fairies by Daisy Meadows & Magic Puppy/ Kitten/ Pony by Sue Bentley provide fun stories with the added benefit to the child of knowing that there is yet another one to be enjoyed. Or try these: Flat Stanley by Jeff Brown You’re a Bad Man, Mr Gum by Andy Stanton
Confident Readers: There is a huge selection of fantasies, thrillers and historical novels to grab the attention of the age group that really begins to enjoy reading on their own. Try: The Illustrated Mum by Jacqueline Wilson Framed by Frank Cottrell Boyce Journey to the River Sea by Eva Ibbotson
Young Adult: This category helps teenagers make an easier transition to the adult world of books, but why not try some yourself – you will be surprised at the range The Boy in Striped Pyjamas by John Boyne Northern Lights by Phillip Pullman The Bride’s Farewell by Meg Rosoff. A note of caution: Be careful trying to introduce the books you loved as a child to your own children. Sometimes older classics, which were very satisfying to one generation, can be a turn-off to the next. Every child is different in their reading ability and their interests, and parents need to take their cue from their child. Be sure to check the David’s website at www.davids-bookshops.co.uk for details of the activities and children’s author visits that happen on a regular basis at the bookshop in Letchworth.
To read a longer version of this article go to www.familiesherts.co.uk/DavidsBookshop 6
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Christmas Gift Guide Toy experts, Hamleys, have compiled this exclusive gift guide to give you some ideas, a little inspiration and to ease you into the seasonal spirit. by Holly Wadsworth-Hill
The nights have drawn in, there’s a magical feel to the chill in the air and there’s more than one kind of wrapping-up on everyone’s mind. It can only mean one thing... Christmas is on its way! Whether that fills you with ho, ho, hos or Scrooge-like groans, we hope this fun-filled guide to all things festive, will help make this year a Christmas to remember...
It’s the thought that counts... Recent economic difficulties have triggered a new approach to consumption. Many of us are seeking out quality purchases that will stand the test of time. Whilst the latest crazes and popular characters have their place, children are harder to please than ever before. They like to be entertained but they thrive on interaction, they will happily watch but they learn quicker from doing, they benefit from competition but they enjoy team work. Classic toys have timeless appeal because they offer children all this and are therefore proving their worth to a new generation. So, this year why not focus on something they will treasure for many Christmasses to come...
Top 10 This year’s most-wanted:
1. Toy Story 3 Buzz Lightyear Action Figure 2. Dr Who Sonic Screwdriver
3. Ben 10 Ultimate Alien Disc Ultimatrix
4. Beyblade Metal Fusion Super Vortex Battle Set
5. Barbie Video Girl 6. VTech Storio Animated Phonics Book 7. Kung Zhu Hamsters
3 Games Chest £60 Enjoy a gaming adventure with this classic wooden gaming chest. Open the sliding drawers to reveal a smorgasbord of fun with 10 of the world's greatest games! Includes chess, mancala, backgammon, solitaire, tic-tac-toe and lots more to keep the very young and most experienced young-at-heart entertained!
8. Armouron Action Set 9. VTech Kidizoom Video Camera
10..Monopoly Revolutions Board Game
New additions may be oblivious to the seasonal chaos but you’ll remember their first Christmas forever. Nothing says ‘I love you’ like a keepsake or something they can cherish for years to come.
Alphabet Blocks £17 Painted with bright colours, clear letters and imaginative illustrations these wooden blocks can help little children when learning letters, colours and much more besides.
A Hamleys History …
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My First Dolly £19 My First Dolly will be loved by all. She is so squeezably soft that little arms will adore snuggling up to her. Dressed beautifully, she has wild hair that little hands will love to touch and tug!
Deadline for Jan/Feb: 3rd December
Christmas Gift Guide T is for trouble and toddlers! Busy little hands are into all things naughty as well as nice, so classic toys should be at the top of the list. The educational benefits and development of imagination and play skills from these toys are extensive but cleverly masked behind the colour, fun and excitement that toddlers crave.
Christmas Checklist Assuming you’ve got the obvious like the turkey and tree under control, this checklist covers the trimmings! Sellotape – (Yes, you probably did already buy some but no, it won’t be where you left it and it’s not likely to be enough). Batteries of all shapes and sizes – (No one wants a room full of redundant, lifeless toys on Christmas morning).
Teaching Clock £14 Hamleys colourful Fun to Learn Teaching Clock helps teach time, number and letter recognition, as well as developing motor and problem solving skills through play. (Made from FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certified wood).
Wooden London Bus £32.50 The wheels on the bus go round and round! The top of this traditional big red bus opens to reveal 24 little wooden passengers and one cheerful driver. Great for developing hand to eye co-ordination. (Made from FSC certified wood).
Carrot, mince pie and a tipple for Santa and his merry team of reindeer – (They’ll need it after months of preparation and expense). Breakfast – (toast doesn’t cut it on Christmas morning, stock up on their favourites and don’t forget some strong coffee beans for the bleary eyed adults). Pen and paper to hand – (Father Christmas may be the hero of the hour but don’t forget to note down family and friends who’ve also treated the little one’s in preparation for the writing of...)
For him Boys of all ages need to be kept busy and love fun and games that they can really get stuck into. If he can burn off some energy, create mess and make some noise, he’ll be in his element!
Thank-you notes – (Try making your own from discarded wrapping paper – a great way to wind them down after all that excitement!) Post-party clean up ammunition – (Your house will probably be broken within 10 minutes of children waking up on Christmas morning. Put it back together again for guests with a hefty supply of recycling bags etc).
Jet Plane Set £55 The Playmobil Jet Plane Set is great for developing thinking processes and encouraging creative play. This exciting Playmobil play set is a hit with boys and girls alike.
Wooden Garage £65 This brightly coloured garage has three levels, multi-storey graphics and realistic features throughout. There are loads of games and adventures to be had with this traditional role-play garage.
For her Sugar and spice and all things nice, most of the time anyway! Creativity is a girl’s best friend; indulge her imagination with everything from dressing-up costumes, role-play sets and arts and crafts.
WIN £250 of Hamleys vouchers.
To celebrate 250 years of The Finest Toys in the World, Hamleys have teamed up with Families Herts to give you the chance to win £250 of Hamleys vouchers.
Dolly Tea Set £10 Time for tea anyone? This enchanting Hamleys tea set comes in a cute carry case, so it's perfect for taking to friends' houses and keeps everything safe and tidy when little one's aren't busy entertaining.
My Balleria Doll £12 My Little Ballerina Doll is so pretty, soft and cuddly, she’s perfect for hugs! From the Sweet Peas collection, this doll is great for encouraging imagination and nurturing role-play skills.
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To enter log on to www.familiesherts. co.uk/competitions Vouchers can be used online at www.hamleys.com or in one of their UK stores. Closing date: 8th December. See online for full Terms and Conditions.
Win great prizes for the whole family! Enter online at www.familiesherts.co.uk
Two digital camcorders worth £149 each to be WON from Metanium Metanium – Nappy Rash Ointment From birth to one year, babies change and grow rapidly. It’s a time when you don’t want to miss a single moment or spend time worrying about nappy rash. Metanium – Nappy Rash Experts – are offering two lucky Families Herts readers the chance to win a pocket sized high definition video camera (RRP around £149) to capture all those magic moments. The first six entries will receive a Metanium Busy Baby Wall Planner (RRP £9.99). Metanium
Win one of four pairs of classic Christmas DVDs: The Snowman & Father Christmas Adapted from the best selling book by Raymond Briggs, the Snowman has been loved by children and parents for over 30 years and shows no sign of waning. In recognition of the huge and loyal following for ‘The Snowman’ film, Universal Pictures (UK) is releasing a Special Edition DVD on 15 November. It comes with a Christmas Colouring Fun book, plus a sticker set of classic scenes from ‘The Snowman’, perfect for keeping the kids entertained this Christmas.
The Snowman is a heart melting story of the brief but magical friendship between a little boy named James and his Snowman. On the same date Universal Pictures (UK) is also re-releasing
Tilly in the Village
Nappy Rash Ointment is licensed specifically to treat nappy rash. Its unique, gentle formula allows the skin to “breathe” whilst protecting it from further irritation. Metanium should be used at the very first signs of nappy rash to help bring rapid and soothing relief from itching and chafing. Only a pea sized amount of Metanium is needed to treat the sore areas and it can be used from birth onwards. Always read the label. Metanium 30g costs around £3.49 and can be bought from most pharmacies and online at www.boots.com another Raymond Briggs children’s classic, ‘Father Christmas’. After a hard night’s work Father Christmas decides to go on holiday. He returns home and settles down to answer his mail, wrap up the gifts, deliver them and then ensure that he gets to the annual Snowmens’ party on time. The only trouble is … he’s forgotten something! The Snowman DVDs RRP £9.99. Running Time: 26mins plus Documentary Running Time: 28mins. Cert: PG To enter both of these competitions go to www.familiesherts.co.uk/competitions. Closing date: 3rd December.
Following the success of painting holidays to Sweden and Gozo, Cleo Harrington has created the next Art in the Village © painting holiday to Morocco! April 2011 for one week at the beautiful coastal resort of Essaouira. For more details: www.artinthevillage.co.uk
Tilly in the Village © is created by Cleo Harrington - founder and director of Art in the Village©. Art in the Village© is an arts company offering classes for children and Adults, Art Holidays and Art college application folio guidance. Check the website for more details: www.artinthevillage.co.uk or call 0779 290 5979.
Out & About THEATRE THE ALBAN ARENA Civic Centre, St Albans, AL1 3LD 01727 844488 www.alban-arena.co.uk High School Rocks! 4 Nov – 6.30pm A high energy, foot stomping production featuring the best hits from High School Musical 1, 2, & 3, Hannah Montana, Camp Rock and Glee! Tickets: £13.50 (online booking is subject to a booking fee) Peter Pan 10 Dec – 2 Jan Contact theatre for times and prices. BARN THEATRE Handside Lane, Welwyn Garden City, AL8 6ST. 01707 324300 www.barntheatre.co.uk The Snow Queen 18 Dec –1 Jan Snowflakes swarm around her wherever she flies. Contact for times and prices. BROXBOURNE CIVIC HALL High Street, Hoddesden, EN11 8BE 01992 441946 www.broxbourne.gov.uk Cinderella 10-31 Dec, various times Tickets: from £13/£11 concs/ £45 family ERIC MORECAMBE THEATRE Harpenden Public Halls, Southdown Road,Harpenden, Herts, AL5 1PD 01582 762880 www.harpendenpublichalls.co.uk Robin Hood and the Babes in the Wood 16-19 Dec GORDON CRAIG THEATRE Stevenage Arts & Leisure Centre, Lytton Way, Stevenage, Herts SG1 1LZ 08700 131030 Snow White and the 7 Dwarfs 27 Nov – 23 Jan Mirror mirror on the wall, a Perfect Panto for one and all! Contact for time. Tickets: £15-£21 HARPENDEN PUBLIC HALLS Southdown Road, Harpenden, AL5 1PD, 01582 767525 The Dragon’s Daughter 6 Nov – 2pm This is a funny tale about a brave little boy with a big imagination, and a scared little dragon with a big heart. Age 4-7. Tickets: £5
Boogie Pete Live!!! 13 Nov – 2pm See Pete from Boogie Beebies featuring all your favourite songs and dances. Age 2+. Tickets: £5 HERTFORD THEATRE The Wash, Hertford, SG14 1PS 01992 531500 www.eastherts.gov.uk Cinderella 10 Dec – 2 Jan, various times A spectacular Christmas show with hilarious characters, live music, wonderful songs and great dance routines. Age 4+ (But be warned: there are spooky bits and some flashes and bangs!) Tickets: from £11.50/£40 family MALTINGS ARTS THEATRE The Maltings, St Albans, AL1 3HL, 01727 844222 www.stalbans.gov.uk/mat THEATRE Scarecrow 27 Nov – 3pm ‘Here come them flipping, flapping, flip flop clapping crows!’ Puppetry and music make this show perfect for over 5s and their families. Tickets: £5 Robinson Crusoe and the Pirates 21 – 26 Dec; various times Robinson Crusoe is washed up all alone on a desert island, with his mother! Tickets: £9/£7.50 concs/£30 family THE MARKET THEATRE Sun Street, Hitchin, SG5 1AE 01462 433553 www.markettheatre.co.uk Cinderella 4 Dec-11 Jan Aimed at children aged 3-8, this show is traditionally enjoyed by children of all ages! A happy outcome will only be achieved with the help of the audience. Contact venue for times and prices. THE OLD TOWN HALL THEATRE High Street, Hemel Hempstead HP1 3AE 01442 228091 www.oldtownhall.co.uk Elmer The Elephant 27 Nov 1pm & 3.30pm Elmer was every colour of the rainbow! But Elmer didn’t want to be different; he wanted to be just like all the other elephants. Ages 4+ £6 / £4 concs The Night Before Christmas 4 Dec 1pm & 3.30pm On the night before Christmas Emily waits excitedly for the morning, while a little mouse called Eddie can’t understand why only humans are allowed to celebrate and get presents. Ages 3+. £6 / £4 concs
Say you saw it in
Out & About PLINSTON Broadway Letchworth Garden City Hertfordshire SG6 3NX, www.plinston.com Cinderella 27 Dec – 1 Jan Contact the venue for times and prices. QUEEN MOTHER THEATRE Woodside Car Park, off Walsworth Road, Hitchin 01462 455166, www.queenmothertheatre.org.uk Santa in Space 16 Dec – 19 Dec, various times With only days left before Christmas, Captain Dick Daring and the lovely Crystal must rescue Santa and return to Earth in time for Christmas. Tickets: £11, £8 concs THE RADLETT CENTRE 1 Aldenham Avenue, Radlett, WD7 8HL 01923 859291, www.radlettcentre.co.uk Jack and the Beanstalk 11 Dec – 2 Jan Contact the venue for times and prices. RHODES ARTS COMPLEX South Road, Bishop’s Stortford CM23 3JG. 01279 651746 www.rhodesbishopsstortford.org.uk A Little Bird Told Me Nov 6 – 2.30pm Five short stories created by school children and read by professional storytellers. Ages 3+ Tickets: £7.50 Farm Boy Nov 10 – 1pm & 7:30pm This moving account of the English countryside is a reminder that stories can reach out across the generations. Age 7+ Tickets: £12/£8 concs/ £5 Arts Award Jack and the Beanstalk 10th Dec - 1st Jan 2011; various times Tickets: £14.95/£10.95 concs, Family Ticket: £44 THE SANDPIT THEATRE - SANDRINGHAM SCHOOL The Ridgeway, St.Albans, AL4 9NX 01727 370067, www.sandpittheatre.co.uk The Witches By Roald Dahl 6 Nov – 4.30pm Splitz Drama Group perform seven short plays that give us humour, horror, magic and the triumph of good over evil. Tickets: £7.50/£2.50 concs Aladdin 2 Dec – 7.30pm Tickets: £8/£6 concs Christmas Concert 13 Dec – 7pm An evening celebrating musical achievements from the Autumn term. Tickets: £3/£2 concs TRESTLE ARTS BASE Russet Drive, St Albans AL4 0JQ 01727 850950, www.trestle.org.uk The Bird Book 28 Nov – 2pm & 4pm Eric and Bill are searching for a rare bird of prey. Their quest blows them to a forest where they discover a magical secret. Ages 4+ Tickets: Adults £8/Concs £6/ Family £25 The Snow Dragon 29 Dec - 2 Jan, various times When New Year’s Eve approaches, Billy’s parents tell him about the legendary Snow Dragon, who will bring him even more goodies.
Ages 3+. Tickets: £9/£7 concs/£28 family WATERSMEET THEATRE High Street, Rickmansworth, Herts, WD3 1EH 01923 711063 Jack and the Beanstalk 7-31 Dec Call the box office for full details, with times and prices. Tickets from £9/£16; vary by date/time. WATFORD PALACE THEATRE 20 Clarendon Road, Watford, WD17 1JZ. 01923 225671/235455 www.watfordtheatre.co.uk Aladdin 25 Nov to 1 Jan, various times Will Aladdin be able to escape the clutches of Abanazer and marry the beautiful Jasmine? Tickets £11.50 - £20 THE WESTON AUDITORIUM De Havilland Campus, Univ. of Hertfordshire Hatfield, AL10 9AB 01707 281127 www.herts.ac.uk/uharts Stories from the Ballet: A Children’s Classical Concert 7 Nov – 2pm, 4.30pm James Mayhew will tell stories from the ballet Swan Lake and illustrate them live on stage, accompanied by the de Havilland Philharmonic Orchestra. Tickets: £12/ £5 concs The Bug and The Butterfly 21 Nov – 1pm, 3pm This heart-warming tale explores the themes of love and friendship. Tickets: £8/ £6 concs Workshop – The Bug and The Butterfly Ball 21 Nov – 12 - 12.45 pm Scurry, jump, hop and crawl just like real insects and then turn those moves into a dance in this active session. (Limited to 20 participants) Price: £2.50 Hatfield Schools Consortium’s Christmas Carol Concert 7 Dec – 6.30pm Christmas carol concert for friends, family and the public. Tickets £4/£3 concs WYCOMBE SWAN St. Mary Street, High Wycombe, Bucks. HP11 2XE. 01494 512000 Peter Pan 11 Dec – 9 Jan Contact box office for times and prices. WYLLYOTTS CENTRE Wyllyotts Place, Darkes Lane, Potters Bar, EN6 2HN 01707 645005 www.wyllyottscentre.co.uk Night Before Christmas 28 Nov – 11am & 1pm Age 3+ Tickets: £5 Brunch Buffet 28 Nov – 12pm Why not enjoy a tasty meal with your kids either after the morning show or before the matinee? Must be booked in advance! Ticket: £6/£3 Sleeping Beauty 11 Dec – 2 Jan Contact the theatre for times and prices.
HOLIDAY FUN AND WORKSHOPS CAMP GOSLING Gosling Sports Park, Stanborough Road, Welwyn Garden City 01707 331056, www.goslingsports.co.uk Week 1: 20 Dec - 23 Dec - 9.15am to 3.30pm Week 2: 29, 30 Dec - 9.15am to 3.30pm Multi activity sessions: Tennis, athletics, football, trampolining and more. Junior Base Camp (4- 7 yrs), Base Camp (8-9 yrs), Sports Academy (1015 yrs). Early drop off and late pick up facility: 8am - 6pm at extra cost. Daily: Members £22, Non Members £27; discounts for weekly bookings HATFIELD SWIM CENTRE Lemsford Road, Hatfield, Herts, AL10 0EB Tel: 01707 276276 Fun Sessions Sat and school holidays 1.30-3pm Fun sessions with inflatables and floats. £3.20. Ages 8-15 HIGH NOTES CHRISTMAS SESSION Call 01494 725408 www.highnotes.co.uk Little Chalfont: 13 Dec – 10-10.40am Hazlemere: 14 Dec – 9.30-10.10am Rickmansworth: 16 Dec – 10am-10.40am Colour a picture, make an instrument and sing festive songs to live music. Sessions last 40 minutes. Suitable for ages 5 mths to 4 yrs. Pre-booking essential. Cost: £5.50 per child. PERFORM DRAMA COURSES Call 0845 400 4000/ 0207 255 9138 www.perform.org.uk Aladdin 20-22 Dec Children will combine live original music, inspirational dance and improvisation into a colourful mini performance on the final day. Age: 4-8 yrs. ST ALBANS Fleetville Junior School 228, Hatfield Road, St Albans, Hertfordshire, AL1 4LW 10am-12pm. NORTHWOOD Northwood Methodist Church Hall Oaklands Gate, Northwood, HA6 3AA 2.30pm-4.30pm PLINSTONKIDS CHRISTMAS BASH Plinston Hall, Broadway, Letchworth GC Herts, SG6 3NX 01462 672003 www.plinston.com 21 Dec – 11am-4pm Live entertainment followed by a novelty disco, games and prizes and a visit from Santa. Age: 5-12 yrs. Admission £15; early start available at extra cost.
Willows Farm Village - Santa's Spectacular Grotto (www.willowsfarmvillage.com)
For free listing in Out and About call 020 8428 6384
Out & About PLACES TO GO DOLLS HOUSE AND MINIATURES FAIR Plinston, Broadway, Letchworth Garden City Herts, SG6 3NX Tel: 01462 672003, www.plinston.com 7 Nov – 10.30am-4pm The very best in dolls houses and miniatures. £2, £1.50 concessions. FIRST GARDEN CITY HERITAGE MUSEUM 296 Norton Way South, Letchworth Garden City Herts SG6 1SU 01462 482710, www.gardencitymuseum.org email@example.com Monday to Saturday 10am - 5pm. Residents and students 50p, Non-residents £1, Under 16›s free Christmas Crafts 4 Dec – 11am-4pm Make cards and decorations or buy something special from our mini craft fair. Plus games, competitions and free face painting. HEARTWOOD FOREST Sandridge. AL3 6JE www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/heartwood Community Tree Planting Day 21 Nov – 10am-3pm Wear wellies and some warm clothes. Take a spade if you have one! All ages. Free Christmas Tree Planting Event 11 Dec – 10am-3pm Bring the children along to plant a tree, go on an Ancient Tree Hunt and then meet Santa. All ages. Free HERTFORD THEATRE The Wash, Hertford, SG14 1PS 01992 531500 www.eastherts.gov.uk Meet the Author – Emma Kennedy 11 Dec – 11am Emma Kennedy will talk about her new book Wilma Tenderfoot and the Case of the Final Phantom. Age 7 -11 Free, but book in advance from books@Hoddesdon 01992 442290 Children’s Christmas Activity Workshops 18 Dec – 10am and 12pm A fun activity workshop. Make projects from the ‘Make and Do’ activity books. With your own book to take home. Age 4- 7. £5 per child
Christmas Model Railway Day 4 Dec – 10.30am - 3.30pm Can you find a miniature Father Christmas aboard one of the carriages? Suggested donation of £1 Festive sweets workshops 11 Dec – 11am-12.30pm & 2pm-3.30pm Making festive peppermint creams and a decorative gift box. Places limited, book and pay in advance. Please note: egg whites will be used. Age 6+ Cost: £3.50 Homemade Christmas Crafts 22nd Dec – 10.30am - 3.30pm Make your own Christmas wrapping paper and tree decorations. For children aged 2-12 £1 per child, drop-in MUSEUM OF ST ALBANS 9a Hatfield Road, St Albans, AL1 3RR 01727 819340, www.stalbansmuseums.org.uk Family Event: Life During the Blitz 14 Nov – 2pm-4.30pm Examine some interesting artefacts. Make a cotton reel tank, identity card and fridge magnet. Age: 3-12 years. Free (£1.00 charge to make a fridge magnet) Christmas Craft Activities 5 Dec – 2pm-4.30pm Drop in any time and see some old toys from the collection. Make a Christmas decoration and card and write your last minute letter to Santa. Age: 3-11 years. Cost: £1 SAFE A LIFE FIRST AID COURSE BECC Children’s Centre Shakespeare Drive off Furzehill Road Borehamwood WD6 2FD 020 8386 4038 www.hertsmere-children.co.uk 9 Nov – 7-9pm Learn Baby & Child Recovery, Baby & Child CPR and Baby & Child Choking, plus information regarding burns, cuts, head injuries etc. Free
STAY, PLAY & SING Farriers Hall, 27 Farriers Way, Borehamwood WD6 2TB Mondays 'til 13 Dec – 9.30-11.30am Shenley Chapel, Porters Park Drive, Radlett Lane Shenley, WD7 9DW Tuesdays 'til 14 Dec – 9.30-11.30am St Michaels & All Angels, Brook Road, Borehamwood, WD6 5QE Thursdays 'til 16 Dec – 1.15-2.45pm Fun filled session which brings together all your children’s favourite activities. Drop in. Free VERULAMIUM MUSEUM St Michael’s Street, St Albans AL3 4SW 01727 751810 www.stalbansmuseums.org.uk Family Show- Two Roman Citizens Brace Themselves! 27th Nov – 2, 3 and 4pm Meet a mosaicist and wealthy landowner and find out how their lives are changing now that the Romans have left. Free (Entry charge to the museum for non residents)
FESTIVALS & FUN DAYS AUTUMN FASHION SHOW Welwyn Garden City NCT The Fairway Suite, Panshanger Golf Complex, Old Herns Lane, Welwyn Garden City, AL7 2ED 18 Nov – 8-10pm Local mums model high street brands for purchase at fantastic discounts - bag some bargains. For further details and ticket sales go to www.nct.org.uk/welwyn. Tickets £6 include a FREE glass of wine. CAPEL’S CHRISTMAS CAROUSEL Capel Manor Gardens, Bullsmoor Lane, Enfield, EN1 4RQ www.capelmanorgardens.co.uk 4-5 Dec - 10am-4pm Santa will be in his grotto in the Manor House, plus there’ll be carol singing, craft stalls, roasting chestnuts and children’s entertainment. Adults £4.50, Children £1.50, 5’s and under free.
HERTFORD MUSEUM 18 Bull Plain, Hertford, Herts, SG14 1DT 01992 582686 www.hertfordmuseum.org Toddler Tuesdays at Hertford Museum 9 Nov – Tiger Antics – 1.30-2.30pm 14 Dec – Christmas Fun – 1.30-2.30pm Take part in crafty activities, play with toys and share a story! ALL children must be accompanied by an adult. £1 per child - please book in advance Hertford Museum Late Opening 26 Nov Open until 8pm to accompany town events, including the Christmas lights switch on and a festive market.
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Out & About HOLY SAVIOUR CHURCH Radcliffe Road, Hitchin, Hertfordshire SG5 1QG Christmas Tree Festival 10-12 Dec LETCHWORTH FREE CHURCH Norton Way South, Letchworth Garden City Herts, SG6 1SU Christmas Tree Festival 11 Dec – 10am-5pm. 12 Dec – 12-4pm Enjoy a lovely display of decorated Christmas trees dressed by local groups and individuals. Carol singing at 3pm. £2 adults; £1 children. Free parking.
CHRISTMAS FAIRS AND CAROLS BRITISH SCHOOLS MUSEUM 41/42 Queen Street, Hitchin, SG4 9TS 01462 420144 www.hitchinbritishschools.org.uk Annual Christmas Fair 4 Dec The ideal opportunity to buy your Christmas presents - homemade cakes and preserves, toys, books, bric-a-brac, jewellery - all this and Father Christmas too. FREE. BROXBOURNE CIVIC HALL High Street, Hoddesden, EN11 8BE 01992 441931 Annual Christmas Fayre 28 Nov Over 60 stalls of goods to browse. Santa will be greeting the younger visitors. Cost: £1.50 Adult, 70p Child, over 60s Christmas Carol Concert 1 Dec – 7pm Traditional carols sung by the school choirs of Forres School (Hoddesdon), Amwell View School (Stanstead Abbotts), Sheredes Primary School (Hoddesdon) and Simon Balle Secondary School (Hertford). Tickets: adults £5, children and over 60s £3.50. BUTTERFLY WORLD Miriam Lane, Off Noke Lane, Chiswell Green, AL2 3NY 01727 869 203 www.butterflyworldproject.com Gifts for Christmas Gift Fair 4-7 Nov Contact venue for further details. Craft Fayre 27-28 Nov Contact venue for further details. COMBINED CHARITY CHRISTMAS CARD SALE Court House, Berkhamsted, HP4 01442 864237 13 Nov, 27 Nov – 9.15am-3pm. Charity Christmas cards, wrapping paper and Christmas gifts and accessories to buy. ERNEST GARDINER DAY HOSPITAL Pearsall Close, Pixmore Way Letchworth Garden City, SG6 1RN 01462 670955 www.egdhfriends.org.uk
Christmas Fair 27 Nov – 10.30am-12.30pm Stalls, raffle, Santa’s grotto (additional £1 each). Ticket price includes glass of mulled wine or tea / coffee plus mince pie. Tickets £2 each. Available in advance from the Day Hospital or on the door. HARPENDEN CIRCLE CHRISTMAS GIFT AND CRAFT FAIR Harpenden Public Halls, Southdown Road, Harpenden, AL5 1PL 01582 762880 26, 27 Nov – 9.30am-4.30pm Over 50 stalls. Cost: £1.50 in advance, £2 on day, Children FREE. HERTFORD CASTLE Hertford, SG14 1QD 01992 584322 www.hertford.gov.uk Hertford Celebrates Christmas 26 Nov – 4-8pm An evening of entertainment, stalls, and much more. Outdoor Christmas Carols 18 Dec – 5.30-6.30pm Join the Mayor to sing traditional Carols outside Hertford Castle. Cost: FREE HOWARD GARDEN SOCIAL AND DAY CARE CENTRE Norton Way South, Letchworth Garden City, SG6 1SU Christmas Fair 20 Nov – 10am-2pm Christmas gifts, books, cakes, refreshments, bric-a-brac, raffle and tombola. Admission 20p ISABEL HOSPICE – CHRISTMAS FAYRE Free Church, Welwyn Garden City AL8 6JQ. 20 Nov – 10.30am-3pm 50 per cent of proceeds go to Isabel Hospice KNEBWORTH HOUSE Knebworth Park, SG3 6PY 01438 812661 www.knebworthhouse.com Christmas Crafts and Country Gifts 4-5 Dec - 10am-6pm Quality crafts and gifts from across the UK. Cost: Adult £6, Children £2. LETCHWORTH FREE CHURCH Norton Way South, Letchworth Garden City Herts, SG6 1SU Christmas Fair 4 Dec – 10am-12pm Purchase homemade cakes and marmalade; farm eggs and vegetables; bric-a-brac; books; toys and more. Plus a tombola and chocolate stall. Admission 30p. Children free. Free parking. PLINSTON Broadway, Letchworth GC, Herts, SG6 3NX, 01462 672003 www.plinston.com When Christmas Comes to Town 28 Nov Concert by the Garden City’s newest choir, City Chorus. See website for time and prices. CATHEDRAL & ABBEY CHURCH OF ST. ALBAN Sumpter Yard, St. Albans, AL1 1BY 01727 860780 www.stalbanscathedral.org.uk
Christingle Service 5 Dec – 3pm Family Carol Concert 11 Dec - 3pm St Albans Bach Choir Tickets: Available on entry - Adult £5, Child £1 Carol Concert 11 Dec - 7pm St Albans Bach Choir Tickets available on entry – £10/£5 concs Carols on the Hour 18 Dec – 11am, 12pm, 1pm, 2pm, 3pm, 4pm Abbey and local Choirs singing on the hour Blessing of the Crib 24 Dec – 3pm ST THOMAS CHURCH Wilbury Hall Bedford Road, Letchworth GC, Herts SG6 4DU 01462 624620 Carol Service 14 Dec – 2pm STANDALONE FARM Wilbury Road, Letchworth GC Herts, SG6 4JN 01462 686775 www.standalonefarm.com email@example.com Christmas Craft Fair 13-14 Nov – 11am-5pm Toys, jewellery, embroidery, cakes, sweets and more. Plus, Santa’s grotto. Free admission and carparking. WELWYN ST MARY’S PRIMARY SCHOOL London Road, Welwyn Christmas Fair 4 Dec – 2pm-4pm Santa’s Grotto, Raffle, Tombola, Toys, Gifts, Craft Stalls, Refreshments, Children’s Games, and more. Tickets: 50p at the door.
WHERE’S SANTA? GULLIVER’S AT CHRISTMAS Livingstone Drive, Milton Keynes, MK15 0DT 01908 609001, www.gulliversfun.co.uk Santa’s Grotto 27 Nov – 24 Dec Get a present from Santa and meet his furry friends on a walk through Winter Wonderland. Visit the website for more details. LEIGHTON BUZZARD STEAM RAILWAY Pages Park Station, Billington Road, Leighton Buzzard, LU7 4TN 01525 373888 www.buzzrail.co.uk Santa Specials 4, 5, 8, 11, 12, 15, 18, 19, 21-23 Dec Enjoy a 25 minute ride in a decorated steam train. Then walk through the Magic Tunnel to meet Santa, with a present for each child. Tickets: Adult £6.50, Child (2 – 15) £7.00, Under 2’s £2.50 Mince Pie Specials 27, 28 Dec A 25-minute ride in a festively decorated steam train plus hot punch and mince pies in the station buffet. Tickets: Adults £6, Children (2-15) £3, Under 2s FREE.
Out & About MARLOWES SHOPPING CENTRE Hemel Hempstead, HP1 1DX 01442 413815 www.themarlowes.co.uk Breakfast with Santa 21 Nov – 19 Dec Children get a free breakfast, a free soft toy and lots of other giveaways. Contact the Customer Service Desk for times, prices and booking. MEAD OPEN FARM Standbridge Road, Billington, Nr. Leighton Buzzard, 01525 852954 www.meadopenfarm.co.uk Christmas Fantastica 27 Nov-23 Dec Walk through the illuminations to visit Santa and his toyshop. Get full access to the farm. Contact venue for times and prices. SANTA TO YOUR DOOR Party entertainer, Adam Ant, will bring Christmas to life for your children. When Santa arrives he will chat to your children about their favourite things, eat a mince pie and deliver all those fabulous presents you’ve spent ages wrapping. And best of all he’ll visit on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day or any day. Call the Adam Ant party hotline on 0208 959 1045 for more details. www.adamantsparties.com THE SNOW CENTRE St Albans Hill Hemel Hempstead HP3 9NH, www.thesnowcentre.com Winter Wonderland with Santas Cabin From end Nov - Christmas Eve Warm clothing essential - it will be very cold! Call 0845 258 9000 for prices, full details and to book. WILLOWS FARM VILLAGE Coursers Road, London Colney, St Albans. 0870 129 9718 www.willowsfarmvillage.com Open: 10am– 5.30pm Willows Farm Shop Christmas Food Fayre 6 – 7 Nov See the wide range of seasonal and local produce available at the farm shop with free tastings to help plan the perfect Christmas feast. For more information visit www.willowsfarmshop.com Free. Willows Farm Village Santa’s Spectacular Grotto & Festive Wood Ride 24 Nov – 24 Dec Visit Willows Farm Village this Christmas to see Santa’s Spectacular Grotto, take a twinkling journey through the festive wood and visit the elves house to write a letter to Santa. There is also a full day’s programme of children’s shows. Contact venue for prices.
THE VAN HAGE REAL ICE RINK 10 Van Hage, Pepper Hill, Great Amwell, Nr Ware, SG12 9RP www.skatevanhage.co.uk 27 Nov – 9 Jan Tickets: Adults £12.50/£9, Children £8.50/£7, Family £35/£29 Skate and Cake Available on selected dates, Skate & Cake sessions include post-skate refreshments, and a free festive gift from Santa for every child. Tickets: £14.50
BUTTERFLY WORLD Miriam Lane, Off Noke Lane, Chiswell Green, Herts, AL2 3NY 01727 869 203 firstname.lastname@example.org Fireworks Fantasia 7 Nov – 5.30pm A spectacular display of fireworks set to music; also hog roast, lantern launch, gifts and novelties. Tickets: £6/£4/£18 family
WILLOWS FARM VILLAGE Coursers Road, London Colney, St Albans 0870 129 9718 www.willowsfarmvillage.com 24 Nov – 24 Dec Included with entry to Willows Farm during Santa’s Spectacular Grotto. Contact venue for prices. WINTER WONDERLAND ICE RINK AND SNOW MACHINE Riverside Shopping Centre Riverside, Hemel Hempstead, HP1 1BT www.riversidehemel.com 20, 21 November - 11am - 4pm Shoppers and visitors will have the opportunity to experience ice skating and real snow. Free.
CHRISTMAS LIGHTS Hatfield 27 Nov – 4.30pm, lights at 6.30pm Hertford 26 Nov – 4.30pm. For more information contact the Town & Tourist Information Centre. 01992 584322. Letchworth GC Leys Square, Letchworth GC, Herts SG6 3DE 01462 486999 www.shopletchworth.com 26 Nov – from 4pm, switch-on at 6.30pm Live music and children’s entertainment. Christmas in Letchworth 27 Nov The live music continues from Friday’s switch-on, plus a special Christmas market will be in town. Free St Albans St Peter’s St. 21 Nov – 12pm-6pm, lights at 5.30pm Separate events also take place in Harpenden, Southdown and London Colney. Free. Welwyn Garden City 25 Nov – 4.30pm, lights at 6.30pm
CHESHUNT FIREWORK DISPLAY Cheshunt Park, Park Lane, Cheshunt, EN7 6QD 01992 785574/ Box Office 01992 441946 email@example.com 7 Nov – Gates 4.30pm, Fireworks 6pm Free car parking from 4pm in the Brookfield Centre. Tickets: Advance £4/ £14 for 4; at the gates £6/ £20 for 4 Under 2s free.
PARTIES Jacqu’in the box, 07948 371615
www.jacqinthebox.com. Fairytale, popstar, sport theme parties 0-9 years
Your local party ware supplier
0845 413 0533
Kid’s Entertainer 01923 720040 www.auntiejulie.com
GULLIVER’S Livingstone Drive, Milton Keynes, MK15 0DT 01908 609001 www.gulliversfun.co.uk Santa’s Northern Lights Firework Display 23 Dec Magical fireworks set to Christmas music. Check website for further details. FIREWORKS AT HATFIELD HOUSE Hatfield, Herts AL9 5NQ 01707 287010 www.hatfield-house.co.uk 5 Nov – Gates 5pm Fireworks, Bonfire, food and light entertainment. Proceeds to Help for Heroes and The Mixed Group. Admission: £5/Adult, £3/Child, under 5s free, or £20/car, £25/ 7 seater LIONS FIREWORKS DISPLAY Herts FA County Ground Baldock Road, Letchworth GC, Herts SG6 2EN 7 Nov – 5.30pm for 7pm start Advance tickets: £3.50; £1.50 under 16 - from David’s, Eastcheap. Door tickets (if available): £4.50; £2 under 16. THE ROYAL GUNPOWDER MILLS Beaulieu Drive, Waltham Abbey Essex EN9 1JY www.royalgunpowdermills.com Guy Fawkes Experience 6 & 7 Nov – Gates 3pm, Fireworks 7pm A weekend of themed activities about the Gunpowder Plot.
ST ALBANS FIREWORK DISPLAY TIC@stalbans.gov.uk Box Office: 01727 844488 01727 864511 6 Nov- Gates 6pm, Fireworks 7.30pm Verulamium Park. WATFORD FIREWORK DISPLAY Cassiobury Park Cassiobury Park Avenue Watford WD18 7HU 01923 226400 6 Nov – 6pm-8.15pm 6.15 Children’s Fireworks 7pm Bonfire 7.30pm Fireworks Includes entertainers on stage in between fireworks displays.
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