Events and things to do in Berkshire - February 2017

PUBLISHED: 10:10 26 January 2017

The carpet of snowdrops provides a magnificent display at Welford Park
Photo: Mark Kent,

The carpet of snowdrops provides a magnificent display at Welford Park Photo: Mark Kent,


Wrap up to enjoy the great outdoors or find plenty to warm to in our counties’ theatres and entertainment venues

See the snowdrops

Welford Park near Newbury is renowned as one of the finest natural snowdrop woodlands in the country, spreading across some four acres, along with a wonderful display of hellebores throughout the garden and winter flowering shrubs. In recent years it has also been recognised by cake lovers as the stunning setting for the BBC’s Great British Bake Off.

This year it will be among 90 gardens across England and Wales opening for the second annual National Gardens Scheme (NGS) Snowdrop Festival, some with as many as 300 named varieties of snowdrops.

Also opening is Oak Cottage, Finchampstead, a private quarter acre garden which has a lovely woodland feel. To help celebrate the Snowdrop Festival and to raise funds for NGS charities, owner Liz Ince is looking forward to welcoming visitors. Over several years Liz has planted around 6,000 snowdrops under mature deciduous trees. These have been complemented by winter and spring flowering plants including hellebores, cyclamen, witch hazel, tulip magnolia and camellias, as well as many other bulbs.

Many of the gardens open during the festival display a mix of snowdrops, hellebores and other early spring flowers, with the mix of colours making them beautiful to ‘galanthophiles’ and all. George Plumptre, Chief Executive of The National Gardens Scheme, says: “During our first Snowdrop Festival in 2016 many of our garden owners were overwhelmed by the amount of visitors that attended their openings. Many remarked that visitors were perfectly happy to wrap up warm and brave the elements to see the stunning view of hundreds of snowdrops on display in a garden.”

Visitors to Snowdrop Festival gardens will also be helping to celebrate the 90th year of raising funds for causes. Still run locally by volunteers, the National Gardens Scheme was founded in 1927 to help fund the essential work of district nurses. The charity has grown by offering visitors unique access to many of the best private gardens across England and Wales. Now they continue to raise money for a group of nationwide charities that include Macmillan Cancer Support and Marie Curie – in both cases as their biggest single donor.

Opening info

Oak Cottage, 99B Kiln Ride, Finchampstead, Wokingham, Berkshire, RG40 3PD

Open Sunday, 19 February from 2 to 4.30pm. Admission £3.50 for adults; children free. Light refreshments will be available. Main paths offer partial wheelchair access, but others are chipped bark and unsuitable.

Welford Park, Welford nr Newbury RG20 8HU: Open in aid of the NGS charities on Wednesday, 8 February from 11am to 4pm (car park closes 5.30pm). £6 adults, children free. For other opening times and information see website:

Dogs on leads welcome and there is a heated tent with seating for dog walkers who would like to visit the Snowdrop Tearoom. Further details for Welford Park and all NGS gardens opening for the Snowdrop Festival can be found at

Those fabulous fluffies

Head to the Rivermead Leisure Complex, Richfield Avenue, Reading, on Saturday, 11 February for the The Croydon Cat Club and Southern Counties Cat Club annual show when 400 felines, including unusual breeds, will be in competition for the treasured trophies and titles.

Zukerman and RPO perform

The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra makes its eagerly anticipated return to Reading’s Hexagon on Sunday, 5 February. Internationally acclaimed violinist, Pinchas Zukerman, who is also the Orchestra’s Principal Guest Conductor, will perform and direct in what is sure to be a special concert brimming with sparkling musicality.

The evening begins with Beethoven’s powerful Egmont Overture, which contrasts weighty brass and string chords against soothing woodwind interruptions. Following this is Beethoven’s exquisite Violin Concerto, performed by Grammy Award-winning violin virtuoso Zukerman. Providing a fantastic finish to this evening of classical treats is Elgar’s much-loved and quintessentially English ‘Enigma’ Variations.

Tickets are £22.50 and £25.50, with U18s and schools tickets only £6 and Classical Membership Scheme & Groups rates at £12. If you’ve never been to a Classical Music Alive concert, you can book a £10 Test Drive ticket. Contact the Box Office on 0118 960 6060 to book, see

Wedding fairs

• 5 February, St Anne’s Manor, London Road, Wokingham, tel: 01276-451498

• 12 February, Lillibrooke Manor, Ockwells Road, Cox Green, Maidenhead, tel: 07990 711444

• 19 February, Best Western Plus Reading Moat House, Mill Lane, Sindlesham, Wokingham, tel: 07990 711444

Other events

• 1 February, Hungerford Antiques & Flea Market, Hungerford Town Hall, tel: 07920131397

• 3, 10, 17,24 February, Wildlife Walk, Basildon Park, Lower Basildon,

• 5 February, Barn Sale, National Animal Welfare Trust, Trindledown Farm, Wantage Road, Great Shefford, tel: 01488 638584

• 9 February, Prom Fair, Waingels College, Waingels Road, Woodley, Reading

• 11-12 February, The Enchanted Market, Garth Hill College, Bracknell, tel: 07916 173517

• 12 February, Snowdrop Walk, Runnymede, Estate Office, North Lodge, Windsor Road, Old Windsor, tel: 01784 432891

• 15 February, Talk: The Alehouses & Inns in 17th Century West Berkshire, West Berkshire Museum, The Wharf, Newbury, tel: 01635 519562


The Hexagon, Queens Walk, tel: 01189 606060

5 February, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra with Pinchas Zukerman; 7 February, Rumours of Fleetwood Mac; 10 February, Danny Baker: Cradle to the Stage; 12-14 February, The Nutcracker – Romeo & Juliet: Moscow City Ballet; 15 February, Jimmy Carr; 16 February, You Win Again – The Story of The Bee Gees; 17 February, Swing Time: Anton & Erin 2017; 18 February, The Rod Stewart Story: Some Guys Have All The Luck; 23-25 February, Bugsy Malone; 27 February, Jamie Raven

The Mill at Sonning, tel: 01189 698000

5 February, The Glenn Miller Orchestra; 6 February, Comedy Night at The Mill; 12 February, The Neil Diamond and Barbara Streisand Show; 19 February, Genesis Connected; 26 February, Jazz in New York: The 1930’s

Concert Hall, Town Hall, Blagrave Street, tel: 01189 606060

11 February, J.S. Bach Mass in B Minor: Reading Bach Choir 2017; 25 February, Annual Concert 2017: Reading Phoenix Choir

Progress Theatre, The Mount, Christchurch, tel: 0118 384 2195

20-25 February, Accidental Death of an Anarchist by Dario Fo

Shinfield Players Theatre, Whitley Wood Lane, tel: 01183 9758880

4-5 February, Murder Mystery Supper Evening, The Farm by Carol Vockins; 11 February, Diamond Heart


The Watermill Theatre, Bagnor, tel: 01635 46044

Until 25 February, Murder For Two

Corn Exchange Newbury & New Greenham Arts, tel: 0845 5218218

4 February, The Bob Dylan Story; 8 February, Henning When; 10 February, Beyond the Barricade; 10 February, The Dark Room; 14 February, Play In A Day; 15-16 February, The Very Hungry Caterpillar; 17 February, Whitney: Queen of The Night; 18 February Newbury Talent IV; 23 February, The Vanishing Man; 24 February, Sing-A-Long-A Grease; 25 February, A Celebration of Neil Diamond


Theatre Royal Windsor, tel: 01753 853888

Until 4 February, Dreamboats and Petticoats; 5 February, Stars of the 60’s; 7-11 February, Kiss of Death; 12 February, Elvis: The King is Back; 13-18 February, Henceforward; 20-25 February, Dong Ding Murder Me On High; 27 February – 4 March, Blood Brothers

Windsor Parish Church, tel: 01344 466173

4 February, A Right Royal Evening – Concert


Norden Farm Centre for the Arts, Altwood Road, tel: 01183 788660

3 February, William Shakespeare’s Long Lost First Play; 14 February, Lady Chatterley’s Lover; 17 February, Sean McLoughlin; 17 February, Martin Shaw; 18 February, Celtic Fiddle Festival; 23 February, Dr Phil’s Health Revolution; 24 February, Justin Moorhouse – People and Feelings; 24 February, Kimmie Rhodes – Cowgirl Boudoir Tour


South Hill Park, Ringmead, tel: 01344 484123

1-5 February, Macbeth; 3 February, Raya Kostova – Conservatoire Concert Series; 10 February, Sara Dowling/Nigel Price – Bracknell Jazz; 11 February, Jonathan Pie: Live; 12 February, West Forest Sinfonia; 13-18 February, South East Berks Gang Show; 13 February, Ray Cooper; 15-18 February, The Haunting; 17 February, Olga Stezhko – Conservatoire Concert Series; 22-25 February, Rigoletto; 24 February, Chiyan Wong – Conservatoire Concert Series; 27 February, Alex Hitchcock – Bracknell Jazz Young Musicians

Latest from the Berkshire Life