The Diary

PUBLISHED: 00:16 21 January 2012 | UPDATED: 18:11 20 February 2013

The Diary

The Diary

What's happening in our area this month

December is the month to

.go behind the scenes at Windsor Castle. For a special treat or Christmas gift, an Exclusive Evening Tour offers the chance to go behind the ropes once the Castle has closed its doors to the public. The tour takes visitors through the sumptuous State Apartments in the company of an expert guide and ends with a glass of champagne and a festive mince pie. It is available on 11, 17, 18, 20 and 21 December, price 50.
Call 020 7766 7322 or visit

..marvel at
the miracle of Christmas in the Parish Church of St. Mary the Virgin, Aldermaston, where the 54th consecutive York Nativity Play, directed by Pat Eastop MBE, will take place. Performances are on December 6, 9, 10, 11 and 12. Tickets are free, with a collection at the end for the production and the church, with a donation to the charity, Riding for the Disabled. Please send S.A.E. to A & V. Hall, The Gables, Church Road, Aldermaston, RG7 4LR, or email :

.enjoy a unique Christmas event at Henley. From 1 to 4 December, the grounds of Henley Business School will be transformed into a magical land of stories, read by famous recorded voices including Miriam Margolyes, Simon Williams, Bill Nighy and Zoe Wanamaker. Nativity scenes, busy elves and a wishing tree will bring the stories of Christmas to life through lights and sounds. Stories by Starlight, in aid of KidsOut, the UK charity dedicated to bringing fun and happiness into the lives of disabled and disadvantaged children, is open to public from 6.30pm to 9pm. Family tickets cost 10 from,
or call 01525 385252

Let there be lights!

Our round-up of festive light switch-ons in towns and villages in Berkshire and Buckinghamshire


December 10: This is a major event that draws crowds from miles around. At 5pm the official opening takes place with the cutting of the tape and the bands start up. Several bands and Victorian organs play as the High Street is transported back 150 years. A vintage double decker bus runs from the car parks. Attractions include Punch and Judy shows, stilt walkers, clowns, jugglers and Father Christmas. At 7.30pm the Grand Parade of mighty steam engines comes up the High Street to the accompaniment of bands and street performers for a grande finale.

December 6: Retailers in Reading are holding a special Christmas shopping evening in the town centre for elderly and disabled people.
Every year the Reading Council invites town centre retailers to put on special offers, discount give-aways, refreshments and entertainment throughout the evening, 6pm - 8pm

December 3, 6pm: Aladdin from the Quince Players production of the eponymous panto will switch on this years lights in Sunningdale centre. Four schools will dance and sing and there will be fireworks. There will also be late night shopping.

December 3: Christmas lights switched on, plus stalls, Father Christmas grotto and carol singing.

Windsor Royal Shoppings Breakfast with Santa
Caf Rouge and ha ha bar & grill. December 4, 5,11, 12, 18, 19, 22, 23, 24 (9:30am except Sundays 10am)
Enjoy one of Windsors famous festive breakfasts with your children before seeing Santa. Each child will
receive a special festive gift bag. Online booking is required, to book your place please visit (do not ring the restaurants direct).

Reindeer Parade
December 4 (from 2pm). The reindeer fly into Windsors Peascod Street, along with Santa. Children can have their photo taken with Father Christmas on his sleigh before he returns to Lapland.

Windsor on Ice
December 11-January 3 2011
Windsors favourite winter attraction returns to Alexandra Gardens. Spend 50 in Windsor or Eton and have a one free skating session for
every full paying adult. Simply take your shopping receipt to the ticket office to claim the prize. Terms and conditions apply. Call the Royal Windsor Information centre on 01753 743915 or book online at

Carols on the Hill
with the Band of the Blues and Royals December 17 (from 6pm) Castle Hill King Henry VIII Gate An evening of carols in front of Windsor Castle. Music provided by the Band of the Blues and Royals by kind permission of Colonel WT Browne, LVO Commander Household Cavalry.
In aid of The Royal British Legion, and The Railway Children.

Gift Wrapping Service
December 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24 (Between 10am 4pm)
Windsor Royal Shopping
Thames Hospice care volunteers will be on hand to do this for you for a small donation.

December 3-5: 3 Days of Fun, French Market on Friday, lights switch-on and carol singing with mince pies, mulled wine on Saturday at 4.30pm. On Sunday from 10am therell be the Woodley Winter Extravaganza, lots of entertainment.

Henley On Thames
December 3: Children is the theme for this years events which features the Mayors switch-on of the Christmas lights; Mr Toads Lantern Procession; Santa in his grotto (in The Barn); Christmas stalls; carol singing; childrens rides, from 5.30pm.

December 15: The Festival of Lights begins with a procession of local children, Scottish pipers, brass bands and community representatives all led by the Town Mayor and Father Christmas down the high street in New Beaconsfield. The procession begins at 7.15pm from outside Hughes of Beaconsfield. Sideshows and amusement stalls line the route. The shops stay open late to welcomein the beginning of the festivitiesand to wish all their patrons a Happy Christmas. The procession finishes at the Town Green and people gather together to sing Christmas Carols.


December 10: The Christmas Cracker evening kicks off at 5pm and will feature Christmas Tree Lights Switch-on at 5.30pm by Cheryl Gillan, MP for Chesham and Amersham. There will be carols by local school choirs and Christmas music, as well as community stalls, fun for the children and fairground rides. Some shops will be open late.

December 11: Parade through town centre and back with over 40 decorated floats, majorettes, bands and Santa Claus, followed by a Community Fair in the Buckingham Community Centre, Cornwalls Meadow, Buckingham. From 10.30am onwards.

Gerrards Cross
December 8: Lights are switched on, late-night shopping and community carol singing.

December 2: The evening starts with the Christmas tree lights being turned on, accompanied by a short carol service. The High Street is closed with stalls, both charitable and commercial and a number of shops in the High Street, West Street and Spittal Street will be open until 9pm.

Old Amersham
December 3: Amersham Old Town will hold their traditional late night shopping evening between 6pm and 9pm. The Christmas tree lights will be formally switched on in St. Marys Churchyard at 7pm and the whole town will be bustling with activity to welcome visitors and shoppers until closing time around 9pm. There will be plenty of fun for everyone with carol singers, a treasure hunt, Santas grotto, hot chestnuts and other Christmas goodies.

December 12: The annual Dickens of a Christmas sees traders dressed in Victorian clothes fill the market and parts of the High Street with stalls offering everything from gifts, holly wreaths and wrapping to mulled wine andhot chocolate.(See left.) Take a ride in a carriage or vintage bus, visit Father Christmas in his grotto, pet the reindeer and meet birds of prey. There are brass bands, street entertainers not to mention fairground rides and three indoor craft fairs. Every year the event grows in popularity, so organisers have come up with a park and ride system to avoid queues and frustration. The fun starts at 10am until 4pm.

Princes Risborough
December 3: Lights switch-on. The Market Square is packed with local peoplefor carols and other festive music, visiting stalls selling hot food and seasonal fare, while waiting for the lights to be switched on.

December 1: A grand ceremony performed by Formula 1 driver Mark Webber. The new High Street illuminations will be switched on at 4.30pm, marking the start of a series of special events throughout the month.


27 November-18 December, Dickens Trail, The Cowper and Newton Museum, Olney, tel: 01234 711516

2 December, Thames Hospicecare Christmas Concert, The Chapel, Wellington College, Crowthorne, includes mulled wine and mince pies; tickets, tel: 01753 848927

3-4 December, Candlelit late night ghost walks through one of Englands most haunted mansions, South Hill Park, Bracknell,
tel: 01344 484123

4 December, Researching the history of Reading, (above) in association with Berkshire Record Office, Museum of English Rural Life, to book tel: 0118 378 8660

4 December, Great Missenden Choral Society, Great Missenden Parish Church, tel: 01494 863581

4 December, Exultate Singers, annual Christmas concert in support of the Newbury & District Cancer Care Trust and Macmillan Cancer Support, St Nicholas Church, Newbury, tel: 01635 278560

4 December, Monteverdi Vespers, Renaissance Singers, Musica Donum Dei, St Nicolas Church, High Street, Taplow, tel: 01628 622991

4 December, Christmas in the Square, Fairford Lyes,
tel: 01296 422800

4-5, 11-12 and 18-19 December, Santas Magical Adventures, Buckinghamshire Railway Centre, Quainton, tel: 01296 655720

5 December, Victorian Festive Fun, costumed actors, festive cheer, carols, refreshments and a chance to make hand-crafted cards and decorations, Wycombe Museum, High Wycombe, tel: 01494 421895

6 December Valentine Warner talk, plus three course dinner and copy of his book What to Eat Now: Autumn & Winter, Donnington Valley Hotel, Donnington, tickets, tel: 01635 551199

7-8 December, Christmas Fair with stalls, carol singers, tearoom and bell ringers performing in front of an open fire, Highclere Castle, near Newbury, tel: 01635 253210

4-5, 11-12, 18-19 December, Santa Specials: steam train ride to meet Santa with presents for all children and refreshments for parents, Chinnor and Princes Risborough Railway, tel: 01844 3541177 (ticket enquiry line 10am-3pm, Saturday and Sunday only, from 6 November)

4-5 December, Christmas market and Christmas tree weekend, choose your tree over a glass of mulled wine at the special preview weekend, Stubbings Nursery, Maidenhead, tel: 01628 825454

5 and 12 December, Christmas Carols, Cliveden House, Taplow, tel: 01628 668561

11 December, A Ceremony of Carols, St Nicholas Church, Newbury, tel: 01635 522733

11 December, Stowe Christmas Carol Concert, Stowe Chapel as well as Father Christmas lantern walk, and mince pie and mulled wine in the Marble Hall, Stowe House, Stowe, tel: 01280 822850

11 December, Marlow Choral Society charity carol concert, Shelley Theatre, Court Garden Leisure Centre, Marlow, tel: 07976 848002

11 December, Carol concert, Wokingham Choral Society, All Saints, Wokingham, tickets, tel: 0118 934 0283

11 December, Christmas Ceilidh in the ancient long barn, Norden Farm, Maidenhead, tel: 01628 788997

12 December, Dickens of a Christmas with traders in Dickensian costume, pony and trap rides, craft fairs and Christmas music and street entertainers, Olney

12 December, Victorian Christmas, Market Square, Aylesbury

13 December, Carols for choir and audience, Reading Festival Chorus, Wesley Methodist Church, Queens Road, Reading, tickets: tel: 0118 940 403016

17 December, Carols on the Hill, Windsor

17 December, I saw three ships and other carols with Manor House string quartet, St Marys Haddenham, tickets, tel: 01296 663744 or 07870 171194

17 & 18 December, December Friday and BGC Christmas Meeting Family DayAscot Racecourse, tel: 0870 727 1234

18 December, Carol Concert on the Village Green, Taplow, tickets, tel: 01628 667311

18 December Roald Dahl Christmas Concert with celebrity guest readings, Church of St Peter and St Paul, tel: 01494 890645

27-28 December Holiday Steam-ups, Steam train rides, Punch & Judy, Buckinghamshire Railway Centre, Quainton, tel: 01296 655720

29 December, HEROS Charity Challow Hurdle Day, Newbury Racecourse, tel: 01635 40015


25 November-2 January, Treasure Island, (right) The Watermill, Newbury, tel: 01635 46044

26 November-2 January, Dick Whittington, South Hill Park, Bracknell, tel: 01344 484123

2 December, Carols & Capers, Maddy Prior & The Carnival Band,

Celebratory show of Christmas music,The Stables, Wavendon,
tel: 01908 280800.

3 December, Alice in Wonderland, new musical version of this much loved magical adventure, Village Hall, Bledlow Ridge, tel: 01494 481507

3 December-3 January, Sleeping Beauty, Corn Exchange, Newbury, tel: 01635 522733

4 December, The Barron Knights, The Stables, Wavendon,
tel: 01908 280800

4 December- 2 January, Sleeping Beauty, The Hexagon, Reading, tel: 0118 960 6060

5 December, Festival of Carols, Swan Theatre, High Wycombe,
tel: 01494 512000

7 December, A Yuletide Evening with Gervase Phinn, South Hill Park, Bracknell, tel: 01344 484123

8 December-9 January, Cinderella with Charlie Dimmock, Theatre Royal, Windsor, tel: 01753 853888

8-9 December, Messiah, St Georges Chapel, Windsor, tickets available from Windsor Tourist Information

10 December-16 January, Dick Whittington with Joanna Page and Dirk Benedict, Milton Keynes Theatre, Milton Keynes, tel: 0844 871 7652

11 December, James Taylor Quarter, The Firestation, Windsor, tel: 01753 866865

11 December-9 January, Peter Pan with Steve McFadden as Captain Hook, Swan Theatre, High Wycombe, tel: 01494 512000

12 December, The Sixteen, The Angel Gabriel, Concert Hall, Reading, tel: 0118 960 6060

12 December, Not the Nine Lessons and Carols, Wilde Theatre, South Hill Park, Bracknell, tel: 01344 484123

14-15 December, Ben, A Tribute to Michael Jackson, South Hill Park, Bracknell, tel: 01344 484123

15 December, The Blues Band, The Stables, Wavendon,
tel: 01908 280800

16-18 December, Cleos Christmas, The Stables, Wavendon, tel: 01908 280800

19 December, Deck the Hall, Christmas Musical Celebration for all the Family, Concert Hall, Reading, tel: 0118 960 6060


A Victorian Christmas at Windsor Castle

Special displays and activities at Windsor Castle take on a Victorian theme from 10 December 2010 until 5 January 2011.The table in the Castles magnificent State Dining Room will be dressed with pieces from the Minton Victoria dessert service, purchased by Queen Victoria at the Great Exhibition in 1851. Christmas trees from the Windsor Great Park will go on display and families visiting on 18 and 19 December can follow a Christmas activity trail.

1 January Sunninghill Wheelbarrow Race, New Years Day.

The 15th Sunninghill Wheelbarrow Race will be run round the usual one mile in the centre of the village with teams of four competing. Last year the event raised over 6,000 and as always all proceeds go to Ascot Day Centre. To participate, tel: 01344 621419 or 01344 627197. There will be a post-race party, prize-giving, raffle draw and hog roast.

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