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This month

Jan 2020


THEATRE: Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, The Mayflower, Southampton, Mon 13 – Sat 18


Photo: Darren Bell

Glitter, sequins and a whole lot of singing, Hellooooooo, Priscilla! The iconic sassy show is in Southampton this week with Joe McFadden (Heartbeat, Holby City, Strictly) at the helm. Expect classic tunes, plenty of camp comedy and an overwhelming fuzzy feeling from this modern fairytale.

EVENT: Sandown New Year’s Day Fireworks, Wed 1

Colourful fireworks displayIf you’ve managed to avoid the inevitable New Year’s hangover (hurrah!) then make the most of the last throes of the festive season with Sandown Carnival fireworks. There was a little switcheroo with dates to celebrate 130 years of the carnival and a whopping brand new decade, so get down to the pier for the 6pm show.

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MUSIC: Thrive In 2020 – New Year Concert with Magdalena Atkinson, The Retreat, New Forest, Sat 4

Ease into the new decade with the dulcet tones of Magdalena Atkinson and her catalogue of zen-inducing melodies. Less rock and roll and more roll into it, this one-off concert is just what the yogi ordered when it comes to early January entertainment.

EVENT: Torchlit Wassail, Heckfield Orchard, Sat 4

Heckfield Gardens

Heckfield’s Gardens

Bonkers British Tradition Alert! Heckfield Orchards need your help with a good ol’ singsong and raising a toast to a plentiful year. The wassailing tradition dates back to pre-William the Conqueror and is as unusual as it comes, plus totally requires booking in for lunch or dinner at one of Harry and Meg’s alleged fave spots.

EVENT: Tree planting, Cubridge Nature Reserve, Sun 5

Feeling the guilt over all that wrapping paper? Then give back to old Ma Nature with a spot of tree planting to set off the new decade. Organised by the National Trust at Mottisfont and SC Johnson, you can plonk a brand new sapling into the ground and it’s totally free. There’s 6,000 to plant so we best get cracking…

MUSIC: Learn the Ukelele: Taster Session, Theatre Royal Winchester Cafe Bar, Wed 8

arms-chair-girl-hands-459814I always like to start the New Year off by learning something new and it’s an added bonus if it winds up the kids as well. This free taster session in the fab cafe at the Theatre Royal will get you making tunes in no time and if you end up liking it, there’s regular sessions to meet other pluckers.

THEATRE: Buddy, The Mayflower, Wed 8 – Sat 11

8208 AJ Jenks, Hannah PricePut a bit of 50’s spring in your step with the 30th-anniversary tour of Buddy – The Buddy Holly Story, as it jives into Southampton. Featuring classic tunes such as Chantilly Lace and Peggy Sue, you’ll be gyrating your hips and tapping your toes so much you’ll be able to skip the gym sesh.

WORKSHOP: Feel Good Art, Darn It & Stitch, Southampton, Thurs 9

A little spot of art therapy to warm your soul? Then pop along to Darn & Stitch, located right on the river to create your very own inspirational wooden sign. Here you’ll be guided through staining and painting your fave inspirational quote onto something to adorn your walls.


CULTURE: Learning to Look- One day workshop, Hampshire Art Studio, Thurs 9

The Hampshire Art Studio runs a range of fab artistic classes from absolute beginners to more confident artistes. If you’re thinking about dipping a toe into the creative world, then check out the one-day workshop – Learning to Look. This drawing workshop covers the absolute basics and will help you to actually look  at things (and it’s surprising how much we don’t!) and then how to interpret that onto paper. Here’s to 2020 being the year we all win the Turner Prize!

FAMILY: The Railway Children, Theatre Royal Winchester, Fri 10 – Sun 12

Railway CHildren

Move over Famous Five and James Bond, The Railway Children were solving all the espionage back in the Edwardian era. This classic tale by Edith Nesbit has been made into films and TV series galore, but this week hits the boards in Winchester for a fab family show courtesy of Blue Apple Theatre who have a cast of extremely talented individuals with learning disabilities.

EXHIBITION: Jake Wood-Evans: Relic, Jewry Street Winchester, Fri 10 Jan – 29 Mar

This month sees the launch of contemporary artist Jake Wood-Evans’ solo show in Winchester. Known for his ethereal oil paintings, his modern images are very much influenced by past masters and this exhibition explores the link between the past and the future.

WORKSHOP: New Year New Intentions, Yoga & Meditation Day Retreat, The Retreat, Sat 11

Hands up if mindfulness is on your New Year resolutions (*raises hand*). Then get a bit of a January boost with one of the fab day retreats at The Retreat in the New Forest. New Year New Intentions brings together yoga and meditation, plus a vegan lunch from ‘Raw is for Real’ to get your 2020 off to a flying start.

FOOD & DRINK: Nose to Tail – Curing ‘a pig in a day’, Wolverton, Sat 11

There’s a spot of foodie fun on this weekend with Hampshire’s famous salami school branching out into total curing workshops. This event sees the whole of the pig being used, with no waste and making it last with clever artisan curing techniques. Vegans probably aren’t going to enjoy this one but if you’re mad about charcuterie it is definitely worth the £200 price tag.

WORKSHOP: It’s A Gin Thing, Chewton Glen, Sat 11

Giving Dry January a miss? Then have we got the course for you! It’s A Gin Thing held at Chewton Glen is a one-stop masterclass on creating your very own bespoke blended gin. Guided by co-founder and craft distiller of Pothecary Gin, Martin Jennings, you’ll be taught how to create the perfect tipple and also enjoy a specially crafted gin-themed lunch. You’ll also get to take home a 500ml bottle of your gin, Pothecary goodie bag and famous The Kitchen apron.

HERITAGE: Art Installation: Casting Light, Mottisfont, Romsey, Sat 11 Jan – Sun 8 Nov

This month sees the launch of a brand new light installation at Mottisfont – Casting Light – and its tipped to be very illuminating (sorry!) Located in the Red Room, this immersive experience is by renowned artists Heinrich & Palmer, and uses modern technology to show the layers of history in Mottisfont unlike ever before.

EVENT: Mindfulness Trail, The Vyne, Sat 11 Jan – Sun 9 Feb

the vyne

Photo: Kabadas via Wikimedia Commons

National Trust buildings and locations are known for being historically important and jaw-droppingly beautiful, so how about factoring this into some needed reflection? The Vyne is running a special Mindfulness Trail for the duration of January, giving visitors a chance to walk around its beautiful spots and take in some well needed mental clarity.

FAMILY: Surviving the Stone Age, Gosport Gallery, Sat 11 Jan – Sat 22 Feb

If the thought of the wi-fi cutting out gives you the cold sweats, then spare a thought for our poor old ancestors who didn’t even have dial-up. Surviving the Stone Age is a new exhibition at the Gosport Gallery looking at what life was like in Stone Age Hampshire, featuring artefacts that have lasted millennia and have-a-go activities.

THEATRE: What’s Love Got To Do With It?, The Mayflower, Southampton, Sun 12

Elesha Paul Moses is channelling the spirit of Tina Turner with brand new show What’s Love Got To Do With It? Created by the producers of the award-winning Whitney – Queen Of The Night, you’ll be treated to Turners back catalogue, delivered by Moses’ epic vocal talent in Southampton for one night only. We bet it’s going to be Simply The Best (haha, sorry I couldn’t help myself!)

WORKSHOP: A Step Towards Abstract Expressionism, Hampshire Art Studio, Mon 13

When sketching fruit in a bowl doesn’t float your boat, and pretty little landscapes make you snore, how about trying your hand at the abstract medium with this one day workshop? Led by Hampshire artist Eve Dawson, you can create awe-inspiring canvases of colour and texture, safe in the knowledge it’s more than just “squiggles”.

COMEDY: Jimmy Carr: Terribly Funny, The Anvil, Basingstoke, Tues 14

JC_TerriblyFunny_1880x1200King of the One-Liner and one of the hardest working comics in the industry, Jimmy Carr starts off the year by bringing his Terribly Funny show to The Anvil in Basingstoke. He’s in for a good run this year with performances on the Island, Portsmouth Guildhall but get in there early doors for his first Hampshire outing for 2020.

EVENT: Heckfield Place’s Biomass Energy Centre, Tues 14

Interested in sustainability? Then how about checking out how top hotel Heckfield Place manages their estate in an ecologically responsible way from harvesting rainwater to running the hotel on biomass. Whether you’re a full-blown eco champion or just interested in how you can minimise your footprint, this is a fascinating opportunity to find out more about the movement.

THEATRE: 1984, Forest Forge Theatre, Ringwood, Wed 15 – Sat 18

Big Brother is watching you. No, not the long-forgotten reality TV show, but the super scary institution The Ministry of Truth. Originally written by George Orwell, this iconic dystopian tale is coming to the stage at Ringwood’s Forest Forge Theatre this month and is as relevant (not to mention scary) now as it was back in 1949 as it is in 2020. Gulp.

FOOD & DRINK: Fermentation Workshop, The Garlic Farm, Thurs 16

Kefir, Kimchi and Kombucha – we LOVE fermented foods and the trend doesn’t look like its stopping any time soon. Head to one of the top gourmet spots on the Island for a three-hour masterclass on cultivating your cultures under the expert guidance of Josephine. You’ll learn all the techniques and be able to take home your very own Kilner jar of Kimchi, milk Kefir grains and a kombucha starter to set you on your way.

EVENT: Winter Lights, Whitchurch Silk Mill, Fri 17 – Sun 26

Whitchurch IlluminationsAs we head deep into winter we are beyond excited to check out the fabulous illuminations heading to Whitchurch Silk Mill. With the River Test acting as a giant mirror for the twinkling display, wrap up warm for this beautiful after-dark event running this month.

EXHIBITION: Comedy & Commentary, Mottisfont, Sat 18 Jan – Sun 19 Apr

Who says cartoons are for kids? This new exhibition at Mottisfont features the works of respected and talented cartoonists, with a spin on modern events. With scathing wit and satire, this is comedy for grown-ups.

EVENT: Heckfield Place Produce Sale, Heckfield Place, Sat 18

Heckfield’s famous produce sale returns for its January outing and best be quick as the tickets always sell out super fast. Here you can pick up some of the brilliant wares grown and created on the estate and it also happens to be the same day as a special talk on sustainability called 50 Shades of Green.


FAMILY: Toy Stories: City of Southampton Orchestra, Central Hall, Southampton, Sat 18

Swap the Peppa Pig theme tune for something a little higher brow with this concert from the City of Southampton Orchestra. Bringing classical music, dance and the world of toys together, this will have the littlies enraptured and offer them a chance to discover some of the local culture.

EVENT: Evening Orchard Wassail, Chawton House, Sat 18

Grab your burning torch and whatever instruments you can get your hands on for this age-old tradition to ensure good harvest. The annual wassail at Chawton House leads through the Walled Garden, where there will be songs and toasting to the Bramley tree with the Shanty Men leading the tunes. And after all is said and done there’s hot soup and a roll for your graft.

EXHIBITION: Microsculpture, Willis Museum and Sainsbury Gallery, Basingstoke, Sat 18 Jan – 18 Apr

These are bugs like you’ve never seen them before. This fantastic new exhibition of photography by Levon Biss zooms in on micro-beasties and all the unseen beauty they behold. From the beautiful duo chrome colouring of the humble fly to the intricacies of the dragonfly’s wings, this exhibit features work of Hampshire naturalist Gilbert White along with studies conducted with Oxford University Museum of Natural History will have you fascinated, rather than appalled at these insects.

HERITAGE: Historic Baking Demonstration, Winchester City Mill, Sun 19

human-holding-a-bread-745988Fond of artisanal bread? Then take a look at this brilliant interactive event at Winchester City Mill to see how the humble loaf was made back in yesteryear. No fancy pants kitchen mixers or Paul Hollywood books here, this was pure hard graft to make a daily crust.

OUTDOORS: Shinrin Yoku: Forest Bathing, Foxbury, Sun 19

bright-daylight-environment-forest-240040If you’ve not had a chance to visit Foxbury then it really is a must. This ancient woodland is filled with glorious old trees and a real sense of tranquillity. And, while you’re there take advantage of the calming space with a spot of Forest Bathing with a Shirin Yoku practitioner. Don’t panic though, Forest Bathing isn’t stripping off in the middle of the woods but ‘bathing’ in nature and vibes from the forest, even if you don’t reach a state of nirvana you’ll be able to hit your step count for the day.

EVENT: Winchester Vegan Fair, Winchester Guildhall, Sun 19

This January sees a plant-based paradise in Winchester Guildhall as the Vegan Fair returns. Switch out your animal products for alternatives to try and help the planet, reduce waste and potentially even save a puppy. There will be stalls and goodies galore, with plenty of quirky new dishes to try out as well.

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FOOD & DRINK: Vegan Venture, Chewton Glen, Tues 21

Are you doing Veganuary? Then take your plant-based culinary skills to the next level with the Vegan Venture course at The Kitchen at Chewton Glen. You’ll be able to whip up delights such as Pad Thai with kelp noodles and a dairy-free chocolate and orange mousse. The diet can totally start next week!

EVENT: Ghost Stories at the Royal Victoria Chapel, Royal Victoria Country Park, Wed 22

Chapel Royal Victoria ParkSpooky happenings are afoot in Netley as the chapel at Royal Victoria Country Park becomes the venue for terrifying tales of the unknown. This interactive tour will transport visitors back to the night watch of 1963 to try and find out what goes bump in the night. Eeeek!


FOOD & DRINK: Burns Night Supper, The Myers Touch, Winchester, Thurs 23

One of our fave supper clubs returns with a special Burns Night spectacular. With dishes that will get your mouth-watering, including Carpaccio of lightly smoked Hampshire Venison and traditional Haggis with Whisky gravy, bring a bottle and raise a toast to old Robbie Burns this month.

MUSIC: Eliana Cargnelutti + Brent Hutchinson, Southampton, Thurs 23

For something a little bit continental, we’ve been told that Eliana Cargnelutti is quite the singer. Hailing from northern Italy, her rocky blues vibe is supported by a strong vocal range and mad guitar skills. Also on the bill is local lad, Brent Hutchinson, who dabbles in rock and blues with his career as a musician.

WORKSHOP: Heart Wall Hanging Macrame Workshop, The Songbird Southampton, Thurs 23

We told you last year that Macrame is in, so check out the super cool Songbird in Southampton (ice-cream shop meets crafty meeting spot), to make your own quirky piece to be bang on-trend. The two hour workshop will show you all the skills, provide you with your own hanging to take home and even comes with a wodge of cake. Yes, please!


FOOD & DRINK: Cheese & Wine Night, Hambledon Vineyard, Fri 24

I firmly believe you never have too much cheese or wine, and this special event at Waterlooveille’s Hambledon Vineyard delivers on both fronts. Rather than just drinking any old plonk with a slice of fromage, you’ll be able to find out more about which cheesy matches are made in heaven and up your post-dinner cheeseboard game.


EVENT: Burns Night, The Cliff House, Barton on Sea, Fri 24

Muddy Award winner and all-round stonking spot, The Cliff House is celebrating Burns Night big style this year. With a special menu including Cullen Skink (which is as much fun to eat as it is to say), traditional Haggis, Clootie Dumpling and a side of bagpipes. Here’s tae ye!

FOOD & DRINK: Burns Night 2020, Chewton Glen, Sat 25

Celebrate Mr Burns in style this January with an epic Burns Night dinner and whisky spectacular. With a four-course dinner at one of the country’s top spots, whisky cocktails and wine pairings, you’ll be so happy you’ll start writing your own Burns inspired verses.

EVENT: Burns Night, BrewDog Southampton, Sat 25

For something a little bit more drinky than haggis-related, check out uber-trendy BrewDog in Southampton for its celebration of the Scottish ceremony. There’s veggie haggis, free beer for any kilt wearers and plenty of hootnanny shenanigans.

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WORKSHOP: Achieving Cohesive Design with AR Design, The Myers Touch, Winchester, Tues 28

If you’re planning on creating an epic living space this year then add this free talk at Winchester’s Myers Touch to your diary. Andy Ramus will walk attendees through the dos and dont’s of creating an amazing kitchen that is as beautiful as it is functional.

FOOD & DRINK: Wine Supper Wednesday: The Winter Edition, Wed 29

The Cliff House is known for its brilliant Wine Supper Wednesdays and this week’s is a special Winter Edition. This four-course meal with paired wines is just £38 pp, and includes dishes such as Guinea Fowl, Roast Loin of Venison and more deliciousness for a cold winter’s night.

WORKSHOP: Adult Pottery Workshop, Durlston Court Prep, Wed 29

potsIf you’ve ever been curious about pottery then check out this special adult workshop at Durlston Court Prep in the New Forest. The school boasts its own ceramics studio which they are opening up to parents and local residents to give throwing clay a try. I recently had the opportunity to have a spot of tuition with Jane White, the ceramics master, and came out with an item that actually looked pretty good.


FOOD & DRINK: Simply Good For You Cookery Demo and Lunch, Lime Wood, Wed 29

Lime Wood is playing host to a special demo and supper with renowned wellbeing and nutritional expert, Amelia Freer, in celebration of her new book – Simply Good For You. With over 100 recipes, Amelia will informally chat through some of her favourite dishes and, supported by her associate nutritionist Dr Rozzie Yoxall, will talk about some of the benefits of the ingredients before you enjoy a special two-course dinner directly from the pages themselves.


DANCE: Birmingham Royal Ballet: Swan Lake, The Mayflower, Southampton, Wed 29 – Fri 31

Best foot forward! The Birmingham Royal Ballet brings the timeless classic of Swan Lake to the stage this month with a three day run at The Mayflower. If you’ve promised yourself to be more cultural this year, or just want to dip your pointed toe into ballet, then this will rivet and astound even the most apprehensive theatregoer.

THEATRE: Wind In The Willows: The Musical, Nuffield Southampton Campus, Wed 29 Jan –  Sat 1 Feb

Old Toad of Toad Hall is up to his old tricks again with this production of the classic book by Grahame. This production is glittering with a story created by Oscar winner and creator of Downton Abbey, Julian Fellowes with music and lyrics by George Stiles and Anthony Drewe (Mary Poppins, Peter Pan and the new Half a Sixpence).

COMEDY: The National Trust Fan Club, The Haymarket, Basingstoke, Thurs 30

National-Trust-Fan-Club_ab547017ed35d1f561cfe54d5ceb6abcWe LOVE visiting National Trust properties but perhaps not so much as comedian Helen Wood. Wood has created a goal of visiting every single NT property and documenting her exploits on the way. The show premiered at Edinburgh Fringe and is packed to the gills with tales of cream teas, dusty houses and plenty of laughs to boot.



We love the look of this newbie exhibition, Tutankhamun – Treasures of the Golden Pharaoh at the Saatchi Gallery. One of the biggest cultural events in the winter calendar, the exhibit features 150+ original artefacts found in the Pharaoh’s tomb that was unearthed in 1922 (until 3 May).

Mama Mia! A brand new (and, quite frankly, must-see) exhibition is coming to The O2, London this month – ABBA: Super Troupers is a journey through the Swedish band’s career and will feature personal items and artefacts never seen before in the UK (until 21 Aug 2020).

Other exhibitions worth a snoop are Vogue fashion and portrait photographer Tim Walker‘s enchanting, fantastical, frankly insane collection of work at the V&A (until 8 March); William Blake at Tate Britain, with the visionary painter and poets work blown up to enormous scale using digital technology (until 2 Feb 2020); Into the Night: Cabarets & Clubs in Modern Art at the Barbican  – a history of cabarets, clubs, dancefloors and party spaces that inspired artists from the 1880s to the 1960s (until 19 Jan).

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