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What’s On in the Country? The Culture Diary

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What’s On in the Country? The Culture Diary

Don't miss the best cultural events in the UK during the month...


What’s on this week in the countryside and the UK beyond London? Wonder no more! Find out all the hottest show openings, new art exhibitions, restaurants to book into and more. (Or if reading this is all too much, download our What’s On Podcast, here.) Here’s your culture guide to the month ahead…


Looking for events in London? Check out our Town Culture Diary

What’s On in the Country this Month? December 2018

1 December

Ocean Liners: Speed and Style

Symbolic of 20th-century modernity, ocean liners heralded the golden age of travel. The exhibition at the new Scottish outpost of The V&A examines ships such as the Titanic and the Queen Mary and their influence on popular culture. Until 24 February,


2 December

Faces of Change: Votes for Women, Nationwide

The National Trust and the Portrait Gallery collaborate to bring paintings, photos and archival documents to Devon, Nottinghamshire and County Down. Until 3 Feb 2019,


3 December

The Upside Down House, The Triangle Bournemouth

On November 10th, Bournemouth welcomed the wild and wonderful new the Upside Down House. Using the UK’s first inverted wooden structure, the experiential house is a mix of street art and immersive entertainment. The zero-gravity illusion means visitors can walk on the ceiling and go downstairs to go up throughout the two-storey building. Open until June 2019,

Lost Treasures of Strawberry Hill: Masterpieces from Horace Walpole’s Collection, Twickenham

Masterpieces from the magnificent collection of paintings, sculptures, furniture and curiosities created by Horace Walpole will be reassembled for this once-in-a-lifetime show. The pieces are from his celebrated gothic villa at Strawberry Hill and were later dispersed all over the world in the famous sale in 1842. The exhibition will provide a unique opportunity to experience one of the most famous 18th-century collections including great works by Joshua Reynolds, Anthony Van Dyck and Hans Holbein, reunited in the original setting of Strawberry Hill’s fine rooms. Until 24 February 2019.

4 December

The Furthest Lands

The Furthest Lands

Begin in the extreme north of the Shetland Islands and journey south over 950 miles to the far southwest point of Ireland in the Yorkshire Sculpture Park’s exhibition The Furthest Lands, a display by Norman Ackroyd CBE, RA of intricate aquatint etchings and a small collection of watercolours. 17 Nov to 24 Feb,

5 December

Hepworth Prize for Sculpture

Movers and Sculptors

The £30,000, biennial Hepworth Prize for Sculpture recognises a UK-based artist of any age who has significantly developed contemporary sculpture. See the exhibition of work by the artists shortlisted: Michael Dean, Mona Hatoum, Phillip Lai, Magali Reus and Cerith Wyn Evans. The award winner will be announced on 15 November. 26 October to 20 January,

6 December

Padstow Christmas Market & Festival

Padstow Christmas Market & Festival

What could be better than a Christmas market? Padstow’s Christmas Market & Festival, supported by acclaimed chefs Paul Ainsworth, Nathan Outlaw and Rick Stein! Head to the fishing town in Cornwall for a 3-day celebration full of pop-up stalls of artisan food from names such as Wild Food Kitchen and Cracking Nuts, fresh food and drink from Cornish Duck Truck and Wildbake amongst many great others, and arts and crafts, carolling, a fantastic fireworks display and enough festive cheer to fill you up till next December. Whilst you’re there, why not stay for a night or two at Padstow Townhouse? Opened by Paul Ainsworth and his wife Emma, the townhouse is an adult-only, boutique gem perfect for putting your feet up and relaxing after a day at the festival. Stays at Padstow Townhouse from £280 per room per night, based on two people sharing, including breakfast and VAT. To make a reservation email [email protected] , call 01841 550 950 or visit Entry to the festival is free so grab your flag of Cornwall, head southwest and enjoy!

A Christmas Carol

A Christmas Carol

A Yorkshire Christmas can be cold, but not as flinty hard as the heart of Ebenezer Scrooge brought to Victorian realistic life in this grim and ghostly telling. 20 Nov to 13 Jan.

7 December

Thursford Christmas Spectacular

Thursford Christmas Spectacular

An extravaganza it shall be indeed: 130 professional performers comprise the three-hour performance of non- stop singing, dancing, music, humour and variety that is the Thursford Christmas Spectacular. The season was never more festive than with this eclectic mix of chart-toppers alongside traditional carols. 6 November to 23 December,

8 December

The Nutcracker by Sir Peter Wright

The Nutcracker by Sir Peter Wright

Would it be Christmas without it? Thankfully there’s no need to find out – families can join Clara and the Sugar Plum Fairy in the world famous production of The Nutcracker by Sir Peter Wright, designed by John Macfarlane at Birmingham Royal Ballet. 23 November to 13 December,

9 December

The Wizard of Oz

The Wizard of Oz

The tale of little Dorothy and her red shoe-d adventures steps neatly from the 40s silver screen to delight in real time all over again. 24 Nov to 13 Jan.

10 December

Haroon Mirza: Reality Is Somehow What We Expect It To Be

Haroon Mirza: Reality Is Somehow What We Expect It To Be

Haroon Mirza’s immersive sound and light work has discombobulated audiences for over ten years. His signature style engulfs the audience and immerses them in a parallel universe of overwhelming colour and noise. Birmingham’s home to contemporary art looks back at his career. 30 Nov to 24 Feb.

14 December

‘When All Is Quiet: Kaiser Chiefs in Conversation with York Art Gallery’

Rock band the Kaiser Chiefs have curated a unique exhibition showcasing at York Art Gallery this month, exploring the boundaries of music, art, performance and creation. Expect performances by a forty-art choir, paintings from the gallery’s’ own collection and much more… 14 December 2018 to 10 March 2019,

Emmeline Pankhurst Statue Unveiling, Manchester

Marking exactly 100 years since some women voted in the UK voted in the General Election, a new statue of renowned feminist figure Emmeline Pankhurst will be unveiled in her hometown, Manchester. Marchers should meet at either the Pankhurst Centre or the People’s History Museum, where the march will continue to St Peter’s Square to greet Our Emmeline, where local dignitaries and a choir will be congregated! 14 December,

15 December

Godshill Park Farm’s New Yoga Retreat

A brand new yoga retreat has opened up inside of Godshill Park Farm’s converted farmhouse. Book a residential retreat package and make use of the yoga studio which overlooks fantastic views, toasty log-fires, and the delicious, locally-sourced food. Prices start at £265 per person, with a vast schedule of yoga and well-being retreats slated for 2019.

16 December

White Peak Distillery, Ambergate

One of England’s largest commercial whiskey distilleries has just opened in Ambergate, inside a former Victorian wire-works. Book a tour at White Peak Distillery and enjoy the brand new amenities – the tasting room, shop, and a whole lot of Derbyshire dry gin (their first whiskey won’t be available until 2021!) Tours are £12, book at

17 December

The Auckland Tower, County Durham

The Auckland Tower, designed by architect Niall McLaughlin, opened this October and offers visitors incredible panoramic views over Country Durham. The 29-metre tower includes a 15 metre-high viewing platform and is part of the Aukland Project, which you can read more about at 

February 2019

MK Gallery, Milton Keynes

The new MK Gallery, designed by Award-winning architects 6a, will open in February 2019, doubling the size of the current building and creating a world-class centre for contemporary arts in the heart of Milton Keynes. The new building will include a flexible suite of galleries to accommodate a rich variety of works, historical and contemporary. It will also include a cinema/performance space, a new foyer and bookshop, an informal bar/café, a learning space, plus areas for reading and study. Until July 2019,

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