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What’s on in Suffolk & Cambs this December

Hold onto your bobble hat it's DECEMBER....time for pantos, Santa grottoes, ice rinks, light trails and Xmas markets, oh and a vat of mulled wine somewhere cosy to help you through!

IT’S CHRISTMAS! 

Still not booked those panto seats, sorted out a light trail or shopped at an Xmas market? No worries, we’ve got your back and have the lowdown on all the best places to get your festive freak on.

Kids want to meet Santa? Plenty of grottoes are sold out, but word on the street says you can meet the big man in red and white at Felixstowe Christmas Market, 11 Dec, where there’s a grotto and kids’ activities from 10am-4pm. You don’t need to book and there’s Xmas stalls and food and drink too – we’re in. Find more Santa meet and greets here.

Nothing says December like a Christmas light trail, so we’ve rounded-up the best to book in Suffolk & Cambs, ditto the slickest ice skating rinks.

Christmas markets are always fun and Kimbolton High Street will be heaving on 5 Dec from 10.30am-6pm, when its Christmas Market, light switch on and carols burst into life. Pop into Muddy fave indie gift and homeware shop Truffles and Twine on the High Street to pick up some pressies while you’re there.

There’s still time to book a panto, “oh no there isn’t” *eye roll*. Aladdin’s showing at Ipswich’s Regent Theatre until 2 Jan, while Cinderella’s losing her slipper at Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds until 16 Jan and also at the Marina Theatre Lowestoft until 2 Jan. Aladdin’s popular this year as he’s also rubbing his lamp (euphemism intended) at Cambridge Arts Theatre until 9 Jan.

Alternatively, ditch the panto idea and watch Co-op Juniors Theatre Company’s Christmas Spectacular 2021 at Snape Matings Concert Hall instead. It’s 100% guaranteed to make you feel festive watching a cast of 100 sing and dance their way through the nativity, Santa’s workshop and a tree lighting ceremony to a live orchestra. Fun for all the fam, 3-12 Dec.

SHOPPING 

Jimmy’s Farm’s getting in the Christmas spirit with a shopping evening and Santa’s grotto on 3 Dec (5-8pm). Stock up on wines, gins, real ale and local preserves, then head to the Nordic Tent to check out crafts, gifts and festive stuff. Finish off with some hot food in the 18th-Century Barn and arrange for the kids to meet Santa and his elves in his grotto – a charming hand-built Cobb House. Psst there’s also a new adventure play area opening soon which looks pretty awesome even by their high standards; think twin wood towers, enclosed slides and rope bridges. 

New lifestyle shop Prudent Nellie is celebrating opening its doors in Sudbury on 3 Dec with a ‘drinks and meet the makers’ evening. We love that it’s stocking local indie retailers like vintage store Stone & Sage, winner of the Muddy Stilettos best interiors store award this year.

Suffolk ceramicist Sophie Cook is opening her studio near Woodbridge from 10am-3pm on 4 Dec for a pre-Xmas sale. Browse in person but if you can’t make it the sale goes live online at 5pm. 

And don’t miss the Winter Open Studios in Ely, 4-5 Dec, where local Indies are selling everything from handmade clothes to up-cycled bags, jewellery, oil paintings and ceramics, which you can browse while nibbling a mince-pie, hurrah.

ART & CULTURE 

Jimmy Carr’s testing out some new jokes with a one-off ‘work in progress show’ at the Marina Theatre Lowestoft on 11 Dec, the £21 tix are selling fast so get clicking. 

There are still some tickets left for astronaut Tim Peake’s show talking about his adventures in space at Cambridge Corn Exchange, 8 Dec, including never-before-seen footage, images and insights into life on the International Space Station. 

Check out the Easterly Artists Winter Exhibition ‘Making Your Mark’ at Ferini Art Gallery in Pakefield, Lowestoft. Running until 9 Jan, a record 24 artists are taking part with their interpretation of the theme, from screen prints and oil paintings to mixed media collages. 

BEAUTY 

Need a pre-Xmas MOT? Well Cambridge Country Club is holding a Spa Open Day, 1 Dec, with lots of fabulous treatments available including 20-minute express facials and 10-minute hand and foot massages. There’s also make-up help like a free foundation match session and brow tutorials, plus discounts and offers on the day. 

If you fancy a beauty lucky dip, err yes please, then English Rose Beauty House has 25 mystery gift bags on offer from 1 Dec. You pay £27 but the beauty goodies inside are worth anything from £30 t0 £120 – snap one up in the salon or online! 

FOOD & DRINK 

The Porterhouse Pub in Willingham has ramped up the festive spirit by opening its 9-metre tipi for winter, complete with five rustic tables, faux fur throws, heaters, hot water bottles and a full Xmas menu – see you by the fireside! And here are more cosy Christmas dining spots if you fancy a festive feast in a dome, lodge, tipi or hut.

Elsie May’s Electric Lounge in St Neots has added some festive hot chocs to the menu and we’re here for them, particularly the Christmas spice mix and Naughty Brandy warmer – a total treat mid-pressie shopping! 

Stock up on all your Xmas food necessaries (and a whole lot more) at Sudbury Farmers Market, 17 Dec, with stalls stocking local producers like Suffolk Spice Company, Beehouse Honey and The Jamshed. 

KIDS 

It’s Magic & Mayhem at the Cambridge University Botanic Garden where elves have been up to mischief, including hiding festive things for little ones to find, putting up entertaining installations and creating a map and colouring sheet. Runs from 10am-4pm daily until 23 Dec and you can buy tickets on arrival. 

Combine fresh air/shopping/kids’ activity in one easy day out by taking the mini Muddies on a mile-long Rudolph Christmas Trail around beautiful Southwold. Twenty-four red-nosed reindeers with a letter of the alphabet have been hidden in shop windows, which kids have to spot and note down to form the words of a Christmas poem. Starts at High Tide store, where you can pick up a map and ends at Gun Hill Beach Kiosk, where they collect the prize if they’ve completed the poem (and which handily sells delish hot choc). Runs until 31 Dec. 

HELPING HAND

If you’ve got a couple of hours to spare 3 Dec, wrap up warm and join Creightive Beach Clean at Shotley (10.45am at The Shipwreck, weather permitting!) for a morning of charity litter clearing. Creightive aims to raise 10K for Surfers Against Sewage and host monthly beach cleans around Suffolk, so get involved.

A Photograph by Cameron Maynard/Aperto

A 5K Santa Run at Heveningham Hall helps raise money for local charities and helps you work off all the mince-pies. Taking place on 4 Dec and the costume’s provided. There’s also a 2K Little Santa’s Helpers Run if the kids want to get involved too!

BOOK NOW

MUSIC: The Jockey Club Live, Newmarket Racecourse, various dates

Already dreaming of summer? We hear ya! There’s a jam-packed schedule of concerts at Newmarket Racecourse in Suffolk this year, so saddle up and book ‘em now. Smash-hit singer Anne-Marie is performing on 29 July —  we are so there! You can also catch the fabulous Paloma Faith on 17 June, or The Script on 15 July, and Pete Tong & The Heritage Orchestra on 12 Aug. Giddy on, hot weather.

Find more ideas here

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