Sunday, 10 November 2019

Christmas fairs & family activities

This guide is for all things Christmas in Northamptonshire.  I have separated into Christmas Fairs, Children specific (breakfast with Santa/Discos etc) and Christmas light switch on.  If you are after Pantos, ice skating or grottos they are in a separate guide as otherwise it would be enormous!!!








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Sooooo many Christmas Fair's! Some seem more family friendly than others but have a browse & take your pick.


Frost Fair & Parade - Northampton Market Square
1st December 11am to 4pm.  Over 70 independent traders, music, food & drink.


Christmas Fair - Abington Park Museum
23rd & 24th November 11am to 4pm Artisan producers, gifts, decorations, food & drink.  Free admission



Christmas Fair - Billing Aquadrome
7th & 8th December 10am to 4pm Christmas market stalls, crafts and Santa £2 per visit.


Christmas Fair - Delapre Abbey
14th & 15th December 11am to 4pm stalls and seasonal activities £5 per adult entry children free.

Christmas Fayre - Weston Favell Village
16th November 11am to 2pm Free entry. Christmas gift shopping, games, book stalls, raffle, face painting, tea & coffee, cake stalls.



Christmas Fair - Wootton Community Centre
23rd November 12 to 4pm 

Christmas Fair - Kingsthorpe College
7th December 12 to 3pm craft stalls, face painting, food & drink, musical performances. Free entry.



Christmas Market - Duston Village Bakery
14th November 6 to 9pm.  25 stalls from jewellery to biscuits.

Christmas Fair - Vintage Retreat
7th December 10.30 am to 4pm stalls, food and drink.  Free entry.


Christmas Craft Fayre - The Bee Hive Kingsthorpe
23rd Novemer 10 to 3pm.  25 stalls & café.  Free entry.

Christmas Craft & Gift Market - Wicksteed Park
16 & 17th November 10.30am to 5 pm and 4pm Sunday.  80 stalls, children's face painting, glitter tattoos, Christmas characters (charges may apply) food & drink.  Free parking £2 entry fee, children free.  50% of the proceeds go to charity. 


Christmas Craft Fair - Workbridge Bedford Road
30th November 10 to 4pm 20 independent stalls, food & drink.  You can also buy a Christmas tree from the garden centre.

Christmas Food & Gift Market - Duston School
5th December 5 to 8pm Food & gift stalls, Santa's grotto, real reindeer, raffle, live music and more.



Christmas Extravaganza - Bugbrooke Primary School
29th November 3.30 to 6pm  stalls, food & drink, wear your Christmas jumper, visit Santa, play some games.

Christmas Fete - Parklands Community Centre
23rd November 2 to 4pm  stalls, bake off, tombola, tea & cake.  In association with the 27th Northampton Scout Group.

The Obelisk Centre 
1st December 11am to 3pm. Slime, festive good & drink, stalls and tombola.



Moulton Charity Christmas Fair with Father Christmas £2 per visit (One day only) 24th November 1 to 5pm at the community centre. Just turn up all profits go to charity.



Christmas Festival - Glamis Hall Wellingborough
7th December 9.30 am to 4pm  Stalls, food & drink, meet Father Christmas and see a live nativity.  £5 to visit Santa pre-book or £6 on the day.  Free entry for the main event.

Christmas Fair - Hunsbury Library
30th November 11am to 4pm Festive magic, Christmas craft corner, choir, stalls and food & drink.

Christmas Market - Spinney Hill Pub
1st December 12pm to 5pm Santa's grotto, festive stalls, roasted chestnuts, hot chocolate stand, mulled wine, kids actitivites



Christmas Fair - Brampton Halt
16th to 18th November 11am to 4pm  Local traders, BBQ and mulled wine.  Free entry raffle in aid of Cynthia Spencer.

Christmas Fair - Kings Park
30th November & 1st December 11am to 5pm  Free entry over 100 stalls, bouncy castle, Christmas carols & Santa is visiting.  Free parking at Nationwide a short walk away.



Christmas Craft Fair - The Boathouse White Mills Marina
15th December 10am to 4pm  local traders and food & drink.

Christmas at St Luke's
16th November 11am to 4pm lots of stalls, food & drink, Santa's grotto and festive music.



Christmas Shopping Evening - Castle Ashby Shopping Yard
18th December  to 10pm grab some last minute gifts from some lovely traders.

Holdenby House Festive Gift Fair 2019
9th & 10th November 10am to 5pm.  Father Christmas, lots of stalls, falconery display, choir, food & drink,  £6 adult and £5 child.


Christmas at Waddesdon
16th November to 5th Janaury. Lights, stalls, decorations, food & drink.  Prices vary depending on if you have a National Trust card & want to enter the house.

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Children's Christmas Party - Potz Ceramic Studio Billing Garden Centre
20th December 6.30 to 8.30pm Visit from Santa, decorate a ceramic project & have a Christmas jumper competition.  £15 per person.


Children's Christmas Party - Moulton Community Centre
21st December 6.30 to 8pm.  £7.95 children and £1.45 adults under 2's free. Prizes, party games and an appearance from Santa.



Children's Christmas Party - Wootton Club
21st December 3 to 5pm  aimed at children 3 to 11 years old you need to register to attend.  Disco, party games and prizes.

Children's Christmas Party - Spinney Hill Pub
Sunday 15th December 12pm to 2pm £2 per child fun, games and music.

Magical Christmas Experience - Wootton Community Centre
1st December 12pm to 4pm 1 hour sessions, 6 Christmas activities £10 per child.  Santa visit, crafts, story time. Pre book theemmasaimtrust@gmail.com



Breakfast with Santa & his Donkeys - The Sunnyside Pub
15th December 9am to 3pm.  £7 per child which includes breakfast, meeting Santa, a gift and a ride on a donkey. Donkeys available 10am to 2pm.  Each sitting on the hour.

Breakfast with Santa - Yeoman of England NN4 6LP
14th December 10am to 12. Breakfast & a chance to have a chat with Santa who will collect your Christmas letter.

Breakfast with Santa - The Collingtree NN4 0UE
£5 per child which includes breakfast, a gift from Santa.  Booking only event.

Breakfast with Santa - The Hart NN5 6NU
9am to 11am.  Cooked or continental breakfast & a visit to Father Christmas.  Adults breakfast also available.  Limited places.

Breakfast with Santa - Castello Lounge NN8 1AN
9.30 to 10.30am  Santa will arrive with his elf.  Breakfast, gift & photo opportunity. Tickets must be purchased from the lounge prior to the date & children's breakfast pre-ordered.

Breakfast with Santa - Bell Plantation Garden Centre NN12 6GX
7th & 14th December 8am to 9.30am.  Homemade tea or breakfast, small gift, visit from Santa and story time.  Website currently under development so call 01327 354126 for tickets.

Breakfast with Santa - Whilton Locks Garden Village NN11 2NH
8 dates available between 7th and 24th December.  Santa, gift, breakfast (vegetarian & vegan available - full menu on their website)  £9.99 per child and adult breakfasts are between £9.99 and £13.99.  Children must be accompanied by a paying adult.

Breakfast with Santa - Trading Post NN15 7RH
8th December 9 to 11am.  Small cooked breakfast with toast & squash, gift and some crafts & carol singing.  Must book at The Trading Post or by phone with full parent.  Parents can order breakfast from the bar.

Breakfast with Santa - Heart of England NN7 4QD
14th & 15th December 8 to 10am £6 per child.  Family ticket 2 adults, 2 children £20.  Classic breakfast & veggie option, Santa visit & chocolate treat.  Pre book only 01327 340335 & speak to Penny or Ross.

Elf Door Hunt - Beckets Park
8th December


Christmas Parade - Weston Favell Shopping Centre
16th November 11am to 4pm entertainment from 11am, parade at 1pm and grotto opens at 1.30pm


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Christmas Lights Switch On - Northampton
23rd November 2 to 5pm  fun, music and appearances from cast of Pippi Longstocking, Jack & the Beanstalk and Peppa & George pig!

Christmas Lights Switch On - Wellingborough
23rd November 2.30 to 6pm  lights on at 5.30 guest appearance from Natasha Hamilton.



Christmas Lights Switch On - Raunds
24th November 2 to 6.30pm  



Christmas Lights Switch On - Kettering 
28th November 4 to 8pm with special guest Will Mellor.  Stars of the panto, food stalls, santa sleigh, music & more.


Christmas Lights Switch On - Weedon Heart of the Shires Shopping Village
30th November 11am to 4pm Free Frozen fun with special guests Elsa & Anna, elf hunt, live singing and switch on at 3pm.




Christmas Sparkle Switch On - Higham Ferrers Market Square
23rd November 11am to 6pm Victorian themed Christmas event with fun fair rides, continental market, Santa, food and drink. They encourage people to walk or use public transport to avoid congestion. Christmas light switch on 5pm.



Hollowood Road Charity Christmas Lights from 1st December 5pm to 10pm for the whole month.

***I have included as many details as possible.  Most have a Facebook page if you need more info or contact details for specific events.  Please check before heading out as sometimes events are cancelled or changed***


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Tuesday, 5 November 2019

Christmas 2019 Guides for Northamptonshire

This post is a central point for all things Christmas in Northamptonshire.

If you are looking for a Christmas Panto, Ice skating, Santa's Grotto or Christmas fairs & family activities (being written) this is the place to look.

Each category has it's own page & the links are below.

Ice Skating Guide for Northamptonshire 2019

Santa's Grotto in Northamptonshire 2019

Christmas Panto Guide for Northamptonshire 2019

Christmas Fairs & Family Activities 2019

Merry Christmas

xxx








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Santa's Grotto in Northamptonshire 2019

Santa's Grottos are starting to spring up everywhere in Northamptonshire for 2019.  Below are all the venues and dates.  I have tried to find a Santa Grotto to suit all budgets.  Many are bookable only & I know a few do sell out.

Lots of the Christmas Fairs have a Santa's Grotto these are 1 day only events so I have not included here but if you want to take a look click on the link Christmas Fairs & Children's Activities

Weston Favell Grotto opens 16th November from 1.30pm £4.50 per ticket with a booking fee includes visit to Santa, a gift and visit to the story walk way.

Dobbies Garden Centre (Wootton) 24th November to 24th December £11.99.  This one actually gives you a pre bookable choice of gift from Lego, Playmobil, Ravens Burger & more.



Welford Christmas Tree Farm Weekdays Thursdays 21st, 28th Nov 5th and 12th December 4 to 6pm.  Weekends 23rd, 24th and 30th Nov 1st, 7th, 8th, 14th and 15th December 1 to 2.30pm and 2.45 to 4.15pm.  £5 per child every child will receive a gift and all profits go to charity. Whilst there visit the reindeer & pick a tree!


West Lodge The Christmas Experience 2019 30th November to 24th December.  Enter the Christmas village, make some reindeer food, go to elf school, visit Father Christmas and receive a token to exchange at the gift shop.  You can also join in with all the usual farm activities & the indoor heated adventure barn.  Prices £15 or £16 per child and £7 or £8 per adult. Babies £4 they do receive a gift and 12-23 months £6.


Credit West Lodge Rural
Delapre Abbey 30th November to 15th December £5 per child with booking fee includes chat with Santa & wrapped gift.

Berzerk - 19th to 23rd December 11am to 3pm normal admission applies & £3 for the grotto no need to book just turn up!

Santa Special - Northampton & Lamport Railway 24th November to 22nd December 9 dates available Saturday & Sundays.  Infants £5.50, Children from £12.50 and Adults from £11.50 includes visit to Santa, gift, train ride, soft drink & biscuit the adults can have a sherry!

Wicksteed Park Magical Christmas 2019 30th November to 24th December - A full experience with train ride, meet the reindeer Mrs Claus, Santa, hot drink & mince pie.  You receive a gift from the elves workshop and can go on the carousel & sway rider £15 child and £7.50 adults.

Riverside Hub Festive fun for the whole family - decorate a gingerbread treat, paint a pottery keepsake, enjoy the snowy disco, have a photo with Father Christmas and choose a gift. 3 hour visit.  £18 per child and £4.50 per adult £3 baby sibling.
Also a separate baby meets Santa event & each baby receives a gift. Lead by Mrs Elf your baby will listen too Christmas songs, play with puppets and instruments and meet Father Christmas.  You can also enjoy the hub's facilities.  £12 per baby £4.50 per adult. 2 hour visit.
A toddler session is also available 2.5 to 3 hour session toddlers to 7 years old only.  £16 per child and £4.50 per adult. **Very popular book early**

Stanwick Lakes 6 dates available weekends 7th & 8th 14th & 15th and 21st & 22nd. £7 per child & standard parking charges apply. Visit Santa  go on the festive trail & make a Christmas decoration.

Credit Stanwick Lakes
Stoke Bruene Santa Cruise - 1st, 7th, 8th, 14th, 15th, 20th, 21st, 22nd, 23rd, 24th December 1 1/2 hour cruise, mince pie, soft drink, tea/coffee, Christmas cracker, gift for each child and pass the parcel £15 per person under 1's free. Depart from The Boat Inn on the Indian Chief narrowboat.

Mini Meadows Farm - The Christmas Experience 30th November to 24th December.  Go through the candy cane maze and the elf forest, write a letter to Santa, decorate gingerbread, story time & meet Santa. Please note there are 2 experiences Full and Mrs Claus (does not include gift/Santa visit) Tickets between £4 and £19.50.


Credit Mini Meadows
Winterland MK at Towcester Racecourse

The grotto is opening 23nd November to 24th December 11am to 7pm daily.  Walk through the reindeer stables, make reindeer food and meet Santa £6 per child.


Credit Winterland MK
Billing Garden Centre - Details to follow



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Christmas Panto Guide for Northamptonshire 2019

Are you going to a Christmas Panto this year?  Oh yes you are!  There's always some amazing Christmas panto's in Northamptonshire so if you haven't decided which one to see for 2019 this might help.

Royal & Derngate

The Owl and the Pussycat
Magical Christmas show for under 7's Thursday 28th November to Sunday 5th January.  They is a relaxed performance on Saturday 7th December at 4pm for customers with disabilities & autism the lighting & sound will be changed to reduce anxiety. Pricing is around £12.50 adult and £10.50 child.

Cinderella

2019's must see panto starring Anita Dobson, Bernie Clifton, Sid Sloane from CBeebies and magician Martyn James. Friday 6th December to Sunday 29th December.  Relaxed performance is Friday 20th December at 2pm.  Prices vary from around £15 to £38.

Credit Royal & Derngate

The Deco

Jack & the Beanstalk 6th to 28th December.  On the 17th December at 6.30pm the show will be signed and relaxed with adjusted lighting & sound plus a chill out area. Prices start at £10 in the upper circle.

Credit The Deco

The Looking Glass Theatre

Dick Whittington and his Cat a traditional pantomime with songs, puppets and audience participation.  Touring 29th November to 31st December. At 16 locations around Northamptonshire. Tickets £10 adult and £8 child.  Family ticket £32

The Castle Wellingborough

Aladdin starring Natasha Hamilton Saturday 14th December to Tuesday 31st December prices around £21 adult and £19 child in the balcony.

Credit The Castle 

The Lighthouse Kettering

Cinderella Friday 13th December to Sunday 5th January.  Relaxed performance 2nd January 1.30 and signed performance 3rd January 1.30 prices around £14.50

The Core Corby

Swiss Family Robinson just 4 talented performers show ship wrecks, jokes, songs and festive family fun.  Friday 6th to Sunday 29th December. Relaxed performance 27th December 2pm and signed performance 19th December 7pm.  Tickets from £12.  Family ticket from £40.  Recommended for ages 6+

Just outside the 'Shire Milton Keynes Theatre

Aladdin starring Joe Pasquale and Lee Mead Saturday 7th December to Sunday 12th January.  Prices from £14 to £40.

The Snowman Wednesday 15th to Sunday 19th January 2020 the famous story of a young boys snowman that comes to life on Christmas eve.  1hr 45 minutes long. Prices £13 to £52.
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Ice skating guide for Northamptonshire 2019

Ice skating is a Christmas tradition in our house.  We aren't very good and a push along penguin or 2 is required but it's part of the Christmas fun. So where can you go ice skating in Northamptonshire 2019?  This guide will help you.

Beckworth Emporioum
The most popular for Northampton residents and our favourite.  Beckworth has opened early this year and you can already go! Lots of half price tickets available £8 adult and £6 child penguins are £5 each.  There are Friday Fun Nights from 29th November at 7 & 8pm.  If you don't fancy skating give curling a try maximum 8 players and £90 off peak or £180 peak.  Session lasts 80 minutes and show grippers included in the price.


Beckworth Emporium Ice Skating

Whilton Locks Garden Village 
From 16th November and with sit on bananas and some super saver deals why not try this ice skating rink in Daventry NN11 2NH. Some dates have 50% off check their website for all the dates & times.  The best deal is £6 Adult (£12 full price) £5 child (£10 full price) £4 penguin and £8 banana (2 children can fit).  

Corby Ice Rink next to the Willow Place Gateway car park
From 3rd November after a slight delay.  Prices £9.50 adult, £7.50 child and £5 for a blue whale skating aid or £6 for a polar bear. Sessions are 45 minutes long and 100 skates can take to the ice.  Some evening disco events have been lined up.

Kettering pop up ice rink
It appears this will be one day only! Saturday 14th December 10 to 4pm.  Ice rink & curling lane on the market place.


Winterland MK at Towcester Racecourse
Opening 22nd November 6 to 10pm till 5th January.  Ice skating will be available 45 minute sessions £13.50 per adult £9.50 children aged 12 & under family tickets are available for 2 adults 2 children or 1 adult 3 children £39 push along penguin £5.  You can book your slot online www.winterlandmk.com


Just outside the 'Shire Milton Keynes has Planet Ice for year round ice skating and the Snozone which is not for ice skating but is for snow! Family sledging sounds fun.  Sessions are 45 minutes £12.99 per person at weekends cheaper weekdays.




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Saturday, 26 October 2019

Northampton Active - White Water Rafting

Recently Northampton Active got in touch about visiting to try White Water Rafting.  It's something I've never tried before and a place I've drove pass many times and wondered what about so decided it was a big fat yes!

Myself and daughter (12) turned up at Northampton Active on a very grey rainy Saturday morning not quite sure what to expect.

After quickly signing in you go upstairs to watch a short information video.  It is up here any family or friends not taking part can stay dry and grab a cuppa.

The video was informative & fun and then it was time to get suited up for your 2 hour session.

To help keep you warm a wetsuit is worn over your own swimming costume/shorts and then a jacket is worn over the top, life jacket and helmet.  Wear shoes you don't mind getting wet, some old trainers will do the job perfectly. Once suited up it is swiftly down to the course & into your raft.  The rafts were bigger than I expected, 100% safe and easy to get in & out of.  My daughter was a little nervous of falling out but the instructor noticed this immediately and reassured her.

Northampton Active - White Water Rafting
Image from Northampton Active
Our first lap of the course was fairly dry but don't be fooled you do get wet! The wetsuits really help but by the end we were all a little cold but it really was FUN!

Northampton Active - White Water Rafting

You complete a few laps of the course, jump in, lie down for part of the course and plunge down a rapid! My daughter wasn't so keen on the jumping activities but happily watched the rest of us & there was no pressure from the instructors.


Northampton Active - White Water Rafting

I would 100% recommend and happily go back.  Myself & my daughter want to try paddle boarding in the spring and she'd like to have a go at kayaking (she's done it before & enjoyed it).

Obviously at this time of year it's going to be cold but it was bearable and you warm up quickly afterwards.

I would advise to go, have fun, get wet and take some warm snuggly clothes for afterwards.  If you have active teens or looking for ideas to get them off the PlayStation give it a try.  The white water rafting is for 12+ and the tubing is for 7+.

They offer white water rafting, white water tubing and holidays clubs (£30 per day for ages 7 to 17) at this time of the year.  For full details check out their website https://www.northamptonactive.com/  


**Disclaimer I received a free 2 hour session for 2 people in exchange for this review.  All opinions are my own & honest**
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Sunday, 13 October 2019

Brunch at La Terraza Upton, Northampton

This morning we went to La Terraza in Upton for brunch.  I didn't know they had a breakfast/brunch menu so was very pleasantly surprised to be invited. Their breakfast menu is served 9am till 11.30am (except Monday's) and has all the usual suspects but with a little twist. Potatas bravas is served with the breakfast completo, eggs benedict and eggs Florentine. Sandwiches and toast are ciabatta which I love.  There is a good mixture of vegetarian meals and kids are catered for.



The Upton La Terraza branch feels warm and cosy.  Today was pouring with rain and the lighting made it feel welcoming. We ordered breakfast completo, eggs benedict for the adults and a sausage sandwich and jam on toast for the children.  We enjoyed everything. It was presented well and good quality ingredients. I'd happily recommend and return.



La Terraza would be the perfect place to pop for a coffee and chat after the school run or treat breakfast.  I noticed on Twitter they also do a match day/park run special.  If you have a full breakfast or breakfast sandwich show your matchday ticket or park run barcode and you'll receive a free takeout coffee. Parkrun is every Saturday 9am at Upton Country Park. Next time you are nearby pop in.  The staff are friendly and children are welcome.


More pictures over on instagram Life in the Mum's Lane Instagram

**disclaimer I received this meal for free in exchange for a review.  All opinions are my own and honest**
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Friday, 27 September 2019

Bill's Restuarant Rushden Lakes Review

I was lucky enough to be invited to Bill's at Rushden Lakes for a meal this week and enjoyed the rare chance to have an evening without children and a relaxed couple of hours.

Bill's is located on The Boardwalk and is spacious inside & out. They offer breakfast, lunch and dinner and have cosy booths, large tables, outside seating and stools at the bar. I loved the décor and mixture of lighting.  It felt warm and welcoming with soft background music.


For a Thursday it was quite busy with only a handful of empty tables.  We were serviced efficiently and with enthusiasm and met the very charming manager Nigel who was engaging and obviously ran a well oiled ship.


Our food was lovely.  We had calamari, chicken and sesame dumplings to start (Bill's spicy chutney was delicious and had a kick).  I had the very tasty pan fried chicken with wild mushrooms for main.  It is a long running family joke that I always order chicken despite the restaurant or menu but this chicken was honestly amazing! The mushroom sauce was full of flavour and I wish I could recreate it at home but sadly I am no Masterchef contestant. My partner had chargrilled rib eye steak with perfect crispy chips.  We ummed and ahhed about pudding but decided to treat ourselves as we so rarely get out on a school night and they were both gorgeous. I opted for lemon méringue pie which was zingy and rich but my eyes were definitely too big for my belly and I left some.  My partner had the spiced pear and raspberry eton mess.  He said the spiced pears were delicious and still had bite which was perfect. 


Due to driving mocktails were consumed and we opted for the pear and ginger cooler which was nice but lacked a little flavour and the blackberry and lavender cooler which was amazing! It had a real sweetness and zesty flavour and was a perfect mocktail.


Overall we had a wonderful evening.  Great service. Colourful yet relaxing décor. Good food.  Lovely manager. Free parking (always a winner) and an exciting looking cocktail menu; next time I'll have to try one.  The hedgerow fizz sounds right up my street.


We've already planned to come back for brunch with the kids.

Have you been to Bill's at Rushden Lakes yet? What was your menu pick? I love knowing what other people eat! If you fancy a browse at their menu a link is below.

Bill's Rushden Lakes

**Disclaimer I received this meal for free in exchange for a review.  All opinions are 100% honest and my own**
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