Thursday, 22 October 2015


Remember remember the 5th of November … but also this year the 7th of November too!

Guido Fawkes really started something and because of what he did – or more to the point, failed to do – back in 1605 there are two great firework celebrations happening in and around Newbury this year.

On bonfire night itself, Thursday 5 November, Chieveley village hosts its traditional bonfire party – in fact it is believed to be the longest running village firework show in the UK. It has been held for an incredible 47 years and people come from miles around to enjoy the spectacle.

In 2015 the event will not only feature a bonfire and fireworks, but also two Guy competitions (where prizes are to be won for Best Traditional Guy and Best James Bond Character Guy), and a fabulous torchlight procession.

The event takes place at the Recreation Centre in Chieveley High Street. Gates open at 6.15pm – with entries for the Guy competitions being received 6.15– 6.30pm at the Village Hall – followed by judging at 6.45pm. Next comes the torchlight procession of the Guys through the village at 7pm and the lighting of the bonfire at 7.15pm, where the Guys will, of course, meet their fate! The fireworks themselves will begin at 7.45pm.

To keep out the November chill a selection of locally sourced food, including a BBQ and hot doughnuts, will be served, and refreshments will be available, including a licensed bar with home-made mulled wine and award-winning local beers.

All tickets are cash only, and available beforehand from the village stores in Chieveley, Hermitage and Cold Ash at the special price of £14 per family or £4.50 per person. Tickets at the gate on the night will be £19 per family or £5 per person. All proceeds will go to the local community.

Further details:

Newbury Racecourse is the fantastic setting once again for the Lions Club Annual Charity Firework Spectacular which this year is on Saturday 7 November and promises to be the biggest, brightest and loudest yet.

The Lions Club mascot, Roary, will be there, making the most of the great entertainment and great food too. Gates open at 5.30pm, with the main event of the firework display starting at 7.30pm.

Tickets are already on sale and you can make great savings by buying them before 12 noon on 7 November. Prices on the gate on the night are £5 for adults and children, but pre-bought ticket prices are: family ticket (two adults and two children over 5) £12; adult ticket £4; child ticket £3 (under 5s go free).

Tickets are available from the Lions Club stall in Newbury Market on Saturdays up to 31 October, and at Thatcham Market on Friday30 October.

Until noon on 7 November, tickets are also available from: The Corn Exchange in Newbury, Newbury Building Society (Newbury and Thatcham branches), Tesco Stores at Pinchington Lane, Northbrook Street, on A4 and Northfield Road, Thatcham, and at RBS in Market Place, Newbury.

Further details:

Monday, 19 October 2015

Newbury Artisan - Sunday 1 November

The first Newbury Artisan – a new type of market in the pedestrianised part of town – takes place on Sunday 1 November, with a focus on food, crafts and ‘suitcase sales’.

Edible offerings will include street food to feast on there and then, and farmers’ market-style wares, such as artisan breads, local cheeses, fresh veg, hand-made pies and cakes, local beers and ciders … all great for taking home to enjoy later.

Alongside the food stalls will be handcrafted goods and gifts from designers and craftspeople who aren’t usually on the high street. Something a little different will be ‘suitcase sales’, where micro-businesses can, as the name suggests, create a diminutive market to sell from a suitcase. This might be anything from jams, chutneys and honey to vintage treasures and trinkets.

Newbury Artisan will be a diverse, quality, shopping experience that celebrates independent producers. Equally importantly, it will create a place where you can enjoy a day out, meet friends, eat, drink, browse and chat to the craftspeople, making for a social shopping experience.

Brought to you by Newbury BID, plans are in place to introduce the market as a regular monthly feature next spring. Taking over the whole of the pedestrianised area, Newbury Artisan will be held on the second Sunday of the month and offer a new social event on the Newbury calendar.

Monday, 12 October 2015

It’s Halloooooween! Time for some half-term holiday fun

It’s that time of year when West Berkshire is awash with pumpkins and witches, cauldrons and bats, ghouls and ghosts, and things that go bump in the night …

From Friday 23 to Saturday 31 October, join the Halloween Haunt Hunt in Newbury town centre, brought to you by Newbury BID. Collect your special form from the allocated venue in Parkway Shopping Centre and follow a trail of cauldrons around the town collecting clues. Those who work out and find all 15 clues and crack a code will be in with a chance of winning something spookily special at the prize draw which takes place on Sunday 1 November at Newbury Artisan market.

From Saturday 24 October to Sunday 1 November there is the Bucklebury Giant Pumpkin Hunt at Bucklebury Farm Park ( where you can take a walk on the wild side through their new spooky woodland maze.

Cobbs Farm at Hungerford ( have some great Halloween activities planned:
· Pumpkin carving takes place in their marquee Monday 26–Friday 30 October, 10am–4pm. Just turn up and get carving.
· Friday 30 October sees the Cobbs Farm Halloween Extravaganza. Dress up in your scariest outfit to enter their fancy dress competition and play some traditional Halloween games, including apple bobbing and pumpkin hurling.

Thatcham Nature Discovery Centre ( has lots of Halloween entertainment:
· Tuesday 27 October – drop in between 11am and 4pm and make your very own ghost puppet at their Recycled Arts Workshop.
· Thursday 29 October – pre-booking is needed for the Spook-tacular Science event where you can make gooey Halloween slime in a wonderful workshop for ages 3–10. Sessions run 10–11am, 11.30am–12.30pm, 1–2pm, 2.30–3.30pm.
· Friday 30 October – another drop in event between 11am and 4pm: Green Halloween. Dress up in your best spooky outfit and enter the fancy dress competition, and watch out for all sorts of fun activities including Teresa Queen Bee with her Bee Punch & Judy Show, see the magical Mr Alexander's travelling show, create bubbles with pedal-power, make spine-tingling discoveries about hedgehogs … and much more.

Go Pumpkintastic at Five A Day Market Garden at Englefield, near Theale, ( from Tuesday 27 to Friday 30 October. Family activity sessions run 10am–1pm where you can carve a pumpkin lantern, decorate a magic wand, and find out about spooky and magical wildlife and traditions.

Or how about a Creepy Cruise? Children can dress up in their Halloween costumes and take a trip on the Jubilee Narrowboat from The Wharf in Newbury where Halloween horrors await! Creepy Cruises sail Tuesday 27–Friday 30 October, 2–3pm. Pre-book at Newbury Visitor Information Centre (tel 01635 30267).

Many people’s favourite Halloween creature has to be a bat, so why not go on a Bat Box Building Workshop? These batty half-hour workshops happen at Beale Park, Lower Basildon ( on Wednesday 28 October, 10.30am–12.30pm on a first-come-first-served basis.

Shaw House in Newbury is in on the spooky happenings too:
· Join their Scuttling Rat activity day on Wednesday 28 October, 10am–4pm. This is where children aged 4–11 can make a scuttling rat and take part in a Halloween-themed trail. No need to book, just drop in. (Tel 01635 279279 for more details.)
· It will be Halloween Party Night on Saturday 31 October, 6.30–8.30pm. This promises to be ghoulishly good fun as in the grounds of Shaw House there will be Halloween trails, apple bobbing and snapping (make sure you take a torch). In the house there will be Halloween crafts, ghostly story time, and trick or treating throughout the night. Arrive dressed for the fancy dress competition at 6.30pm. Suitable for age 4 and upwards and must be pre-booked at Shaw House or Newbury Visitor Information Centre (01635 30267).

West Berkshire Museum in Newbury (01635 519562) is housed in a very old building, the perfect venue for these family-friendly Halloween activities:
· Make a Spooky Spider at their family activity day on Thursday 29 October, 10am–3pm, or get busy with tissue and glitter making a stained-glass pumpkin or ghost on Friday 30 October, 10am–3pm. These activities are aimed at 4–11 year-olds but older and younger children are welcome.
· As darkness falls, which members of the family will be brave enough to tour the  Museum at Night by torchlight on Friday 30 October, 6–8pm? Take your own torch and explore only by its light ...

Spooky-Tacula Shows take place in the Kennet Centre in Newbury on Friday 30 October at 10.30am, 12noon and 2.30pm. These shows are presented by CBeebies very own Alex Winters with lots of fun, games, music and challenges for fiendish young shoppers. Prizes for the best spooky fancy dress costume too!

2 Wild at Path Hill Farm, Goring Heath, near Reading will have a Halloween Extravaganza for ghouls, ghosts, witches and wizards on Friday 30 October, 9.30am–3.30pm. Dare to scare by arriving in fancy dress costume. Spend a ghoulishly ghostly time in the hair-raising Hardwick Woods. Make a broomstick or a woodland monster. Create your own spider’s web. Follow the pumpkin treasure trail and munch marshmallow ghosts. Play giants, elves and wizards, quidditch relay and ghoulish Guess What. Book in advance, ages 5 and over (

Eddie Catz in Newbury ( is hosting a hauntingly good Halloween Party on Friday 30 October, 5.30–7.30pm. Magic and entertainment, dancing at the Halloween disco and a fancy dress catwalk competition with prizes for the best costumes. Entrance by ticket only and suitable for ages 2–8.

The Skeleton Ball at the Corn Exchange in Newbury is going to be a spook-tactular extravaganza on Saturday 31 October at 1pm, 3.30pm and 6pm. There will be ghostly activities, spine-tingling story time, dancing at the bone-jangling disco, prizes for the best fancy dress and much more. (Free but must be pre-booked:

And finally, nothing will chill the blood as much as darkness falls on Halloween itself, Saturday 31 October, as hearing wolves howling. Do this at Wolf Howl Night at 7pm at the UK Wolf Conservation Trust at Beenham, near Reading ( You’ll find out lots of fascinating facts about wolves at this event which must be booked in advance. You won’t see the wolves but you will hear them hoooooowl …

PLEASE NOTE: Parental supervision is required at most activities. A fee is chargeable for several of them and admission fees may also apply. Some events need to be pre-booked. Contact the venues for full details.

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Newbury Michaelmas Fair

Newbury Michaelmas Fair
14–17 October 2015

The sun is a-rising to welcome the day.
Heigh-ho! Come to the fair!

So go the words of the old song, and fingers crossed that the weather will be set fair for the Newbury Michaelmas Fair this year, which takes place in Goldwell Park, Newbury RG14 1RS.

The centuries-old Michaelmas festival is named after ‘The Feast of St Michael the Archangel’ and was one of the four days in the year which marked the changing seasons. The tradition of Michaelmas celebrates the end of harvest.

In Newbury, this has evolved to become a traditional fair held in the autumn and the fun of Michaelmas Fair starts on Wednesday 14 October and doesn’t end until Saturday 17 October, so there are plenty of days on which to go and enjoy all that the event has to offer.

The fair is officially opened on 14 October at 6pm by the Mayor of Newbury. This is ‘half-price night’ so you can enjoy all the fun for only half as much as you would normally be paying.

Over the course of four day there is much to see and do, with over 20 fabulous fairground rides – including white-knuckle thrills on the Oribitor, where you spin 150 feet above the ground, to the ever-popular dodgems and, for those who like to take things at a more gentle pace, the pretty carousel.

Michaelmas was traditionally a time for feasting on goose, but in the 21st century you can feast on all sorts of tasty treats at the Newbury Michaelmas Fair while browsing over 50 stalls, including the chance to win prizes on lots of games. And, of course, it wouldn’t be a fair without a fortune teller.

On Friday 16 October at 9pm there will be much ‘oohing’ and ‘aahing’ when the fuse is lit for a spectacular firework display.

Finally, there is the last night to look forward to on Saturday 17 October before Newbury says goodbye to the Michaelmas Fair for another year.