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Here’s what’s hot on our radar in November

Fear your social life will end in Tiers this month? Worry not: we’ve got the inside line on all the county’s cracking events, artisan tastings and socially-distanced cultural offerings. So mask on, (wo)man up, and let’s get out there, ladies!

Hylands Estate Farmers’ and Crafts Market, Chelmsford, 1 November

Stocking fresh, seasonal food and quality handmade crafts, this buzzy outdoor event offers up everything from artisanal breads and organic veg boxes to handcrafted jewellery and eco-friendly soy wax candles. With a special focus on festive gifts, decorations and regional fare this month, take a wicket basket with you and enjoy a wander: you’re bound to unearth a few locally sourced gems for Christmas stockings. The market starts at 10am and ends at 4pm. Please note that a one-way system is in place to ensure social distancing.

fireworks Essex

Family Fireworks at Marsh Farm, South Woodham Ferrers, 5, 6, 7 November

Hosting not one, but three family-style firework displays, Marsh Farm is your best bet for a cracking bonfire night this year. Expect funfair rides and afternoon shows for the little ones from 2pm, plus that all-important kaleidoscopic light show come dusk, which should kick off at 6pm. Given the county-wide restrictions this month, most of the usual big-name displays have been cancelled, so all three dates are bound to sell out fast here. Tickets must be pre-booked (no on-the-door admissions will be allowed) and spots cost from £11.99 pp or £2.99 for the under twos. 

Stephen Watkins at The Sentinel Gallery, Wivenhoe, 6-13 November

A Suffolk-based artist with a background in architecture, Stephen Watkins will be displaying his captures of city skylines this month in a poignant attempt to help us remember the buzz and thrills of urban life and living. So, if you’re missing your pre-Christmas trip to the capital this year, head down to Wivenhoe instead for a colourful trip down memory lane. The exhibition is free and part of the gallery’s Open Art Space. If you’re currently shielding and would like to enquire about a private viewing, see the site for further details.

‘Bolshoi Ballet: Lady of Camellias’ at Firstsite, Colchester, 8 November

If you’ve missed watching live ballet for months, you’ll love this matinee cinema screening at 2pm. Directed by John Neumeier and captured live in Moscow in 2015, this beautifully choreographed performance stars Svetlana Zakharova and Edvin Revazov who tell the story of Alexandre Dumas Fils’s timeless novel The Lady of the Camellias, while Chopin’s scores provide the perfect soundtrack. This is Sundays, done right.

Flitch of Bacon

The Flitch of Bacon’s Gin & Food Pairing Extravaganza, Little Dunmow, 10 November

In these gin-soaked times, a good artisanal taste pairing is just what the doctor ordered. Or, rather, what Tim Allen of The Flitch of Bacon ordered. Yep, humbly perched in the picturesque hamlet of Little Dunmow – a stone’s throw from the quiet passing wash of River Chelmer and market town of Bishop’s Stortford – Essex’s first and only Michelin star restaurant, is throwing a gin and food pairing party to remember this month. Partnering up with award-winning Cambridge Gin, The Flitch of Bacon is co-hosting its gin journey with master distiller William Lowe and guests can enjoy a night of gourmet plates and plenty of spirit. Doors open at 7pm and tickets (pre-order only) cost £75pp.

Father Christmas Experience at Barleylands, Billericay, 28 November to 18 December

Yep, it’s that magical time again! And although things aren’t exactly normal right now, no one cancels Christmas at Barleylands. Not even COVID. Staff here have done a sterling job of ensuring their usual fanfare of festivities are socially distanced, and little ones will love starting their Christmas journey with the elves before Mrs Clause greets them in the barn for a festive story. A Winter Walkway provides the perfect family photo opp before the big man himself appears in the cosy grotto and leads the ‘nice’ boys and girls into the Toy Factory. Gifts, crafts, tractor rides – it’s got it all, so book your spot quick before the event sells out. Tickets cost from £19.50 per child and £10.50 per adult; call 01268 290229 for further info. 

‘Hold Still: A Portrait Of Our Nation’ at Brentwood Road, Romford, throughout November

Spearheaded by the National Portrait Gallery and supported by Taylor Wessing and The Duchess of Cambridge, ‘Hold Still’ is an ambitious community project that collated unique portraits of the UK during lockdown. Now, a digital display of the 100 Final Portraits, which present highly personal records of this extraordinary period in our history – capturing everything from virtual birthday parties and community clapping to resilient NHS workers and people dealing with loss – are being displayed in public spaces up and down the country. Us Essex folks can find our own community snapshot from the exhibition hanging on Brentwood Road, Romford. Check our the National Portrait Gallery’s ‘Hold Still’ page for further details. 

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