Country Life rounds up the best things to see, do and book this week.


October 22-27 – Halloween at Haddon Hall, Bakewell, Derbyshire

Haddon Hall will be transformed with decorations, pumpkins and special activity for children and adults alike. Throughout the week there will be face painting, scary storytelling, crafts and special trails for children. Children will be encouraged to make things themselves, such as homemade broom sticks and witch hats, which can later be used for trick-or-treating, and plenty of other crafts to get involved in. All activities are free; entry for adults is £14.50, children are free so long as they come in costume – normally £8.

October 17 –November 4 – Tea Break Theatre’s Dracula at Sutton House, London

Teabreak Theatre have been putting on shows at the National Trust’s Sutton House for several years, and  are back with a second year of ‘Dracula’ following the success of last year’s sell out show. Shows begin at 7.30pm, tickets £16 (£14 concessions).

Until October 31 – Hammer House of Horror Live, Hoxton Hall, London

An ‘immersive promenade theatrical performance’ from the film company behind Dracula and The Woman in Black, based on an original script and set in this listed Victorian music hall. Gates open at 7.30pm for 8pm start, tickets from £48.50; 020 7684 0060

October 28-31 – Halloween special offer to see Nature Morte at the Guildhall Art Gallery, London

Explore the transience of time and the problem of mortality as the 16th-century tradition of still life meets modern art in Guildhall Art Gallery’s new exhibition Nature Morte. The exhibition is ongoing for several more months, but tickets over Halloween are reduced to £5.77 (normally £8).


October 22 – Apple Day, Cambridge University Botanic Garden, Cambridgeshire

Apple tasting, identification and fruit for sale, plus guided seasonal garden tours, live music and food trucks. 10am–4pm, tickets £3 on top of standard admission charge.

01223 336265;

October 25–26 – RHS Autumn Garden Show, RHS Lindley and Lawrence Halls, London

Inspiration for late-season colour and texture, with floral installations by RHS Floral Artist in Residence Electric Daisy Flower Farm, a celebration of seedheads by Paul-Hervey Brookes, an indoor foraging forest and lots more. 10am–5pm, plus late event on Tuesday, October 24, 6pm–9pm), entry from £5.

020–3176 5800;

November 22–January 1, 2018 – Christmas at Kew, Royal Botanic Gardens, Richmond, Surrey

The brand-new illuminated trail, incorporates more than a million sparkling lights, hundreds of lit-up globes, a glowing ‘sledge tree’, singing trees and an ultraviolet walkway of moving bubbles. Adult entry from £16.

020–8332 5655;

October 22 – Mere House, Mereworth, Kent ME18 5NB

This is one of the first gardens to open for the NGS in February and it’s one of the last welcoming visitors this Sunday, when you can enjoy the display of autumn colour, with paths leading from sweeping lawn to lakeside. In the extended garden and park, enjoy the ornamental trees and wonder at the new growth after the devastation of the 1987 storm. Open 2pm–5pm. Admission £4.50, children free.

November 22–January 1, 2018 – Christmas at Kew, Royal Botanic Gardens, Richmond, Surrey

The brand-new illuminated trail, incorporates more than a million sparkling lights, hundreds of lit-up globes, a glowing ‘sledge tree’, singing trees and an ultraviolet walkway of moving bubbles. Adult entry from £16.

020–8332 5655;

Afternoon tea

October 23–27 – Sleeping Beauty Afternoon Tea, The Dorchester, Park Lane

Enjoy a selection of themed sandwiches and pastries while being entertained by young dancers from the English National Ballet School. Sittings from 12pm–5pm, £68 per adult including Champagne, £39 per child.

020–7629 8888;


October 22 – You’ve Written a Book: Now What? Bleddfa Centre, near Knighton, Powys

Information day hosted by a panel of authors and publishing experts to help you discover the different routes to publishing your work. £45, including refreshments and lunch.

01547 550377;


October 27 – Ellenborough Park’s VIP race day, Cheltenham racecourse, Gloucestershire

Ellenborough Park hotel is offering a package with which you’ll arrive and leave Cheltenham in s chauffeur-driven Bentley, enjoy the first race day of the season, then continue the party at Ellenborough Park’s Horsebox pub, toasting to a fantastic day out by a roaring fire. You can also make a night away of it with an overnight stay for £299 per couple. Similar experiences will be offered throughout the season.

October 29 – Countryside Day, Aintree Racecourse, Liverpool

The Countryside Alliance Charity Race plus The Lamb National, The Quack Pack, archery, greyhounds and shopping. General admission £22.50

0344 579 3001;


October 18–November 18 – Insignificance, Arcola Theatre, Dalston, London

The first London revival in more than 20 years of the Terry Johnson production, which is based on an imagined meeting between Albert Einstein and Marilyn Monroe. Tickets from £12.

020–7503 1646;

Until March 11, 2018 – Witness for the Prosecution, County Hall, London

Agatha Christie’s tale of justice, passion and betrayal is brought to life in a spectacular courtroom setting. Tickets from £10.


19th October – 3rd November 2017 – David Yeo, Leica Studio Mayfair, 27 Bruton Place, London

An exhibition of pictures from photographer David Yeo, a longstanding contributor to Country Life, at Leica’s Mayfair studio in London. The images concentrate on the connection and contrast between man-made objects and the natural form – studying miniature animals in particular.


Art & Sculpture

October 27–29 – Doddiscombsleigh Art Show, Teign Valley Community Hall, Christow, Devon

Some 500 pieces of art, largely by artists in the South-West, will be exhibited and sold in aid of the local primary school. The works, including oils, watercolours, drawings, prints, sculpture, ceramics, glassware and jewellery, will be priced from £40.

October 5–November 1 – ‘The Journey: Nick Archer’, Long & Ryle, John Islip Street, London

These new forest paintings (right) by the East Sussex artist are like scenes from ‘a dark fairy tale’, using rich colour and gold foil.

020 7834 1434;

October 19 – In Conversation: Victorian Celebrities: G. F. Watts’ Hall of Fame, National Portrait Gallery, London

Writer A. N. Wilson, art historian Richard Ormond and curator of Victorian art at Tate Britain Alison Smith discuss the artist’s career as a portraitist 200 years after his birth. 7pm, tickets £8

020 7306 0055;

Until November 25 – ‘A Printmaker’s Journey’, St Barbe Museum & Art Gallery, Lymington

Prints by Angie Lewin depicting the north Norfolk coast and Scottish Highlands are accompanied by works from 25 other artists, including Ravilious, Bawden and Sutherland.

01590 676969;

Until November – 5 British Ceramics Biennial, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire

Exhibitions, installations and activities showcasing the creative potential of clay. The flagship exhibition, AWARD, will appear in Spode’s China Hall

01782 294634;

September 30–February 25 – ‘A Walk in the Woods: A Celebration of Trees in British Art’, Wixamtree Gallery, The Higgins Bedford, Bedfordshire

Some 40 watercolours, drawings and prints from the past two centuries, by artists including Constable, Lear, Nash and Freud. One of the exhibits, Fir Trees at Hampstead, is Constable’s largest tree drawing.

01234 718618;

September 18-October 28 – John Bellany at Fortnum & Mason, London

50 works by John Bellany will be on display across the iconic London store for Fortnum’s X Frank 17 show, put together with collector Frank Cohen and the Bellany Estate. Highlights of the largest exhibition of the artist’s work since his death in 2013 include Bellany’s portrait of himself with close friend David Bowie.

October 21 – ‘Oil and Water’ by Gerard Stamp at the Grapevine Gallery, Burnham Market, PE31 8HH

things to do

Best known for his evocative watercolours of medieval architecture, Norfolk artist Gerard Stamp has begun to paint in oil.  As well as revisiting his characteristic architectural subjects in this different medium, the exhibition also includes another love, the mysterious light of the Norfolk Saltmarsh. Whether in watercolour or oil, the heart of Stamp’s work is in his ability to capture a timeless sense of tranquillity.


December 16–30 – A Christmas Carol, Windsor Castle, Berkshire

New, immersive performance of the Dickens classic in the State Apartments of the royal palace. Admission from 6pm, suitable for children aged seven and over. Tickets from £25

0303–123 7340;


Until February 10, 2018 – ‘Linda Brothwell: The Tool Appreciation Society’, Central Library, Hull

A collection of tools made by the artist in tribute to the skilled craftspeople of Hull and the wider world

Sculpture Exhibition 2017, Borde Hill Garden, Haywards Heath, West Sussex

Abstract and figurative works in bronze, resin, stone, metal and ceramic—all of which are for sale—are placed to complement the plant collection of this great garden. Admission included with standard entry

01444 450326;

Until October 27 – ‘A Landscape of Objects’, Forde Abbey, Chard, Somerset

A sculpture trail highlighting the importance of water in the gardens will be accompanied by artist residencies. Normal admission applies

01460 220231;

Until October 29 – ‘Power & Portraiture: painting at the court of Elizabeth I’, Waddesdon Manor, Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire

An exploration of how the Queen and her courtiers used paintings to control their public image. The National Portrait Gallery’s ‘Phoenix’ portrait will be on display

01296 820414;

Until November 5 – ‘Slate or state’, Penrhyn Castle, Gywnedd

A 15ft inflated sculpture of Bethesda Quarry forms the centrepiece of this historical exhibition focusing on the Great Strike of Penrhyn.

Until December 3 – ‘Farm’, Somerset Rural Life Museum, Glastonbury

More than 40 oils, pastels and willow charcoals by Kate Lynch celebrating the county’s food and farming heritage. Admission included with museum entry

01458 831197;

Until January 7, 2018 – ‘Small Stories: At Home in a Dolls’ House’, Weston Park Museum, Sheffield, South Yorkshire

The new exhibition, on tour from the V&A Museum of Childhood, explores the history of the home with 12 doll’s houses made over 300 years, from country mansions to council estates

0114–278 2647;

Until February 2018 ‘The Art of Reflection’, Buckland Abbey, Yelverton, Devon

Eighteen sculptures by Andrew Logan placed throughout the house and gardens, including a new jewel and painted-glass portrait of Sir Francis Drake

01822 853607;

Until February 25, 2018 ‘Michael Morpurgo: A Lifetime in Stories’, V&A Museum of Childhood, Cambridge Heath Road, London E2

Celebration of the author’s life, work and characters. Joey, the life-sized puppet from the stage adaptation of War Horse, will be on display

020–8983 5200;