Winter Guide 2017 – Ascot
With its historic castles, winding woods, and world-class racecourses, the English countryside offers a wealth of spectacular experiences, no matter the season. From carol singing and Champagne to Christmas shopping and a winter wonderland in Whitmoor Forest, this year’s festive winter events are bigger and better than ever before. Don’t miss a minute of the merriment with this guide to the best winter events in and around Ascot.
Father Christmas has confirmed that LaplandUK will be bringing festive fun to Ascot for the 10th year running this winter. The magical experience begins in November – with a personalised invitation and Elf Passport sent to attending children – and continues with performances, gifts, ice-skating and other activities.
18th November – 24th December
Whitmoor Forest, Swinley Road, Ascot, SL5 8BD
Champagnes for Christmas
What would the Christmas season be without some festive fizz? For one night, the Thames Valley Wine School is offering the chance to taste of some of the best Champagnes in the world, including Premier and Grand Crus, Blanc de Blanc, and rare offerings from small growers, in the atmospheric riverside surrounds of the Sir Christopher Wren in Windsor.
1st December 2017
Sir Christopher Wren
Thames Street, Windsor, SL4 1PX
Carols by Candlelight
The internationally renowned Locrian Ensemble will be taking to the stage of the Theatre Royal in Windsor for an evening of carols and other seasonal songs. Performed in full period dress and illuminated by candlelight, the night will also include a star appearance from West End star, Jill Washington.
6th December 2017
Theatre Royal Windsor
Thames Street, Windsor, SL4 1PS
This year’s Festivo Concerts will see the Choir of St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle joined by a brass ensemble from The Band and Bugles of the Rifles. The two performances, spread over two nights this December, will feature sacred and secular songs, readings, and the chance for the audience to join in on some familiar festive favourites.
7th and 11th December 2017
St George’s Chapel
Windsor Castle, Windsor, SL4 1NJ
Highclere Christmas Fair
There are few more beautiful locations to indulge in a spot of Christmas shopping than Highclere Castle, known to many as TV’s Downton Abbey. Decked out in all its festive finery, the State Rooms at the castle will offer an array of stalls, as well as carol singers and a grand Christmas tree, all in aid of the Thames Valley Air Ambulance and St Michaels & All Angels Church.
6th – 7th December 2017
Newbury, RG20 9RN
King John’s Christmas Trail
This winter, walk in the footsteps of history along the riverside trail at Runnymede, the site of the sealing of the Magna Carta. A fun day out for the whole family, there’s a small prize for children who finish the trail, which aims to show how King John would have celebrated Christmas in the Middle Ages.
9th December 2017 – 7th January 2018
Windsor Road, near Old Windsor, TW20 0AE
A Christmas Carol
For the first time ever, the historic State Apartments of Windsor Castle will be the backdrop of an unforgettable staging of Charles Dickens’ festive classic, A Christmas Carol. The immersive performance, which will also feature live music, will take place in the Waterloo Chamber before moving through to the grand St George’s Hall for the finale.
16th – 30th December 2017
State Apartments, Windsor Castle, Windsor, SL4 1NJ
Christmas Racing Weekend
With mince pies, mulled wine, and Ascot’s most valuable day of Jumps racing, the Christmas Racing Weekend is an unmissable event this December. In addition to the two-mile £150,000 Wessex Youth Trust Handicap Hurdle taking place on Saturday, Father Christmas will be making an appearance alongside other family-friendly activities, from face painting to pony rides.
22nd – 23rd December 2017
Ascot Racecourse, High St, Ascot, SL5 7JX
Clarence House Chase Raceday
The new year gets off to a galloping start with the Clarence House Chase Raceday, one of the most popular racing days of the Jumps season. Every year, the event attracts a stellar roster of entries for an exhilarating day at the races, which will be accompanied by performances from the jazz and swing band, Sousaphonia.
20th January 2018
Ascot Racecourse, High St, Ascot, SL5 7JX
Stanley Spencer in Focus
Visitors to the Stanley Spencer Gallery this winter will be treated to an impressive in-depth look at the eponymous artist, featuring several newly acquired paintings and drawings. The exhibition will include the highly-acclaimed Portrait of Lathonia Mercer, gifted by the sitter herself, which Lord Mark Poltimore, Deputy Chairman of Sotheby’s Europe, considered to display Spencer’s ‘majestic… almost pre-Raphaelite exactness.’
4th October 2017 – 25th March 2018
Stanley Spencer Gallery
The Kings Hall, High Street, Cookham, SL6 9SJ