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  1. Maya Patel

Weekend Picks: Winter Westival

Winter Westival: Sat 26th - Sun 27th Nov (Leicester)

Credit: Jen Pethick

A group of local volunteers, businesses and community projects have come together to organise the first Winter street festival in Leicester.

This weekend there’ll be entertainment, food, drink, market stalls and fair rides on Braunstone Gate.

Organisers say they hope the festival will bring the community together with diverse activities and to celebrate mid-winter and Christmas.

Streets make up 80% of our public spaces in cities, yet we rarely feel that they are ours to use… We are really happy to support the community in reclaiming the street space, and coming together to shape how it is used.”

– Charlotte Jones, Project co-ordinator and local resident

For times, prices and more information: http://westival.weebly.com/

  1. Maya Patel

Weekend Picks: Christmas at the Farm

Christmas at the Farm: Say 26th - Sun 27th Nov (National Forest Adventure Farm, Burton-upon-Trent)

Credit: National Forest Adventure Farm

From this weekend, visitors can visit Santa and his helpers at the Winder Wonderland at the National Forest Adventure Farm in Burton.

Santa will be waiting to give all the good girls and boys a present from the Elves’ Workshop. There’s Elf Training, Sing-a-longs and a Christmas Shows Walk.

We’re bringing Christmas fun to the Farm with Santa, Elves, his reindeer and lots of interactive activities for children to take part in.”

– Tom Robinson, National Forest Adventure Farm

For times, prices and more information: www.adventurefarm.co.uk

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  1. Maya Patel

Weekend Picks: Christmas Fair

Christmas Fair: Sat 6th Nov (The Custard Factory, Birmingham)

The Glamophones will keep visitors entertained at the Custard Factory’s annual independent Christmas fair Credit: Peter Medlicott

The festive #Digmas event returns to the Custard Factory in Birmingham's Creative Quarter this weekend.

There is something for everyone from street food, craft beer and market stalls for adults, to a Santa's grotto, face painting and craft activities for the kids.

At the heart of the Custard Factory will be an indoor gift market with high quality art and crafts, plus locally-made cakes and chocolates.

With a friendly indoor gift market, delicious street food and loads of fun activities for the kids, it’s the perfect opportunity to pick up unique stocking fillers, enjoy a day out and get into the festive spirit”.

– Tara Newman, Head of Sales, Marketing and Events at the Custard Factory
  1. Maya Patel

Weekend Picks: Christmas Kingdom

‘Enchanted Christmas Kingdom: Sat 26th Nov - 24th Dec (Hatton World, Warwick)

Credit: Hatton Adventure World

From Saturday Hatton Adventure World’s ‘Enchanted Christmas Kingdom’ returns every weekend up until Christmas.

Visitors of all ages can experience a magical Christmas as well as a visit to see Father Christmas in his Grotto. Organisers say well behaved children will receive a special present, they will get a Golden Key to unlock Father Christmas’ workshop and choose their own gift to their toyshop.

Visitors can see and do a range of things including a Christmas cracker show, fair rides and Christmas decoration making workshops.

For times, prices and more information: www.hattonworld.com/adventure-world

  1. Maya Patel

Weekend Picks: Abbey Christmas

Abbey Christmas: Sat 26th - Sun 27th Nov (Newstead Abbey, Nottingham)

Credit: Newstead Abbey

With foliage cut from the grounds, twinkling lights, baubles and Christmas trees, the Abbey will transformed for Christmas.

Visitors will be able to see Newstead Abbey in all its splendour at this magical time of year. There’ll be craft stalls in the Cloisters to pick up Christmas gifts and festive treats in the Abbey cafe.

We’re excited to be holding this annual event again. With floral displays and Christmas trees decorated by local people... Local choirs and singer Johnny Victory will be serenading our guests as they make their way around the House. The Seasonal Craft fair really offers people something unique too! Its Christmas in a bottle.”

– Jon Brown Heritage Site Co-Ordinator, Newstead Abbey

Lindsay Lohan apologises to the people of Kettering

Hollywood actress Lindsay Lohan has apologised to residents in Kettering after being unable to attend the annual Christmas lights switch-on event.

She originally pledged to turn on the town's lights after implying earlier this year on her twitter that nobody had heard of the place.

But the Borough Council said although they were in touch with her management, they had failed to respond further to the invitation.

The Mean Girls star tweeted a video apologising for not being able to make it due to her "busy schedule" but wished everyone a "Happy holidays!".

It would have been wonderful if Lindsay could have joined us this evening but sadly her other commitments made this impossible.

However, we appreciate how hard she and her team tried to make this work and we were delighted to get a video message wishing us well.

– Kettering Borough Council chief executive David Cook

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Weekend Picks: School of Race Mechanics

Sat 19th - Sun 20th Nov (Donington Park)

School of Race Mechanics Credit: MTS Monza

This weekend Donington Park will host the launch of the new MIA School of Race Mechanics. Partnered with the Motorsport Technical School (MTS) of Monza in Italy, the school with teach students the skills needed to secure a job as a mechanic in a professional racing team.

The top five students from each course will receive a placement within a professional race team for the 2017 season, giving them a head start in their motorsport careers.

The 160 hour courses will welcome students over ten weekends for hands-on practical and classroom lessons, taught by leading teams within the industry including Ginetta Cars, Fortec and Hillspeed.

A course giving hands on training to budding race mechanics, delivered by those involved in and respected by the Industry, is long overdue. Those that graduate from the programme will be the enthusiastic and committed individuals Hillspeed Racing looks to recruit.

– Richard Ollerenshaw, Managing Director, Hillspeed

Weekend Picks: ChocFest

19th - 20th November (Cattle Market, Melton Mowbray)

Chocolates Credit: UK Choc Fest

Organisers are expecting thousands to attend the first chocolate festival at Melton Mowbray’s Cattle Market this weekend.

Visitors will be able to taste and buy a range of unusual drink and food dishes and also learn how to make their own chocolates during workshop sessions.

Everyone loves chocolate and we’ve got a whole host of chocolate food and drink including some very unusual items such as chocolate pizza (hot and cold), pies, wine and kebabs. This will be one of the largest chocolate events in the country this year.

– Matthew O’Callaghan, Organiser

Weekend picks: Frankfurt Christmas Market

Thurs 17th November – 29 December (Birmingham)

Credit: ITV News.

It’s the first weekend of the Frankfurt Christmas Market in Birmingham and organisers say it’s set to attract thousands into the city. It’s the largest authentic German Christmas market outside of Germany or Austria, with more than 120 stalls offering a large range of traditional food, drink and gifts.

Every year the markets are visited by both residents of Birmingham and visitors from across the UK and Europe. Unlike other years it'll be open every day until December 29th except for Christmas Day. For times, prices and more information: http://www.germanchristmasmarketbirmingham.com/

Weekend Picks: Winter Food & Drink Festival

Sun 20th Nov, (Leicester Market)

Cooking demonstrations will be on show throughout the day, including a special appearance from Jean-Christophe Novelli. Credit: Leicester City Council

Leicester’s Winter Food & Drink Festival returns this weekend with more than 150 food and drink stalls stalls selling handmade chocolates, homemade fudge, cheese, bread, jams, pork pies and homemade cakes. The festival brings an array of traditional and world cuisines, from hog roast and organic burgers to crepes, paella, Thai and Indian specialities.

Cooking demonstrations will be on show throughout the day, including a special appearance from Jean-Christophe Novelli. Now in it’s eighth year, organisers say this year’s festival promises to be bigger and better expecting to attract over 20,000 visitors. For times, prices and more information: www.visitleicester.info/christmas

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