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What's On: Festive dates for your diary

Struggling to get into the spirit? Here are five ways to boost your festive mood

See Christmas lights

Get in the seasonal spirit with a host of fabulous festive events taking place in and around Bury St Edmunds. It all kicks off with the big Christmas Light Switch on, November 18, incorporating an interactive trail (worth a punt as you can win an Our Bury St Edmunds gift card!). Head to The Arc from mid-November to enjoy a magical Christmas experience, featuring storytelling, a walk-through enchanted forest and playtime in Santa’s toyshop! For a more traditional take, there’ll be carols in the Cathedral and a Christmas market in the nave, November 25-27.

And for the icing on the (Christmas) cake, take a stroll to the Abbey Gardens as night falls, to enjoy IlluminAbbey, an extravaganza of kaleidoscopic lighting, music and breathtaking street theatre (December 2-4). A real Christmas cracker!

Find out more at visit-burystedmunds.co.uk

Visit Christmas past

The Dining Room at Christmas at Anglesey Abbey, Cambridgeshire (52133069)
The Dining Room at Christmas at Anglesey Abbey, Cambridgeshire (52133069)

A meticulous time-keeper Lord Fairhaven famously amassed the largest collection of clocks in the East of England. Now the National Trust’s Anglesey Abbey invites you to travel back in time to see how Lord Fairhaven and his family celebrated ‘Christmas in the country’ in the 1960s, in their Tinsel & Tweed event. From November 22 to January 2, marvel at the majestic manor’s ground-floor, decorated in all its festive finery, with a showstopper tree in the Tapestry Hall and the magnificent dining table dressed with foliage and food. Top off your yuletide jaunt with scrumptious seasonal treats in Redwoods Restaurant and snap up gorgeous gifts, from locally-made jewellery to plants in the shop.

Book Tinsel & Tweed tickets at nationaltrust.org.uk

Go ice skating

Fancy an adrenaline-pumping ride down an epic ice slide? Or maybe a more sedate glide around an enchanting ice rink? Embrace your inner child with these exhilarating pursuits when The North Pole Ice Rink returns to Cambridge this month, transforming Parker’s Piece into a winter wonderland. Skate beneath the sun, moon and stars thanks to the ice rink’s clear span roof providing protection from the elements. Board the Big Wheel and rise high to take in the festive winter village below or launch yourself down the UK’s longest three-lane ice slide!

Then head to the Ice Bar for delicious sizzling bratwursts, steaming hot chocolate with marshmallows, traditional mulled wine or fruity cider. What fun!

Visit The North Pole from November 19 to January 3. Buy tickets at thenorthpolecambridge.co.uk

Tick off your gift list

Hang out with some of the UK’s most talented painters, jewellers, sculptors, and wood carvers at this year’s Art Unequalled, at The Maltings, Ely. Marvellous makers, including Sally Dunham, famed for her wonderful whimsical sculptures and John Franklin, creator of decorative, silver gemstone jewellery, will take part in this, the 10th Art Unequalled, back after an 18-month enforced break. To mark the milestone year, there will be live music on the opening night. An ideal opportunity to find one-of-a-kind Christmas gifts and support two amazing charities into the bargain: MIND and Arthur Rank Hospice, chosen in memory of two special people who were a big part of Art Unequalled’s history.

Art Unequalled takes place November 5-7. See the full list of exhibitors at artunequalled.co.uk

Be touched by an angel

Visitors to the Angel Hotel in Bury are greeted with a celestial mural created by contemporary artist Rachel List, who gained prominence during lockdown for her NHS Angel painting. Rachel, who has had an array of artworks on display at Moyse’s Hall Museum this autumn, says: “Being called the 'Angel' Hotel for me instantly brings forward images of white feathers; the hotel itself is also incredibly stylish image wise. So, when they asked for a mural with a single angel wing, it was my aim to create something subtle that you could almost walk by.”

The Angel Hotel is at 3 Angel Hill, Bury St Edmunds. Find out more at theangel.co.uk

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