It’s getting cold out there, but that doesn’t mean you have to hibernate. Discover the best of winter in Reading with our guide to the top events to check out in town this November. Look out for The Whiskey Affair, firework displays, the winter ArtLine market, Diwali, Armistice Day memorial events, Christmas Markets and more.
Events in Reading in November 2018
Jolly Trolly Fun Day
Saturday 3 November, 10.30am-3.30pm, Reading Museum, free, read more
Find out all about Reading’s old Trolleybus system with this family fun day, as part of the long running trollybus exhibit at Reading Museum. Kids can meet the jolly conductor, pick up a balloon and take part in face painting and more. The British Trolleybus Society will be on hand to talk about the history of the Reading trolleybus system and you can also climb aboard Reading’s last trolleybus, which will be parked in the Town hall square.
Saturday 3 November, from 5pm, Ibis Lions Club Scours Lane, £4/child, £7/adult or £15/family, book tickets
The Lions Club always put on one of Reading’s biggest firework displays for Bonfire Night weekend, with a display set to music. Fireworks will go off at 7pm, but before that there’s fairground rides from Mason’s Funfair, hot food and drink stalls and a bar. There’s plenty of parking on site too.
Vinyl Record Collectors Fair
Sunday 4 November, 9am-3pm, Rivermead Leisure Centre, £4, read more
Browse the stacks of wax at the UK’s biggest one-day vinyl record collectors fair. There’ll be over 135 stall of records and some CDs, which I can only imagine will be quaking in the corner at their non-vinyl uncoolness.
Vintage Tea Dance
Sunday 4 November, 2-6pm, Rising Sun Arts Centre, £10, read more
Celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Rising Sun Arts Centre’s tea dance. Reading Swing Jam show us all how it’s done with a vintage dance class at 2pm, followed by live tunes with Lawrie Wright and The Silver Heels followed by tea and homemade cakes. Dress up in your best vintage outfits and shake a leg on the dance floor.
Stepping Out of Time: The MERL Annual Lecture
Tuesday 6 November, 7.15pm, The Merl, free, read more
What do you know about clog dancing? Next to nothing? Yep, me too. Well, this is our chance to discover how the comical-sounding performance is actually part of a rich folk tradition. Accordionist, singer and clog dancer Hannah James presents a world premiere performance in response to our museum’s rural life collections and the traditions that have helped to shape them in a specially commissioned pair of clogs. Afterwards, there’s a panel discussion about the heritage, craft and performance.
Stand and Deliver comedy night
Thursday 8 November, 8pm, Smokin’ Billy’s, £6, book tickets.
See five comedians for less than a tenner at this monthly comedy night in the cosy Speakeasy bar above Smokin’ Billy’s. The Headliner is Angus Dunican, who’s been gigging his observational, theatrical comedy since 2003. The night is hosted by Juliet Meyers with support from Elie Kraft, Patrick Brusnahan and Ruby Carr.
Thursday 8-17 November, 7.45pm, Progress Theatre, £12, book tickets
In commemoration of Armistice Day, Progress Theatre take on Sebastian Faulks’ international bestselling novel, which tells the story of a WWI soldier haunted by his past. There will be a special commemorative performance on Remembrance Sunday 11 November, to raise funds for the British Legion.
Friday 9 – Sunday 11 November, 2.30pm & 7.30pm, £18-20, book tickets
The Hexagon also commemorate the 100th year anniversary of the end of WWI, bringing the West End show of Michael Morpurgo’s award-winning children’s book to Reading. This family production tells the tale of Private Tommo Peaceful, a young soldier awaiting the firing squad at dawn, as he looks back over his life. 8+
Friday 9 November, 8pm, South Street Arts Centre, £16, book tickets
Ayesha Hazarika started out as a stand-up before working as a special adviser to Ed Miliband. Now, she’s back at comedy with a much more political edge. You’ve probably seen her on political comedy shows like ‘Matt Forde’s Unspun’ or on the couch of the ‘The Andrew Marr Show’. With her ‘Girl on Girl’ tour she analyses the fight for feminism with humour and honesty, and asks – are sisters doing it to themselves?
Saturday 11 November, 5pm, Reading Hindu Temple, Free, read more
Celebrate the Hindu festival of lights with this evening of song and dance open to all at the Reading Hindu Temple. Diwali symbolises the ‘victory of light over darkness’, which is something we could all use right now.
Criminal Justice: The Limits of Community
Saturday 10 November, 10am-4pm, Reading Minster, free, read more
This is an intriguing interactive exhibition looking at studies on crime and criminal justice carried out by University of Reading School of Law researchers. Through visual displays, a programme of talks and a chance to chat with the team involved you can explore how punishment has changed over the years, what history tells us about who should be criminalised and what crime is.
Armistice Day Concert
Saturday 10 November, 7.30pm, St Laurence Church, £10, £5/16s, buy tickets
Reading Phoenix Choir mark 100 years since the end of World War 1 with a choral concert in aid of the Army Benevolent Fund.
Stand Up Cinema: Experimental Short Film Night
Friday 16 November, 7.30pm, Rising Sun Arts Centre, Free, Read more
Every month, The Rising Sun Arts Centre present screenings of Reading’s home-grown cinema. This month, it’s a showcase for short films of no more than 3 minutes long, from local up and coming filmmakers. Filmmakers will be on hand to talk about the films, to network and socialise.
The Whiskey Affair
Saturday 17 November, 1pm-5pm, 7pm-11pm, Great Hall, University of Reading, London Road, £9, book tickets
Get your fill of fire water at this whiskey tasting festival, which returns to Reading for the third year. Just like a beer festival, your entry ticket gets you a glass and then you can buy tokens to sample your choice of Scotch, Bourbon, Irish and Japanese whisky as well as blended cocktails from a whole range of international brands. There will also be live music, talks from whiskey experts and food stalls.
Henley Symphony Orchestra autumn concert
Sunday 18 November, 4pm, The Concert Hall, £10, Book online
Henley Symphony Orchestra are joined by exciting French horn player and BBC Young Musician of 2016 finalist, Ben Goldscheider to perform Strauss’s lyrical and virtuosic Horn Concerto No 2 in a beautiful setting. The programme also includes Schumann’s Manfred Overture and Symphony No 1 from Sibelius.
Late night at The MERL: Being Human
Tuesday 20 November, 7-10pm, The Museum of English Rural Life, free, read more
Join Reading’s most internet-famous museum for fun after dark as they explore the world of folk culture from storytelling and music to werewolves and witchcraft. There’ll be live (I’m guessing folk) music, cocktails from Milk Reading and a silent disco and it sounds like a pretty awesome event.
Wednesday 21 November, 6.30pm, St Laurence, £5, read more
Reading’s community crowdfunding event returns with three charity pitches: Earley Oaks nature group, Ranikhet Rainbows forest school and SWAT: the Sikh Welfare & Awareness Team. Pay £5 for a bowl of homemade winter soup, vote for your favourite of the pitches and your door entry goes to the winning project. There’ll also be music from Damien Passmore and art from the Reading Guild of Artists.
FUN: My Digital Failures
Wednesday 21 November, 6pm, Spaces, Greyfriars Road, £15, book tickets
As part of the Festival for Digital Disruption, this informal networking night brings together entrepreneurs in Reading to celebrate digital disasters, where your ideas didn’t work and how learn from the times business didn’t quite go to plan. There’ll be drinks and pizza.
Thursday 22 November, 7.30pm, Georgian Feast @ Nomad Bakery, £35, Email [email protected] to book
Georgian Feast, one of our favourite Reading street food vendors, have recently take over Nomad Cafe and are hosting a series of pop up dinner parties by chefs from international cuisines. Last month was Moroccan, later this month is Ukrainian, and this one is classic, family-style American to celebrate Thanksgiving. There’ll be roast turkey, cornbread muffins and all the trimmings as well as pumpkin pie. You’re also welcome to bring your own wine or drink for free corkage.
Beat Connection Festival
Saturday 24 November, 3pm-11pm South Street Arts Centre, £17.50, book tickets
Potentially one of the best music events in Reading this year. Heavy Pop’s Beat Connection all-dayer is set to take place across two stages at South Street Arts Centre, with music all day from a line up to die for, including BC Camplight, Matt Maltese, Saltwater Sun, Mush and more.
Reading School Christmas Market
Saturday 24 November, 12-4pm, Reading School, £2/adult, read more.
Get Christmas shopping at this market featuring over 50 local stallholders, selling gifts, crafts, foods, drinks and more. There’ll also be a tombola, raffle, BBQ and Christmas Carols.
Big Blue Parade
Saturday 24 November, 6pm, Broad Street, free, read more
Beautiful Creatures Theatre presented last year’s memorable parade the Winter Giant at Dee Park. This month they’re back with a ‘Big Blue’ whale. The parade will feature a 10m long puppet of the giant of the sea through the town centre. The Winter Giant was a charming spectacle for all the family and this looks like another public theatre piece not to be missed. There’s also a series of children’s craft workshops throughout the month for little ones to make drums for the puppet parade, all made from repurposed junk.
ArtLine: Christmas edition
Sunday 25 November, 10.30am-3.30pm, Broad Street, free, read more
After the success of this summer’s first public art market, Jelly are back with a special Christmas edition of ArtLine. All along Broad Street will be stalls displaying paintings, original photography, drawings, limited edition prints and hanging textile from independent artists in Reading and Berkshire. There will also be festive street food vendors.
Ninja Duck Comedy
Friday 30 November, 8.30pm, Great Expectations, Free, read more
A free stand-up and improv comedy show from local comedians with donations in aid of the NSPCC.
Hello! I'm Claire, the founding editor of Explore Reading. I'm a Reading native and former digital director of Time Out Shanghai. I founded Explore Reading so no one can say, ‘there’s nothing to do in Reading’, again. When not editing Explore Reading, I'm probably drinking a Manhattan.