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Scrooge it! A Grinch’s guide to the festive season

If festive cheer makes you want to chunder, and you're up to your eyes in mince pies, we probably don't need to tell you that winter doesn't technically start until the Equinox on 21st December… For all you Humbugs out there feeling overwhelmed, here are some of our favourite places to weather the Merry Madness.

Bristol aquarium
Fish are reliably indifferent to Christmas. Cast your mind to tropical oceans teeming with bright marine life, where stingrays glide over sea anemones, and there’s no such thing as snow… feels good doesn’t it? Well, a trip to Bristol aquarium could be just the thing for you! And be sure to shoot a shark-like glare at any fellow visitors wearing tinsel: it’s plastic, and we all know that ain’t fantastic for the world’s oceans.
Photo credit: Bristol aquarium via website

Find out more here.
Neon workshop, Wakefield
If you hate premature Christmas cheer, but secretly love the glow of lights it brings, why not brighten your dark end-of-year days with some neon? At the Neon Workshops in Wakefield, you can learn about the processes involved in making neon aka "cold cathode lighting", from heating and shaping glass tubes to electrifying them and filling them with luminescent gases. Read our interview with Richard Wheater, artist and owner of Neon Workshops, here.
Because no one said Grinches had to hide away in a cave.
Photo credit: Neon Workshops via Facebook

Find out more here.
Treak Cliff Cavern, Castleton in Derbyshire
…However, if all you want for Christmas is Mariah Carey to shhhh and the whole lot to go away, you could actually head for a cave! The ‘Blue John’ Caverns in Castleton, Derbyshire are the only places you will find a type of banded fluorite called Blue John (thought to be from the French bleu-jaune) which comes in the distinctly un-Christmassy colours, blue and yellow. Treak Cliff Cavern offers guided tours of its mine and caverns, where you can see some of the finest stalactites and stalagmites in the Peak District. And at 330 million years old, these caves were definitely here before Santa.
Photo credit: Treak Cliff Cavern via Facebook

Open from 10am – 5pm every day (except 25 December); the last tour is at 3.20pm between 01 November and 28 February.
For more information, see here.
Spellbound, Ashmolean Museum in Oxford
If you're wondering how people can talk about Christmas when it was only Hallowe'en 5 minutes ago, why not deny it's over? Revisit that spooky autumnal stalwart with a trip to the Ashmolean in Oxford, where their Spellbound exhibition plunges you into the world of witches, with some 180 objects that chart magic and ritual through the ages – none of which you'd be particularly happy to find in your stocking. Read our review here.

Photo courtesy of the Ashmolean Museum

For more information visit the Ashmolean's website.

LARP events, nationwide
Another way to escape the festive folly: dressing up as a Viking/monster/fantasy character and pretending to fight other people dressed as Vikings/monsters/fantasy characters. Live action role play – known as ‘Larping’ – sits somewhere between battle re-enactment and free-form amateur dramatics. And as far as we know, it’s definitely not Christmassy.

For details of up-coming LARP events, see here.