Shopping in Rochester: Francis Iles Gallery


The Fine Art gallery in Rochester, Kent near to London, Essex, Surrey and Sussex.

The Francis Iles Gallery exhibits contemporary art, with a range of paintings, sculpture, ceramics, glass and jewellery, with over 100 artists showing their work. It offers a full range of framing and restoration services. It is the largest private art  gallery south of London.


Day 21 of the Citybreaks Advent Calendar

Maison Foo's 'Memoirs of a Biscuit Tin'

Today we bring you a great idea for a last-minute Christmas gift from the lovely ladies at Maison Foo

Well here at Maison Foo theatre HQ we can’t believe it’s nearly Christmas, the Autumn Tour has flown by which means not long now until an exciting 2012 begins!

And what excitement there is to come with our Edinburgh Festival sell out show ‘Memoirs of a Biscuit Tin’  heading just up the road to the fabulous Sheffield Crucible to begin the Spring tour! Hurrah!!!!

So if you’re still looking for something a bit different this Christmas and fancy joining us then why not fill your stocking with a ticket to see us in action!

Memoirs of a Biscuit Tin is a magical topsy-turvy tale for grown-ups that crept from nowhere to become one of the most sought after tickets at the 2010 Edinburgh Festival Fringe. During the first leg of the tour in Autumn 2011 it was mentioned an unprecedented 5 times in Guardian reviewer Lyn Gardner’s Theatre Tips.

‘My surprise hit of the festival…touching and beautifully crafted…deceptively sophisticated and layered work…a little show with a big heart’ Lyn Gardner Guardian ««««

This warm and intriguing tale follows the story of a wall, a floor and a chimney as they search for the forgotten old lady who lives in them and cares for them. Using an inventive blend of clowning, visual theatre and puppetry it looks at the memories that lie within. With charm, wit and just a touch of pathos, Maison Foo bring to life the imaginative world lurking behind the unkempt door of Number 92 after the decaying house is left to fend for itself.

‘Unforgettable performances that speak directly to audiences’ hearts…

…this show is a must see’ ThreeWeeks «««««

 Memoirs of a Biscuit Tin tours into:

Sheffield Crucible Studio on Thursday 16th FEBRUARY at 7.00pm

Box Office: 0114 249 6000
Tickets £12 which you can buy here


Day 20 of the Citybreaks Advent Calendar

Ideas for last-minute Christmassy gifts….

Early Music Shop

This wonderful shop in Saltaire is worth a look even if you don’t have an interest in music. The Early Music Shop is the world’s largest early music instrument specialist and has a huge range of mediaeval, renaissance and baroque musical instruments.

The Early Music shop really is an Aladdin’s Cave full of beautiful instruments including recorders, viols, harps, rebecs, lutes, harpsichords, spinets, shawms, crumhorns, tabors, sackbuts, hurdy-gurdies, psalteries and percussion!

In addition to instruments The Early Music Shop also has a wide range of sheet music.

Early Music Shop

Check out the Early Music Shop’s website for special offers on music lessons as well as early music event listings.

Day 14 Citybreaks Advent Calendar

Trentham Italian Garden

Trentham offers seasonal shopping & an Ice Spectacular

Festive treats are set to transform Staffordshire’s Trentham Estate into a sensational seasonal shopping destination – complete with a Christmas market alongside frosty winter gardens and real ice-skating…

From the grand Christmas light switch-on, in November, Trentham Estate is promising a spectacular line-up ranging from its hugely popular lakeside Winter Ice Rink – with real ice – to Christmas gift-buying in the ever-popular shopping village, complete with festive street entertainment and Christmas market.

And for Christmas 2011, the 725-acre Estate will take-on a whole new look.

Trentham Shopping Village is the perfect stop for shopaholics – offering over 60 individual shops, housed in a charming timber lodge village, twinkling with festive ambience. The adjacent Trentham Garden Centre, meanwhile, not only sells gardening produce, but also a wide range of lifestyle goods while its three cafes and restaurants will offer festive menus and seasonal treats.

Bursting with inspirational gift ideas, Trentham Shopping Village will also be the venue for a full programme of seasonal street entertainment, and will be playing host to a very festive Christmas Market of up to 40 stalls on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays on the run up to Christmas (16th-18th December).

A special Christmas area will host a ‘seasonal village’ – including, of course, Santa’s Wonderland with Mr & Mrs Claus’s Grotto.  Santa will be in residence every weekend from 3rd-18th December; and real reindeers will join him every Saturday.

Trentham’s Winter Gardens offers visitors bracing walks along the lakeside, through the Italian Gardens or the sweeping parkland, with any frost and snow creating a picture-perfect scene – perfectly complimenting the Winter Ice Rink, which makes its return this year.  Ideal for school and youth groups there will be discounted rates for groups of 12 or more.

Full details of Christmas entertainment can be found at

Day 11- Citybreaks Advent Calendar

Stoke-on-Trent Monopoly

Citybreaks Christmas gift idea: Purchase the Stoke-on-Trent edition of Monopoly for Christmas for all your friends and family at only £22.50

Day six – Citybreaks Advent Calendar

Santa in Stoke-on-Trent

Christmas offerings in Stoke-on-Trent, shop & enjoy Christmas edible treats

Moorcroft Heritage Visitor Centre and the factory shop are offering customers wine and homemade mince pies every day until they close for Christmas at midday on 21st December.

Take advantage of the late night Christmas Shopping evenings every Thursday in December at Emma Bridgewater. Open until 8pm enjoy mulled wine, mince pies and a choice of great presents in the gift or factory shop.

Wedgwood Visitor Centre are offering 2 and 3 course Christmas meals in their restaurant and a Festive afternoon tea is available – booking in advance is necessary. There is 50% off all Christmas decorations in the main shop.

Churchill are offering an additional 20% off selected lines at their factory shop until 18th December. Great gift ideas with designs from Cath Kidston, Alex Clark and Queens.

Day Three – Citybreaks Advent Calendar

Stocking fillers with an Olympic theme





How about this for a festive stocking filler? ‘The Nonsense Olympics‘ is the latest book

The Nonsense Olympics by Matt Black

by Sheffield-based writer and performer Matt Black. For adults & children, this work, priced at £5 each or 5 for £20, features the backwards race, high-jumping camels, the ancient Worcestershire sport of Shniblobs, how to be good at sports by relaxing, pig-tig etc.. Inspired by Edward Lear, the originator of nonsense verse, for his bicentenary, enjoy a feast of limericks, Olympic histrees, anatomies, alphabets and more, with fabulous illustrations.

Order online by visiting