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Festive Fun: Christmas days out & events near you

Lisa O'Keeffe

17 December 2020

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20 minutes

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas, and one thing’s for sure, we need all the festive spirit we can get this year! So, as the countdown to the big day begins, it’s time to start planning some magical family Christmas days out! From Santa and his elves, to winter wonderlands and sleigh rides, here’s our biggest EVER guide to the best Christmas events near you.

We’ve written this list, and checked it twice, to try and only bring you the events that are still going ahead, and that still have tickets. But be warned, events are selling out super quickly this year so we can’t guarantee availability for the events featured below, and they could get cancelled last minute as restrictions continue to be updated. As always, check before you travel and make sure you book online. 

Choose your region: London & South East | South West | Midlands | East of England | North West | North East | Wales | Yorkshire | Scotland

Girl holding a Christmas present

Christmas events in London & South East

  1. Glow Wild, Wakehurst, Surrey
    Selected evenings from 3rd December - 3rd January 2021
    Wakehurst is being brought to life this Christmas with enchanting lights, glowing lanterns and even torches of fire. You’ll find plenty of magical moments as you stroll through the gardens, from sparkling lights over the pond to an impressive projection over the elegant mansion. You’ll be blown away by the UK’s tallest living Christmas tree dressed up in a whopping 1,800 twinkling lights!

    Book Glow Wild tickets

  2. The Postal Museum
    Selected dates from 5th December
    Looking for a day out in London this festive season? Look no further than The Postal Museum which reopens from 5th! Packed full of interactive fun and engaging tech, the highlight is definitely a ride on the festive Mail Rail - the underground miniature train taking you through the original tunnels! Hear incredible stories from those who worked on it, and discover interactive exhibits that the kids will love too. Perfect for an alternative day out this December - just remember to book in advance.

    Book Postal Museum tickets

  3. A Celebration of Christmas at Paultons Park, Hampshire
    Selected dates from 21st November - 23rd December
    There’s loads of festive fun to find at Paultons Park this Christmas, and it’s all included in your usual entry ticket. Spot all the decorations in Peppa Pig World and keep your eyes peeled for Peppa and George who will be all dressed up in their Christmas outfits, marvel at the magical illuminations and stop by the musical Christmas tree for a light show every 15 minutes! There’s shows and stories aplenty too, with Santa and Frosty the Snowman, and loads more family festive fun to soak up.

    Book Paultons Park tickets

  4. Hogwarts in the Snow at Warner Bros. Studio Tour London, Greater London
    14th November 2020 - 17th January 2021
    Combine the wizarding world of Harry Potter with the magic of Christmas, as Hogwarts in the Snow returns to Warner Bros. Studio Tour London with more snow than ever! See the set transformed and dressed for the season, from flaming Christmas puddings in The Great Hall, to the famous jumpers in the Boys’ dormitory. Don’t miss the Hogwarts Castle Model under a sprinkling of special film snow too!

  5. Christmas at Waddesdon Manor, Buckinghamshire
    3rd December 2020 - 3rd January 2021
    See Waddesdon Manor with magical lights and gardens aglow, as it’s popular Winter Light Trail returns for 2020. See baubles at the stables, parallels in the Coach House and the When you wish upon a star trail, complete with lanterns decorated by local schoolchildren. Don’t miss the Christmas Fair on selected dates too.

Christmas events in the South West 

  1. Enchanted Light Trail at Cotswold Farm Park, Gloucestershire
    3rd December 2020 - 3rd January 2021
    See Cotswold Farm Park in a whole new light this winter (quite literally!), as it hosts an Enchanted Light Trail after dark. Follow the spectacular journey of sounds and lights around the farm, complete with crackling fire pits, a Christmas shop and lots of festive food and drink.

  2. Winter Wonderland at Wookey Hole, Somerset and Bristol
    Selected dates from 5th December 2020 - 3rd January 2021
    See the famous Wookey Hole Caves bursting with festive fun at this year’s Winter Wonderland event. With a whopping 16 activities all included, brand new for this year is 10,000 festive lights in the Cave Illuminations, a Christmas Cave Tour and animatronic dinosaurs - with loads more to enjoy too. Plenty of family fun to fill a whole day - or two!

  3. Somerset and Dorset Railway, Somerset and Bristol
    12/13/19/20th December
    All aboard the Somerset and Dorset Railway this December, as Santa Specials roll into the station! Enjoy a magical return trip on a steam locomotive, where Santa’s helpers will have a present for each child, and refreshments for the grown-ups. Don’t miss the chance to have a photo with the big man himself on the platform too.

  4. Land of Light at Longleat Safari Park, Wiltshire
    3rd December 2020 - 10th January 2021
    Illuminate your senses this winter, with a visit to Land of Light at Longleat Safari Park. Explore seven unique zones all filled with incredible light displays, lasers and projections designed to bring the park to life after dark. Plus, venture into the Laser Show in The Longhouse for an immersive 360° experience you won’t forget in a hurry. 

Christmas events in the Midlands

  1. LAP LAND at Silverstone, Nottinghamshire
    10th December 2020 - 3rd January 2021
    Home of the Formula 1 British Grand Prix, Silverstone is swapping race cars for family cars in this brand new drive-through Christmas experience! In the comfort of your own car, you’ll drive the famous race track after dark, with a spectacular laser and light show. It wouldn’t be Christmas without some festive music too, so be sure to tune in to LAP LAND Radio Station for all your favourites! With a drive-in cinema and loads of festive fun, it’s a Christmas event like no other.

  2. Christmas Cracker at National Forest Adventure Farm
    5, 6, 12, 13, 19-24th December
    Looking for a cracking Christmas event? Look no further than the National Forest Adventure Farm, which is packed full of outdoor fun! Enjoy two 20-minute live shows featuring Father Christmas and Sivermist the reindeer, decorate gingerbread with Martha Christmas, take a ride on the Snowmen Hall of Fame tractor ride and take a spin on the Reindeer Carousel!

  3. Christmas Spectacular at Twycross Zoo
    Selected dates from 5th December 2020
    Christmas really is set to be spectacular at Twycross Zoo this year, with loads of festive fun, plus zoo entry, included in your ticket! Step in and smell the gingerbread wafting through Mrs Claus’ Kitchen, visit the Ice Queen at her Ice Castle for songs and spells and see the cheeky Elves hard at work in their workshop. Plus, don’t miss the chance to join Santa for story time and enjoy a photo opp with the big man himself, all before enjoying the rest of the zoo too.

  4. Santa’s Sleigh School at Bluebell Dairy
    5th, 6th, 12th, 13th, 19th - 24th December
    Ever fancied having a go at driving your very own sleigh? Head over to Bluebell Dairy where you can take the test all thanks to Santa’s Sleigh School. Elves, Betsy Bakewell, and Mother and Father Christms will be on hand to steer you in the right direction, and on your two hour journey there’s plenty of North Pole helpers along the way to hand out your stamps, you’ll even get a special present at the end from Santa himself.

  5. Christmas at the Castle, Warwick Castle
    5th December 2020 - 17th January 2021
    Get your skates on - Christmas is coming to Warwick Castle this December, and the ice rink is one of the stars of the show. Don’t miss the magical Christmas tree and light trail around the castle estate, see the Great Hall and State Rooms dressed for the festive season and watch the incredible Birds of Prey display, featuring stunning owls and eagles.

  6. Christmas in the Garden at Chatsworth House
    3rd December 2020 - 3rd January 2021
    Explore the impressive 105-acre gardens this Christmas at Chatsworth House, and there’s even a fun festive family trail. Set off on the ‘12 Days of Christmas Trail’ across the grounds and keep your eyes peeled to spot all 12 of the gifts hidden around, and don’t miss the enchanting illuminations in the garden, all you have to do is follow the lights. Please note, the house is not currently open, and will be reviewed on 16th December. 

  7. Father Christmas’s Winter Barn Workshop, Attwell Farm Park
    Select dates from 5th December - 24th December 2020
    Things are a little different this year, but that won't stop the festive fun at Attwell Farm Park. Arrive at the barn to be greeted by Father Christmas's very best elves, who will hand over your Winter Barn Passport to unlock lots of fun festive activities. Write Father Christmas a letter in the Postal Polar Express, create reindeer food for Rudolph and his friends, decorate a tree ornament to take home and loads more - plus you'll meet Father Christmas too! 

Christmas events in the East

  1. Dippy’s Christmas Celebration at ROARR! Dinosaur Adventure
    Selected dates from 4th - 24th December
    Calling all dinosaur lovers! Don’t miss a dino-tastic Christmas at ROARR! Dinosaur Adventure, packed full of festive fun for all the family. Make your way around the Christmas trail and keep your eyes peeled for the hidden candy canes, meet Mrs Christmas all before meeting Santa himself and getting a special present. Did we mention you can even join in on a special Christmas disco with Dippy LIVE?

  2. Light Fantastic at Epping Ongar Railway
    Selected dates 3rd December 2020 - 10th January 2021
    There’s only a few tickets left for Epping Ongar Light Fantastic, so you’ll need to be quick if you like the sound of an incredible illuminated train journey! See the exterior of the train all lit up, before hopping on board to sit back, relax and experience a whole host of lineside displays. Truly unique and a real winter warmer, just be warned this won’t include an appearance from Santa, and the popular Santa Specials are already sold out.

  3. Christmas Special at Audley End Miniature Railway
    3rd - 24th December 2020
    Hop aboard the Santa Express at Audley End Miniature Railway and head off on a wonderful ride through the Estate Woodland until you arrive at Father Christmas’s Winter Wonderland, where you’ll meet Father Christmas himself, who with the help of his elves has a special present waiting. Don’t miss a trip to visit the talking Gingerbread House, Dolly, and Mother Christmas even has a special interactive show for you too.

  4. The Magic of Christmas at Colchester Zoo
    12th, 13th, 19th - 24th December
    Things are a little different at Colchester Zoo this year, there's still plenty of festive fun as they celebrate the Magic of Christmas. Santa won't be residing in his usual grotto this year, instead he'll be working hard to help the Animal Care Team, giving you the chance to try and spot him around the zoo! Elsewhere, ride the Christmas Road Train, journey through the Enchanted Woodland, visit Santa's Reindeer Stable and loads more. 

  5. The Father Christmas Experience at Marsh Farm
    Selected dates from 5th - 24th December 2020
    Ready for magic at Marsh Farm? Expect 2.5 hours of full-on festive fun, from Passport Control to the all-important Elf Academy, meeting Mother Christmas and taking part in lots of Christmas activities, it’s hugely popular with rave reviews, so definitely one to consider this year!

Christmas events in the North West

  1. The Lanterns: A Starlit Christmas at Chester Zoo
    Selected dates from 3rd - 23rd December 2020
    Back for another magical year and more enchanting than ever, a visit to The Lanterns at Chester Zoo is firmly on our Christmas list this year. Home to 11 fantastical worlds, this immersive trail will take you Over the Rainbow, into The Observatory, through Zebra Grasslands, Beyond the Sunset and loads more - it really is a memorable experience for the whole family.

  2. Christmas at Otterspool Adventure
    Selected dates from 5th - 24th December 2020
    Home to one of the only live Christmas pantomimes in Liverpool this year, that’s not all you’ll find at Otterspool Adventure this Christmas. Visit Santa in his grotto, try your hand at decorating gingerbread with Mrs Claus and get your skates on to try the brand new ice rink - all before settling down to watch the classic Aladdin panto.

  3. Enchanted at Knowsley Safari
    Only 27th - 30th December available
    Something magical is coming to Knowsley Safari this Christmas, but you'll have to plan a visit for Chrimbo Limbo as pre-Christmas tickets are all sold out! You'll head to safari after dark, where your path will be lit with magical lights as you follow the enchanted trail. Expect festive food, magical music and illuminated animals - you won't want to miss it.  

  4. Christmas Adventure Quest at Beeston Castle
    26th December - 3rd January 2021

  5. Father Christmas on the Farm at Walby Farm Park
    Selected dates from 5th - 24th December 2020
    Father Christmas is set to enjoy some festive farmyard fun this December, with a visit to Walby Farm Park in a brand new event! Find out if you’ve made it onto the nice list this year, before picking up a gold coin to ‘spend’ on a present of your choice from the Elves’ Toyshop. With loads of other activities, including the Enchanted Reindeer Forest and the chance to meet Mother Christmas too, you’ll be able to spend the rest of the day exploring the farm. 

Christmas events in the North East

  1. Winter Wonderland at Adventure Valley, Durham
    Selected dates from 3rd - 24th December 2020
    The magical Winter Wonderland at Adventure Valley has been given the green light to go ahead, bringing plenty of festive fun to the North East. Children on the good list can pick up a golden ticket from Santa this year to swap for a present in Santa’s Toy Shop, plus stop by and see Mrs Claus for festive arts and crafts. With interactive shows and a brand new Winter Valley Express train ride, it’s the perfect festive family day out.

  2. Christmas Light Trail at Alnwick Garden, Northumberland
    Selected dates 4th - 31st December 2020
    Pay a visit to Alnwick Garden after dark this month, for a Christmas Light Trail guaranteed to brighten up your day! Expect dazzling lights, festive sounds and a totally immersive experience as you explore the gardens in a whole new way.

  3. Christmas at Newham Grange Farm, Middlesbrough
    Selected dates from 5th - 24th December
    Step through the spinning clock towers to enter the magical Christmas Town at Newham Grange Farm, where Mrs Claus waits with delicious hot chocolate and reindeer food! Stroll down Candy Cane Lane to the Elf Village, explore the Snowman Trail and meet lots of real-life Christmas characters! Santa’s Grotto is sold out, but there’s still plenty of festive fun on the farm this year.

  4. Santa Visits at Hall Hill Farm
    Selected dates from 5th - 23rd December
    Enjoy one last festive hurrah before Hall Hill Farm closes until February, with their Santa Visits event this December. You’ll have the chance to meet the big man himself and pick up a present, as well as making your own decoration in the Elves’ Workshop, meeting Dasher the talking reindeer and enjoying Santa’s Tractor Ride! Tickets are limited so book now. 

Christmas events in Wales

  1. A Magical Christmas at The Silver Mountain Experience
    12, 13, 19th - 23rd December 2020

  2. Enchanted Drive-Thru Reindeer Safari at Reindeer Lodge
    Selected dates from 2nd December 2020

  3. A Magical Christmas Experience at British Birds Of Prey Centre & National Botanical Gardens of Wales

  4. Not A Normal Midwinter’s Dream lantern trail, Cardigan Castle

  5. Winter Weekends at Folly Farm Adventure Park & Zoo

Christmas events in Yorkshire

  1. Winter Woodland Walks at Mother Shipton’s Cave
    Selected dates from 5th - 24th December 2020

    You’ll be walking in a Winter Wonderland at Mother Shipton’s Cave this Christmas, with festive delights and twinkling lights bringing the magic of Christmas to Yorkshire. Spot Santa waving from his cosy Christmas grotto, hop into his sleigh for a family photo and take your seat on the special Christmas throne, a fitting chair for any little ones on the nice list! Elsewhere, make a Christmas wish in the Wishing Well, see the cave where Mother Shipton was born, visit the incredible Petrifying Well and, on a dry day, don’t miss the adventure playground too!

    Book Mother Shipton's Cave now

  2. Festive Family Fun at Lightwater Valley
    Selected dates from 4th - 23rd December 2020

  3. Santa’s Reimagined at North Yorkshire Moors Railway
    Selected dates from 5th - 24th December

  4. Family Chocolate Christmas Workshop at York’s Chocolate Story
    5, 6, 11, 12 and 13th December 2020

  5. Christmas on the Home Front at Eden Camp
    2nd - 23rd December 2020
    Step back in time to experience Christmas 1940s style, with Christmas on the Home Front at Eden Camp. The museum brings to life the sights, sounds and smells of World War II and this festive event is no different; hear the story of an evacuee first-hand and explore the Winter Wonderland on the way to finding Father Christmas! With a festive meet and greet, photo opportunities and a gift for each child, it’s a totally unique family festive event to book this year.

  6. Santa Parade at Cannon Hall Farm
    Selected dates from 5th - 24th December 2020

  7. Christmas at Harewood
    19th December 2020 - 3rd January 2021
    It may not be the full festive event they had planned for this year, but the Harewood House team has been hard at work to dress the impressive house ready for Christmas! Spot the incredible tree made entirely from books, marvel at the lights and explore all the grounds and gardens during your visit too.

Christmas events in Scotland

  1. Christmas at the Botanics, Edinburgh Botanical Gardens
    Selected dates 2nd December 2020 - 3rd January 2021
    As night falls, the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh will be illuminated in a magical, festive light trail that’s perfect for families. Back for a fourth year, you’ll wander amongst the trees and plants to a Christmas soundtrack, with giant baubles, trees wrapped in colourful lights and loads of sparkling surprises along the way too.

  2. Christmas at Blair Drummond Safari & Adventure Park
    Until 20th December 2020

  3. Zoo Illuminations at Five Sisters Zoo
    1st - 23rd December 2020

  4. East Links Express Sleigh Train at East Links Family Park
    12th - 24th December 2020

  5. Christmas on the Farm at Briarlands Farm
    Selected dates from 12th - 23rd December 2020

  6. Spectacle of Light, Dalkeith Country Park
    5th December 2020 - 4th January 2021

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