Festive Fun: 15 best Christmas days out & events near you
Winter is here and with it Christmas is coming closer and closer! The moment you start counting the number of sleeps before Christmas, you know it’s about time to plan some wonderful family Christmas days out. We’re here to give you a hand with finding the best Christmas events for the whole family. Here’s our round-up of the best places to visit with the kids this Christmas!
Christmas at Chatsworth House, Bakewell10th November 2018 – 6th January 2019
This December, fairy tales will take over the halls of Chatsworth House. Some of the country’s most eloquent storytellers will be wandering around the house, ready to bring iconic fairy tale scenes to life. Form Snow White to James and the giant Peach - there are plenty of whimsical worlds to discover...
Pick up a family trail at the start of your visit and add a little bit of adventure (alongside a baby dragon, nonetheless!) to your day.
Up for an evening adventure? On Thursdays and Fridays from 22 November to 21 December, Chatsworth House will host enchanting Christmas Twilight evenings. After the house closes to the general public, you’ll be invited to explore the halls in all their festive glory to the sounds of live Christmas music with traditional bell ringers and a strings trio.
Fairy tales in the historic Chatsworth after dark, topped up with delicious mince pie and a glass of wine (juice for the kids) - sounds like a family Christmas day out, you won’t forget in a hurry!
Lammas Ice Rink, Sutton in Ashfield
Nothing brings the festive spirit alive like a white Christmas! We don’t always get much snow in the UK but an icy fairy tale should do… Head out to Lammas Ice Rink and enjoy a fun-packed day on the ice!
A casual family skating session is a great way to have a good laugh together. Kids can join in, no matter how small (with a little help from the cute penguin aids). That’s the beauty of ice skating!
Really want to get your groove on? Well, get ready to bust out your best dance moves because Lammas Ice Rink hosts awesome ice discos. Who needs dancing shoes, when you’ve got skates, right? If not a graceful performance, it definitely will be a hilarious one! After all, what really makes a family Christmas day out great is having fun.
The ice rink is open all year round, so you won’t have to try and fit in specific event dates. Basically, it's like having Christmas near you anytime you like! Just go whenever suits you best during the Christmas holidays and enjoy a day out on the ice.
Christmas at Lee Valley White Water Centre, Waltham Cross1st December 2018 - 6th January 2019
Ice skating, ice curling, a traditional fun fair jam-packed with rides and attractions… Lee Valley White Water Centre surely knows how to throw a proper Christmas celebration!
Give your kids the best Christmas day out! Enjoy a family-friendly session at the ice rink, treat the little ones to a hot chocolate and send them off to Santa’s Grotto for a very special meeting with Father Christmas. We all know a great Santa visit is usually the highlight of the festive season.
Love a good Christmas market? Lee Valley White Water Centre is hosting one on Saturday 15th and Sunday 16th December, if you want to stop by for some tasty festive goodies and last minute stocking fillers.
Who’s up for a steaming cup of mulled wine, a German sausage and a delicious serving of churros? Warm up at Terrace Bar & Café with some delicious traditional festive drinks and snacks before you head home.
- Hyde Park Winter Wonderland, London
22nd November 2018 - 6th January 2019
Let’s face it - we can’t write a list of the best Christmas family days out in the UK and not mention Winter Wonderland at Hyde Park. Every year, families from all over the country flock to the capital specifically for this event and there’s a good reason why...
We won’t have the time and space to list all the amazing experience on offer this year but we’ll give you a little taste. From the UK’s largest outdoor skating rink, to the Peter Pan on Ice spectacular and the Giant Observation wheel - it will be a day to remember! Oh, and before we forget, this year London's top Christmas event is going to have a special Family Entrance, which will take you straight to Santa’s Grotto.
- Christmas at Kew, Richmond
22nd November 2018 - 5th January 2019
Here’s a must-do Christmas event that should be on every parent’s list of things to do in December! Sixth year running, Christmas at Kew is an epic Christmas spectacular, featuring laser beams and thousands of glittering pealights. It’s hard to put into words, the whimsical atmosphere of walking through the majestic Kew Gardens under the moonlight and seeing countless Christmas lights illuminate the place. What can we say, you’ve got to see it to feel it!
If you weren’t won over by the trail by now, the idea of indulgent festive treats under the stars should do it. Toasted marshmallows, roasting chestnut and brewing mulled wine or hot chocolate…Don’t know about you but we’re totally in!
- Christmas at Dunham Massey, Altrincham
30th November - 30th December 2018
Christmas at Dunham Massey is all about lights! This winter after dark, the gardens will turn into a fairy-tale like land of colourful Christmas lights, glowing trees and shining baubles.
Take the kids on a path illuminated by hundreds of globes, see strings of lights hanging all around you and walk under a bridge of thousand lights. Sounds magical, doesn’t it?
- Christmas Adventure at Stockeld Park, Wetherby
1st November 2018 - 7th January 2019
Enchanted forest and a magical illuminated lake - this is how the fairy tale Christmas Adventure at Stockeld Park begins. You’ll also get to glide along on a Real Ice Rink and ski along the Nordic Ski Trail - be ready for surprises along the trail, including mermaids and crocodiles!
Ready for the best part? Stockeld Park also offers the only illuminated maze in Yorkshire, giving you the opportunity to experience the maze after dark. Searching for the right path, surrounded by thousands of twinkling lights will leave the kids in awe.
- Drayton's Magical Christmas, Tamworth
17th November - 31st December 2018 (Selected dates only)
Christmas at Drayton Manor is designed to give your younger kids a truly magical day out. The festivities will take over Thomas Land, with incredible live shows and sing-alongs, featuring some of your little ones’ favourite characters. At the heart of it all, you’ll find the Castle of Dreams, where Father Christmas resides alongside his hardworking elf helpers.
With family rides galore, Christmas spirit aplenty and snowfall guaranteed, this will be one of the best Christmas days out for kids this year!
- Christmas Fair 2018 at Waddesdon Manor, Aylesbury
10th November - 16th December 2018 (Wednesday to Sunday)
If you live near Buckinghamshire, the Christmas Fair at Waddesdon Manor is probably one of the best ways to celebrate Christmas near you. The event has gotten so popular that this year, it’s going to last a week longer than ever before! Why do people love the fair so much, you ask? Well, it might be the charm of the pretty wooden stands with hand-crafted gifts, or the atmospheric Christmas decorations, or maybe it’s the delicious smell of festive food and mulled wine…
Whatever the reason, it’s a heartwarming festive event you should definitely experience as a family this December.
- Christmas on the Farm at Cotswold Farm Park, Cheltenham
Select weekends in November & December 2018
Father Christmas will be stopping at Cotswold Farm Park on certain weekends in November and December 2018 as part of the Christmas at the Farm event. It’s the perfect opportunity to combine a day at the farm with some classic festive activities.
Your little ones will have the chance to make a Christmas Eve box with the help of an elf, pay Santa a visit in his luxury grotto and pick a gift from the Toy Shop.
- Santa Specials at East Lancashire Railway
Select dates in November & December 2018
How about some railway fun around Christmas? The Santa Specials at East Lancashire Railway are a traditional festive ordeal, featuring a steam train ride, Christmas carols, beautiful Christmas decoration and delicious cookies. If you’ve got a train lover at home, this will probably become one of your all-time favourites.
Of course, a rendezvous with Santa and his elves is a must! You won’t have to leave your seat, the Big Man will find you on the train as you choo-choo along the way. And that’s not all - you’ll get to play detectives on the Great Christmas Treasure Hunt at Bury Transport Museum.
- Santa and the Snow at Snow Factor Braehead
17th November - 24th December 2018
Put the kids through Elf School at Snow Factor Braehead. It’s all very serious business! The little ones will have to learn special elven skills and take an Elf Oath to become honorary members of Santa’s team of helpers.
Once they’re officially inaugurated, your little elves will have a go at making Christmas decoration in Santa’s Workshop, before sitting down for story time with the Big Man himself. And as with any meeting with Santa, this one won’t end without a gift, either!
- Piglets Adventure Farm, York
24th November - 24th December 2018
Strap in for a whimsical ride on Santa’s Sleigh to Santa’s Woodland Village at Piglets Adventure Farm! After flying with Elf Airlines, you’ll be treated to a storytime show by Santa’s little helpers. Your little ones will get to meet Santa himself and use a magical key to open the door to his Toy Shop. There, they’ll be free to choose their own gift to take home.
The grown-ups may find Santa’s Tepee a little bit more exciting - there you can treat yourself to a mince pie and a steaming cup of mulled wine. Meanwhile, the kids can write down a wish and hang it on the magical Christmas Wishing Tree. Who knows, it’s the time for Christmas miracles, after all...
- Waterfront Winterland in Swansea
16th November - 6th December 2018
From Swansea? It's probably no surprise to you that the best Christmas event near you this year will be the magical Waterfront Winterland at the National Waterfront Museum, since the event's happening for the 13th year in a row. It's an oldie but goodie! With an ice rink, funfair and lots of festive spirit to go around, it’s the perfect Christmas day out for the whole family.
Waterfront Winterland offers a richer selection of rides than most similar fairs. Starting from the usual family-friendly carousels and Christmas-themed kiddie rides, all the way to hair-raising thrill rides such as Sky View (which will have you spinning around at 40m above ground) and the brand-new for 2018, Ice Extreme.
- Coca Cola Truck Tour 2018
9th November - 16th December 2018
Some people say the festive season doesn’t truly begin until you see Coca Cola’s iconic truck. You don’t have to wait for it pop up on TV though! Do one better and see the huge, red Coca Cola trucks in your city, as it goes on its annual festive tour.
Never been to the Coca Cola Truck Tour before? There’s only one way to describe it - it’s a Winter Wonderland on wheels, complete with Christmas carols and loads of Coca Cola! For the 2018 Coca Cola Truck Tour dates, check out this page.
Looking for even more Christmas ideas and inspiration? Take a look at our Christmas crafts blogs, including creating a special Santa Letter and making an adventure Advent Calendar. Also, stay tuned for our guide to Santa's Grottos and ice rinks near you!