There’s nothing that brings the magic of Christmas to life like a day out at winter wonderland! As usual, we’ve scouted the best events in the country to bring you the best winter wonderlands in 2019.
Below you’ll find some of the biggest and busiest events that have it all - giant Christmas trees, spectacular shows, Christmas markets, Santa’s Grotto, fairground rides and even an outdoor ice rink. However, our list also has the smaller winter wonderland events that bring out the cosy, fairytale-like spirit of the festive season with a sprinkle of twinkling lights, a walk through an enchanted forest and great storytelling. Here are 15 of the most whimsical winter wonderland experiences you’ll find in the UK this year!
Winter Wonderland Hyde Park, London, Greater London
21st November 2019 - 5th January 2020
Let’s start with the most famous of all of the UK’s winter wonderlands - Winter Wonderland Hyde Park! Featuring the largest outdoor ice rink in the UK, the world’s largest transportable observation wheel, and an array of stage, circus and ice shows, this event is as big as they get and it has rightfully earned its place as the flagship Winter Wonderland in the country.
Since Winter Wonderland Hyde Park is as busy as you’d expect (and more!), they’ve created a special family entrance, which allows you to walk straight into Santa Land, where Father Christmas resides. Also, to make the experience even more inviting for families with young kids, the event offers special tot-friendly entertainment, including the Mr. Men & Little Miss show.
Winterland Margate | Christmas by the Sea at Dreamland, Margate, Kent
7th - 31st December 2019
This December, Dreamland brings Christmas to the seafront with its spectacular Winterland Margate event. Dazzle your kids with a magical fairy light walk, get creative with yuletide crafts and browse the stalls at the Christmas market (don’t forget to stop for a hot chocolate!).
There will also be seasonal rides and you’ll have the chance to immerse in the festive atmosphere with free festive movie screenings. Plus, this coastal Winter Wonderland comes with a giant Snow Globe that you can climb into; it’s not something you get to do just anywhere! Oh and because it’s Christmas time, dogs will also be allowed in the park – in Dreamland’s own words: Santa Paws, anyone?
Ice Village, Manchester, Greater Manchester
8th November 2019 - 5th January 2020
What could be more magical than an actual winter wonderland built out of ice? Ice Village Manchester returns for 2019 with all new ice sculptures and brand new frozen fairytale for your family to explore. Enter an icy kingdom where ice beasts roam and ice monsters guard the entrance to a giant frozen castle - both you and the kids will be left in awe.
The fun doesn’t stop outside the Ice Cavern. In Ice Village, you’ll also find Santa in his Grotto, an ice skating rink in the Cathedral gardens and a whole range of free family-friendly games and activities. It’s all you love about winter in one place and more!
Christmas at the Castle, Warwick Castle, Warwick, Warwickshire
23rd November 2019 - 5th January 2020
Fairy tales and castles just go hand in hand, so adding Warwick Castle’s winter wonderland experience to our list was a no brainer. See the castle gear up for Christmas with twinkling lights, stunning decoration, (including an 11-foot Christmas tree!) and get ready to experience a festive experience, fit for royals! Sit down for storytime with Mr and Mrs Claus before heading to the Princes Tower where Princess Felice needs your help to solve a riddle and get reunited with her true love, Guy of Warwick.
This year Christmas at the Castle also comes with a brand-new, glittering ice rink, so get wrapped up in your biggest scarf, put your skates on and get gliding to the backdrop of Warwick Castle. Oh, and don’t miss out on the Winter Birds of Prey flight displays - the birds are quite impressive!
Odds Farm Park, High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire
30th November - 24th December 2019
Christmas comes to Odds Farm Park and you should be part of it! Father Christmas, Mrs. Claus and the elves will come to the farm and they’re set to bring the North Pole with them to create a winter wonderland experiences your kids won’t be able to stop talking about.
You and your little ones will be taken on a quest to find Santa Claus, as you take a stroll through a magical, wintery wonderland illuminated by thousands of twinkling lights. You’ll also get the chance to take part in various games and activities, and to see a wonderful stage show - March of the Penguins. There will also be a Christmas marquee for those of you who love their festive crafts.
Winter Wonderland 2019 at Wookey Hole Caves, Wells, Somerset and Bristol
23rd November - 24th December 2019, 27th December 2019 - 5th January 2020
How about a winter wonderland underground? The UK’s biggest cave spectacular, Wookey Hole Caves, will sparkle in glorious Christmas illuminations and decorations this year for a very special family festive tour. Once you’re done exploring the underground Magic Kingdom, prepare for an awe-inspiring Christmas Circus performance and a 4D screening of Happy Feet.
But wait - there’s no winter wonderland without Santa! Enter Santaland where you’ll be welcomed by helpful elves and hard-working reindeer, before meeting Father Christmas in his magical grotto. Don’t worry - the good list is long, so every child will get a free, wrapped gift from the man himself.
Santa’s Winter Wonderland SnowDome, Tamworth, Stafforshire
15th November - 31st December 2019
Fancy a visit to a Christmas event with years of experience under its belt? 2019 marks the 15th edition of Santa’s Winter Wonderland at SnowDome Tamworth - that’s what we call an event with history! Plus, with guaranteed real snow, it just has to be one of our favourite winter wonderlands in the UK.
From Santa’s Trail, featuring snow slides and snowfall, to the delightful Christmas Village where Santa and his furry animal buddies live - your and your kids will have plenty to keep you busy. Make sure you drop by Santa’s house and take a photo by the giant Christmas tree! To complete the Christmassy feeling, there’s an all-new Christmas family show, The Twelve Days of Christmas.
2019 Winter Wonderland at Whin Park, Inverness, The Highlands
13th - 15th December 2019
2019 Winter Wonderland in Inverness is a 3-day family-friendly event, taking place in the beautiful Whin Park. It’s quite popular with locals who have young kids; it’s actually deemed a highlight for toddlers during the festive season and you know what - it’s absolutely free!
Expect the park to be transformed into an enchanted woodland dotted with bright, colourful fairy lights and heart-warming Christmas decoration throughout. Bringing excitement to your winter wonderland experience, there will be fairground rides to enjoy to the backdrop of the illuminated forest. Having Father Christmas on hand to pose for a photo with the kids just completes the perfect picture.
Dyffryn Gardens, St Nicholas, Glamorgan and Cardiff
Select dates in November and December 2019
It’s not hard to create a winter wonderland when you’ve got 55 acres of stunning gardens at your disposal! Wrap up and get ready to take the kids on the O Christmas Tree Trail at Dyffryn Gardens where you’ll find a dozen Christmas trees. Those aren’t your usual Christmas trees though! With decorations including suspended parrots, feathers, heaps of coal and a flower tree each of the 12 trees tells a part of Dyffryn’s fascinating story.
A meeting with Santa is a must, of course, and we also advise you to hang around till the evening to see the illuminated winter trail in the gardens. Highlighting the most beautiful trees, it’s a truly magical sight that will make you feel warm and fuzzy inside. The house will be illuminated too!
Santa’s Magical Journey at Thursford Collection, Fakenham, Norfolk
Select dates in November and December 2019
From penguins and polar bears to giant sized teddy bears ready to load Santa’s sleigh, Thursford’s winter wonderland journey is truly surreal! Forget Charlie and the Chocolate Factory; here you’ll find a toy factory and a gift wrapping machine operated by magical elves. Oh, and those aren’t the only magical characters come to life - you’ll be dodging snowballs in magical forest where a living snowman family enjoys a day out. Told you it’s surreal…
Of course, Santa’s Magical Journey ends at Santa’s House where the big man in red is waiting for all the good kids on his list to come and pay him a visit.
Santa’s Woodland Adventure at Bluebell Dairy, Derby, Derbyshire
Weekends & selected weekdays in December 2019
All aboard the Candycane Express! From a fantasy land to a winter wonderland in the forest, we take you to Santa’s Woodland Adventure at Bluebell Dairy. While you’re waiting for your festive train to arrive at the station, you can play Christmas board games as a family, help the kids write a letter to Santa and most importantly - make sure your Christmas wish is added to the wish trees. Then it’s time to join Mrs Claus on the Candycane Express which will take you across the magical woodlands right up to Santa’s Woodland Cabin.
For those of you who like chasing fairy houses, the farm has a trail with eleven houses hidden in the Christmas trees. And your little chefs will be able to mix their own reindeer food to take home, so Rudolph and the rest of the crew feel welcome to stop by your place on Christmas.
Kielder Winter Wonderland, Kielder, Northumberland
Select dates in November and December 2019
If a festive experience in the forest is what tickles your fancy, then head out to Kielder Water and Forest Park and step inside the magical Kielder Winter Wonderland. There you’ll meet all those characters Christmas wouldn’t be complete without. Trek through the forest with Mrs Christmas and get busy with her in the kitchen, visit The Beavers in their woodland home and, of course, meet Santa Claus himself!
There’s a whole herd of reindeer who live in the forest, so make sure to drop by and say “Hi” before they depart on their magical Christmas journey. You can also see a traditional Christmas play at the theatre, or help out the Master Elf in his workshop. Plus, Kielder Water Birds of Prey Centre is just a snow ball’s throw away, so why not go and see the snowy owl and his friends too?
The Christmas Experience at Lotherton Hall, Leeds, West Yorkshire
22nd November 2019 - 5th January 2020
Lotherton Hall transforms into a winter wonderland once again! Visit Elf Village and you’ll find yourself magically transported to the North Pole where Santa will be waiting to meet his little guests. You can also enjoy the best of the festive season outdoors. For a magical forest experience, go on the Twelve Days of Christmas Woodland Walk and explore an enchanted path lit with twinkling lights and interactive installations. Then, you should definitely check out the outdoor ice rink - it’s brand new for 2019!
Want a cool photo to remember your day by? Strike your best pose at the Edwardian selfie studio inside Lotherton Hall. Set in a magnificent stately home, decorated wit 12ft trees and a table spread fit for a king, this will be one grand addition to you family photo album.
Winter Wonderland at Adventure Valley, Durham, County Durham
23rd November - 24th December 2019 (Select dates only)
Here comes another event returning by popular demand - Winter Wonderland is back for its 10th year at Adventure Valley! You and your kids are in for a 90-minute journey through the magical land of Christmas wonders. From making Christmas decorations and delicious goodies with Mrs Claus to petting real reindeer and meeting Santa to get a golden ticket to the Toy Shop - this will be a fairytale-like experience all the way through.
Love a good Christmas show? Come see ‘The Fabulous Christmas Cracker’ and go on a festive adventure with Santa’s Head Elf ‘Charlie Cracker’ and his apprentice elf ‘Coco’. And once you’re done with all the festive fun, you can still go on and explore Adventure Valley for the rest of the day.
A Magical Christmas at Beamish Hall, Durham, County Durham
30th November - 22nd December 2019
Do you believe in magic? Be part of A Magical Christmas at Beamish Hall and give your little ones a fairytale Christmas experience to remember. This is an immersive theatrical performance which will put your kids right at the heart of the action. They’ll embark on a quest through the Enchanted Woodlands to collect sparkling glitter - the key ingredient to a very special glitter potion that helps Santa find your house on Christmas Eve.
After coming face-to-face with an array of mythical characters, from elves and fairies to sleeping dragons and merry reindeer, your winter wonderland experience will take you to meet Father Christmas himself. With so many wondrous activities to get involved with, grown-ups might turn believers too!
Enjoyed this list of the top Winter Wonderland events in 2019? Check out our guide to Festive Family Fun or find more ideas for the festive season here: