Looking for magical Christmas events to really enchant your kids this December? Our days out guide has something for every family in the run up to the big day. Take your pick from light trails and toy workshops, Winter Wonderland in London or Cardiff and enough Santa’s Grottos to fill quite a few Christmases. So where will you go?
Reindeer Lodge, North Wales: follow the magical Christmas lights trail to Santa
A Magical Tale unfolds around you on this immersive drive through experience at Reindeer Lodge this December. Look forward to enchanting Christmas lights as well as herds of reindeer. There’s even a hidden Elf village and don’t miss the Toy Workshop where Santa has a gift for kids. All this is from the cosy comfort of your car and it’s pet friendly. Daylight visits are picturesque but, for full-on spellbinding, come from 4pm onwards. Remember to book tickets online in advance.
Where and when: Reindeer Lodge, Black Meadows Farm, Leeswood, Mold, North Wales. From now until 24 December.
Hyde Park Winter Wonderland: London’s king of the Christmas events
Do we even need to explain this one? If you’ve been to London at Christmas time chances are you haven’t missed the immense Winter Wonderland in the heart of Hyde Park. All your favourites are back for 2022 only bigger and more sparkly. This year’s Magical Ice Kingdom has no less than 500 tonnes of sculpted ice. The Real Ice Slide has added six new lanes! And as for the rides, they range from white knuckle to classic carousel and of course the Ferris wheel still has one of the best views of London.
Where and when: Hyde Park, London. From now until 8 January 2023.
Cardiff Winter Wonderland: festive fun for all at Cardiff Castle
Cardiff Winter Wonderland is back and in two exciting locations this year. Head to Cardiff Castle for the frostiest ice rink and a magical winter walk. Then hit City Hall Lawns and grab all the magic of the funfair, live family entertainment and festive food and drink – we hear Yorkshire Pudding wraps are worth a leaving some space for.
Where and when: Cardiff Castle, Cardiff. From now until 8 January 2023.
Edinburgh Winter Festival: the mother of all Christmas events is bigger than ever
Where better than the magical city of Edinburgh to get into the festive mood? This year’s Edinburgh Winter Festival is all about ice skating, Santa Stories, a Christmas Tree Maze and more Christmas Markets than seems strictly fair. Views of the city looking suitably majestic are totally free. Nobody in the family is left out of the fun in 2022, as there’s even a special Santa Paws, so bring your pets. And hang on until after dark to catch the castle lighting up into a Kingdom of Colours as night falls.
Where and when: Edinburgh city centre. From now until 3 January 2023.
Alton Towers: choose your own Christmas fun this December
Alton Towers is offering three unique Christmas events this year. Choose the Lightopia ticket and follow the award-winning light trail through the park with interactive experiences and cute markets along the way. Alternatively, if you’re in the mood for something wilder, pick a Festive Rides and Attractions ticket for a rollercoaster of Christmassy fun. Or, when one magical day out is just not enough, treat your kids to a Santa’s Sleepover which includes Lightopia, all the wild rides you could want, Alton Towers waterpark, a night of festive fun and, of course, a visit from Santa himself!
Where and when: Alton Towers Resort, Alton, Staffordshire. From now until 2 January 2022.
Chessington World of Adventures: one of the wildest Christmas events this December
Chessington World of Adventures is a wild experience for the whole family. Feeling adventurous come for the Christmas TAIL and meet over 1000 animals. The hop on as many rides as you can manage before heading off to meet Santa. Just don’t expect any old grotto, this one is pure captivation from its gorgeous Toy Workshop to the company of Elves. If you don’t have a show lined up for December yet, Chessington’s Wild Christmas Panto is the one to watch. And to avoid any post 25 December slump, you could always book a festive sleepover, available from Boxing Day onwards.
Where and when: Chessington World of Adventures, Warrington. From now until 24 December 2022.
Kew Gardens: capture the magic with a wonderful light-filled after dark walk
It’s certainly the most wonderful time of the year at Kew Gardens right now. If anything can make you thankful for early winter sunsets, it’s the spectacle of Kew after dark at Christmas. Lantern lit walks, sparkling tunnels of light, dancing lakeside reflections and magical trees create a spellbinding landscape. Keep your eyes peeled for Santa Claus along the way. Catch the pretty festive markets and start off hungry, there are street-food stalls a plenty to fuel your wonderful walk.
Where and when: Kew Gardens, Richmond. Selected dates from now until 8 January 2023.
Christmas at Blenheim Palace: the place for fairy tale Christmas events
Blenheim Palace is always a fairy tale, but this Christmas it takes enchantment to a whole new level. The after-dark illuminated trail will bewitch kids with its sparkling, flickering and glittering around the gorgeous Palace grounds. Wander along, take your time, snack at street-food stalls and leave a moment to drop in on Father Christmas. Then step inside the legendary Palace itself and you’ll find it transformed into the Kingdom of the Snow Queen. Quite possibly the most Christmassy of Christmas events this December, go see for yourself.
Blenheim Palace, Oxfordshire, OX20 1UL
Where and when: Blenheim Palace, Oxfordshire. From now until 31 December 2022.
The Polar Express: catch the most Christmassy train anywhere from Brechin to the Isle of Man this December
Pop on your PJs and hop aboard the most famous of all trains to the North Pole. This year you can catch the fantastical Polar Express at 11 different stations in the UK. train ride. It’s the ride of a child’s life and the moment when Santa climbs aboard is one no parent will forget in a hurry. Look forward to exceptionally starry eyed kids, lots of fresh-baked cookies and hot chocolate and plenty of singing, dancing and general merriment to the North Pole and back.
Where and when: Cholsey & Wallingford; Churnet Valley; Mid-Norfolk; Seaton; South Devon; Spa Valley; Telford Steam; Wensleydale; Caledonian Railway Brechin, Birmingham and Isle of Man. Check individual stations for dates and times.
West Midland Safari Park: the return of the fabulous Lantern Festival
See nature in a new light at West Midland Safari Park this Christmas. The annual Lantern Festival returns with over 40 safari themed light groupings and over 1000 individual lanterns. The lit trail illuminates the park and adds extra sparkle to the wild adventure. Wander through the Twilight Cave, head into the Reptile House, visit Creepy Crawlies and take a moment in the Aquarium. To make things extra festive don’t forget to see Santa in his extra glittery grotto.
Where and when: West Midland Safari Park, Bewdley. From now until 8 January 2023.
Blue Bell Dairy, Derby: the Father Christmas Experience
Try the sweetest Father Christmas Experience at Blue Bell Dairy in Derby this December. It includes dancing, singing, hot chocolate and games for everyone. Younger kids will love the Wishing Woods and learning new things at the Toy Workshop. Then there’s just time to hop on the Peculiar Penguin Sleigh and journey to meet Father Christmas. If the whole experience doesn’t leave kids totally tired but happy, your ticket also includes a visit to the farm.
Where and when: Blue Bell Dairy, Derby. From now until 24 December 2022.
Birmingham Botanical Gardens: the most wonderful Winter Light Trail this Christmas
Practically putting every other display in the shade, the Winter Light Trail in Birmingham Botanical Gardens is spectacular. Stretching for nearly a mile, as well as the glittering installations there are games to look forward to and the atmosphere is incredible.
Where and when: Birmingham Botanical Gardens, Westbourne Road. From now until 2 January 2023.
Marsh Farm, Chelmsford: The Father Christmas Experience
The Father Christmas Experience at Marsh Farm is full-on! Ice rink, food and drink stalls, rides, Santa’s grotto and even a Teddy Bear Market make the magic. Prime your little elves for a special visit to the North Pole where they’ll get their passport stamped at Elf Passport Control and see Santa. Plus they have the chance to become an honorary Elf and learn all the little helpers’ tricks. But Father Christmas isn’t the only VIP on March Farm. Mother Christmas is here too, so don’t forget to drop into her cosy Christmas kitchen.
Where and when: Marsh Farm, South Woodham Ferrers. From now until 24 December 2022.
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