Magical Ice Rink
October 22-February 26
Get your skates on and head to the Eden Project for their fabulous new-look ice rink. Promising to be a veritable winter wonderland of icy tunnels, light effects and glacial displays, Eden’s magical rink will also offer skating lessons, lantern parades, Cornish choirs and a giant Christmas tree.
Dickens Christmas Market and Festive Food Fayre
November 30 –December 18
Set in the beautiful grounds of Kent’s Rochester Castle this event will kick off with the switching on of the Christmas lights followed by an enchanting lantern procession led by a local choir and a host of quirky characters from the Dickensian era. A truly festive atmosphere awaits at the Castle where visitors will find a German-style market selling a variety of Christmas gifts plus live street entertainers, Dickensian characters, musical bands and carol singers.
Alice In Wonderland
November 30–January 8
The Royal & Derngate inNorthampton will be playing host to this reinvention of the classic childhood tale throughout the festive season. See Alice In Wonderland as you never have before; where the characters of Wonderland are performers in a Royal Variety Show, and they perpetually have to entertain the truculent Queen of Hearts on her daily-celebrated birthday. Expect plenty of audience participation mixed in with madcap humour and a sackload of surrealism.
Barefoot Books Festive Season
Independent bookshop, community gathering place and café, Barefoot Books Studio, is hosting a wealth of seasonal activities with an event to suit every family. Sticking to the publishing house’s global philosophy, events include African drumming classes, piñata making workshops, celebratory Indian dance and an afternoon of Hannuka fun. More traditional Christmas events include carols, letter writing to Santa and a flying visit from the good man himself.
Celebrate the arrival of the Christmas season in Oxford as the city comes alive with a buzzing evening of extravagant illuminations, dance, art, live music and performance. During this special event, Oxford’s museums, Castle, Town Hall, theatres and galleries will throw open their doors to the public for late night viewings, enhanced by special performances. Outdoors there will be lantern parades, festive choirs, brass bands and the grand opening of Oxford Christmas Market.
Festive Family Race Days
December 2, 3
Families who fancy a flutter should trot down to Sandown Park racecourse inEsher for the Tingle Creek Festival. Dress up as your favourite pantomime characters and begin your day with a traditional sleigh ride into a winter wonderland complete with carol singers. As well as a full programme of racing, this family friendly event offers Christmas gift shopping from the Travelling Souk which will be offering homeware, clothing and jewellery.
Decorate A Christmas Tree Day
Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm in Bristol will be hosting this creative session where crafty children can create their own festive decorations as well as meet the resident reindeer.
Festive Family Fun Trail
December 3, 4
Follow a trail around Framlingham Castle inSuffolk solving puzzles, finding hidden clues and maybe even winning a tasty treat.
Mrs Greville's House at Christmas
December 3, 4, 10, 11, 17, 18
Meet your most gracious hostess for the day, Mrs Greville and experience an Edwardian Christmas at Polesden Lacey with festive fare, sleigh rides, a local choir and a special appearance from Father Christmas.
Breakfast With Father Christmas
Enjoy a scrumptious breakfast at Slimbridge Wetland Centre, Gloucestershire while you await a special visitor who will be setting up a grotto and lavishing gifts on every child in attendance. Afterwards browse a selection of seasonal shopping stalls for that perfect present and feed the winter birds around Swan Lake.
Pick up local arts and crafts, artisan foods, unique toys and delicious cakes at these fabulous festive markets at The Tobacco Factory in Bristol. Children will adore eating their way around the gourmet sweet and cake stalls whilst listening to Christmas choirs and trying their hand in one of the free crafty workshops.
The Choir from Christ College Cambridge will be singing sweet songs in the Great Hall at Audley House inEssex while families can sip wine or soft drinks and take in the festive atmosphere.
Deck The Halls
Join the rangers at Overbeck’s in Devon for a stroll through the garden, collecting natural materials such as holly and ivy to make beautiful Christmas decorations in front of a roaring fire.
Return To Narnia
Venture through the wardrobe and enter the enchanted world of Narnia for a special seasonal trail. Inquisitive young minds must seek out Aslan and defeat the White Witch as C.S Lewis’ timeless tale unfolds throughout the house, gardens and carriage museum at Arlington Court inDevon.
Christmas Children's Trail
Pack a flask of hot chocolate and follow the Christmas trail around the wintry splendour of the Claremont Landscape Garden in Surrey.
Gwel an Mor’s Celebration Of Christmas
December 10, 11
Residents of Portreath, Cornwall should head down to holiday resort, Gwel an Mor for this two day festive spectacular. Santa Clause will be on hand with his reindeer to meet children plus a selection of adorable nativity animals will be in the barnyard. A Christmas craft fair, warming eats and carol singing should add plenty of festive sparkle to the atmosphere.
A White Christmas
Ensure that your family experiences a white Christmas in all its sparkling glory by paying a visit to Blenheim Palace which will be adorned with sparkling icicles, snowflakes and white birches for the festive period. There will also be a varied calendar of events throughout December including Christmas pudding demonstrations, a grotto and Christmas tree sales.
Bristol Zoo’s Fantabulous Christmas
Look out for Santa’s reindeer, snowball sprites and a few lost elves amongst the animal life in Bristol Zoo this Christmas. There will be plenty of fun festive activities on offer as well including ice sculpting demonstrations, a brass band, carol singing and a magical grotto.
Meet Santa At Trengwainton
December 11, 19
Santa be receiving young visitors both naughty and nice in his summerhouse grotto at Trengwainton Garden in Cornwall whilst the whole family can enjoy music on the meadow or book a delicious Christmas lunch in the on-site tearoom.