Spectacular Staffordshire sparkles this Christmas

Staffordshire will light up like never before this Christmas, led by stunning illuminated spectacles at England’s only medieval three-spired cathedral as well as at the UK’s year-round national site of remembrance.

From a new light and sound display at Lichfield Cathedral to an awe-inspiring immersive experience at the National Memorial Arboretum, visitors are being promised visual and musical extravaganzas this winter.

Add to this festive mix more than a dash of traditional seasonal family fun – including the UK’s premier “real snow” Christmas event – and Staffordshire aims to offer even more unforgettable treats this year.

With previous event-winning reviews from visitors, ranging from ‘outstanding’ to ‘mind-blowing’, Cathedral Illuminated at Lichfield Cathedral is being warmly welcomed back for 2018(17 – 22 December, excluding 19 December). Offering a brand new spectacular light and sound experience for all the family, a bespoke set of illuminations will transform the Cathedral, both inside and out, complemented by a specially commissioned musical score.

This year entitled ‘Peace on Earth’, there will be multiple projections around the building, a spectacular projection on to front of the Cathedral and a unique view of 20,000 paper doves, an installation by artist-in-residence Peter Walker. The ticket-only eventcosts £4 for children (under 3s free), £6 adults and £15 for a family (two adults and up to two children). (www.lichfield-cathedral.org)

Dazzling light displays will also create a very special atmosphere at the UK’s year-round national site of remembrance, set in 150 acres of gardens and woodland and home to 350 thought-provoking memorials. Illuminated Arboretumat theNational Memorial Arboretum (12 – 21 December 2018) is being billed as an awe-inspiring immersive experience, offering visitors a chance to see the Arboretum and some of its memorials ‘in another light’.

Journey down a torch-lit avenue, experiment with the shadow wall and have a go at creating Morse Code with colourful LEDs. The lighting over the memorials, creating artistic vistas across the gardens, will finish with a stunning tribute across the Armed Forces Memorial. Tickets cost from £12.50 adults, £7.50 children, and Family (2 adults and 2 children) £38.00 (online advance), under fives free (www.thenma.org.uk)

Meanwhile, Staffordshire’s popular annual festive favourites are also set to return.

Back for the 14th year. Santa’s Winter Wonderlandat theSnowDome Tamworth, is the UK’s premier real snow Christmas event (16th November – 31 December, closed Christmas Day). Play and slide around in real snow exploring Santa’s Christmas snow trail, enjoy a game of snowballs, hitch a ride on a sledge and have fun sliding about in the snow tubes. Tickets cost £13.95, saver, £17.95, standard, (check website for details, www.snowdome.co.uk/santas-winter-wonderland/).

Enjoy a Thomas and Friends day out at Drayton’s Magical Christmas atDrayton Manor Park (selected dates from 17 November – 31 December). Thomas Land, with over 25 rides and attractions, is perfect for a festive family day out with live shows and a chance to visit the Castle of Dreams, where guests are greeted by elves and go through the magical castle before meeting Father Christmas himself. Thomas Land is lit up with the dazzling lights of a nightly firework display until the end of December, played out in the skies above Drayton Manor Park’s beautiful lake. (Ticket prices and Father Christmas visit details, can be found at www.draytonmanor.co.uk/magical-christmas).

Or how about a Santa’s Sleepover at Alton Towers? A magical Christmas escape offering a combination of selected rides and attractions in the Theme Park, including CBeebies Land, Christmas activities to keep all the family entertained, and a full schedule of festive entertainment (www.altontowers.com/activities/events/christmas/)

There are plenty more Christmas treats in store; and Enjoy Staffordshire will be listing the full range of events taking place across the county between November and January. See www.enjoystaffordshire.com/christmasfor further details.