Feeling festive…

Our top ten lords a leaping!

As the Christmas Countdown picks up pace, here’s our suggestions for some of the best seasonal events across the destinations and attractions we work with. As ever, please check individual websites for the full details and any pre-booking requirements.

Find yourselves a merry little medieval town

East Yorkshire’s minster town of Beverley has a new look seasonal line-up featuring five days of festive entertainment. Following its launch last year, the Made in East Yorkshire Christmas Market returns along with the ever-popular Beverley Festival of Christmas – now one of the largest celebrations of its type in the UK. It all starts with the Made in East Yorkshire event (7 – 9 December), the traditional Saturday Market on 10 December and the Beverley Festival of Christmas on 11 December. Beverley is transformed into a Christmas wonderland, with more than 110 stalls, plus a fairground, street entertainers, music… and, of course, Santa. http://bit.ly/3hiR89X

Stately seasonal shopping spectacular

Burghley House hosts the region’s largest Christmas Fair in the courtyards and grounds around the Elizabethan house as the Burghley Christmas Fair returns 24-27 November – with a new ticket for late-night shopping on Friday 25. It features 130 stalls in traditional chalets and heated marquees, an avenue of pagodas bedecked in Christmas decorations and lights, and a Victorian carousel. Tickets cost £6 adults, £3 children (£8 and £4 on the gate). More musical merriment beckons at Christmas Carol Concerts: in the family chapel on 11 December, and in the Great Hall on 14 December. Tickets cost £30 per person. http://bit.ly/8YL8RX

A Narnia-inspired Christmas anyone?

Step into a Narnia-inspired world this winter at Mottisfont in Hampshire. Follow in the footsteps of wartime evacuees, Edmund, Lucy, Susan and Peter, passing through that famous wardrobe into the kingdom of the White Witch. Visitors will be greeted by a 1940s Christmas, with trees, traditional toys and paper decorations for the event, from 26 November 2022 until 8 January 2023. For more winter magic, the art gallery will be dressed as an enchanted forest, hosting 16 watercolour illustrations from The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by Pauline Baynes. https://bit.ly/3gLg9dF

Staffordshire’s festive fab four

A new light trail is coming to Staffordshire this winter. Shugborough Estate is offering an “enchanting journey” on a mile-long trail through its historic grounds with Luminate Shugborough from 25 November 2022 to 1 January 2023. Tickets cost from £11 (https://bit.ly/3Lvk1e5). Wowing visitors once again will be the National Memorial Arboretum’s Illuminated Arboretum (1 – 17 December) bringing “a kaleidoscope of colour” to the 150-acre woodland site. Tickets cost £24 adults and £14 children (https://bit.ly/3CjiKUT). At Lichfield Cathedral Sing Choirs of Angels will combine illuminations with music in a light show with a difference (16 – 20 December). Tickets cost £10 adults, and £7.50 children (https://bit.ly/3TI317E). And Enchanted Weston at Weston Park (9 – 23 December) features an illuminated forest, plus street food, local ales, fizz, warming winter cocktails and live music in the Stables Courtyard. Tickets cost £18 per person. (http://bit.ly/3G02IkC).

40 years of Lincoln’s historic Christmas Market

Cobbled streets, a Castle, Cathedral and Christmas Market – visitors wanting a festive treat look no further than Lincoln. Its German-inspired Christmas Market was among the first of its type in the UK and now one of the largest and this year celebrates 40 years of seasonal shopping (1-4 December 2022, https://bit.ly/3FYSzow). For spectacular views over the Market, Lincoln Castle will be lighting-up its Medieval Wall Walk for those four nights (tickets cost £10.50 adults, £5.70 children). And Lincoln Castle Illuminated returns 10-23 December, when the grounds sparkle with walk through displays of Christmas lights (£2.50 entrance, http://bit.ly/3NUwyt2).

Let off some seasonal steam…

Winter is set to get steamy in Hampshire once more when a spectacular heritage railway experience, featuring a train covered in thousands of LED lights, returns. Steam Illuminations is back at the Watercress Line heritage railway from 18 November 2022 to 7 January 2023, offers a light show accompanied by popular and traditional Christmas music onboard the train. The experience also has comical narration throughout the journey from the “Voiceover Man”. Everyone is given an LED wristband before boarding the train (included in the price of the ticket). Seating for two costs £55. https://bit.ly/3hu1tQM

Cinderella shall go the festive ball…

Step into the magic of Cinderella when Belvoir Castle is transformed into a breath-taking Cinderella-themed Christmas scene (18 November 2022 – 1 January 2023). The fairy tale castle near Grantham, Lincolnshire, is set to take on even more of a storybook look, as award-winning interior designer Charlotte Lloyd-Webber sprinkles some ‘bibbidi-bobbidi-boo’ magic to lavishly decorate rooms at the grand eleventh century castle. The gardens will also feature a spell-binding path of twinkling lights to the Engine Yard for shopping, Christmas-themed food and more. Cinderella at Belvoir costs £24 adults, £10 children. http://bit.ly/3tcTBFH

Enjoy “England’s Christmas Capital”

Winchester in Hampshire has been dubbed ‘England’s Christmas Capital,’ not least because of Winchester Cathedral’s Christmas Market, which is one of Europe’s best. Famous for its bustling atmosphere, location and high-quality exhibitors, this year’s Market will see festive wooden chalets set up around the grounds, 18 November – 22 December. The Cathedral will also feature a Star of Wonder sound and light show (13 – 18 December), a stunning son et lumierespectacle, featuring projections and bespoke music. Tickets cost £11.25 adults and £8 children. http://bit.ly/3zYuvOz

Experience a magical Christmas at Trentham

Fresh from being revealed as among the top five paid-for attractions in England, Trentham Gardens, on the edge of Stoke-on-Trent, aims to create a magical after dark experience for families with its ‘Christmas at Trentham’ event (2 December 2022 – 1 January 2023). A light trail featuring awe-inspiring illuminations and installations is designed to bring the night to life, transporting visitors to an enchanting world of light and colour. Tickets cost £22.10 adults and £14.60 children. http://bit.ly/3zZLr7n

Forget the 12 days of Christmas, how about the 12 walks….

Here’s one for those who want to get away from the crowds and walk off festive excesses. Blow away the Christmas cobwebs and get outdoors during the 12 days of Christmas for a walk in Hampshire. Visit Hampshire has put its own spin on ‘The Twelve Days of Christmas’ song by coming up with ‘The Twelve Walks of Christmas’. From On the twelfth day of Christmas Visit Hampshire gave to me… 12 Deer a-grazing there are another 11 top picks, including 6 Jane Austen Novels…, the walks range from flat circular pushchair friendly routes to more adventurous treks offering hilly climbs and stunning views. http://bit.ly/3NS11I2

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    Burghley in Winter. Photo: John Lawrence

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    Beverley Festival of Christmas, East Yorkshire

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    Winchester Cathedral Christmas Market, Hampshire

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    Illuminated Arboretum, Staffordshire. Photo: Above Air Media

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    Cinderella at Belvoir, Lincolnshire

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    Steam Illuminations, Watercress Line, Hampshire. Photo: Andy Goss

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    Lincoln Castle Illuminated. Photo: Helen Cox

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    Hampshire winter walks, overlooking Highclere Castle. Photo: George Hill