Here’s our pick of the best events coming next month across the destinations and attractions we work with. Most events require booking in advance. As ever, please check individual websites for the latest updates.
The Santa Claus Experience
27 Nov – 24 Dec 2021
Tickets are £15 per child (including gift bag) and just £5 for grown-ups (free mulled wine and festive treats).
This year, Fruit Market Hull is home to a unique winter event. In The Santa Claus Experience children will help the elves save Christmas, through interactive stories and singalong songs. Join a magical journey to Father Christmas’s workshop, meet busy toymakers, have fun with playful elves and get photos with the man himself. Children will become honorary members of Santa’s crew, collecting gifts and preparing reindeer food in an hour-long adventure packed with songs and fun. Meanwhile, adults can take unforgettable photos and relax with a yuletide tipple. This experience will delight young and old and fill all the family with festive magic
Roller skating presents and fairy stilt walkers
4, 11, 18 December
Shoppers heading to the city on the first three Saturdays of December can expect even more seasonal sparkle and festive fun. Christmas-themed street theatre is planned for each Saturday with a host of cracking characters, including fairy stilt walkers, walking Brussels sprouts, roller skating illuminated Christmas presents, a sofa-driving Santa and a mobile piano playing nun. Performers will take to the streets between 11am – 3pm.
Christmas Trail and Gingerbread House
Various dates until 4 January 2022
Visit Hull’s Museums Quarter between 4 and 20 December to take part in a Christmas themed trail, involving hidden polar bears, while Hull’s Gingerbread House will set up home in Paragon Square for the perfect family seasonal selfie (18 November – 4th January).
Beverley Festival of Christmas and Made in East Yorkshire Christmas Market
12-17 December 2021
The hugely popular Beverley Festival of Christmas is set to return to the cobbled streets of this picturesque market town on Sunday 12 December – followed this year by the first-ever Made in East Yorkshire Christmas Market, 13-17 December 2021. Under the shadow of the magnificent 13th century Minster, the Beverley Festival of Christmas makes a welcome return for its 28th year as one of the largest festive events of its kind to launch a week-long feast of festive fun. But for 2021, visitors will have even more opportunities to experience the town’s seasonal sparkle with the new Made in East Yorkshire Christmas Market, which will celebrate the very best produce the local area has to offer.
Sewerby Hall and Gardens
3 – 23 December 2021
Admission: pre booking essential, £12 adults, £8 children, £35 family (two adults and two children)
A new event will brighten up December at Sewerby Hall and Gardens, sitting on a dramatic clifftop position with spectacular views over Bridlington, and set in 50 acres of early 19th Century parkland, The Sewerby Winter Woodland will take visitors on a magical outdoor journey of spectacular sounds and lights. Visitors will discover that The Snow Queen has cast a spell on the beautiful woodland, which has come alive with light and sounds. Joining the Sewerby polar explorer on his expedition, visitors will travel through an illuminated tunnel into the winter woods and embark on their quest into the Snow Queen’s domain. Visitors will also be able to sample a range of local craft stalls, a bar, and vintage fairground rides (small additional cost to ride).
Derby’s Festive Market
1 – 24 December 2021
Derby Market Place
At the heart of celebrations will be the city’s new-look Derby Market Place, already a hit as a summer al fresco meeting-and-eating venue and an autumn outdoor events space. It will be the venue for seasonal markets through December and set to be one of the dazzling attractions turning the city into Festive Derby this year. Derby’s Festive Outdoor Market will return this year with gifts galore and a host of festive stalls to get visitors in the Christmas spirit! Soak up the atmosphere, browse a range of gifts and enjoy everything the outdoor market has to offer.
10 – 22 December 2021
‘Derby Loves You’ venue in Derby Market Place
The new all-weather performance space within the Market Place, ‘Derby Loves You’, will be adding to the fun with a festive show with a difference! The Lost Boys bring their mad-cap energy in a show that combines overblown spy films with Christmas pantos. A Christmas cocktail that contains a dash of audience participation, a slug of stage fights, a serving of song and dance, all vigorously stirred not shaken with slapstick, plus a whole host of new characters. Spy thriller meets stocking filler in this festive production.
4 – 24 December 2021
Whilst Derby is always a great place to shop, eat, drink, or just wander around, the city has added a family fun festive trail with a seasonal flavour. Spot the gingerbread men and women around the city centre, by following the trail map.
Lincoln Christmas Market
2-5 December 2021
Cobbled streets, a Castle, Cathedral and Christmas Market – if you want a festive treat look no further than Lincoln. Its German-inspired Christmas market was among the first of its type in the UK and has grown to become one of the largest. One of the oldest and most popular markets around, market stalls line the streets around the city’s stunning Cathedral, whilst twinkling lights lead visitors through Castle Square to Victorian themed traders selling a wide range of festive food and drinks alongside handmade crafts and stocking fillers.
Lincoln Castile Illuminated
Admission: Illuminated Wall Walk £10 adults, £5.50 children, and £25.50 family; grounds only £2 per head.
Lincoln Castle will sparkle with seasonal spirit as popular after-dark illuminations return to light up the heritage attraction for 2021. The illuminated Wall Walk is back 2-5 December, offering night-time views across the city from the medieval battlements. And then the whole Castle site will take on a seasonal sparkle for Lincoln Castle Illuminated, 11-23 December, offering visitors the chance to enjoy the festively lit grounds, as well as the Wall Walk. There’s even a chance for dog owners to join in the fun with their four-legged friends with Explore with Paws dog friendly evenings (15 and 22 December).
Christmas at Belton – an after-dark, illuminated trail through festive gardens
Belton House, near Grantham
Until 2 January 2022
Limited capacity with timed entry, advanced from £20 adult, £14 child, £66 family (2 adults & 2 children).
This family-friendly, one-mile, magical festive trail will once again be awash with enchanting illuminations as an after-dark, illuminated trail through festive gardens. Among the highlights for 2021 are Carol of the Bells, which will light up the night sky with colour changing spheres of light, and the triangulate tunnel, where visitors can walk through the tunnel and immerse themselves in a sea of moving lights, colours and patterns that dance in time to the music. There will also be the neon tree with branches interwoven with multicoloured neon lights. Complete your walk under the stars with a spiced winter warmer or hot chocolate.
9 – 23 December
Tickets: £14 per person
For a spot of enchantment, Weston Park, on the Staffordshire/Shropshire border, is set to be transformed into a magical illuminated forest trail, awash with colour and light this December. Towering trees, historic landmarks and hidden surprises will all combine with a tempting array of street food, local ales, warming winter cocktails, live music, and fire pits to create an Enchanted Weston experience on various dates between 9 and 23 December.
National Memorial Arboretum
7 – 18 December
Tickets: from £14 per person, must be pre-booked
Staffordshire’s National Memorial Arboretum will stage an after dark illuminated trail bringing “a kaleidoscope of colour” to the UK’s year-round centre of Remembrance. The Illuminated Arboretum event will take place across the 150-acre woodland site with a range of installations, when the iconic grounds and memorials will become an illuminated trail, offering a different perspective on the gardens and woodland. This year, the Arboretum has also introduced ‘relaxed’ sessions, with less prominent lighting and sound features, on 8 and 15 December.
The Cathedral Illuminated
Tickets for timed slots cost £7.50, adults, and £6 children
England’s only medieval cathedral with three spires will again be transformed using stunning sound and light projections, with the award-winning The Cathedral Illuminated back for 2021 in Lichfield. A stunning light and sound experience with projections onto the Lichfield Cathedral School Palace building and onto the west front of the Cathedral, this year’s event ‘The Manger’ is composed of beautiful imagery depicting everything ‘Christmassy’ and a stunning re-telling of the Christmas story, all created by the artistic collaboration Luxmuralis.
The Polar Express
Churnet Valley Railway
Selected dates between 2-23 December
Tickets from £26.95
Hop on board THE POLAR EXPRESS™ Train Ride that takes you on a magical journey to the North Pole. Do you Believe? Well, if you don’t by the end of your journey you will! Join the enthusiastic cast in telling the story whilst singing along with your favourite characters from the hit film. All passengers are encouraged to join in the fun by attending in PJs! Travelling through the Northern Lights is arguably one of the most spectacular parts of the journey and the icing on the cake before arriving at the North Pole.
North Pole Adventure
National Forest Adventure Farm
Selected dates, 4 – 24 December
Tickets from £14 per person
A truly magical journey for all the family at National Forest Adventure Farm. Experience the wonder of Christmas on your adventure to the North Pole. Check-in and be magically transported to Father Christmas’ hometown. Help the elves get ready for Christmas and meet our talking polar bear. Decorate gingerbread with Mother Christmas before meeting Father Christmas himself and choosing a gift from the present room.
Lightopia Seasonal Wonderland
Alton Towers Resort
Selected dates until 2 January 2022
Tickets: £20 per person
New this year, the UK’s biggest theme park, Alton Towers Resort, is staging Lightopia Seasonal Wonderland – an immersive journey through the four seasons in a ‘Sense of the Seasons’ light display. The experience promises a magical walk through the four seasons, with a mix of spectacular lanterns, light installations, and interactive colour transformations lighting-up this after dark wonderland where a whole year will go by in just a day. Time slots must be booked, and tickets include access to Lightopia Seasonal Wonderland and the Towers Street Christmas Market.
Drayton Manor Resort
Selected dates until 31st December 2021
Pre-booked advance tickets from £5 – £32 per person
Discover falling snow, enchanting decorations, a dazzling 35ft symphony tree, cheeky elves frolicking around the park and over 25 child-friendly rides and attractions: including Europe’s only Thomas Land and 15-acre zoo. Plus, there is a new live show – ‘A Christmas Wish’ and the day ends with a firework display by the lake – featuring Father Christmas, Mrs Claus and the elves for a singalong show like no other!
Santa’s Winter Wonderland
Tickets: from £15.95 per person, must be pre-booked
Santa’s back at the SnowDome for Christmas 2021 with a family festive extravaganza, with an all-new winter wonderland show. Play and slide around in real snow as you explore Santa’s Christmas snow trail featuring snow slides, fun displays and falling snow; take a walk through the enchanted forest; enjoy a fun game of snowballs; hitch a ride on a sledge and have fun sliding about in the snow tubes.
Christmas at Trentham
26 November 2021 – 9 January 2022
Tickets: £21.50 adults, £14 children
New for 2021, one of Staffordshire’s most popular garden attractions will offer an illuminated trail with a dazzling multi-sensory mix of light, fire and sound. The brand-new illuminated trail at award-winning Trentham Gardens launches Staffordshire’s sparkling line-up, with its Christmas at Trentham event running from 26 November until 9 January 2022. Designed to sprinkle a little Christmas magic and offer a chance to see the stunning historic landscape in a new light, the new trail brings a seasonal classic with a contemporary twist to the stunning Grade II listed Italian Gardens.
Winter Wonderland Stoke-on-Trent
25 November 2021 – 3 January 2022 (except Christmas Day)
Check website for details
Winter Wonderland Stoke on Trent returns to the city centre for its fifth year, opening daily, with festive fun ranging from rides, a real ice rink, Santa’s grotto and a Bavarian bar, all set right in the heart of the Potteries. Step through the castle entrance to be greeted with giant Toy Soldiers, timber decked walkways, and an array of festive eats and treats. Plus, there is the Wild Boar Bavarian, offering a chance to warm up with a luxury hot chocolate or coffee. If you fancy something stronger, there is a selection of draft beers and lagers, served in traditional steins.
The Artisan Collective Fair at Beaulieu
National Motor Museum Beaulieu
10 – 12 December 2021
Tickets: From £12.50 adult, £6 children
Eat, drink, shop and be merry, all whilst soaking up the atmosphere and spirit of the season with live festive entertainment. The Artisan Collective Christmas Fair is a celebration of all things Christmas – it’s the chance to discover, taste, and shop your way around over 70 hand-picked artisan producers and brands. There will also be a host of festive flavours and goodies to try, from mouth-watering heritage breed hotdogs to tasty wraps, and vegan treats.
Portsmouth On Ice
Until 9 January 2022
Tickets: £11 adults, £9 children
Portsmouth On Ice is back at the rink in the city’s Guildhall Square. The ice rink includes a canopy for guaranteed skating whatever the weather. Non-skaters can view from the covered side area. Open from 10:00 every day (closed on Christmas Day).
Winchester Cathedral Christmas Market 2021
19 November – 22 December 2021
Winchester, which has been dubbed ‘England’s Christmas Capital’, comes alive from November with an array of seasonal events in the city centre. From the stunning lantern parade to the famous Christmas Market, there’s always plenty to entertain the family. Winchester Cathedral’s Christmas Market – recognised as one of the best in Europe – is back 19 November to 22 December 2021. The authentic wooden chalets are situated in the Cathedral’s historic Inner Close, selling a range of tempting seasonal treats and delightful Christmas gifts.
Breakfast with Santa
Spinnaker Tower, Portsmouth
4 – 24 December 2021
Admission: Children 2 years and over: £20, Adults: £17, children under 2: £8.50
Join Santa and his elves in the Spinnaker Kitchen and Bar for some festive fun! Families will enjoy a continental style breakfast, overlooking the bustling harbour, and hosted by Santa and his merry elves. All children will receive a gift from Santa. The package includes admission to the Spinnaker Tower, famous for its 350° panoramic views, and the glass Sky Walk.
Steam illuminations are back for 2021
Alresford and Alton stations
26-28 November, 3-5, 10-12, 16-23 and 27-31 December 2021
Table for two: £48, for up to four, £96, and compartment for up to six people, £150
Winter is set to light up in Hampshire once more when a spectacular steam train experience featuring a train decked out in thousands of LEDs makes a welcome return for 2021. Steam Illuminations is a unique Christmas, pixel mappable digital LED train, creating a dazzling light show, on and in a steam train, consisting of thousands of fully controllable colour mixing LED lights and LED wristbands. New for 2021, travel through magical ‘snow’ at one part of the ride and spot new light installations along the line! Known as the Watercress Line thanks to its history of transporting watercress to the UK’s fresh produce markets during the industry’s heyday in Victorian times, the Mid Hants Railway is one of the country’s most successful heritage railways.
Lichfield Cathedral Illuminated - Artwork and photography by Luxmuralis
Lincoln Castle Illuminated. Photo: Helen Cox
Beverley Festival of Christmas
Christmas at Trentham
Watercress Steam Illuminations - Photo: Andy Goss
Winchester Christmas Market