When it comes to family fun this Christmas, there’s no shortage of great events across the UK.
Markets, light shows, skating rinks, caves, dining halls and even singing trees have taken over theme parks, historic homes, city centers and resorts. beside sea.
Trisha Harbord brings the best of festival food.
CRACKIN ‘ICE Rinks
ONE of the largest rinks – for 250 skaters – is located in the gardens of Brighton’s Royal Pavilion.
There’s penguin stabilizer for the little ones, mulled wine and hot chocolate for the adults. Open until 9 January, tickets from £10. See royalpavilionicerink.co.uk.
An ice rink is part of Project Eden’s Christmas experience with 40-minute sessions costing £8 per adult and £7 per child. The globe garden in Cornwall has transformed one of its tropical biomes into a winter wonderland, with a grand orchestra and light show. Selected dates are December 24. The ice rink is open until February. See edenproject.com.
Just £5 for an hour of skating at Coventry Glides in the middle of church ruins. Open daily until January 9. See coventry2021.co.uk.
Festive food and drinks are served at Edinburgh’s Lidl on Ice, on George Street. Open until January 2, tickets from £6. See edinburghschristmas.com.
CASTLE JOINT STOCK COMPANY
STEP through the closet into the mystical land of Narnia at Howard Castle in the North Yorks.
Dozens of trees there including a 28ft tall spruce decorated with 2,000 glittering ice and snowflakes, beneath the dome of the Great Hall. Open until January 2. Adults from £19.50, children £12.50. See Castlehoward.co.uk.
Experience Victorian Christmas as costumed servants prepare for celebrations in the Palace House at Beaulieu in Hampshire.
The intricate rooms are adorned with ornaments including a 20ft tall tree. Enjoy carols, hash browns and hot chocolate and look for Santa driving one of Beaulieu’s vintage cars. From December 18 to January 2, closed for Christmas Holidays. Adults from £23, children £12, free. See beaulieu.co.uk.
More than 100 National Trust homes feature the Percy The Park Keeper winter trail, inspired by author Nick Butterworth’s favorite characters. See nationaltrust.org.uk/Christmas.
WISH YOU A GOOD UNDERSTANDING
CIRCUS performers, aerialists, acrobats and daring stunts will wow families at the Great Yarmouth Hippodrome.
The Christmas Spectacular, from December 11 to January 9, also includes a splendid water market with synchronized swimmers and giant fountains. Adults from £22, children from £13, view hippodromecircus.co.uk.
For an eye-popping Christmas variety show of comedy, dance and magic go to Cromer in Norfolk. Until December 30, adults £26, children £10, see chromiumpier.co.uk.
Don’t be Scrooge, go meet actor Mark Gatiss – who has starred in Doctor Who and The League Of Gentlemen – in the cast for A Christmas Carol: A Ghost Story at Alexandra Palace, London. Runs until January 9, tickets from £16. The palace also has a cave, an ice rink and a cafe serving mulled wine and hash browns. See alexandrapalace.com.
All the colors of the rainbow are lighting up Fountains Abbey, North Yorks, during Music And Lights on selected dates until January 2. Walk beneath the vaulted ceiling to hear bands and ensembles. sing directly. Admission to the monastery and Royal Studley Water Gardens costs £17 for adults, £8.50 for children. See nationaltrust.org.uk .
BANKING ON SANTA
Currently, SANTA is out of pocket and has set up shop in The Royal Mint Experience.
The House of Coins in Llantrisant, South Wales, has been transformed into a magical workshop with a 16ft tree, 6ft Chestnut Clamp and hundreds of jewels and lights.
This experience is inspired by the traditional practice of stuffing six layers into Christmas socks and puddings.
Families can do their own 50p with the Snowman before exploring the Mint’s 1,100-year history. Open until December 24, tickets £15. See royalmint.com.
Snow is falling at the cave of Blackpool Pleasure Beach. After meeting the big man and his dwarves, the children were given a gift, a hot drink, and a ride on the Alice In Wonderland carriage. Open until December 24. Children £15.99 with two adults are allowed free entry. See blackpoolpleasurebeach.com.
Shrek joined Santa’s action at Shrek’s Adventures! on the South Bank of London. Visitors on selected dates until December 24 can walk through the cave, pose for photos and enjoy candies. Adults from £24, children £19.20. See shreksadventure.com.
The UK’s tallest Christmas tree is the highlight of Longleat Safari Park.
Every 20 minutes, the 65ft tall tree, decorated with 80,000 lights, bursts into song as it snows. There’s also a 165ft tunnel of lights, 100 decorated trees, an owl display and a train of Santa Claus. Selected dates at Wiltshire park until 3 January. Adults from £36.95, children £27.70, three free under three. See longleat.co.uk.
Peppa Pig has a giant musical tree at her home, Paulton’s Park in Hampshire, that has been transformed into a wonderland with a snow princess and Christmas wish show. Selected date until December 23. Tickets £33.50. Children under 3ft free. See paaultonspark.co.uk.
Winter’s Tail – featuring animal light sculptures, dining room, market, Santa’s cave, carol and reindeer – returns to Chessington World Of Adventures in Surrey. Selected dates until January 3. Tickets from £20. Sightseeing chess.com.
Join Santa’s elves in their workshop and walk through the ravishing Christmas woods before enjoying treats at the chocolate factory at Camel Creek Adventure Park in Cornwall. Tickets £ 15.95. See camelcreek.co.uk.
SLEEPING BEAUTIFUL BEAUTY
There are still Christmas cottages available to rent for all sizes of families. Garth Cottage for four, set on 50 acres on the edge of Eden Valley at Tottergill Farm in Cumbria, features a fireplace, hot tub and stunning views. A week from December 22 costs £1,380. See premiercottages.co.uk.
Away Resorts is offering great Christmas deals including a stay at Mill Rythe on Hayling Island, Hants.
Features themed activities for kids, entertainment, festive meals, an indoor pool, and a new lounge bar.
Three nights of self-catering in a Burst of Blue lakeside cabin with hot tub, sleeps seven, from 24 December, from £377. Sightseeing awayresorts.co.uk. Or curl up in the cozy cottage of Lyme Grass in the village of Bamburgh on the Northumberland coast.
There’s loads of festive fun to be had at the nearby castle, which has been transformed into a winter wonderland in December, including reindeer feeding sessions for the little ones.
Self-catering for seven nights at the four-person cottage costs from £713 in December.
Shop ’til you drop while surrounded by millions of twinkling lights and enjoy carnival music at Blenheim Palace.
The stately Oxfordshire home provides the backdrop for the Christmas market chalets, along with food, drink and crafts.
There’s also a great splash of light, and the palace’s state rooms have been transformed into scenes from The Nutcracker. Combination tickets from £30. Free market, £10 parking fee. Sightseeing blenheimpalace.com.
The new Made In East Yorkshire Christmas Market opens in Beverley from December 13-17, showcasing the region’s best food, drink, crafts and gifts. There is also a Victorian market on Saturdays with fairground games and brass bands. See beverleyfestivalofchristmas.co.uk.
Manchester’s Christmas markets, with a wide range of international food and goods, will take over six town squares until December 22. You won’t be able to miss the 40ft tall Santa in St Peter’s Square .
The city also has a new family-friendly attraction, including light sculptures, in the Piccadilly Gardens until January 3. View visitmanchester.com.
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