Get in the Christmas mood with some fun days out for all the family
Heritage light displays, nationwide
Enjoy dazzling light displays at five locations across the UK turning English Heritage properties into sparkling winter wonderlands. Taking part are Kenwood House, London, Eltham Palace, Wollaton, Walmer Castle and this year’s new location Wrest Park. Each venue has its own beautiful, illuminated path of lights through woodlands, sunken gardens, and parks, which you’ll enjoy up close and personal. Walk under giant baubles, sparkling light tunnels, and lit up trees, while tucking into festive food, and warming cocktails that are sure to put you in the festive mood.
Running throughout December, adult tickets from £25.25; children from £17.75; under threes are free. Book at MyTicket.co.uk/Christmas
Visit Santa’s Village, Hounslow
If you look closely you may find Santa’s Secret Village at Hobbledown Heath. This tucked away fabulous outdoor adventure park and indoor fun barn will be transformed into a magical Christmas wonderland where families can experience the magic of Christmas through fun and festive activities. Start the day with Storytime and Breakfast with Father Christmas as he tells a tale while you tuck into snowman shaped pancakes, then embark on a treasure hunt through the realms of Hobbledown. Enjoy a reindeer walk with Santa’s trusted team, before joining in with a medley of songs at the Christmas carol concert. There are lots of photo opportunities with Santa himself, and of course the elves will be on hand for some extra fun.
Breakfast with Santa, from £40, includes breakfast, gift, and storytime, available on selected dates from 24 November – 24 December. Book online at Hobbledown.com
Illuminated Express, Winchester
For a truly pop-tastic experience hop aboard a spectacular steam train that’s covered in thousands of LEDs for a kaleidoscope of colour and an experience that will ensure you start the season with a bang. On board you can join in the action with interactive LED wristbands, and Christmas karaoke, to a backdrop of Christmas chart crackers mixed by a DJ, all while whizzing along a light-filled neon track. After Christmas the tunes change to pop songs.
Choose from Christmas Chart Cracker tickets, 24 November – 23 December, or Pop Anthem Tickets from 27 December to 6 January 2024, Pair of tickets, £59; compartment for six people from £250; under twos free; refreshment boxes, from £25. Book online at Watercressline.co.uk
Watch an ice show, nationwide
Celebrating Disney’s 100th Anniversary are a host of classic Disney characters strutting their stuff on the ice. This new show, ‘100 Years of Wonder’, features Mirabel from Encanto, Buzz and Woody from Toy Story, Anna and Elsa from Frozen and of course Mickey and Minnie Mouse. A perfect day out for any Disney fan.
Catch a show from 1 November to 31 December in Birmingham, Belfast, Sheffield, Newcastle, Nottingham Manchester and London. Tickets from £42, Disneyonice.com
Take a Santa cruise, Manchester
Experience something different this year and journey through Manchester on a cruise with the big man himself. Departing from Salford Quays, you’ll sail down along the Manchester ship canal aboard a beautifully decorated festive boat while tucking into cookies, mince pies and mulled wine (adults only) before meeting Father Christmas in his on-board grotto. Each child will receive a gift and there’s plenty of opportunity to take pictures and join in the elf fun on board.
Children aged from two to 15 £12 each; adults £14, under twos £3 each, from 23 November on selected dates. Book online at Manchesterrivercruises.com
Festive afternoon tea, London
Fill your diary with a fabulous festive outing and spoil yourself to afternoon tea at one of London’s most glamorous hotels. The Royal Lancaster is offering a delicious tea from 25 November to 5 January 2024. Tuck into yummy roast turkey sandwiches with cranberry jam, or try a classic smoked salmon and cream cheese, before devouring homemade scones, chocolate and prune cake and fancy vegan macaroons topped off with copious amounts of tea. For that extra special treat, you could add a glass of bubbly or two!
Price £45 per person, book online at Royallancaster.com/bars/afternoon-tea