40+ wonderful Christmas family days out 2019
Stuck for what to get your kids this Christmas? I always struggle until I remember it’s actually not that whizzy new toy that they babble on about in those moments before they fall asleep at night. It’s that magical trip we took together or that special new place we visited. With this in mind why not treat your family to a Christmas day out near you rather than mountains of stuff? If I’ve piqued your interest and you are wondering what are the best UK Christmas days out with kids in 2019, here’s some inspiration for you:
Christmas family days out near you 2019
Here’s where you’ll find snowy white winter wonderlands, amazing Christmas shows and sparkling Santa’s grottos around the UK in 2019 (sorted alphabetically by area):
Christmas days out in Berkshire
The UK’s REAL Santa
One of the nation’s most authentic Christmas experiences has to be LaplandUK. Here’s a review by the PODcast family who visited in 2016 and another by Kaz from Ickle Pickle’s Life and Travels who visited in the same year. Tickets are on sale now but some dates are already low on tour places.
LaplandUK, Ascot, 16 November to 24 December, 2019, www.laplanduk.co.uk.
Christmas family race day
The magic of Christmas at LEGOLAND
Families can jump aboard the Brickmas Express or take a winter stroll to Miniland, where little ones can look out for a miniature LEGO Father Christmas and his reindeer, delivering mini LEGO presents to the Minilanders.
For an experience that can’t be missed, guests can venture to the Christmas Kingdom, bursting with glistening trees and twinkling lights. Here they’ll be met by one of Father Christmas’ cheery elves, who will guide them through the weaving Christmas tree forest, to Father Christmas’ very own log cabin, where little ones will meet Father Christmas and, once he’s checked his list twice, give them a special LEGO gift.
Plus there’s a host of rides, attractions and Christmas LEGO building workshops to enjoy, including the chance to write a letter to the big man himself and build a LEGO train with Mrs Christmas in her toyshop.
Tickets including a visit to see Father Christmas are £36 per person or £26 per person for Annual Pass holders and can be pre-booked online in advance only. Under 2’s get free entry. Guests can also enjoy a day at the Resort, without visiting Father Christmas with theme park only tickets, for £25 per person.
Christmas at LEGOLAND, elected dates from 30 November to 24 December 2019 and (without the big man) between 27 December and 6 January 2020, www.legoland.co.uk.
Christmas days out in Birmingham
Christmas with Thomas the Tank Engine
Not only can you meet Thomas the Tank Engine at Drayton Manor theme park at Christmas time, he’s also invited along his friend Father Christmas.
Go for a train ride and get a present from the big man as well as enjoying the festive decorations at the park. Even if snow isn’t forecast it’s guaranteed in Thomas Land three times a day! Here’s a review of Drayton Manor’s yule-tide experience by Natalie at Plutonium Sox.
Drayton Manor’s Magical Christmas, www.draytonmanor.co.uk/magicalchristmas.
An artic adventure at the Sea Life Centre
What better way to get in the Christmas spirit than to visit the penguins at the National Sea Life Centre in Birmingham? There’s also a festive film on in the 4D cinema and you can meet Santa. Here’s a review of Christmas at the National Sea Life Centre by Natalie at Plutonium Sox.
National Sea Life Centre, 23 November to 23 December 2019, www.visitsealife.com/birmingham.
Christmas in Buckinghamshire
Christmas at the Rothchild house
Step into a world of festive, musical splendour, as Waddesdon – the Rothschild house and garden in Buckinghamshire – is transformed, inside and out.
This Christmas, visitors will be welcomed by the smell of pine and the sound of classic carols, as they step into decorated rooms inspired by traditional tunes and memorable Christmas hits. A magical moving star, accompanied by ‘We Three Kings’, will guide visitors through the East Gallery and past the famous musical Elephant Automaton, towards rooms filled with festive surprises.
Christmas at Waddesdon, Buckinghamshire, selected dates from 16 November 2019 to 5 January 2020, waddesdon.org.uk/whats-on/.
Christmas days out in Cheshire
A Fairytale Christmas Mansion at Tatton Park
Tatton Park is getting in the spirit of Christmas with a fairytale display in the mansion house.
Expect fresh seasonal foliage and vintage decorations as you weave through the grand state rooms and servants’ quarters. There may also be a chance to meet Santa and his reindeer in the farm.
Christmas at Tatton Park, Knutsford, selected dates between 25 November 2019 to 5 January 2020, www.tattonpark.org.uk.
Christmas days out in Cornwall
Ice skating and Santa at The Eden Project
The Winter season always starts early at The Eden Project in Cornwall with the annual ice rink opening in time for the October half term. Christmas gets underway with opportunities to see Santa at Europe’s largest indoor rainforest from November.
Iceskating at the Eden Project, St Austell, from October 2019, www.edenproject.com.
A Victorian Christmas shopping experience at Flambards
More than 80 local craft makers will be lining the cobbles of Flambards’ famous Victorian Village for the Christmas Craft Fayre this festive season.
For a truly Dickensian Christmas shopping experience, whatever the weather, groups can head inside to explore the full-sized Victorian Village and discover craft stalls, sample local treats and enjoy a drink among the authentic 19th Century installations including a milliners, butchers and sweet shop among many others.
Flambards Christmas Craft Fayre, Cornwall, 31 November to 1 December 2019, www.flambards.co.uk.
More Christmas days out in Cornwall
I’ve got even more festive things to do in Cornwall in my dedicated blog post about Christmas events.
Christmas days out in Devon
Christmas at National Trust properties
We love visiting our local National Trust properties over the Christmas as the houses are always wonderfully decorated and the gardens are often illuminated. Some also have Father Christmas pop in to see young visitors.
Visiting Saltram to see the Georgian house decked out for the festive season and Coleton Fishacre for extraordinary illuminated gardens. We also enjoyed Killerton’s Wind the Willows themed decorations last year. Here’s a video from our day:
Various locations, November to December 2019, www.nationaltrust.org.uk.
Even more Christmas days out in Devon
If you’re looking for more inspiration for days out in Devon at Christmas I’ve written about more than 30+ festive events in Devon.
Christmas days out in Dorset
Sail with Santa
Soak up the festive spirit with a Santa Claus cruise around Poole Harbour. City Cruises Poole offer sailings with Santa from Poole Quay with a glass of mulled wine and a mince pie while listening to Christmas carols.
There’s a 30-minute magic show and balloon modelling performance for the kids as well as biscuits, soft drinks and a special present from Santa
Sail with Santa Poole Cruises, Poole Quay, selected dates and times from 30 November to 23 December 2019 www.citycruisespoole.com
Christmas days out in Essex
Miniature Santa Express
Ride the Santa Express at Audley End Miniature Railway for a magical festive experience. The woods have been transformed into a winter wonderland compete with a craft area where you can write a letter to the Big Man under the guidance of cheeky elves.
Kids will also get to meet Santa and receive a gift before being having a boogie in the Christmas dance tent.
A Magical Christmas Experience, Audley End Miniature Railway, selected dates between 24 November and 24 December 2019, www.audley-end-railway.co.uk.
Christmas days out in Gloucestershire
New Years Day racing
Christmas days out in Hampshire
A Victorian Christmas at Beaulieu
Travel back in time and visit the Victorian Montagu family home to see how they would have celebrated Christmas in 1889. Expect pants fun, mulled wine and festive crafts.
Beaulieu, New Forest, Hampshire, selected dates from 7 December 2019 to 1 January 2020, www.beaulieu.co.uk.
Christmas in Portsmouth Historic Dockyard
Travel back in time to Dickensian Portsmouth where Victorian characters wander the historic alley ways of the dockyard providing entertainment and festive cheer. Portsmouth Historic Dockyard is a fantastic backdrop for this thoroughly festive event with snow in the streets, roaming entertainers, market stalls and music.
Read my review of the Victorian Festival of Christmas when we went five years ago.
Victorian Festival of Christmas, Portsmouth Historic Dockyard, 29 November to 1 December 2019, Festival of Christmas 2019.
A magical Christmas market in Winchester
Visit one of Europe’s best Christmas markets in a stunning setting at Winchester Cathedral. Here you’ll find high quality stalls filled with delicious festive treats and plenty of gift ideas.
Alongside the market there’s an ice rink. You can also climb the Cathedral tower for an unrivalled view of the fun below. The ice rink will sat open until 5 January 2020.
Winchester Christmas market, Winchester, 22 November to 22 December 2019, www.winchester-cathedral.org.uk.
Santa’s workshop at Emirates Spinnaker Tower
This Christmas, Father Christmas is setting up his toy making workshop at Emirates Spinnaker Tower.
Join Santa’s elves in the Tower’s workshop as they make the finishing touches to their latest batch of cuddly reindeer. Each child will make their own special toy and meet Father Christmas in his grotto!
Entry is £15 per child which includes a soft toy to take home and unlimited entry to Emirates Spinnaker Tower on the day of their visit. Accompanying adults pay the standard Tower admission price of £11.50 per person (£10.50 for concessions). It is also possible to just do the Toymaker’s Workshop experience, without admission to the Tower, for £10 per child. Advanced booking is highly recommended.
Santa at Emirates Spinnaker Tower, www.spinnakertower.co.uk
Christmas days out in Hertfordshire
A spectacular Christmas on the farm
Willows Activity Farm is running its ever popular Santa Spectacular with a chance to meet Santa, make a cuddly reindeer, experience a sing-a-long nativity play with real farmyard animals and learn how to be one of Father Christmas’s helpers.
Mummytravels visited in 2016. Here’s her review of the Willows Activity Farm Santa Spectacular.
Santa Spectacular at Willows Activity Farm, www.willowsactivityfarm.com.
Christmas days out in Kent
Illuminations at Bedgebury
A one mile-long illuminated trail returns to the award-winning National Pinetum this Christmas.
The sights and sounds of the festive season await under unique canopies, with new installations rising high into the night sky. A dynamic Vortex Tunnel leads onto colour-changing and immersive ribbons of light. Waterside reflections will be created by hundreds of colourful boats gently bobbing on the shimmering lake, whilst flickering flames of the scented Fire Garden create a moment of tranquil reflection.
Don’t forget to glimpse Father Christmas and his elf amongst the pines, spruce and firs along the way. Complete your walk under the stars with spiced cider, mulled wine or hot chocolate. There’s also traditional Victorian fairground rides.
Christmas at Bedgebury, 22 N0vember to 30 December 2019, www.christmasatbedgebury.co.uk
Christmas days out in London
Santa charity run
Fancy a fun, sporty day out in aid of charity? The annual London Santa Dash in aid of Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital is taking place on Clapham Common.
Participants can choose to ‘dash’ 5k or 10k in a complimentary Santa costume with mulled drinks and mince pies at the finish line.
London Santa Dash, Clapham Common, 8 December 2019, www.gosh.org.
Festivities in Leicester Square
There’s an elaborate programme of Christmas cheer happening in Leicester Square right into the New Year.
Families will be able to enjoy shows for the kids, a Santa’s Grotto and European-style Christmas market, while there will be cabaret, comedy and music for the grown ups.
Christmas in Leicester Square, 8 November 2019 to 5 January 2020, www.christmasinleicestersquare.com.
Santa Cruise on the Thames
Sail with Santa is the unique chance for children to meet Santa on the River Thames, as he swaps his sleigh for a boat.
Children will enjoy festive fun and a present, along with a soft drink and a cookie; while adults can enjoy a glass of mulled wine and a mince pie.
Sail with Santa, Tower Pier, selected dates between 7 and 23 December 2019, www.citycruises.com.
Hyde Park Winter Wonderland
Visit Hyde Park and step into a magical winter wonderland featuring the UK’s largest open-air ice rink, a 45m long ice slide and a secret forest themed Magical Ice Kingdom.
Hyde Park Winter Wonderland, from November 2019, www.hydeparkwinterwonderland.
More festive ideas
If you’re looking for more ideas why not try ice skating at the Tower of London like the Pigeon Pair and Me family. And here’s how the Globalmouse Travels family spent a whole weekend in London in the run up to Christmas.
Christmas days out in Monmouthshire
Coral Welsh Grand National
Christmas days out in Newcastle
Fenwick’s magical window
For events in Newcastle and the North East there’s no better place to search for festive days out than North East Family Fun. Here’s the family’s visit to see Fenwick’s window revealed.
Fenwick, Newcastle, early November 2019 onwards, www.fenwick.co.uk.
A FREE audience with Father Christmas
Selected intu shopping centres usually organise a free Father Christmas. For the past two years in Newcastle this has been sponsored by Playmobil and children have been gifted a free Playmobil mini set.
Here’s a review by Sam at North East Family Fun.
Christmas days out in Norfolk
West End-style winter spectacular
The Thursford Christmas Spectacular is Europe’s biggest Christmas event with 65 musical numbers and dance troop of more than 100 performers.
The show lasts several hours so maybe isn’t suitable for young kids but tweens and teens will be wowed by this spectacular variety show.
Thursford Christmas Spectacular, 30 October to 23 December 2019, www.thursford.com.
Christmas events in Northumberland
Enchanted Parks in NewcastleGateshead
Every year, a themed trail of art installations with lights, performances, sculptures and projections transforms Gateshead’s Saltwell Park into a winter wonderland.
Enchanted Parks is part of ‘Light up the North’, a series of seven light festivals in seven cities in north England.
Enchanted Parks, NewcastleGateshead, early December (TBC), www.enchantedparks.com.
NewcastleGateshead Winter Festival and New Year’s Eve Carnival
The annual New Year’s Eve Winter Carnival sees the Newcastle Ice Queen and her entourage of local community participants parading through the streets of Newcastle, culminating in an early-evening firework display.
Winter Festival and New Year’s Eve, 31 December 2019, www.newcastlegateshead.com/winter-festival.
Christmas days out in Oxfordshire
Blenheim Palace will be transformed, both inside and out, as part of the biggest Christmas celebrations ever at the Oxfordshire World Heritage Site.
With a new indoor Alice in Wonderland experience taking over the Palace State Rooms during the day and an ambitious Christmas light trail illuminating the ‘Capability’ Brown landscaped Parkland in the evening; visitors can expect an incredible festive experience from November 2019.
Blenheim Palace, Oxfordshire, 22 November 2019 to 1 January 2020, www.blenheimpalace.com.
Christmas days out in Pembrokeshire
A traditional Christmas at Dinefwr Park
Visit Dinefwr Park in Pembrokeshire to see the house decked for a traditional Christmas. You can also see plenty of fallow deer in the grounds.
See pictures from a visit to Dinefwr Park in 2016 shared by Kaz at Ickle Pickle’s Life and Travels.
Christmas in Somerset
Bath Christmas Market
Bath Christmas Market brings the city’s picturesque streets and squares to life with festive cheer.
Immerse yourself in this magical festive shopping experience and be sure to find the perfect present for friends and family or perhaps even a little something to treat yourself.
Bath Christmas Market, Somerset, 28 November to 15 December 2019, bathchristmasmarket.co.uk.
Christmas days out in Shropshire
A Victorian Christmas at Blists Hill
Travel back more than 100 years to experience the sights, sounds and smells of a traditional Victorian Christmas at Blists Hill near Ironbridge in Shropshire.
Festivities will be taking place over the two weekends in December including decorated streets, carol singing and traditionally made gifts.
Blists Hill, Shropshire, selected dates 7 December to 15 December 2019, www.ironbridge.org.uk/explore/blists-hill-victorian-town
Christmas days out in Staffordshire
A date with Santa’s real reindeer
Meet Santa’s reindeer and go for a sleigh ride like the Otis & Us family last year. They loved meeting Santa, listening to stories read by the elves and seeing the reindeer roaming at Blithbury Reindeer Lodge.
Christmas events at Blithbury Reindeer Lodge, Rugeley, from November 2019, www.blithburyreindeerlodge.co.uk.
A North Pole Adventure
Step into a wintery wonderland full of magic and interactive fun at the National Forest Adventure Farm. Here’s a review of a visit to The North Pole Adventure by Otis & Us last year.
The North Pole Adventure, National Forest Adventure Farm, from November 2019, www.adventurefarm.co.uk.
Christmas days out in Sussex
The Great Christmas Pudding Race
This is one of the wackiest races you’ll ever see! Competitors aged from 14 to 70 din fancy dress and race around a 150 metre course balancing a Christmas pudding on a flimsy paper plate. They have to navigate two slippery inflatables, balloons filled with flour, jets of foam and limbo poles.
The race also takes place in London on the same day.
The Great Christmas Pudding Race, East Sussex, 7 December 2019, www.xmaspuddingrace.org.uk.
Christmas days out in Warwickshire
Christmas in a castle
Warwick Castle will be celebrating Christmas with a 20ft tree in the Great Hall, storytelling with Santa and a winter wedding mystery for young visitors to solve. What better day out for young knights and princesses?
Christmas at Warwick Castle, from November 2019, www.warwick-castle.com.
Stratford-upon-Avon Victorian Christmas Market
Stratford-upon-Avon’s Victorian Christmas Market is returning for the third year running in the world-famous town centre once again. Festive cheer will be spread when the three-day themed spectacular comes back in 2019, with traders decked out in Victorian outfits. There will be around 300 stalls, family entertainment, and a traditional fun fair. Entry is free.
Stratford-upon-Avon Victorian Christmas Market, from 6 to 8 December 2019, www.stratford.gov.uk.
Christmas days out in Wiltshire
A safari park with a festive glow
Longleat Safari Park will be coming alive with Chinese lanterns for it’s annual Festival of Light. This year’s even is themed around Myths & Legends.
These enormous installations add to the winter magic happening at the park including a seasonal drive-through safari, and Santa train ride.
Read about our review of Longleat’s Festival of Light in 2017 or check out our video:
Festival of Light, Longleat, from 9 November 2019, www.longleat.co.uk.
Christmas days out in Yorkshire
The City Cruises York Santa Experience is a truly magical event on the River Ouse. Guests enter a grotto, cleverly hidden away underneath the beautiful Lendal Bridge.
Once the Santa Experience Captain has checked all the children off the nice list, there’s refreshments an presents for all the good children.
City Cruises York Santa Experience, York, on selected dates from 30 November to 23 December 2019, www.citycruisesyork.com
Alice in Winterland illuminations
A fantastical new seasonal adventure is coming to Lightwater Valley this Christmas.
Families can delight in the festive lights as they embark on a journey of discovery to meet the Mad Hatter, the Queen of Hearts and, of course, Alice on their magical trip.
Hundreds of giant illuminated lanterns will illustrate stories from Alice in Wonderland and Alice Through the Looking Glass. Discover a giant chess board, watch the Mad Hatter prepare for his crazy tea party, marvel at the four-metre tall Alice lantern and come face to face with the infamous Queen herself.
Lightwater Valley, Ripon, selected dates from Friday 22nd November to Monday 30th December 2019, www.lightwatervalley.co.uk
A Christmas Adventure at Stockeld Park
With an ice rink, ski trail, enchanted forest and the chance to meet Santa, Stockeld Park offers a full on festive day out. Plus after dark the park is illuminated with thousands of family lights.
Check out this review of Christmas at Stockeld Park by Colette from We’re Going on an Adventure on Mini Travellers.
Christmas Adventure, Stockeld Park, from November 2019, www.stockeldpark.co.uk.
Where else for Christmas days out with kids?
Carrie at Flying with a Baby has all the info on Santa’s Grottos in Cambridgeshire, Lincolnshire, Northamptonshire and Rutland. Sam at Mrs Mulled Wine has Pantomime options for all budgets in the North East of England.
If you know of a wonderful Christmas day out with kids that should be included in my post get in touch.
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