Five seasonal events for families to visit in the UK
Looking for somewhere festive to go with the family this Christmas? Take a look at these five venues for celebrating the holidays.
1. Christmas at Blenheim Palace
Image: Copyright Richard Haughton/Sony Music
Throughout the festive period, the Palace is surrounded by more than a million twinkling lights, colourful trees and amazing illuminated installations, all choreographed to a soundtrack of much-loved seasonal music. There's an illuminated trail, the Palace State Rooms have been transformed to become The Nutcracker's fairy-tale workshops and there is also a traditional Christmas Market in the courtyard. Traditional wooden chalets will be showcasing a range of festive treats from designer-makers and artisan food and drink producers.
Opening dates and prices
From 19 November 2021–2 January 2022
Admission: Limited capacity with timed entry, early booking advised. Combined tickets from: Adult £50, Concession: £48.50, Child (age 3-16) £30, Family £140 (2 adults & 2 children). Parking: £10. Annual Pass Holders*: Adult £21.50, Child (age 3-16) £15, Family £70 (2 adults & 2 children). *Price applies for entry into the Palace before 4.00pm. Free entry for carers and children aged 2 & under. Parking: £10. Free entry to Christmas Market. Parking charges apply after 10.00am.
2. Christmas at Longleat, Wiltshire
This is a brand new family event, featuring everything from Britain's tallest Singing Christmas Tree and Santa Trains, to the illuminated Love Labyrinth and festive storytelling featuring real-live flying owls. Britain's tallest Singing Christmas Tree is back with a spectacular 15-minute show featuring 80,000 pixel mapped lights, 3D video projection and flurries of snow while singing and a selection of favourite yuletide tunes. Visitors walk through a 50-metre-long tunnel of lights which react and dance to the sounds of sleigh bells, Christmas cheer and a crackling fire. A display of lights transform the giant facade of Longleat House into a series of festive scenes as visitors wander among a forest of 100 decorated Christmas Trees.
Opening dates and prices
Open until 3 January 2022
Admission: Adult Off Peak £36.95, Peak £39.95, Child Off Peak (3-15) £27.70, Peak £29.95, Under 3s Free. For more information and to book online visit www.longleat.co.uk/christmas-at-longleat
3. Christmas in the Nene Valley
With its winding river and still lakes, mist-covered meadows and silent forests, quaint villages and picturesque market towns, the Nene Valley is one of the UK's most beautiful and off-the-beaten-track regions to experience in the run-up to Christmas. Spanning from the West of Northampton to the historic Cathedral City of Peterborough, there are events ranging from artisanal Christmas Markets to 'meet and greets' with Santa and enchanting Christmas concerts.
Visit Father Christmas in his magical Winter Wonderland grotto at Chester House Estate's first ever Christmas celebrations. Every guest will leave with a special early Christmas gift. www.nenevalley.net/chester-house-estate-father-christmas-experience
Or have Brunch with Santa at Rushden Station. Treat the kids to a festive brunch with Santa himself at the charming Rushden Station. Starting at 10.30am on December 11th, children will meet Father Christmas and his elves, share a magical brunch with him and take home a present! On December 12th, the experience will be repeated as a special brunch for children with sensory needs. www.nenevalley.net/event-detail/brunch-with-santa
4. Christmas at Gibside, Tyne & Wear
Image: Copyright Andrew Ogilvy/Sony Music
A brand-new glittering illuminated trail opened on Friday 3 December at National Trust's Gibside in Gateshead. Discover trees interwoven with neon, colourful strings, singing trees and choreographed music. Try tasty treats such as toasting your own marshmallows over flames and enjoying a spiced winter warmer.
Opening dates and prices
Until 2 January 2022.
Open from 4.30pm, last entry 8pm and closes at 10pm. The festive trail is open on selected dates
Admission: Advanced From: Adult £18, Child £13, Family £58 (2 adults & 2 children). Free entry for carers and children aged 2 & under. Parking: on-site £8 per car; park and ride: £5 per car
5. Christmas in Rutland
Rutland may be known as 'England's smallest county', but this charming rural region has plenty of natural beauty, historic sights and activities the whole family can enjoy together.
Enjoy a Christmas afternoon tea at Barnsdale Gardens, Britain's largest collection of individually designed gardens and a wonderful place to visit at any time of the year. During the winter months, the onsite tea room offers a selection of themed afternoon teas, including a Winter Afternoon Tea and Christmas Afternoon Tea for both adults and children. Free admission to the gardens is included in the price of each afternoon tea experience. To book visit shop.barnsdalegardens.co.uk/collections/afternoon-tea