The best UK family days and Christmas events this festive season

Fun for the family!
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  • Keep your little ones entertained this with our pick of the best Christmas events and family days out the UK has to offer.

    1) Garden of Lights

    Known as the home of 1,500 species of diverse plant life, London’s Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew is no less spectacular as the season of goodwill approaches and this year will see the light display return bigger and better than ever.

    With a new route, Fire Garden and a tunnel of light, alongside lasers projected on to Temperate House, there is something to entrance children and adults alike. Don’t miss out on the grand Palm House Pond finale as jets of light reflect glide across the water to as soundtrack of much-loved Christmas songs.

    2) Burning the Clocks

    Make that special trip to the seaside this Christmas and see the Burning of the Clocks as homemade lanterns are paraded through Brighton’s picturesque streets on the winter solstice, December 21st. This community event brings people together and locals often make their own lanterns out of paper or willow to bring to the beachside Bonfire to mark the year’s end. With personalised lanterns on offer, children will love the chance to be involved in such a breath-taking event.

    3) A Blenheim Palace Christmas

    Why not enjoy a family visit Blenheim Palace –  the birthplace of Winston Churchill, this year themed around the much-loved children’s classic Alice in Wonderland? Decorated with a spectacular display of over 100,000 pea lights, the grounds of this famous country house will twinkle in the winter darkness. The scented fire garden makes a return for 2019 and until the 15th December you can also relax and warm up at the palace’s very own Christmas Market.

    4) Edinburgh Christmas Markets

    Heavily decorated, with a frosty chill in the air that will really get you in the mood for Christmas, Scotland’s capital is once more a glittering wonderland with the return of the annual Edinburgh Christmas market. Featuring a range of stalls selling delicious sweet treats and mulled wine, as well as a nativity carol concert on December 2nd, carousel and Baby Loves Disco’s Christmas Glitter Ball to delight younger visitors, there’s something for everyone.

    5) Santa Specials on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway

    Perfect for little ones, join Santa and experience a magical festive adventure aboard the Santa Express this winter, departing from Pickering and Grosmont Stations and speeding through the glorious Yorkshire countryside from November 30th. Young children will get the chance to meet Santa himself aboard the train and receive their own age-appropriate gift as well as an activity bag. Meanwhile adults can sit back and relax with a mince pie and hot drink.

    READ MORE: UK’s best Christmas pantomimes 2019

    6) Winter Playground, Alnwick Garden

    Buckets and spades might seem like a summer accessory, but at Alnwick Garden you can grab one and make… snow castles and snowballs! Part of Gateshead’s Winter Festival, the Winter Playground also includes Enchanted Parks – an art installation themed around ‘The House of Lost and Found’. This is the perfect day out to let young children explore and enjoy the magic of Christmas.

    7) Legoland at Christmas

    Glittering lights, elves and Lego? What more could a family want from a wonderful day out? Launching on November 30th, Legoland’s Christmas Kingdom sees snow-dusted pine trees, seasonal activities and opportunity for young visitors to meet Father Christmas himself at his cabin. Guests under 12 must be accompanied by an adult and children receive a special Lego gift.

    8) Hyde Park Winter Wonderland

    Perhaps one of the most well-known of festive events, Hyde Park’s Winter Wonderland is the ultimate display of sparkling lights, traditional treats and ice-skating in the capital. With many extra attractions to choose from, including a Mr Men and Little Miss Show, Karaoke, comedy shows and a giant observation wheel, there’s plenty to keep young visitors entertained.

    9) Bristol Christmas Market

    Boasting the biggest open-air ice rink in the South West, Bristol’s Christmas Market also features over 50 stalls showcasing the best the region has to offer and giving you the perfect opportunity to do some last-minute Christmas shopping. There are even reindeer visits throughout December sure to delight children, as well as the chance to meet Santa and experience a range of vintage fairground rides.

    10) The Nutcracker comes to Cardiff

    A truly magical day out for the family comes in the form of The Nutcracker on Ice, which arrives at the International Convention Centre Wales this Christmas season. With wonderful music accompanied by breath-taking skating, this is a festive classic that children over five will be sure to enjoy. And from the 11th December why not try out The Sugar Plum Tea before the start of the show, with its range of temps.

    11) Hogwarts in the Snow

    It doesn’t matter if you’re eight or 80, Hogwarts In The Snow at Warner Bros. Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter promises to be a magical day. The already ahh-inducing Great Hall has been decorated as it was for the Yule Ball, with glittering sculptures and flaming puddings, and as you make your way around the iconic sets, including the Weasley’s burrow, Diagon Alley and the infamous Hogwarts castle model (we dare you not to gasp!) be sure to keep an eye out for the original props, like the handmade Christmas cards, some of which were created by the cast members during production. Still, our favourite has to be the Knight Bus though, make sure to get a photo on the back!

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    12) Cocktails at The Winter Lawn

    Christmas days out

    Perched on the Northbank overlooking the breathtaking Tower Bridge, the Winter Lawn has a brand new menu including delicious giant soft Pretzels and apple pie with a Jagermeister toffee sauce, along with hot toddies and mulled wine, making it the perfect place to get in the festive spirit. Ideal for date nights, or evenings with friends, it’s open from noon until 10pm every night until mid-March. Menu prices start from £6 for nibbles and £7 for drinks.

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