Looking for a Christmas family day out? We’ve got the festive season all wrapped up!
Christmas is a magical time to spend with family and friends, eat great food and be generally merry. Whether you’re looking for markets, carols, mulled wine, ice-skating or to meet Santa himself, we’ve found you the best events taking place up and down the country.
What a great chance to visit somewhere you’ve never been before and get off the beaten path! We’ve researched some of the coolest things to do this Christmas; check out our list and Go the Extra Mile this December!
Ice Rink & Christmas Market at Winchester Cathedral, Winchester
Standing at the heart of historic Winchester, the Cathedral is at the centre of winter festivities and is sure to provide a fun-filled authentic Christmas experience for you and your family.
Absorb fifteen centuries of English history as you skate around Winchester Cathedral Ice Rink this Christmas. Thanks to the addition of a roof last year, skaters can enjoy whizzing around the rink with a rain-free guarantee until 7 January 2018. Visit in the evening to experience an exhilarating skate under the stars, where the clear roof and open-air sides offers a wonderfully picturesque backdrop of the lit-up Cathedral.
If ice skating in this incredible setting wasn’t a unique experience enough, nestled beside the Cathedral and surrounding the ice rink is one of the best Christmas markets in Europe. Inspired by traditional German markets, the pretty wooden chalets of the Cathedral’s Christmas Market attract close to half a million visitors each year and are filled with high quality exhibitors, hand-picked for their interesting, unique and exclusive products.
Incredible location, a focus on independent traders, artisan festive foods and regular performances by local choirs, really does make this Christmas Market one of the special ones.
Getting there: Winchester Cathedral is a pleasant 12-minute walk from Winchester train station, alternatively buses and taxis are available from outside Winchester train station.
Santa’s Winter Wonderland, Tamworth
Now in its 13th year, Santa’s Winter Wonderland at the SnowDome provides festive fun for all the family. Real snow, live animals and a brand-new Winter Wonderland show make for a brilliant Christmassy day out for all ages.
Play and slide around in real snow as you explore Santa’s Christmas snow trail. Be mesmerised as you walk through the enchanted forest, lined with real Christmas trees, twinkly fairy lights and awesome sledge and tube rides.
The brand-new Winter Wonderland Show joins Santa and his friends in their Jingle Bells Band; can you help deliver the ultimate festive song and spread Christmas cheer throughout the land?
End your trip getting up close and personal with Santa’s reindeer and other animals in the animal village! Take a trip to Santa’s house with its huge Christmas tree and don’t forget to write Santa a letter to drop in the talking post box.
Getting there: The SnowDome is an easy 12-minute walk from Tamworth Railway Station, or if you’d prefer a taxi, you can grab one from outside Tamworth train station.
The Lost Gardens Open for Charity, Cornwall
Christmas is always a magical time at The Lost Gardens of Heligan and this year the gardens are bursting with festivity.
Heligan, seat of the Tremaybe family for more than 400 years, is one of the most mysterious and romantic estates in England. A genuine secret garden, the 200-acre estate was lost for decades; its history consigned to the undergrowth. Now the gardens are open every day, bar Christmas Day and are one of the most unique and fascinating places to visit in Cornwall.
With winter sunshine glistening on frosted forests, Heligan presents a fabulous winter wonderland just waiting to be explored. Discover the gardens on the magical Christmas trail, write a letter to Father Christmas before popping it into the magical post box, and even meet Santa himself and receive a small traditional gift by the fire!
Each evening this December, the gardens transform as darkness falls. ‘Heligan by Night’ allows visitors to experience the art of illumination as internationally renowned light artist Ulf Perderson reveals the night time magic of Heligan’s historic paintings. Journey through an after dark Lost Gardens and delight in the incredible textures, colours and atmosphere created by Pedersen’s thought provoking illuminations.
Getting there: The Gardens are located 5 miles from St Austell Railway Station. Local buses run from outside St Austell train station, and a taxi rank is located immediately outside.
Carols on the Hour, Gloucester
Every year Gloucester Cathedral runs their hugely popular ‘Carols on the Hour’ and this year they will take place on the 9 and 16 December. Listen to the Choirs of the Cathedral singing bite sized bursts of Festive praise and enjoy a spot of Christmas shopping at the Christmas Market.
Gloucester Cathedral has been a place of Christian worship for over 1,300 years and brags dramatic yet elegant architecture. With centuries of craftsmanship on display, the architecture, stained glass and artefacts are some of the best examples of their kind in the country.
One of Gloucester Cathedral's treasures is without doubt the world-famous organ, originally constructed in 1666 by Thomas Harris. Majestic music rings round the Cathedral and at Christmas time, you couldn’t pick a better spot for carolling.
Getting there: Gloucester Cathedral is a 10-minute walk from Gloucester Railway Station. A taxi rank is located at Gloucester train station if you would prefer to drive.
Wherever you are travelling to over the festive period, you can get discounted Advance Tickets with CrossCountry. Discover more with our Journey Planner!