Twinkling festive lights, real-life Santas, lots of ‘he’s behind yous’ and pints of mulled wine – Christmas really is the season to be jolly. From regal ice rinks to England’s best Christmas lights, laugh-out-loud pantos to cosy grottoes, celebrate the magic of Christmas at some of the wonderful events happening across the country.
More Christmas 2022 events and things to do:
Christmas markets 2022 | Best places for a 2022 Christmas break | 2022 Christmas events in stately homes | 2022 Christmas steam train experiences
Haywards Heath, West Sussex
As the night draws in, the gardens at Wakehurst are brought to life with an enchanting lantern trail full of projections, immersive soundscapes and glistening torches of fire. Marvel at the UK’s tallest living Christmas tree, decorated with 1,800 fairy lights for the festive season, and celebrate the hidden heroes of the plant and fungal world.
When? Selected evenings between 24 November 2022 and 1 January 2023.Follow a festive light trail in West Sussex
Kew’s after-dark trail is lighting up once again for 2022, with the route passing through sparkling tunnels of light, beside dancing waterside reflections and past flickering flames in the Fire Garden. See ancient trees sparkle, gaze at the Temperate House alive in Christmas colour, say hello to Father Christmas and watch the stunning light show finale on the Palm House Pond.
When? From 16 November 2022 to 8 January 2023.Explore Christmas at Kew
Discover 11 fantastical lands at Chester Zoo this winter, each filled with sparkle and light, colourful lanterns, costumed characters and Christmas scenes. See the show-stopping Octopus, meander through a Cactus Desert and discover other exotic illuminated wildlife throughout the park, all the while keeping an eye out for Father Christmas. Measures are in place to keep visitors safe and all tickets go towards looking after animals in the zoo and around the world.
When? From 11 November to 23 December. Tickets must be booked in advance.Visit Chester Zoo at Christmas
Dunham Massey, Greater Manchester
As the sun goes down, head to the illuminated festive trail that winds through the gardens and deer park of Dunham Massey. Wrapped up warm, walk underneath tree canopies drenched in colour, past giant baubles, snowflakes and glittering deer and through a crystal and fire garden aglow with flickering flames.
When? From 18 November 2022 to 2 January 2023.Enjoy a National Trust day out this Christmas
Immerse yourself in the world-famous illuminations that shine each year in Blackpool, along the six miles of beachfront promenade. The greatest free light show on earth – which has been around for more than a century – has been extended this year to make sure everyone gets the chance to see the spectacle. You can choose to walk or drive the route or take an illuminated tram tour that departs each evening.
When? From 2 September 2022 until the 2 January 2023.Discover one of the best things to do in Blackpool
Crystal Palace, London
Visit Crystal Palace this winter to see the iconic park lit up like never before. London’s largest illuminated trail will mesmerise with multi-sensory lights and installations bursting with colour, and will even have an illuminated twist on the park’s famous dinosaurs. Walk through Guardian Gate, down Rainbow Road and past Magical Animals on this fantastic Christmas light walk, all before warming up with a well-deserved cup of hot chocolate.
If you’re not based in London, Lightopia also has festive light trails in Manchester and Alton Towers Resort.
When? Every evening between 17 November 2022 and 2 January 2023.See south London’s epic Christmas lights
If you’re not based in London, why not experience Lightopia Seasonal Wonderland at Alton Towers Resort? Said to be Europe's longest light and lantern trail, this immersive journey through the four seasons combines spectacular lanterns, immersive light installations and interactive colour transformations to light up a spectacular after-dark wonderland where a whole year will go by in just a day!
Spend Christmas at Alton Towers
When? Selected dates between 25 November 2022 and 2 January 2023.
Hampton Court, London
A highlight of London’s festive calendar is back this year with its huge open-air ice rink and staggered skate sessions to make sure there’s plenty of social distancing. Glide (or shuffle) across the ice while enjoying views of an iconic Tudor Palace, then warm up with a festive snack at the Ice Rink Café and Bar.
When? Dates to be confirmed.Discover this coveted Christmas event in London
York, North Yorkshire
Show off your tricks on England’s largest outdoor ice rink, complete with a 30-foot Christmas tree at its centre. There’s an Alpine-themed café overlooking the rink, where you can warm up after your session with a hot chocolate before exploring the snowy enchanted wood to find Santa’s log cabin, enjoy fairground rides at the Vintage Funfair or finish up your present shopping at York Designer Outlet.
When? Dates to be confirmed.Visit York at Christmas
Delve into rainforests and tropical biomes before heading outside and grabbing some skates. Eden Project’s ice rink is back once again, tempting nature lovers onto its glittering rink to get into the seasonal spirit. There are dedicated Family Fun skate sessions, too, which take place every Sunday throughout the season, with extra sessions during the school holidays.
When? Dates to be confirmed.Plan a Christmas day out in Cornwall
Nab yourself a white Christmas at Tamworth’s SnowDome. With real snow, real animals and a brand-new show, Santa’s Winter Wonderland is back for its 18th year. Play and slide around in the snow, start a snowball fight, hitch a ride on a sledge and walk through an enchanted forest all in one day. And don’t forget to post your Christmas list into Santa’s talking post box!
When? From 12 November 2022 to 1 January 2023Have yourself a white Christmas
Your little ones will be over the moon with a trip to Peppa Pig World this winter. Complete with seasonal music and magical illuminations, you’ll get to meet Peppa in her festive dress, catch Frosty’s Snowtime Show and listen to Christmas stories read by Santa himself. Warm up with a hearty meal at one of the park’s many eateries and round off your day with a visit to the toy shop, stocked with plenty of festive goodies.
When? From 2 to 23 December 2022.Treat the kids to a Christmas day out
Take the magic of Christmas to a new level at the Warner Bros. Studio Tour: The Making of Harry Potter. After its annual festive makeover, The Great Hall will be adorned with Christmas trees topped with witches on broomsticks and tables laden with a festive feast. Elsewhere, a blanket of snow will cover the shop fronts of Diagon Alley, the Forbidden Forest and the turrets of Hogwarts Castle.
When? From 12 November 2022 to 15 January 2023.Do Christmas like Harry Potter
Longleat’s Festival of Light is finally back for 2022 and, to celebrate its return, you'll be able to step into The Wondrous Worlds of Roald Dahl. Meet all of your favourite characters – from The BFG to Matilda – before continuing your adventure with a sprinkle of Christmas cheer. Feast your eyes on Britain’s biggest singing Christmas tree, take a trip on the magical train to meet Santa in his Christmas grotto and leave time to meet all the resident animals on the Winter Safari Drive-through.
When? From 5 November 2022 to 8 January 2023.Enjoy the best Christmas event in Wiltshire
Create memories of a lifetime at the country’s most magical festive adventure this Christmas, Lapland UK. A celebration of childhood and imagination, your kids’ journey (and, let’s face it, vicariously yours too) will begin with a personalised invitation from Father Christmas, who’s seeking help from children far and wide to help with toy making. When the big day finally rolls around, you’ll get to journey through The Enchanted Forest, see inside The Toy Factory, sniff out gingerbread in Mother Christmas’ Kitchen and visit The Elven Village, all before meeting Father Christmas himself. And the magic doesn’t stop there – just wait to see the children’s faces when they see what’s waiting for them on Christmas morning!
When? 12 November to 24 December.Journey to Lapland this Christmas
Head to the 15 acres of magical Cheshire woodlands in Blakemere Village this Christmas for a cutting-edge light and sound trail with a festive twist. Journey into the woods to find Santa Claus in this unique outdoor theatrical experience where, along the way, you’ll meet Snowy the Owl, try magical wand whittling and even build your own cuddly toy with Mrs Claus.
When? 25 November 2022 to 1 January 2023.Make one-of-a-kind Christmas presents
Pencil in a full day for Northumberland’s most anticipated Christmas events, Kielder Winter Wonderland. Packed full of festive activities, little and big kids alike will be captivated by the likes of snow tubing, meeting reindeer, having a song and dance with The Beavers, helping in the elves workshop and much more.
When? Mid-November to 23 December.Experience Christmas in Northumberland
Crawley, West Sussex
From magical woodland walks to gingerbread decorating and reindeer food making, Tulley’s Farm in Sussex (famous for its epic Halloween festivals) is turning on the festive charm from late November. Spend the morning showing off your skills on the ice before admiring the acrobatics at the circus or tuning into your inner pilot at the reindeer flying school. If that wasn’t enough, there’s storytime with Father Christmas, fairground rides galore and an illuminated trail through the Elves’ magical forest. Don’t forget to drop off your letter to Father Christmas at Santa’s Post House before you leave!
When? Selected dates between 26 November and 24 December.Enjoy a Christmas day out in Sussex
Perhaps better known for its dramatic coastal location towering 150 feet above the Northumberland coastline, come Christmastime Bamburgh Castle is transformed into a whimsical winter wonderland by award-winning theatrical designer Charlotte Lloyd Webber. The Christmas Kingdom is the North East’s biggest indoor festive experience and this year's theme is The Twelve Days of Christmas. Wander through the Castle’s state rooms – each inspired by the gifts of the famous carol – and enjoy a kaleidoscope of rich Christmas colours, huge displays of festive foliage and thousands of twinkling lights. There’s even a partridge in a pear tree!
When? Until 8 January 2023.Explore The Christmas Kingdom
Knaresborough, North Yorkshire
Visit this Knaresborough landmark during the festive period to experience an enchanted village festooned with Christmas delights. Meet Santa and Chief Elf Chestnut, explore the winter woodland trail, visit the Christmas Post Office and make a wish at the wishing well. Be sure to make time to see the Petrifying Well, too, as well as the cave where the famous prophetess Mother Shipton was born.
When? 19 November until 24 December.Have a quirky Christmas day out
Visit Warwick Castle this Christmas to glide around a spectacular ice rink to the sound of your favourite festive hits, discover a dazzling light trail with dancing projections and climb the castle’s towers for impressive wintery views across the grounds and gardens. Inside the castle, you’ll stumble across twinkling trees and festive flourishes, and have the chance the join Santa as he tells charming tales accompanied by his merry elves.
For an extra special treat, book one of Santa’s Sleepovers. Staying in one of the Knight’s Village Lodges, you’ll wake up to the sound of sleigh bells as cheerful elves deliver gifts to all the well-behaved children.
When? Dates to be confirmed.Meet Father Christmas at Warwick Castle:
Enjoy a feast of festive music, old and new, at the beautiful Grade II-listed Philharmonic Hall in Liverpool. Hosted by Kadiatu Kanneh-Mason and conducted by Ian Tracey, you’ll be able to sing along to traditional carols and music that embodies the feeling of Christmas.
Other Christmas events at the Philharmonic Hall include Carols by Candlelight and Swingin’ Christmas, with the latter celebrating classic seasonal songs by Frank Sinatra, Judy Garland, Nat King Cole and lots more.
When? Events take place on 17, 21, 22 and 23 December 2022.Celebrate Christmas in Liverpool
With a cast of 130 (many hailing from London’s West End), the biggest Christmas show of its kind in Europe is an extravaganza of non-stop singing, dancing, music, humour and variety. Set in the magical surroundings of mechanical organs and fairground carousels, this spectacular show is guaranteed to impress – all rounded off with a special surprise before the curtains close.
Make a day of it and check out Thursford’s Enchanted Journey of Light. You’ll travel past penguins and giant teddy bears to the outdoor lantern light display, filled with breathtaking luminous sculptures, from a fantasy underwater world to the snowy scenes of the North Pole.
When? Between the 8 November and 23 December 2022.See Norfolk’s most anticipated Christmas show
Great Yarmouth, Norfolk
Full of fun, thrills and excitement for the whole family, Great Yarmouth’s hit festive show returns to the seaside town’s historic Hippodrome this December. From circus tricks to synchronised swimmers and hilarious comedy, this fast-moving show is guaranteed to get you into the Christmas spirit.
When? Selected dates between 10 December 2022 and 8 January 2023.Get tickets to this coastal Christmas event
London’s best-known panto is returning to the West End for this Christmas with the iconic tale of Jack and the Beanstalk. Enjoy roaring comedy, show-stopping numbers and a star-studded cast – with appearances from Dawn French, Julian Clary, Alexandra Burke and many more.
When? From 10 December 2022 to 15 January 2023.See London’s favourite Christmas panto
Whether you’re based in Derby or Durham, Chester or Coventry, the award-winning concert based on the nation’s favourite animated Christmas film, The Snowman, will be visiting a city near you this Christmas. Snuggled down in some of England’s prettiest cathedrals and venues, you’ll get to enjoy a special screening of the film accompanied by a magnificent live orchestra. On top of that, there’ll be a toe-tapping Christmas medley as well as lots of other stories for the whole family to enjoy.
When? Various dates in various locations between 1 and 22 December 2022.Go walking in the air this Christmas
South Kensington, London
Christmas cheer and full audiences are returning to the Royal Albert Hall this Christmas. For the month of December, a huge line-up of heart-warming shows will grace the stage as part of the iconic venue’s 150th-anniversary celebrations. Watch a festive favourite screened alongside a live symphony orchestra at Home Alone in Concert, groove along to Trevor Nelson’s Soul Christmas, complete with a line-up of special musical guests, belt out some traditional carols at Carols at the Royal Albert Hall or sit back and enjoy the Birmingham Royal Ballet’s festive favourite, The Nutcracker – a sparkling treat for the whole family. None of those piquing your interest? There’s plenty more too!
When? Throughout December 2022.Book tickets for The Royal Albert Hall
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