25+ Christmas events for 2023
Twinkling festive lights, real-life Santas, lots of ‘he’s behind you’ and lashings 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 2023 events and things to do:
Christmas light trails
Christmas events: Glow Wild at Wakehurst
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 23 November 2023 to 1 January 2024Follow a festive light trail in West Sussex
Christmas events: Christmas at Kew Gardens
Kew’s after-dark trail is lighting up once again for 2023, 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: 15 November 2023 to 7 January 2024Explore Christmas at Kew
Christmas events: The Lanterns at Chester Zoo
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. Tickets must be booked in advance.
When? 17 November to 31 December 2023Visit Chester Zoo at Christmas
Christmas events: Christmas at Dunham Massey
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? 17 November to 31 December 2023Enjoy a National Trust day out this Christmas
Christmas events: Blackpool Illuminations 2023
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 by two more months to make sure everyone gets the chance to see the spectacle. You can choose to walk or drive the route or take an illuminated double decker heritage tram tour that departs each evening.
When? 1 September 2023 to 1 January 2024Light up your life in Blackpool
Christmas ice skating
Christmas events: Hampton Court Palace Ice Rink
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 . Glide (or hang onto the sides) around the ice while enjoying views of the iconic Tudor palace, then warm up with a festive snack at the Ice Rink Café and Bar.
When? 17 November 2023 to 7 January 2024Discover this coveted Christmas event in London
Christmas events: Yorkshire’s Winter Wonderland
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 with a hot chocolate before exploring the enchanted wood to find Santa’s log cabin. Enjoy fairground rides at the Vintage Funfair, or finish your Christmas shopping at York Designer Outlet.
When? Dates to be confirmedVisit York at Christmas
Christmas events: Ice skating at the Eden Project
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? 4 October 2023 until February 2024 (final date to be confirmed)Plan a Christmas day out in Cornwall
Christmas events: Glide at Battersea Power Station
Head to one of London’s most iconic buildings for a skating experience like no other. Glide at Battersea Power Station offers unrivalled views of the Thames as you skate around three interconnecting rinks, surrounded by twinkling lights and a spectacular 30ft Christmas tree. If all that skating sounds too exhausting, relax in the 360-view Glass House bar and enjoy views of the skaters and the towering Power Station.
When? Dates to be confirmed
Christmas events: Bath on Ice and Glow Golf
Play a round of golf at night at the Royal Victoria Park, surrounded by twinkly fairy light installations and keep track of your game with glow-in-the-dark balls – it adds a whole new layer of excitement to the game. If you feel peckish afterwards, head to Mogul’s Alpine bar for a selection of festive drinks, wood-fired pizzas, hot dogs, and churros. And if you still have energy to spare after all that, lace up your ice skates to take a few spins (or spills) on the pop-up ice rink.
When? 17 November 2023 to 3 January 2024Golf and skate by night in Bath
Family-friendly Christmas events
Christmas events: Santa’s Winter Wonderland
Have yourself a white Christmas under Tamworth’s SnowDome. With real snow, real animals and a brand-new show for 2023, Santa’s Winter Wonderland is back for another year. Play and slide around in the snow, start a snowball fight, hitch a ride on a sledge, ride the carousel and walk through an enchanted forest, all without having to catch a plane to Lapland. And don’t forget to post your Christmas list into Santa’s talking post box!
When? From 11 November 2023 to 7 January 2024Have yourself a white Christmas
Christmas events: Christmas at Peppa Pig World and Paultons Park
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 Santa's Christmas Wish Show and listen to Christmas stories read by Father Christmas himself. Warm up 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. Why not make your visit extra special and add the Santa's Grotto experience with a gift from Santa and a personal photograph with the man himself?
When? 2 to 23 December 2023 (selected dates)
Christmas events: Hogwarts in the Snow
The literal magic of Christmas dials up to a new level at the Warner Bros. Studio Tour: The Making of Harry Potter. Following its annual festive makeover after Halloween, The Great Hall will be adorned with Christmas trees topped with witches on broomsticks and tables laden with a festive feast (sorry, you won’t be able to eat these!). Can you recognise any of the food from Philosopher’s Stone, where Harry spent his first Christmas at school? Elsewhere, snow will blanket the shop fronts of Diagon Alley, the Forbidden Forest and the turrets of Hogwarts Castle.
When? From 11 November 2023 to– 14 January 2024Experience Christmas in the Wizarding World
Christmas events: The Festival of Light at Longleat
Longleat’s annual Festival of Light is back for 2023 and this year you'll step into the worlds of your favourite fairy tales. Spot famous scenes from stories like C.S Lewis’ The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe; Cinderella; Snow White; The Wizard of Oz; Winnie the Pooh and more. Sing along and wait for a flurry of snow at 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? 11 November 2023 -to 7 January 2024Make your Christmas in Wiltshire shine
Christmas events: Magical Woodland at Christmas
Head to the 15 acres of magical Cheshire woodlands in Blakemere Village this Christmas for a cutting-edge light and sound trail. 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. Be sure to get some photos of the cathedral canopies of fairy lights, tunnels of Borealis-style lasers, floating umbrellas, and ‘flying’ lanterns.
When? 24 November to 24 December 2023Make one-of-a-kind Christmas presents
Christmas events: Kielder Winter Wonderland
Kielder Forest, Northumberland
Pencil in a full day for Northumberland’s most anticipated Christmas events. Packed with festive activities, little and big kids alike will be captivated by snow tubing , meeting reindeer, having a song and dance with folk singing Mr and Mrs Beaver and making a wooden keepsake with the help of the elves. They can even meet Father Christmas in his grotto and join Mrs Christmas on a forest-led walk to her woodland home.
When? Selected dates from 19 November to 23 December 2023Celebrate Christmas in Northumberland
Christmas events: Tulley’s Christmas Experience
Crawley, West Sussex
From magical woodland walks to gingerbread decorating and reindeer food making, Tulley’s Farm in Sussex 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 2023Enjoy a Christmas day out in Sussex
Christmas events: Christmas Kingdom at Bamburgh Castle
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 Enchanted Myths and Legends of Northumbria. Wander through the castle’s state rooms, transformed into magical worlds where fairies flit and banquet, selkies and mermaids laze by mythical pools, and enjoy a kaleidoscope of rich Christmas colours and huge displays of festive florals.
When? 11 November 2023 to 7 January 2024Explore The Christmas Kingdom
Christmas events: Christmas at Mother Shipton’s
Knaresborough, North Yorkshire
Arguably the closest thing that we non-magical folk have to an enchanted village, Knaresborough takes on another level of magic during the festive period. 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, and the cave where the famous prophetess Mother Shipton was born. Afterwards, cosy up with a hot chocolate and homemade gingerbread from one of the quirky cabins.
When? 25 November to 24 December 2023Have a quirky Christmas day out
Christmas events: Christmas at Warwick Castle
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 wintery views across the gardens. Inside the castle, you’ll stumble across twinkling trees and have the chance to 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? 25th November 2023 to 7th January 2024Meet Father Christmas at Warwick Castle
Christmas events: Christmas at Blenheim Palace
It’s never too early to get the family together for a Christmas day (or night) out. This year at Blenheim Palace there will be a new trail and themed interior to tell the tale of Sleeping Beauty. With a new after-dark trail for 2023, discover heart-shaped arches glittering in the moonlight, glowing tunnels filled with stars and an eight-metre sphere filled with over 20,000 moving LED lights. You will also see the return of the ever-popular dancing reflections in the colourful Cascades and magical Lakeside walk.
When? 17 November 2023 to 1 January 2024
Christmas shows and pantomimes
Christmas events: The Spirit of Christmas at Liverpool Philharmonic
Enjoy a feast of festive music, old and new, at the beautiful Grade II-listed Philharmonic Hall in Liverpool. Hosted by Kadiatu Kanneh-Mason, conducted by Ian Tracey and featuring mezzo-soprano Kathryn Rudge, you’ll be able to sing along to traditional carols and music that embodies the festive season. Arrive early and you will be treated to carols outside by the Liverpool Philharmonic Youth Brass Band.
When? Selected dates from 16 to 22 December 2023Celebrate Christmas in Liverpool
Christmas events: Thursford Christmas Spectacular
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, comedy and variety. Set in magical surroundings that include 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 luminous sculptures, from a fantasy underwater world to the snowy scenes of the North Pole.
When? 8 November to 23 December 2023See Norfolk’s most anticipated Christmas show
Christmas events: Christmas Spectacular Circus & Water 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? 9 to 31 December 2023Get tickets to this coastal Christmas event
Christmas events: Peter Pan at The Palladium
London’s best-known panto is returning to the West End for this Christmas with the iconic tale of Peter Pan. Enjoy roaring comedy, show-stopping numbers and a star-studded cast – with appearances from Jennifer Saunders, Julian Clary, Gary Wilmot and many more.
When? 9 December 2023 to 14 January 2024See London’s favourite Christmas panto
Christmas events: The Snowman Tour 2023
Whether 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. Hunker down in some of England’s prettiest locations and watch a special screening of the film accompanied by a magnificent live orchestra. What’s more, you will be treated to a whistle-stop introduction to the orchestra, a visit from the Snowman himself, and a screening of firm family favourite, Wallace and Gromit The Wrong Trousers.
When? Nationwide from 30 November to 23 December 2023 on selected dates
Christmas events: Christmas at The Royal Albert Hall
South Kensington, London
For the whole of December, a huge line-up of heart-warming shows will grace the stage of this London icon. Watch festive favourites screened alongside a live symphony orchestra such as Home Alone and Elf, groove along to Trevor Nelson’s Soul Christmas, complete with a line-up of special musical guests, belt out festive bangers at a carol show or sit back and enjoy a sparkling drag show, A Christmas Gaiety, featuring host Peaches Christ and conductor Edwin Outwater.
When? Throughout December 2023