October 2022: From magical light trails and steam train rides to festive markets and immersive experiences, England does Christmas in style. Here’s our pick of festive experiences for 2022.
Winter at Southbank Centre, London
3 November 2022 – 8 January 2023
The popular Winter Market at London’s Southbank Centre is a seasonal pleasure that sits alongside a range of festive fun as the banks of the River Thames are transformed into a winter wonderland. Wander along the South Bank to discover cute illuminated wooden cabins selling Christmas gifts, from the quirky to the traditional, as well as mince pies, spiced cider and steaming mugs of mulled wine and hot chocolate.
Frankfurt Christmas Market, Birmingham
3 November – 23 December 2022
As the largest authentic German market outside of Germany and Austria, it is the focus of festivities in Birmingham each year and stands as a firm favourite on the city’s calendar. While Carollers sing and whirl you away with traditional festive songs and jazz music, relish in the deliciousness on offer like the German Bratwurst and Brezel, chocolatey crepes to sweeten your palette, and mulled wine or German beer to complete the night.
Manchester Christmas Market
10 November - 22 December 2022
The Manchester Christmas Markets take over several locations so you won’t be far from festive gifts and delicious food and drink stalls selling traditional bratwurst, hog roast and paella on a winter trip. More than 300 accessible stalls and chalets will be put up across the city, with jewellery, toys, plants, bags, homeware and quirky gifts to be found.
Nottingham Winter Wonderland
15 November - 31 December 2022
Nottingham Winter Wonderland is the largest festive event in the East Midlands. Held in the Old Market Square, it's full of festive fun and gift ideas. Expect 70+ Bavarian-inspired stalls selling everything from plants, food, and jewellery to eco art and home accessories. The highlights of this year’s events are an ice car, ‘Sur La Piste’ & altitude ski, an observation wheel and a toboggan slide.
St Nicholas Fair, York
17 November – 23 December 2022
St Nicholas Fair is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year. The festive wonderland with charming alpine chalets offering produce from local vendors will be put up on Parliament Street and St Sampson’s Square. For foodies, ‘The Winter Hütte’ offers a ‘Swiss with a Twist’ dining experience created by the Michelin-starred chef Andrew Pern.
Winchester Cathedral’s Christmas Market
18 November – 22 December 2022
With its unique location in the shadow of the great cathedral, Winchester Cathedral’s Christmas Market is widely regarded as one of Europe’s best. Numerous chalets are home to hand-picked exhibitors offering exclusive gifts that you won’t find on the high street – from hand-crafted decorations and festive treats to craft beer and mulled wine.
Bath Christmas Market, Somerset
24 November – 11 December 2022
Historic-ambience-meets-winter-style at Bath Christmas Market, where 150+ pop-up chalets usually set up on the city’s pretty Georgian streets. Marking its 20th anniversary year in 2022, you can expect a real treasure trove of gifts to take home. While exploring the new stalls and the perennial favourites, be sure to fill your empty belly with a range of festive food from The Lodge in the heart of the market.
Festive Fair at The Forum, Millennium Plain, Norwich
24 – 27 November 2022
The popular Festive Fair at The Forum in Norwich will be back this year guaranteeing Christmas cheer. Listen to Christmas carols from Norfolk’s own Pavilion Brass Quintet while sipping warming mulled wine in front of the building. The food stands offer all sorts of food and drinks such as hot waffles and Norfolk Rum. Inside, local vendors sell everything from Christmas decorations to chocolates and candles.
Banbury Victorian Christmas Market, Oxfordshire
25 - 27 November 2022
A Victorian Christmas Market is coming to Banbury Marketplace in November. The vibrant market will have around 100 stalls all in Victorian dress and there will be street performances taking place, as well as the switching on of the Christmas lights.
Christmas in Haworth 2022, Yorkshire
26 November – 18 December 2022
Explore the beautiful Yorkshire village of Haworth for a magical festive shopping experience with something special on every weekend from the end of November until Christmas. Every year at Christmas time, the village is decorated with twinkling fairy lights and pretty shop windows.
Durham Christmas Festival
2 – 4 December 2022
Just one of many Christmas events in the region, the Durham Christmas Festival will provide three days of festive entertainment throughout Durham City. More than 200 independent traders and seasonal entertainment, including a lantern parade, will be spread across four markets for visitors to get in the Christmas spirit.
Stratford-upon-Avon Victorian Christmas Market
8 – 10 December 2022
Stratford-upon-Avon’s Victorian Christmas Market Festival brings the past to life, running throughout the world-renowned town centre. Festive cheer will be spread with hundreds of stalls selling a whole host of seasonal products and traders decked out in their finest Victorian costumes. Entertainment is hosted throughout the town, along with a stage in Henley Street hosting an array of performances for everyone to enjoy and a traditional funfair.
THE POLAR EXPRESS™, various locations across the country
Various dates November – December 2022
Create fantastic Christmas memories onboard THE POLAR EXPRESS™ as it pulls into stations across the country this Christmas. In the Yorkshire Dales, a fully immersive festive experience awaits at Leeming Bar Station at the Wensleydale Railway with visitors encouraged to don their pyjamas and dressing gowns for a magical trip to the North Pole; in Birmingham passengers can hop onboard from Moor Street Station for a truly theatrical immersive experience and in Tunbridge Wells, the Spa Valley Railway will once again magically recreate the 2004 blockbuster film for the whole family. Similar experiences are available across the country including on the Churnet Valley Railway in Staffordshire, the Mid-Norfolk Railway and the South Devon Railway.
Festive Express and Mince Pie Specials by Bure Valley Railway, Norfolk
3 – 24 December 2022
The one-hour Festive Express steam trains experience takes off from the brightly decorated station in Aylsham, Norfolk. Guests can enjoy a 30-minute steam train ride with festive treats and a visit to Santa’s grotto where each child receives a personalised gift. Complete the experience with a warm mince pie from Whistlestop café at Aylsham station.
Dining experience on the Christmas Steam Express from London Victoria
14, 16, 19 and 21 December 2022
Celebrate the holiday season in style with a very special dining steam train experience in beautifully decorated and lovingly restored 1970’s InterCity carriages. The experience takes visitors on a journey through the Surrey Hills. With three classes of travel there is something for everyone, from a delicious three-course evening meal to bringing your own festive picnic.
NEW: Christmas at Blenheim Palace, Oxfordshire
18 November 2022 – 2 January 2023
Visit the winter wonderland at Blenheim Palace where real magic happens. New for 2022, explore the Snow Queen’s exquisitely transformed Palace rooms filled with many hidden surprises. The fairy tale world has larger-than-life shimmering crystals, a silvery frost-covered forest and much more to discover. The picture-perfect gardens surrounding the palace are lit up with more than a million lights and street food vendors provide warming drinks and festive food.
Bamburgh Castle, Northumberland
12 November 2022 – 8 January 2023
Bamburgh Castle, one of England’s finest coastal fortresses will be transformed into an enchanting wonderland this Christmas. This year’s theme is The Twelve Days of Christmas and the castle’s magnificent interiors will be decorated with lavish and dramatic displays inspired by the carol that epitomises Christmas and its magic.
Winter experiences at Auckland Castle, County Durham
18 November 2022 – February 2023
The Throne Room of Auckland Castle will be decorated with a 50 ft long handcrafted dried flower garland and their atmospheric restaurant the Old Library will be serving a festive afternoon tea and dining experience. Auckland Castle has also organised something special for their visitors this year – a Christmas surprise. The top-secret surprise event will only be revealed on 18 November 2022.
The Christmas Garland at Cotehele, Cornwall
19 November 2022 – 6 January 2023
At Cotehele Tudor house, preparations for the Christmas garland start in February when the flower seeds are sown in their Cut Flower Garden. The flowers are picked from late April and dried over the summer and autumn before the garland is put together in November. The garland varies every year and features between 20,000-35,000 flowers. This Christmas tradition has existed for over 60 years.
Christmas at the Castle, Warwick Castle
26 November 2022 – 2 January 2023
A magical winter wonderland with a dazzling light trail, twinkling trees and festive flourishes will show Warwick castle at its best. The ice-skating rink backdropped by the magnificent castle walls and the Great Hall stunningly decorated for the festive season are only two of the highlights. It will be Warwick Castle’s biggest ever Christmas at the Castle event this year with much to enjoy for the entire family.
Christmas at Raby Castle, County Durham
26 November – 24 December 2022
Join Father Christmas for his fireside Christmas in the Entrance Hall of Raby Castle. Experience the magical forest at Raby Castle on a Christmas Trail, indulge in a festive afternoon tea or wander around the Christmas market. Wrap up for a wintery walk to High Force Waterfall through the magical woodlands and warm up with luxury hot chocolate from the Plotters' Pantry on return.
NEW: Winter lights trail at Shugborough Estate, Staffordshire
25 November – 1 January 2023 (closed Christmas Day)
A spectacular new light trail suitable for all ages is coming to Staffordshire this winter. Shugborough Estate, close to the county town of Stafford, is inviting visitors to join an “enchanting journey” on a mesmerising mile-long trail through its historic grounds this winter. Tickets must be pre-booked online in advance.
NEW: Christmas light trail at Leeds Castle, Kent
25 November 2022 – 1 January 2023
Christmas Lights at Leeds Castle in Kent is a brand-new way to celebrate the Christmas season, designed for all ages to enjoy. Over a million lights, lasers and seasonal soundtracks will fill the air with festive fun in the gardens of the iconic country retreat. Visitors can enjoy sparkling tunnels of light, dancing waterside reflections and trees drenched in jewel-like colour as well as a fire garden, light installations and a peek at Father Christmas along the way. Independent street food vendors will serve up festive favourites.
Leonardslee Illuminated Spectacular 2022, West Sussex
24 – 27 November; 30 November – 4 December; 7 – 21 December 2022
Leonardslee Lakes & Gardens, in Horsham, West Sussex will be home to an illuminated after-dark light trail this winter. The historic 240-acre Grade I Listed estate will see its gardens transformed with illuminations, large-scale installations and atmospheric soundscapes as well as a Victorian funfair, small Christmas market and other entertainment to enjoy before entering the mile-long trail. The estate is a protected ecosystem for fauna and flora that are threatened elsewhere in the UK and beyond.
National Trust Christmas Trails and events, Nationwide
From illuminations and trails to meeting Father Christmas himself, National Trust properties around the country will embrace the festive season in style. Enjoy after-dark illuminated visits at locations including Gibside, County Durham; Dunham Massey in Greater Manchester; Belton House in Lincolnshire and Anglesey Abbey in Cambridgeshire. Ring in the season with a Christmas carol service or enjoy a festive stroll around sumptuously decorated historic houses at properties across the country.
Christmas at The Alnwick Garden, Northumberland
26 November 2022 – 8 January 2023
From meeting Santa and his mischievous elves in a festive treehouse to visiting North East England’s biggest light trail, The Alnwick Garden has created a magic Christmas world. Their festive afternoon tea served in The Pavilion invites visitors to take a break and spend time with loved ones.
Winter illuminations at the RHS Gardens, various locations and dates vary by garden
16 November 2022 – 8 January 2023
The RHS has once again been working with lighting experts for guests to experience five of their gardens in a whole new light. Each twinkling winter walk is unique to each garden and highlight some of the season’s most spectacular sights once the sun has set. Glow events will take place at RHS Garden Bridgewater; RHS Garden Harlow Carr, Yorkshire; RHS Garden Hyde Hall, Essex; RHS Garden Rosemoor, Devon and RHS Garden Wisley, Surrey. Lower price tickets are available off-peak (Monday to Thursday).
Norwich Castle projects and Tunnel of Light Hay Hill, Norwich
17 November 2022 – 5 January 2023
Norwich’s iconic Tunnel of Light will be on display during the festive season again this year. The beautiful installation is 45 metres long with more than 57,000 LEDs making it the perfect selfie spot. Get ready to feel festive and wander through the tunnel gazing at the dancing sequences of pretty lights. Don’t miss a visit to Norwich Castle after dark to see the 70 feet beautiful festive projections onto the walls of the castle. The historic façade will be lit up with a celebration of Christmas magic adding a cheery atmosphere to the city centre.
NEW: Roundhay Park, Leeds
8 December 2022 – 1 January 2023
One of Europe’s biggest city parks, Roundhay Park in Leeds, will be lit up this year by a brand-new Christmas trail featuring larger than life illuminations and seasonal music. The striking light installations were designed by a range of international artists and were all carefully choreographed to a soundtrack of much-loved festive music.
NEW: Discover Santa’s hidden substation at The Historic Dockyard Chatham, Kent
26 November – 24 December (selected dates)
Mission Christmas is a brand-new Christmas experience unique to The Historic Dockyard Chatham. Created within the historic Mast Houses and Mould Loft, visitors will discover a secret location used by Father Christmas, his reindeer and his elves as a navigation centre to plot the locations of any child not at home on Christmas Eve. Father Christmas will task children with a special mission to make sure each “good” child receives their Christmas gift on the most important night of the year. The Historic Dockyard Chatham, including its ships, galleries and exhibitions, will not be open to the public during December. Visitors will only be able to experience the Mission Christmas event.
NEW: Glide at Battersea Power Station, London
11 November 2022 – 8 January 2023
London’s latest ice rink is set against a backdrop of one of the capital’s most iconic buildings, Battersea Power Station. The magnificent open-air ice rink is a must-do activity this winter as it is London’s only riverside skating rink. The experience is run by the team behind the Natural History Museum Ice Rink and Hyde Park Winter Wonderland.
NEW: Lucky Club’s cosy winter garden rooftop, Camden, London
From 11 November 2022
The brand-new roof terrace Lucky Club Camden opened in May 2022 and has announced a magical transformation ahead of the festive season. The rooftop overlooking Camden Market will have an open fire pit, heaters, festive foliage and twinkling fairy lights for a cosy festive atmosphere.
Christmas Afternoon Tea Bus Tour, London
14 November 2022 – 8 January 2023
Think decadent lady fingers, delightful sweet treats and classic British Scones as you dine in Christmassy style and see the iconic sites of Britain’s capital. Guided by your trustee bus driver, you’ll be tucking into Britain’s best flavours as you take afternoon tea to new levels.
See the UK's tallest living Christmas tree at Glow Wild 2022, Wakehurst, West Sussex
24 November 2022 – 1 January 2023
The award-winning winter lantern trail will return for its ninth year to Kew’s wild botanic garden in Wakehurst in the heart of Sussex. The garden is brought to life with beautifully hand-crafted festive lanterns and captivating light installations created by leading artists. The event will also feature the UK's tallest living Christmas tree; 37 metres high and decorated with 1,800 energy-saving bulbs.
NEW: Ice rink added to Destination Christmas experience, Harrogate
2 December onwards
The beautiful North Yorkshire spa town is the place to be for a magical festive experience with a new outdoor ice-skating rink added to the line-up of festive experiences for 2022. A giant 32m Ferris Wheel will provide views of the illuminated action below alongside fun fairs and a Christmas Fayre (2 – 11 December). The Candy Cane Express is also set to be pulling into Harrogate once again, transporting visitors around the town for hop-on-and-off Christmas shopping and to enjoy the festive lights. Elsewhere in the district, Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal Water Garden near Ripon, a World Heritage Site featuring the UK’s largest monastic ruins, hosts “Music and Lights” throughout December, where visitors can wander around the colourfully illuminated ruins and sing along to their favourite carols, with live musical performances on selected weekend dates. Follow the festive trail and enjoy talks from the ranger at the deer park, together with free guided tours of the abbey and water garden.
Christmas by the Sea, Blackpool
18 November – 2 January 2022
Back with a bang for 2022, this year’s Blackpool by the Sea will transform the seaside resort into a winter wonderland. The Christmas Village will once again include a free-to-use ice skating rink; festive light installations and projection shows, themed log cabins, artificial snowfalls, Christmas trees and Christmas tram rides, as well as themed children’s attractions. Alongside this, the Blackpool Illuminations have once again been extended and will shine each night until 2 January 2023.
Kielder Winter Wonderland, Northumberland
19 November – 23 December 2022
Visit Kielder Winter Wonderland for festive activities for the whole family. Assist Mrs Christmas to get ready for Christmas, help out at the elves workshop and walk through the forest to find Father Christmas. You never know whether you might also bump into one of his festive friends in the forest.
Deep Midwinter: A Nordic Christmas at Chatsworth Estate, Derbyshire
5 November 2022 – 8 January 2023
Visitors to Chatsworth will be taken on a journey into the forests and folklore of the Nordic region this winter, drawing upon traditional influences from Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Iceland and Norway across a range of experiences and installations. Highlights will include performances from the Norse god Loki; beautiful sensory experiences across the house and a trail for younger visitors. The Christmas experience continues outside with an illuminated walk around the garden to view ‘northern lights’ over the Canal Pond and - for the first time - see the historic Maze lit with wands of light and filled with festive music. Visitors can also soak up the festive atmosphere at the Chatsworth Christmas Market from 5 – 23 November 2022.
25 years of Carnaby Winter lights, Soho, London
From 8 November 2022
The world-famous Carnaby Christmas lights celebrate 25 years of lights and installations this year. The immersive display will feature a mesmerising collection of the most-loved pieces from the past including glittering Rolling Stones tongues, underwater scenes and oversized Robins. Carnaby collaborates with the charity Choose Love to support refugees around the world.
Christmas at ROARR! Dinosaur Adventure, Norfolk
26 November – 24 December 2022
Dinosaur Dippy’s festive celebrations are returning with a seasonal immersive Christmas wonderland to the dinosaur park. Join dinosaur Dippy on a journey of Christmas celebrations with the Jingle All The Day experience and travel through the North Pole to discover Santa’s hidden grotto. For an even more special experience, the park opens up after closing hours for ‘Sparkle in The Dark’. Visit Mother Christmas at her Gingerbread kitchen, travel through the magical lights towards Christmas Cottage and pay a visit to Father Christmas.
Christmas at Beamish, County Durham
26 November – 24 December 2022
Beamish, County Durham’s open air museum which brings the history of North East England to life, is beautifully decorated for the Christmas season and will celebrate festive traditions. Pay a visit to Santa, try some of the delicious homemade goods cooking on the range, listen to festive music and get your Christmas shopping done before the big day.
Winter Wonderland at Hyde Park, London
18 November 2022 - 2 January 2023
Transforming one of London’s spectacular parks, Hyde Park, Winter Wonderland offers a festive paradise in the heart of the city. The wonderland is home to the world’s tallest transportable observation wheel, a Magical Ice Kingdom and an array of comedic acts at its own Comedy Club. Visitors of all ages can also discover Britain’s largest open-air ice rink and plenty of bars and food stalls. Enjoy jaw-dropping circus acts and don’t miss the chance to ride the Munich Looping, the world’s largest transportable roller coaster! Pre-booking is a must.
For more Christmas ideas head to www.VisitEngland.com
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For more bookable Christmas experiences head to www.visitbritainshop.com
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