England’s Christmas 2023 Events and Experiences

October 2023: From magical light trails and steam train rides to markets and immersive experiences, England does Christmas in style. Here’s our selection of new and revamped festive experiences for 2023. And for more inspiration take  a look at our extensive Christmas guides at www.visitengland.com.


Christmas Markets & Festive Events


The Big Christmas Day Out, Lancashire

17 November – 22 December 2023

Williamson Park in Lancaster will be transformed into a winter wonderland festival complete with fairground rides, Christmas crafts, festive cinema screenings, and Christmassy Storytime sessions. Surprises await in the Christmas maze along with performances and workshops by Heartbeeps, Northern Heights, and the Rag Tag Roadshow. Visitors can immerse themselves in the enchanting world of Magical Story Jars nestled within the Ashton Memorial, while savouring seasonal treats from the diverse food and drink stalls. Also on offer will be a Crafty Vintage Christmas Market, Café-oke for a festive sing along, Santa’s Grotto, a brass band, carol singers and DJs across the park. Tickets start from £11.



The BIG Christmas Market, Cornwall

29 November – 24 December 2023

New for 2023, the revamped award-winning Truro Farmers Market transforms into The Big Christmas Market, introducing bespoke wooden cabins hosting Cornwall's top artisans and producers. From 29 November to Christmas Eve, Lemon Quay will become a lively hub, showcasing Cornwall's finest talents in food, drink, art, and crafts. There will be live music, street food and festive entertainment to bring in the Christmas spirit.



Victorian Christmas Fayre, Worcestershire

Various dates from 30 November – 3 December 2023

Since its beginnings in 1992, the event preserves its Victorian essence with themed characters, treats and diverse street food. Worcester's historic streets host close to 200 stalls and festive chalets, showcasing an array of Christmas delights, artisanal crafts, local products, and international cuisine. Alongside the stalls, there will be a lineup of entertainment, including Victorian performers, stilt walkers, skilled musicians and lively buskers.



Harrogate Christmas Fayre, North Yorkshire

1 – 17 December 2023

Harrogate is set to host its annual Christmas Fayre which this year will extend to 17 days of merriment. School choirs and local performers will grace the Christmas market each day and the Candy Cane Express Road train will make a return, ferrying folk around the spa town in festive style. Nearby Crescent Gardens will morph into a fairground with an outdoor ice rink, rides, a bar and a traditional carousel. For festive shopping there’s a host of independent retailers in the town centre and the Country Living Christmas Fair at the Harrogate Convention Centre, offering an assortment of traditional market cuisine and gifts.



Brighstone Christmas Tree Festival, Isle of Wight

7 – 10 December 2023

Nestled in the Isle of Wight Village of Brighstone, 150 Christmas trees will be placed across multiple venues for all to see. Local charities, businesses, schools and groups will come together to decorate each tree in an act of true Christmas spirit and community feel. There will be a Christmas craft market close by offering tasty treats and gifts, along with live music throughout the festival including the Lights of Love concert.



The Christmas Meeting at Cheltenham Racecourse, The Cotswolds

15 – 16 December 2023

A weekend of racing at the Cheltenham Racecourse is set to have a Christmassy makeover in mid-December with two days of festive sporting fun. On Saturday guests can indulge in a Christmas Extravaganza themed Raceday, featuring a Santa's Grotto and workshops for the little ones to enjoy. Throughout the weekend, the melodious performances of the Got2Sing Choir fill the atmosphere with festive cheer, entertaining racegoers with classic Christmas Carols. Tickets start from £12.



Castles and Stately Homes at Christmas


Christmas in Neverland at Castle Howard, North Yorkshire 

11 November – 7 January 2023

Castle Howard invites visitors to delve into Neverland this Christmas, where they will discover vibrant ship displays, laughter-filled halls, and transformed tropical settings. This immersive experience brings JM Barrie's Peter Pan tale to life through theatrical installations, projections, and soundscapes. Visitors can explore the Bauble Emporium, savour Mrs Darling's Afternoon Tea and enjoy seasonal treats at the Farm Shop. Tickets start from £19.



Myths and Legends at Bamburgh Castle, Northumberland

11 November 2023– 7 January 2024

Charlotte Lloyd Webber Event Design team return to Bamburgh Castle this winter with an enchanting sequel to last year's acclaimed The Twelve Days of Christmas. Visitors can uncover Northumberland's folklore-inspired stories within the Castle's staterooms, adorned with fairy magic and whimsical creatures. Expect frosted forests bustling with fantastical beings and the melodic echoes of mermaids and selkies, adding to the allure for visitors of all ages. Access to The Christmas Kingdom is included with general admission which starts from £8.50.



All-new illuminated trail at Blenheim Palace, Oxfordshire

17 November 2023 – 1 January 2024

This Christmas, Blenheim Palace presents an all-new illuminated light trail. The after-dark trail features displays such as heart-shaped arches, star-filled tunnels, and an impressive eight-metre sphere adorned with over 20,000 moving lights. Returning favourites include the enchanting Cascades and a contemporary retelling of Sleeping Beauty featuring themed rooms with festive decorations and a grand Christmas tree. The Great Court hosts a Christmas Market, while The Orangery serves Sleeping Beauty-themed Afternoon Teas for a memorable festive experience. Tickets start from £14.50.




Christmas Lights at Leeds Castle, Kent

24 November – 31 December 2023

Leeds Castle will get a festive makeover with the return of its Christmas lights event. New features will include chandeliers suspended from trees, a laser garden filled with small beams of lights, a pathway of mirrored hearts and the Feast of Light, involving immersive glowing multicoloured strings. Snacks will be available on site from the nearby street vendors and tickets will be available from £13.




Fantastical Christmas Revels at Hatfield House, Hertfordshire

30 November – 31 December 2023

Visitors are welcomed to Hatfield House this winter to celebrate Queen Elizabeth I’s childhood with sparkling Christmas festivities fit for royalty. Guests can explore the manor and its grounds, where Tudor melodies and memories come to life, offering a glimpse into celebrations of old. There will be Christmas installations across the estate including a 12ft statue of Queen Elizabeth I herself. Tickets start from £14.84.


Winter Wonderland at The American Museum & Gardens, Bath

1 – 31 December 2023

This Georgian House will get a Christmas makeover this December with an impressive 18-foot tree in the main hall, adorned with 9000 twinkling lights. On offer for visitors will be Christmastide workshops and activities, the opportunity to make the most of the extended opening hours (open until 5pm) with a frost covered walk in the extensive grounds and a visit to the LEGO exhibition, Brick America. Normal admission applies starting from £9.00.




Quirky & Immersive Festive Experiences


Wishmas, London

14 November 2023 – 7 January 2024

Wishmas is a new central London-based experience which blends the best of theatrical performance and immersive technology. Visitors will enjoy a 60-minute walkthrough activity, encountering Wishkeepers, Robins and the legendary Father Christmas in a journey through magical rooms. Tickets start from £29.



Santa Island Experience at Alderford Lake, Shropshire

Every weekend from 24 November – 23 December 2023

In North Shropshire, families can enjoy an unconventional Santa visit involving a power boat ride to 'Santa Island' in the lake's centre. Led by eco-minded elves, children can engage in various activities like storytelling, gift making and campfire treats. Parents can enjoy mulled wine while children craft surprise presents, aided by the elves' magic dust that erases any witnessing memories. Tickets start from £26.95.



Festive Planetarium Show ‘What Santa Sees’, Newcastle

Various dates from 25 November – 3 December 2023

Look up in the North’s largest planetarium to see Santa’s global journey across the world on Christmas Eve. This world first show has been created by the Life Science Centre team and includes specially tailored relaxed sessions scheduled for 26 November at 3.15pm and 3 December at 1pm for those with sensory needs. Following this starry adventure, visit Santa's home for an unforgettable encounter and enjoy an array of festive demonstrations. Tickets from £12.



Hop on board a festive rail express at North Yorkshire Moors Railway, North Yorkshire

25 November – 24 December 2023

The North Yorkshire Moors Railway is set to host Father Christmas and his elves this festive season aboard the Santa Express, which will run on weekends starting from 25 November to 24 December. Visitors can climb on board at either Pickering or Grosmont station and be whisked away on a journey filled with visits from familiar yuletide characters. There are games to be had and present to be given. Tickets start from £25.



The North Norfolk Pole Experience, Norfolk

Various dates from 2 – 23 December 2023

Father Christmas is ready to set up shop in Norfolk for nine days this December to kick-start the Christmas celebrations with some festive cheer. Join Santa and his playful elves as they spread the holiday spirit, singing merry tunes and sharing yuletide tales in the Grotto’s storytelling sessions. There will be festive crafts, creating Christmas-themed decorations and the opportunity to indulge in some hot chocolate and cookies before heading over to the present room. Tickets start from £6.95.



The World Premiere of Christmas Actually, London

7 – 11 December 2023

The World premiere of Christmas Actually – a festive show curated by Richard Curtis and directed by Daniel Raggett will grace The Royal Festival Hall stage this December to raise money for Comic Relief. The show will bring live music, comedy, poetry, stories and performance to viewers and will run for eight performances only. The production will be set against a backdrop of live illustrations from world renowned artists and illustrators as well as include Christmas favourites performed by the live band and sing-alongs. Tickets from £25.50.



Kingdom of Winter, London

8 December 2023 – 7 January 2024

Kingdom of Winter is an all-encompassing winter experience boasting an ice rink, traditional fairground rides and an 'Ice Expedition' designed for picture-perfect moments. With a circus adding to the festive entertainment, visitors can also explore alpine craft stalls and indulge in a variety of winter warmers at the chalet-inspired bars, all within London’s ExCeL Centre. The two food and drink villages provide a cosy haven to enjoy a diverse selection of culinary delights. Tickets start from £5.50.



Illuminating Light Trails


New trail at The Festival of Light at Longleat, Wiltshire

Various dates from 11 November 2023– 7 January 2024

This year, the UK’s original and largest lantern festival unveils a new trail which delves into beloved childhood tales such as Snow White, The Wizard of Oz, Winnie the Pooh and more. The event features the 15-metre Enchanted Christmas Tree show, a Santa Train and a fountain display on Half Mile Pond. Longleat House itself will be lit up with festive cheer in a colourful light show which will bring its historic façade to life. Tickets start from £18.70.



Brand-new Scarborough Lights, North Yorkshire

15 November – 23 December 2023

A brand-new festive event, Scarborough Lights promises 14 installations across the seaside town plus a grand drone display over Scarborough Castle accompanied by a bespoke script by Nick Lane, celebrating the town's vibrant history. The immersive winter lights trail at Peasholm Park showcases artworks from local and international artists, while St Mary's Church hosts Flemish artist Peter Snijder's mesmerising light exhibit.



Christmas at Dunham Massey, Cheshire

17 November – 31 December 2023

Visitors can experience a range of new captivating colour-changing light installations at Dunham Massey’s 2023 Christmas Trail. Highlights include the sprawling batons and the mist-shrouded Nova silver star, alongside star-shaped arches with the occasional appearance of Father Christmas. There will be an illuminated ambiance created by the reflections on the grand trees, all harmonised with a medley of festive tunes. Guests can indulge in a variety of culinary offerings from local food vendors and warm up with seasonal beverages like spiced winter drinks and hot chocolate.  Tickets start from £12.50. Other National Trust properties around the country will light up the dark with sparkling illuminations at locations including Belton House in Lincolnshire; Anglesey Abbey in Cambridgeshire and Stourhead in Wiltshire.




Christmas at Bedgebury, Kent

17 November – 31 December 2023

This winter, Christmas at Bedgebury offers an illuminated experience with its light trail featuring new installations for 2023, set amid the landscapes of the national pinetum and forest in Kent. The one-mile trail showcases an array of light displays, including balanced doves, sparkling light tunnels, and neon structures. Designed by both international and UK-based artists, the displays create a festive and whimsical atmosphere, perfect for family outings and memorable selfies. Visitors can also enjoy seasonal treats from the Bedgebury café and selected street food vendors. Tickets start from £13.



Lanterns and Lights at Chester Zoo, Cheshire

17 November – 31 December 2023

Promising flickering fire gardens, light tunnels, larger than life illuminated animals and festive fun – from marshmallow toasting to fairground rides – Chester Zoo’s Lantern and Lights offers a captivating way to experience the zoo after dark. Tickets start from £12.




Thursford’s Enchanted Journey of Light, Norfolk

19 November – 24 December 2023

Back again with new displays, Thursford’s Enchanted Journey of Light will take guests on a journey through the Fantasyland Building to greet the inhabiting penguins, polar bears and giant teddy bears. Visitors will witness Santa’s elves diligently load his sleigh and craft toys in the bustling toy factory, complete with the enchanting wrapping machine. There will be many encounters with fantastical characters along the way and a Lantern Light Extravaganza outside filled with luminous sculptures, ranging from an underwater realm to the wilderness of the North Pole. There will also be food and drink available as well as a vintage funfair where ride admission is sold separately. Tickets to the event start from £22. And for those wanting more, Thursford Christmas Spectacular is the largest Christmas Show in Europe, with a cast of 130.



New AGLOW festive light trail, County Durham

22 November – 31 December 2023

AGLOW, a newly introduced festive light trail at Auckland Castle in Bishop Auckland, Durham, boasts the region's tallest Christmas tree and the country's longest outdoor light tunnel. With seventeen additional light installations, AGLOW stands as one of England's largest light trails. Visitors can enjoy a one-and-a-half-mile-long trail spanning the Castle's historic grounds, encompassing the scenic Deer Park, the tranquil River Gaunless and a specially designed Santa's Village. Tickets start from £14.50. Other English Heritage properties across the country will once again be ablaze with festive light trails this winter; from Eltham Palace in London to Walmer Castle in Kent.




All-new Christmas at Heaton Park, Manchester

1 – 31 December 2023

Christmas at Heaton Park is an all-new event from the creators of Christmas at Kew. This Manchester-based experience promises a vibrant fairground atmosphere immersed in a display of seasonal lights. Visitors will discover installations of colour-changing globes, gigantic flower arrangements and neon strings that soar high into the night sky. Tickets start from £12.



Cambridge Botanic Lights, Cambridgeshire

Various dates from 1 – 22 December 2023

Cambridge University Botanic Garden’s will host its first ever winter light trail, bringing life to the garden after dark. Vibrant colours and Christmassy lights will illuminate iconic features of the garden such as the Fountain, Lake and Glasshouse Range. Halfway along the trail spectators can warm up with a hot drink and snack from the Garden Café. Tickets start from £13.20.



BeWILDerwood’s Sparkly Light & Panto Trail, Norfolk

Various dates from 2 – 23 December 2023

BeWILDerwood in Norfolk will present an immersive experience in its whimsical woods this winter, with trees adorned with handmade decorations and sparkling lights, alongside some appearances from familiar characters. There will be a mini pantomime to entertain visitors along the way, complete with a woodland twist. Not only will guests meander through festive pathways exclusive to the event but they can also take home an exclusive copy of the new BeWILDerwood book. Tickets £15.50 per person.






Notes to editors:

For more Christmas ideas head to www.VisitEngland.com

25+ Christmas events for 2023

15 Christmas markets to visit in England 2023

12 Christmas shows and pantos for 2023

8 festive places for a Christmas break in 2023

8 unmissable Christmas steam train experiences for 2023

13 festive stately homes to visit this Christmas

The cosiest indoor places to visit in England


For more bookable Christmas experiences head to www.visitbritainshop.com


  • VisitEngland’s comprehensive What’s New in England 2023 overview can be downloaded here. Password is England2023.

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