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The best festive days out

Our pick of top attractions with Christmas spirit in abundance

Christmas is never far away

Whatever the time of year it seems that Christmas is never far from our minds, so to save on last minute plans why not sort out what to do on a Christmassy day out.

When the time comes you can expect twinkly lights, skating fun and a very special visitor from our selection of top attractions, all of which do a magical job of embracing the most wonderful time of the year.

Please note that booking may be required.

Beaulieu, Hampshire

Nestled in the heart of the New Forest, Beaulieu already enjoys a special setting. Couple that with their calendar of festive family entertainment, and you’ve got everything needed for a great day out. Venture on the Yuletide Trail and take a family snap next to the impressive life-size Gingerbread House on your visit.

Blenheim Palace, Oxfordshire

Winter at this UNESCO-listed gem really makes the most of its spacious gardens and palace. Browse the artisanal Christmas Market in the Great Court before taking in spectacular Nutcracker-themed decorations adorning the palace’s rooms. Outside, the breathtaking gardens are illuminated by lightshows – book a slot to avoid disappointment.

Chatsworth, Derbyshire

2021 marks 20 years since Chatsworth first started opening to the public over the Christmas season – to celebrate, this grand Derbyshire house will play host to a celebration of two decades of Christmases past. Highlights include the Narnia-esque snow installation in the Inner Hall, and the magical light installations in the gardens.

Drayton Manor Theme Park, Staffordshire 

Drayton Manor’s Magical Christmas event is perfectly poised to help make special family memories. Attend a 20-minute live show featuring Father Christmas and Elf Tinsel, meet Rosie the Reindeer, walk through the wonderful Grotto Experience, and be spellbound by the singalong show and fireworks display grand finale.

Holkham Hall, Norfolk

On various dates throughout December, Holkham Hall adds to its magnificent allure with “Holkham…A Christmas Present”. This varied programme of events includes bespoke craft workshops, an audience with Father Christmas, and a Santa Paws at Home event complete with Canine Carol Concert for four-legged visitors. Holkham by Candlelight is also a perennial favourite.

Kew Gardens (Royal Botanic Gardens)

Kew Gardens’ annual after-dark festivities are a wonderful way to welcome in the Christmas season. Journey through the flickering flames of the Fire Garden, and discover sparkling tunnels of light along with dancing waterside reflections. There’s also plenty of delicious independent street food vendors serving up tasty treats waiting to be sampled.

Longleat Safari & Adventure Park, Wiltshire

Running from 6 November to 3 January, the 2021 Christmas at Longleat family event boasts Britain’s tallest singing Christmas tree, festive storytelling, a Winter Wonderland trail, and more. For an extra-special experience, climb aboard the Santa Train to discover a magical woodland grotto where you can meet the man himself.

Margam Country Park, Neath Port Talbot

This Christmas sees Luminate Wales return to the stunning, historic gardens of Margam Country Park and Castle. Immerse yourself in the mesmerising mile-long route that weaves a captivating, illuminated trail through the grounds before warming up with toasted marshmallows around the fire pit.

Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, Edinburgh

Throughout December, Christmas at the Botanics transforms the Garden into a world of twinkly festive cheer. Gaze up at the larger-than-life illuminations, see the trees drenched- in jewel-like colour and complete your walk under the stars with a winter warmer, purchased from your choice of independent street food vendor.

The Natural History Museum, London

It’s hard to picture a more festive scene than revellers skating around the Christmas tree set against the backdrop of this iconic South Kensington Museum. After testing your skating skills, enjoy a bird’s eye view of the rink from the café and venture into the museum itself to admire the T.rex’s Christmas jumper.

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