It’s that time of year where we start to get busy planning our family Christmas days out. Festive experiences and trips to see Santa are popping up all around and in the UK we are really spoilt for choice with the immersive and magical experiences that are available. But, which ones are the best UK Christmas days out?
We’ve tried to include a mixture of areas and Christmas days out across the UK but we are going to be adding to this list throughout November and December, so do check back if your area isn’t yet covered.
The Best UK Christmas Days Out:
Lapland UK – Ascot
We couldn’t do a post without including Lapland UK. The four hour immersive Christmas experience is famous for its scale and quality. Hear the original adaptation of the Father Christmas story and discover the secret world of elves as you navigate your way through different activities at Lapland UK. The magic starts before you arrive, with a personalised invitation sent to your kids in the post and the magic continues as you step into a land that has been created to reflect everything that Christmas is about!
- Read our review of Lapland UK here.
Winter Wonderland – St Lukes Bombed Out Church, Liverpool
Every year St Luke’s Bombed Out Church plays host to a ‘Winter Wonderland’. Two-hour timeslots are available to book in advance and your ticket price includes Santa’s Workshop where youngsters can make their own bauble or Christmas card to take home; art sessions at Mrs Claus’s Art Studio; build and dress up a snowbuddy in hats and scarves in the Snowland; storytelling in Storyland with characters; show off fun dance moves in the Silent Disco; and not forgetting a trip into Santa’s Grotto with a gift and framed photograph with Santa to take home. Adults are also treated to a hot drink and mince pie.
- Read our review if Winter Wonderland in Liverpool here.
Christmas at Thomas Land – Drayton Manor, Tamworth
If you’re looking for a theme park experience this Christmas, Thomas Land at Drayton Manor gets a festive ‘Magical Christmas’ makeover. The park is jam-packed full of Christmas family fun. Expect guaranteed snowfall throughout the day in Thomas Land, with spectacular festive shows. During your visit you can wander around the 15-acre zoo and meet all the resident furry friends. You can also enjoy over 25 rides and attractions and watch live shows performed throughout the day, giving your little ones the chance to sing and dance along with their favourite characters. If you choose to visit the Castle Of Dreams, you’ll get to meet Father Christmas and his helpers. Each day you can see the Imagination Parade and a shot but spectacular fireworks display.
- Read our review of Christmas at Thomas Land here.
East Lancashire Railway – Bury
Kick start your Christmas celebrations with a steam train ride through East Lancashire Railways very own Winter Wonderland! Take part in the ‘Great Christmas Treasure Hunt’ at Bury Transport Museum and then take a steam train ride to Rawtenstall and back through the Irwell Valley. On your journey expect to meet costumed characters, an on-board magician as well as Santa and his elves as they travel through the train giving a gift to each child. Admire the beautifully decorated train stations and immerse yourself in the festive atmosphere that’s full of bands playing and carol singing. Each child receives a biscuit and a juice drink while adults can tuck into a mince pie and a festive tipple.
- Read our review of East Lancashire Railway at Christmas here.
Santa Llangollen Railway – Llangollen, Wales
Santa makes a special visit each Christmas to the Llangollen Railway. Your decorated steam train will transport you in style from Llangollen Station to Carrog (renamed Lapland for Santa’s visit). Santa will give each good boy and girl a special gift on the journey & the adults on-board receive a Mince Pie & a tipple from Santa’s Little Helpers.
- Read our review of the Santa Llangollen Railway here.
Stockeld Park – Wetherby, Harrogate
There is so much to experience at Stockeld Park at Christmas. Take a magical trip around the illuminated Enchanted Forest, play in the adventure playgrounds or travel through the magical Maze. Or why not journey by Nordic Ski on the woodland trail, or enjoy the real Ice Rink! Discover all of that plus daily Winter Activities & Special Events including Santas Sleigh Parade, Santas Panto Breakfast and a Giant Snowglobe.
- Read our review of Stockeld Park at Christmas here.
Christmas Experience at Weardale Railway – Bishop Auckland
A couple of years ago we got to hop aboard the Polar Express at Weardale Railway. This year they’ve changed the festivities slightly and you can now climb aboard the Train to Christmas Town. The train ride has been expertly designed to bring the spirit of Christmas to life and will be a special ride to remember.
Collect your tickets from the beautifully decorated Stanhope Station. Here you can visit the Olde World sweet cabin and the children’s corner where you can write a letter to post to Santa. Once the Weardale Railway Conductor makes his “All Aboard” call you will be transported into a magical atmosphere. Expect music, singing, dancing and storytelling from the Elves and Conductor as well as delicious treats onboard. Before you know it, the train will reach Christmas Town where Santa Claus himself is waiting to climb on board along. Each child will be greeted by Santa as he makes his way through the train and presents them with a special Train to Christmas Town gift.
- Read our review of the Christmas Experience at Weardale Railway here.
Willows Farm – St Albans
There is so much to do at Willows Farm during Santa Spectacular! Santa Spectacular is a full day out of indoor and outdoor fun. Here you can meet Santa in his glorious grotto and receive a golden key to his Toy Shop. You can also attend Elf Academy, say hello to Santa’s reindeer and so much more.
Guests can take part in a sack full of interactive displays including sing-a-longs with the Elves and new for 2018 a Woodland Fairy show. Why not take a spin around the magical synthetic Ice Rink, get creative in the new gingerbread decorating and the Create-a-Cuddle workshops, or pop on your 3D glasses for Willows brand new festive short film adventure. Don’t forget to buckle up for the fairground rides too!
Christmas Illuminations at Harlow Carr – Harrogate
See Harlow Carr in a different light this winter as special lighting effects bring a touch of magic with an illuminated trail around the magnificent trees, shrubs and lake as dusk falls. Enjoy the atmosphere of the festive season, in a beautiful garden setting. See captivating light installations of giant botanically – inspired blooms and marvel at magnificent trees lit up across the garden. Also check out the other festivities while you are there, including story time with Santa and the Christmas magic trail.
- Read our review of the Christmas Illuminations at Harlow Carr here.
Winter Wonderland – Manchester
Winter Wonderland in Manchester is a kids Christmas dream. Expect to be dazzled with themed Christmas shows, theme park and fairground rides, games and so much more. Meet Santa himself and explore this big playground. The fun starts from the moment you walk through the door as bright colours, noise and snow welcome you to the Winter Wonderland. There are also lots of food stalls offering a variety of different sweet and savoury food options and so much fun to be had.
This years venue is still to be announced, but keep your eyes peeled, it gets booked up fast!
- Read our review of Winter Wonderland in Manchester here.
That was our round up of the Best UK Christmas Days Out. We’d love to hear some more recommendations below.
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