Winter is the time for family days out and celebrations with friends, which is why we've picked the best things to do this Christmas in the UK.
While we can always find a reason for mince pies, festive songs on the radio, twinkly Christmas trees and another glass of mulled wine, that’s not all the UK has to offer this Christmas. There’s enough going on to get even the most hardened scrooge in the mood.
Thinking of a visit to Santa? A day at a Christmas Market? An evening of Christmas carols, or even taking a spin around one of the UK's best ice skating rinks? We've got your Christmas activities all wrapped up, so relax and let the good tidings roll.
Along the way, there’s brilliant craft markets in Birmingham and Bath, tea tasting and wreath making in Cornwall and the chance to have a thoroughly Scandinavian Christmas at London's South Bank. We included Christmas Carols at the Charles Dickens Museum, Christmas parties at Heddon House and a rather lovely candlelit Christmas afternoon tea.
Then there's the 02, which is putting on a very special production on ice this year in the form of Disney's Ice Passport to Adventure with everyone's favourite Disney characters (including Elsa from Frozen). It's the perfect pre-Christmas treat for children.
Is there anything more festive than making your own Christmas wreath? No, no there is not.
Be inspired to create a beautiful arrangement for your front door, stairwell, mantelpiece, or Christmas table at this festive workshop at Daylesford farm in the Cotswolds. Their expert florists will show you how to make seasonal wreaths and garlands using natural foliage and blooms foraged from the Daylesford farm. Weather permitting you'll also get a tour of the cutting garden.
Where? The Daylesford Garden Workshop, Daylesford near Kingham, Gloucestershire, GL56 0YG
When? Saturday 1st - 18thDecember 2018
From dusk, the grounds will come to life with a new light show created by the Guildhall School, projected onto the Stables and inspired by the objects, architecture and gardens of Waddesdon. Beyond the Aviary you’ll discover a light trail that playfully combines colour, sound and movement, and the Manor’s facade will also be bathed in light.Christmas at Waddesdon Manor, one of the UK’s most impressive stately homes, is befitting for a house that was created for showing off and entertaining. Built in the late 19th century by Baron Ferdinand de Rothschild, the building masquerades as a 16th century French Chateau, created to house his collection of 18th century French art and entertain his fashionable friends.
This year they're set to have a spectacular Christmas Carnival. From dusk, the grounds will come to life with a new light show created by the Guildhall School, projected onto the Stables and inspired by the objects, architecture and gardens of Waddesdon. Beyond the Aviary you’ll discover a light trail that playfully combines colour, sound and movement, and the Manor’s facade will also be bathed in light.
Where? Waddesdon Manor, Aylesbury, Bucks, HP18 0JH
When? 10 Nov – 2 Jan 2019, Wed-Sun
The London Cabaret Club are celebrating Christmas at The Bloomsbury Ballroom with a 1920’s Christmas show.Guests will be taken on dazzling, full-scale festive extravaganza set in the heart of Bloomsbury. Step into this glittery magical Winter Wonderland for a unique entertainment experience filled with amazing performances and luxury dining.
Where? The London Cabaret Club, Victoria House, Bloomsbury Square, London WC1B 4DA
When? From 30th November until 22nd December
Another magical place to be at Christmas in London is the Royal Botanical Gardens, Kew and this year it's set to be extra special. As dark falls, a path festooned with over one million teeny illuminated globes will twinkle in the night sky. Along the walkway you'll see singing trees, trees wrapped in ribbons of light and the epic sledge tree, that's been made from over 360 wooden sledges. Warm up at the Fire Garden, tuck into roasted chestnuts and mulled wine and check out Palm House, which will be putting on a colourful, kaleidoscopic light show. Adding to the Christmas feel, there'll be a festive fairground complete with a Victorian carousel and Santa.
Where? Kew Gardens, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Richmond, Surrey, TW9 3AE
When? Thursday 22 November 2018 – Saturday 5 January 2019, 5pm – 10pm (timed entry every 30 minutes)
Can you think of anything more magical than Christmas at Hogwarts? No, neither can we. Experience Christmas in the Wizarding World as you wander through The Great Hall and discover how film-makers created fire, ice and snow that never melts as the Studio Tour undergoes a magical makeover for Hogwarts in the Snow.
Where? Warner Bros. Studio Tour, Studio Tour Drive, Leavesden, WD25 7LR
When? From 17 November 2018 to 27 January 2019
Although there's Christmas markets the length and breadth of the country, Bath Christmas Market weighs in as one of the best, that gets bigger and bigger every year. The market pops up along the picturesque streets that surround Bath Abbey and the Roman Baths and has over 170 decorated wooden chalets. 85% of the stallholders are local makers coming from Bath and the surrounding areas in the South West. From handcrafts to locally produced food, you'll find individual presents to suit everyone in your life.
Where? Bath city centre
When? From Thursday 22nd November to Sunday 9th December
For one day only this luxurious countryside hotel will be transformed into a festive wonderland as it hosts its annual Christmas Market, featuring a range of gifts from their favourite beauty, wellness and interiors.
Located in the 18th century stable block in the heart of Dogmersfield Park, The Spa courtyard will be filled with the aroma of mulled wine, hot chocolate and roasted chestnuts to enjoy while browsing the traditional outdoor market.
Money raised will be dedicated to the The Brain Tumour Charity and so is a great chance to do good while having fun!
Where? Four Seasons Hampshire, Dogmersfield Park, Chalky Ln, Hook RG27 8TD
When? 6th December
This year, Penzance will be illuminated with festive sparkle as we go to town with the theme ‘Christmas Bells’. Landmarks like Market House and St Mary’s Church will join local shops and businesses as they light up for the season.
The festive market will run from 10am until 5.30pm with a variety of stalls from Arts and Crafts to Food. Market Jew Street will also host a Youth Market from Pop Up Penzance.
There will be a Santa's Grotto delivered by Penzance Rotary Club as well as musicians and bands playing throughout the town.
Where? High St, Penzance TR18 2SU
When? 25 November 2018 (lights switch on at 4.30pm)
It's possible there's nowhere as magical as Lapland UK when it comes to igniting that festive spirit. Hidden in the Whitmoor Forest at Ascot, it's a fully-immersive experience which includes making wooden toys with elves, icing gingerbread men with Mother Christmas and of course, a one-on-one with the most impressive Santa this side of the real Lapland. Little ones will love Lapland UK's myriad secret trails lined with snow covered trees, its Elf Village and the ice rink, while adults will love the Scandi wooden shops (filled with sweeties, mulled wine and bratwurst or bespoke baubles). There's even a blacksmith's outpost with Santa's sledge and six real reindeers.
Where? Lapland UK, Whitmoor Forest, Swinley Road, Ascot, Berkshire, SL5 8BD
When? From November 17th to December 20th 2018
The Royal Albert Hall is pretty special all year round but this London landmark takes Christmas seriously, very seriously. This year they are rolling out an action-packed festive programme including late night festive jazz, carol concerts and lots of events for children and adults alike.
Where? Royal Albert Hall, Kensington GoreLondon, SW7 2AP
When? From 1st December until 31st December - for full list of events.
There's no such thing as too many Christmas lunches, which is why, you should book one at the beautiful Langrish House. Set in the heart of the picturesque South Downs National Park, Langrish House are putting on a delicious festive menu which includes things like Home smoked salmon with Fromage blanc, lemon and capers, and butterflied turkey breast with all the trimmings.
Where? Langrish House, Langrish, Petersfield, Hampshire GU32 1RN
When? Festive menu from 1st - 23rd December
Opening in mid-November, Belfast Christmas Market injects a blaze of colour and festive cheer into the City Hall Gardens, with the arrival of the chalets signalling, for many, the start of Christmas. Community choirs (performing in authentic Victorian costume) will sing traditional Dickensian carols, making it nigh impossible not to get into the spirit.
With over 80 traders the market allows visitors to delve into countries from all over the world and experience the traditional gifts, Christmas decorations, stocking fillers for little boys and little girls, food and drinks they offer.
When? 17th November - 22nd December 2018
Where? Belfast City Hall grounds
Forget the annual office Christmas party; Hedsor House in Buckinghamshire is here with its Gatsby style parties to ensure your Christmas celebrations are done in style. Located 40-minutes away from London in pretty Taplow, Hedsor House is a Georgian style mansion and then some. It's got a range of different Christmas packages you can book from The Bees Knees to The Fizzy Flapper, where you can book the house out in full. Dress the part as you're taken back in time to the Roaring Twenties for the likes of a Laurent Perrier Champagne reception, a three-course dinner under twinkling chandeliers, live cabaret and vintage photo booths. It'll be a Christmas party to remember.
Where? Hedsor House, Hedsor Park, Taplow, Buckinghamshire, SL6 0HX
When? Book your own dates through December
Cornwall’s Eden Project is adding extra sparkle to Christmas this year with a meet and greet with Father Christmas himself. Children can meet elves on the trail to Father Christmas’ house - where he will be reading stories by the fireside or head outside to see his (real) reindeer who will be roaming the site throughout the winter season. There's also an outdoor ice rink, which runs from October right through until February 2018 and the chance to experience Eden's unique landscape by night.
Whether you're local or embarking on a Cornish Christmas break, it's one of this year's must-see Christmas events.
When? Selected dates between 24 November and 30 December 2018
Where? Eden Project, Bodelva, St Austell, Cornwall, PL24 2SG
From Glasgow to York via Cardiff, there's a slew of twinkling outdoor ice rinks popping up across the country just in time for Christmas, many of which are surrounded by pretty Christmas markets, food stalls, fairground rides and lashings of general merriment. Try the UK's first ever 'green rink' at Brighton, or the thumping ice rink cum nightclub at London's Somerset House.
Up in Manchester, the popular rink has moved to the city's landmark London Road Fire Station. The Grade II listed building is the perfect spot for a festive spin on the ice and will also have a pop-up art gallery and brilliant programme of live music and DJs.
Southbank Centre’s magical winter season returns with award-winning entertainment for all ages, pathways of twinkling lights, bustling riverside markets offering food, drinks and gift ideas, a great fix of rock 'n' roll music.
Don't miss the winter market with all its winter chalets dotted along the water or this year there's Slava's Snowshow. If you fancy a singalong yourself you can join in with the winter choirs.
When? 1st December 2018 - 2nd January 2019
Where? Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road, London, SE1 8XX
Found right next to Birmingham's famous Frankfurt Christmas Market, the Craft Market gives visitors the chance to browse an entirely different selection of items crafted by local artisans, as well as goods imported from all over the world by local traders.
Year after year more stalls are added on Centenary Way Bridge and out into Centenary Square, bringing the total number of stalls to well over 180, making it the largest German Christmas market (outside of Germany, of course). Look out for locally hand-crafted items including decorative ironwork, wood carvings, handbags, toys, homemade Christmas decoration, musical instruments and organic soaps and cosmetics. Santa's stocking fillers are sorted.
Where? Chamberlain and Centenary Squares, Birmingham
When? 15th November - 23rd December 2018
There are few more magical places for little ones than Legoland. And when you add in a sprinkling of Christmas fairy dust, it becomes a must-do in the run-up to the Christmas festitvities.
Miniland will spring to life complete with mini Christmas lights, a Christmas market and a 'flying' appearance from the big man himself and there's the opportunity to take a ride aboard the 'Brixmas Express'. Get involved with the elves, who are looking for helpers to build LEGO gifts, which you can take home. What more could you ask for?
When? 1st & 2nd, 8th & 9th, 15th - 23rd December