30+ things to do in the UK for Christmas 2023

Christmastime only comes around once a year, so you’ve got to make the most of the festivities in the run-up to December 25th.

That’s why we’ve found over 30 of the best things to do across the UK for Christmas 2023. Grab your diary and get planning – let’s make it a month to remember!

1. Hyde Park Winter Wonderland

Cup of hot chocolate at Hyde Park Winter WonderlandOne of the most magical destinations from November to January, Winter Wonderland attracts millions of visitors every year. Set inside London’s famous Hyde Park, its central location makes it the perfect place to stop by on a weekend staycation.

Expect the good vibes to be flowing as you explore drool-worthy food stalls, one-of-a-kind entertainment, exciting attractions, including stomach-flipping rides, and so much more.

Find out all you need to know about Hyde Park’s Winter Wonderland here!

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2. Christmas Markets

Chalet stalls at Birmingham Christmas MarketThere’s no better way to kick-start your festive spirit than heading along to one of the UK’s many Christmas markets. This year, Covent Garden is promising its biggest and brightest market yet. The beautiful, historic city of Bath will have over 170 chalets, comprising incredible crafters, foodie experts, and much more. Birmingham’s Frankfurt Christmas Market is the largest and most authentic market outside of Germany.

With traditional stalls lining the streets, tuck into a bratwurst or pretzel, and wash it down with a Weisbeer. And we can’t forget about Edinburgh’s Princes Street market. Consider it the ultimate place to chow down on festive goodies, pick up one-of-a-kind gifts, and see Scotland’s capital in all its glory from the Forth 1 Big Wheel.

Discover more about the UK’s best Christmas markets here!

3. Westfield Winter Village in London

Winter Village at Westfield Shopping CentreAfter finishing your Christmas shopping at the popular Westfield London, why not put on some skates and hit the ice? Their Winter Village is home to one of the city’s best outdoor ice rinks and promises a magical experience for the entire family.

Don’t forget to warm up after with a drink and a bite to eat – with a myriad of enticing kiosks, we’re certain you’ll find something to tempt your palate.

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4. Lapland at Whitmoor Forest, Ascot

Lapland AscotFancy a trip to Lapland? Whitmoor Forest in Ascot promises a brilliantly festive and immersive adventure right here in the UK. The journey kick-starts with an invitation from Santa to help make toys with his elves.

Little ones will travel through a series of interactive rooms, including the Toy Factory and Mother Christmas’ Kitchen. Concluding with an opportunity to meet the big man himself, it’s no wonder this magical experience has won countless awards!

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5. Christmas at Blenheim Palace

Christmas at Blenheim PalaceA regal country house in Woodstock, Oxfordshire, Blenheim Palace offers plenty of festive fun. Their after-dark trail is undoubtedly a must-visit attraction, promising glowing tunnels, heart-shaped arches, and a giant sphere with over 20,000 dancing LEDs. For those obsessed with grand interiors, the Palace rooms have been adorned with a Sleeping Beauty twist.

And, you can even indulge in a Sleeping Beauty Themed Afternoon Tea at the Orangery.

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Polar Express Train RideLove The Polar Express? Vintage Trains in Birmingham offers fun-filled train rides with spellbinding shows based on the joyous scenes of the brilliant 2004 film. Step on board to immerse in the sights and sounds of the endearing story, as you watch an 80-minute performance put on by the talented cast.

As you arrive at The North Pole, there’ll be a chance to meet Santa and each passenger will also receive an iconic Golden Ticket – just like the children in the movie!

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7. Hever Castle at Christmas

Hever Castle at ChristmasIf you already love visiting Hever Castle and Gardens, you must make a visit during the Christmas period. The enchanting castle and grounds will be lit up with plenty of dazzling lights and mesmerising colours, offering a magical experience for kids and adults alike.

And you simply can’t visit without going inside the castle – expect traditional rooms with decorated Christmas trees and warming log fires.

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8. Kielder Winter Wonderland – Northumberland

Kielder Winter WonderlandLooking for something to keep the kids entertained all day? Kielder Winter Wonderland in Northumberland is the perfect escape to help you create magical memories that last a lifetime. During your visit, you’ll meet Mrs Christmas, visit the Elves’ Workshop, get up close and personal with real reindeer, and even say hello to Father Christmas himself!

If your little ones love getting involved with new and exciting activities, this fabulous day out is one you cannot miss.

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9. Hogwarts in the Snow

Christmas at HogwartsFancy a festive trip to the Warner Bros Studio Tour in Watford? From mid-November to mid-January, Harry Potter superfans can experience the wizarding world fully decked out for the Christmas period. Each room will feature a fun, festive twist with soft blankets of snow covering the famous sets.

So, embrace the joys of the festive season this Christmas whilst immersing in the magical stories from the iconic film series.

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10. Christmas Lights London by Night Bus Tour

London Christmas lights tourThere’s no doubt London truly comes alive at Christmas with millions of captivating lights adorning the city’s famous streets. One of the easiest and most spellbinding ways to see the incredible display is by night bus tour. Get wrapped up warm as you travel around the capital and witness some of London’s most iconic landmarks lit up for the festive season.

And don’t forget to get your camera at the ready!

11. Christmas at Kew

Christmas lights at Kew GardensA beautiful botanical haven, Kew Gardens is home to over 50,000 living plants. And this Christmas, you can see them in a whole new light! From mid-November to early January, you’ll find impressive illuminations, thousands of glistening lights, lakeside reflections, and even Father Christmas (if you’re lucky!). There’ll even be street vendors ready to fill your tummies with delicious food and drink.

Grab your tickets quickly – this well-loved attraction has limited capacity!

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12. Top Musicals This Christmas

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child ShowThere’s nothing like heading to the theatre during the Christmas holidays. And this year, there are some brilliant musical performances up and down the country. Whether you’re into those that cater for the entire family or want something a little more adult-friendly, there’s something to wow everyone, promising the most entertaining night of the season.

Find our top musical picks here!

13. Visit an Ice Rink

Skate at Somerset HouseVisiting an ice rink is a surefire way to get everybody in the Christmas spirit. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or skate like Bambi on ice, it’s all about letting loose and immersing in the joys of the Christmas period. If you’re visiting London, why not head to the iconic Hyde Park Winter Wonderland to put your abilities to the test?

Further north, there’s a rink at Winter Funland Manchester, Bath On Ice, and the Eden Project.

We’ve created a list of the best ice rinks to visit this winter!

14. Christmas Carol Singalong at the Royal Festival Hall

Carol singing at the Royal Festival HallLove Christmas carols? The Royal Festival Hall is hosting a Christmas Carol Singalong where you can listen to (and join in with) some of the biggest and best yuletide hits. Expect iconic songs such as Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer, Silent Night, and even Let It Go from Frozen.

Presented and conducted by Jonathan Cohen, you’re in for a memorable experience.

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15. Christmas Shopping at Bicester Village

Bicester Village at ChristmasIf you want to treat your nearest and dearest to the hottest designer brands this Christmas, a trip to Bicester Village in Oxfordshire is essential. Promising over 160 luxury labels all in one place, including Balenciaga, Dolce & Gabbana, and Saint Laurent, it’s time to grab your shopping list and bag some bargains.

You can even browse the boutiques until 10pm from 19th-21st of December, where you’ll find live music and a champagne bar to keep you going!

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16. Book a Winter Igloo

Jimmy's pop up Fire and FromageIt might not be the North Pole, but booking a winter igloo for you and your loved ones is just about as close as you can get in the UK. Offering a warm and cosy space to celebrate the season with friends and family, consider it a must for those who treasure unique experiences.

As you tuck into delicious grub and drool-worthy drinks, you’ll be graced with the charming sights of some of the country’s best cities.

17. Langdale Christmas Pudding 10K

9th December

Christmas fun runAre you a keen runner? This year, you can take part in a super fun 10k through the Great Langdale Valley in the heart of the Lake District. Offering a chance to see some of the region’s most breathtaking mountains and mesmerising waters, consider it a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Why not embrace the festive season and throw on a festive costume?

When you reach the finish line, it’s not just another race to tick off the list – you’ll also go home with a delicious Christmas pudding!

18. Hogmanay in Scotland

Hogmanay in ScotlandScotland certainly knows how to go “all out” to bring in the New Year. So, join in with their world-renowned Hogmanay celebrations. There’ll be fantastic events in many towns and cities, but Edinburgh certainly does it best. Getting the party started on the 30th December with a torch-lit procession, the last day of the year sees the city embrace the most diverse street party with activities for all ages. When the clock strikes midnight, get ready to witness a fireworks display like you’ve never seen before!

Thinking of making the trip to Scotland for Hogmanay? Check out this article first!

19. Winter Funland at the NEC in Birmingham

Winter Funland BirminghamWant several exciting Christmas activities in one ticket price? Winter Funland at the NEC in Birmingham promises exactly that, offering kids and adults a chance to enjoy unlimited funfair rides, a huge ice rink, a festival circus, and finger-licking foods. There’ll even be a chance for the little ones to meet Santa and tell him what they’re wishing for on Christmas Day.

Throw on your Christmas jumper and get ready for an unforgettable family adventure!

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20. Winter Light Trail at Birmingham Botanical Gardens

Winter Light Trial at Birmingham Botanical GardensBirmingham’s Winter Light Trail, AKA Luminate Birmingham, promises a spellbinding show of glistening lights from 26th November to 2nd January. Set inside the beautiful grounds of the Botanical Gardens, the trail is almost a mile long and has plenty of sights and sounds to excite the senses along the way.

Wrap up warm and grab your camera – you’ll definitely want to capture the incredible light displays.

21. Burning The Clocks in Brighton

Burning the Clocks FestivalSignifying the shortest day of the year, Burning the Clocks in Brighton occurs annually on 21st of December. It sees locals and tourists join in with an upbeat parade through the city with extravagant paper lanterns bringing a glow of warming light to the darkness. As the parade concludes on the infamous pebble beach, you’ll throw your lantern onto a fire, bidding farewell to the year.

If you’re looking for a unique festive event, this is it!

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22. Christmas at the Eden Project

Eden Project at ChristmasFancy a trip to Cornwall? The Eden Project is well-known for its Christmas displays destined to delight every visitor – from the young ones to the young at heart. Delivering a brilliant sensory experience, you can see the iconic domes lit up in a seriously festive fashion. Plus, there’ll be mesmerising light effects all around the venue. You can even go ice skating and meet Santa Claus.

Get ready for endless fun at the Eden Project!

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23. Christmas at the Castle – Warwick Castle

Warwick Castle ice rink at ChristmasWarwick Castle offers a truly magical experience this year, with something to entice all ages. You can meet Father Christmas in the castle library, see the incredible outdoor light trail, practise spellbinding twists and turns on the open-air ice rink, and even tuck into a festive feast.

Whether visiting during the day or at night, be prepared to be wowed by the breathtaking scenes during Christmas at the Castle!

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24. A Celebration of Christmas at Paultons & Peppa Pig World

Peppa Pig WorldPaultons Park in Hampshire is the home of Peppa Pig World, and this year you can see the adventure land transformed for Christmas! As well as the usual delights of this much-loved venue, expect magical illuminations, story-time with Santa, lots of enthralling rides, and the Marvellous Musical Christmas Tree.

It’s worth a trip just to see the excitement on your little one’s face!

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25. Santa Rocks: A Magical Family Santamime at Wonderville, London

Christmas pantomime showLove going to the panto? Santa Rocks: A Magical Family Santamime offers the ultimate pantomime experience in London’s West End. Running from 24th November to 30th December, audience members are in for a real treat as there’ll be plenty of opportunity to interact with the cast.

Plus, you can expect a myriad of surprises along the way. Make sure you’re ready to scream and shout – Santa needs all the festive cheer he can get to help save Christmas!

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26. A Dickensian Christmas by Candlelight

Candle lit orchestra performanceWith vocals from the Covent Garden Carollers, A Dickensian Christmas by Candlelight is an enchanting festive experience for all. Expect a myriad of classic carols and upbeat Christmas music, including Hark the Herald Angels Sing, as well as a reading from the Charles Dickens’ novel, A Christmas Carol.

There are only 3 dates available – 16th, 22nd, and 23rd December – so you’ll need to secure your ticket fast!

27. Magical Woodland at Christmas – Blakemere Village

Woodland light displayNestled in the picturesque Cheshire countryside, The Magical Wonderland at Christmas offers the most spectacular light features amongst the 15-acre woodland. Expect to be blown away with floating umbrellas, flying lanterns, and super fun laser tunnels.

There’s also a chance to meet Mr & Mrs Claus whilst you’re there, and you can grab the tastiest festive snacks to enjoy around the on-site fire pits!

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28. Glow Marwell Winter Light Trail

Woodland light displayNothing signifies the festive season quite like seeing thousands of twinkling lights before your eyes. Glow Marwell in Winchester, Hampshire, is putting on a dazzling light trail this Christmas. With impressive illuminations and breathtaking displays boasting over 500,000 rainbow-coloured lights, you’ll find the Enchanted Tree, a collection of animals, and a 36-metre tunnel.

This magical experience is sure to have you smiling from ear to ear!

29. Let Loose! Yorkshire Christmas Adventure

Christmas candy caneIf you’re heading up north this winter, then Let Loose! Yorkshire Christmas Adventure surely has to be on your trip’s bucket list. Delivering a wildly immersive experience, you can visit Santa’s Grotto for story time and a gift-giving event, enjoy breakfast with the big man himself, and get involved in lots of exciting outdoor games.

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30. Peter Pan Cup on Christmas Day at Hyde Park’s Serpentine

Peter Pan Cup London Hyde ParkFancy doing something a little different on Christmas morning? The Peter Pan Cup is one of London’s oldest traditions (beginning in 1864) and involves a 100-yard swimming race in Hyde Park’s lido. But there’s a catch – only members of the Serpentine Swimming Club can actually take part, meaning most in attendance are simply spectating.

So, why not head down and cheer them on?

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31. Winter Funland Manchester

Winter Funland ManchesterMuch like the Birmingham event, Manchester will be graced by the endless joys of Winter Funland. Set inside the BEC Arena in Trafford Park, get ready to see some of the best and most well-loved fairground attractions. There’ll be unlimited rides for all the adrenaline junkies, an ice rink to test your skating ability, and lots of yummy foods to refuel.

Perfect for under 9s, consider it a day out they’ll be forever raving about.

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32. Winchester Cathedral Christmas Market

Christmas market giftsHeld in the breathtaking grounds of Winchester Cathedral, this Christmas event has something for everything. Explore the cathedrals’ over 1,000 years of history and even catch one of Winchester Cathedral’s serene Advent and Christmas services performed by an internationally acclaimed choir.

Craving a festive treat? Check out the Winchester Cathedral Christmas Market and its superb Christmas eatery choices!

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