Best Christmas days out and events in the UK for families this festive season

Christmas offers plenty of quality time to spend with loved ones, but staying cooped up in the house all day can sometimes make for a bit too much time.

Luckily there are heaps of brilliant events and days out across the UK, whether you're after something to do in the lead-up to the big day, or wanting to fill those 'in between' days.

That can include going for a winter walk, wandering through a festive market, watching a show or pantomime, or just enjoying fun festive events near you.

To give you a helping hand, we've searched out some of the best Christmas days out, events and things to do to keep the whole family happy – and you'll get to make some memories together too.

Check out our round-up below…

Take to the ice

Time to lace up those skates – ice rink season is in full swing and there are heaps of brilliant spots in front of UK landmarks and picturesque festive settings.

Some are located right by Christmas markets too – the perfect excuse to warm up afterwards with a hot chocolate or mulled wine.

Check out our guide to the UK's best ice rinks for plenty of inspiration.

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Head to a historic house for festive fairs and workshops

The National Trust has organised a wide array of fun events across the UK sure to get you in the festive spirit, from wintry trails to Santa's Grotto and choir performances.

You can find out what's on near you on the National Trust website here , including the best Christmas fairs , festive craft workshops and Christmas lights displays that will be on offer.

Meanwhile, English Heritage will also be hosting a wide array of festive events across the UK, with everything from Christmas crafts and recipe workshops and visits from Father Christmas to carol singing and guided winter walks. You can search here for Christmas events near you .

Another must-visit is Doddington Hall in Lincoln; the manor house has been transformed into an Enchanted Forest until Sunday 22nd December with surprises for the whole family, visits from Santa, twilight tours and late night shopping. (You need to book ahead for some of the events).

  • You can book stays in a magical candy cane house – and yes, the decor is edible

Wander through a Christmas market

Whether you need to pick up some last minute gifts or just want to get into the festive mood, Christmas markets can be the ideal spot for both!

Nowadays as well as the food and gift stalls, markets are upping the stakes with ice rinks, rides and plenty more surprises.

We've rounded up the UK's best Christmas markets for 2019 to give you a starting point.

Go and see Santa!

Visiting Santa's Grotto can be a brilliant way of kicking off the festive magic for the kids, not to mention it often involves receiving a small gift before Christmas Eve.

National Trust has plenty of Father Christmas visits on during the festive season (some you'll want to book ahead), while English Heritage is also hosting Father Christmas – you can search here for events near you.

Oh, and for something extra sweet, Cadbury World will be hosting a Santa Show until Monday 23rd December, where Father Christmas will take centre stage and provide a gift for little ones in attendance.  

Watch a pantomime

It's pantomime season and this year hasn't disappointed, with heaps of fun shows for both children and adults. Not sure where to start? We've picked out some of the top pantomimes worth being on your radar below:

  • Jack and the Beanstalk in Glasgow , tickets from £12pp
  • Cinderella in London , tickets from £13pp
  • Peter Pan in Liverpool , tickets from £11pp
  • Sinderella (adults-only) in Liverpool , tickets from £27.90pp
  • Snow White and the Seven Dwarves in York , tickets from £19.40pp

Want to find more? ATG Tickets has plenty more pantomime inspiration .

Go and see a Christmas film

Let's be honest, the British weather isn't exactly always the dreamy snowy day you envision at Christmas – and when it's cold, you don't always want to go outside.

The cinema can be such an easy option for those bad weather days, and during the festive season there are heaps of great films for the whole family to enjoy.

Frozen 2 , Last Christmas , Jumanji: The Next Level and Star Wars are just some of the films to be enjoyed this year – you can check out our full list of the best films in December to have on your radar.

Take in the fresh air on a winter walk

The UK is filled with beautiful winter walks if you want to get some fresh air and stretch your legs after all of the Christmas indulgence.

However, if you're looking for a bit of a vibrant atmosphere, there are more walks and trails to be found with a festive twist – for example, Treasure Trails is hosting Dickens-themed trails across a host of UK locations (tickets are £9.99 and the walk lasts roughly two hours).

For something with an extra touch of magic, there are plenty of illuminated trails and Christmas lights displays that are worth bookmarking for a particularly enchanting few hours.

For example, Kew Gardens in London puts on quite a spectacular display (although this sells out quite quickly), while the Art of Illuminations at the Lost Gardens of Heligan in Cornwall is an immersive experience with plenty of light shows, sounds and projections.

Longleat's Festival of Light is also a highlight, running until the 5th January and offering up heaps of magical lantern displays, while the RHS has events in Harlow Carr and Garden Rosemoor where you can explore the gardens alongside eye-catching displays.

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