Winter Wonderlands for Christmas 2011

There is nothing better to get yourself and the kids in the Christmas spirit than a trip to your favourite city and participating in their festive offerings. In this post we’ll highlight some of the best Christmas attractions around the UK that are suitable for the whole family (minus the mulled wine!)…

London

Hyde Park Wonderland

Hyde Park really does turn into a winter Wonderland in December. You can ride the Hyde Park Wheel and watch their Christmas Circus. It’s also home to the UK’s largest outdoor ice skating rink which has recently been decorated in a Victorian theme complete with a bandstand.

Meet the reindeer at Covent Garden

Reindeer in Covent Garden - LondonSanta wouldn’t get very far without his reindeer, so go and say hello to Rudolph and company at Covent Garden. This is particularly popular with younger children, and is available until Christmas Eve.

Oxford Street Christmas lights

If you’re shopping in London, make sure you go to Oxford Street to take a look at the awe-inspiring Christmas lights. These are turned on until January 5th, so there is plenty of time to experience these fantastic Christmas lights when it gets dark.

Cardiff

Cardiff goes all out at Christmas time, so a visit is a must if you want to feel Christmassy. If you’re looking for something slightly different to do, why not take a Victorian Christmas tour? The tour is located in Cardiff Castle and will be taken by a costumed guide who will be taking you around each room for a festive tour of the premises. You will be then be taken to the Banquet Hall for food and refreshments. The little ones will also have the chance to go and see Santa and tell them what they’d like for Christmas. This is a great alternative to the grotto that will be educational too.

Cardiff is also a hotspot for Christmas shopping, especially with their Christmas markets. The main Christmas market space is at St David’s where you’ll find the best in homemade Welsh art and crafts.

York

York Christmas MarketYork is the perfect setting for anything Christmassy, with its Gothic inspired architecture and historic atmosphere. An event that should not be missed is the Festival of Angels. On Saturday 10th and Sunday 11th there will be a parade of spectacular ice sculptures, led by the Golden Angel. This will start in the Minister Quarter but the time and route are still to be decided. There will also be Christmas stalls, street entertainment and ‘guaranteed snow’. Another must is a visit to St Nicholas Fayre. You’ll be able to indulge in shopping from Victorian style stores with costumed traders and eat roasted chestnuts and drink mulled wine.

Photo by Matt Cornock 

Liverpool

Santa's Grotto at Liverpool One If you live in the North West area, why not pay a visit to Liverpool One for a spot of shopping and to enjoy their ‘Christmas in the Park’ extravaganza? Santa’s Grotto is a must if you have kids- they’ll love the glistening paths and friendly penguins which surround it. Every child who visits Santa will receive a gift and will be able to post their wish lists into the special post-box that sits within the grotto.

As well as their amazing grotto, Liverpool one also have an ice rink, a pop up winter bar called The Polar bar and a selection of attractions and rides, including Santa’s Train Ride, a carousel and a helter skelter. These attractions teamed with their fantastic range of shops, restaurants and bars make it a brilliant festive day out for the whole family.

Edinburgh

If you live up north, then a Christmas trip to Edinburgh can be a fantastic festival day out. This year there will be lots to do in Edinburgh. On the 24th November ‘Light Night’ will commence, where the Christmas lights on and around George Street will be turned on and there will be a spectacular parade on The Mound. The 24th will also see the grand opening of the Christmas Fair which will include the Edinburgh Wheel, a Christmas Carousel and a Children’s Christmas Corner.

bungy snowdome in edinburghAn attraction that shouldn’t be missed is the Bungy Snowdome, a dome with swirling snow which you can try out your acrobatics skills in! The dome will release mountains of fake snow and you can bounce around in it with up to five friends and get your picture taken too.

No Christmas would be complete without a visit to see Santa before the big day. On Saturday 3rd December, Santa himself will be visiting East Princes Street Gardens where he will be telling stories and picking up his post from the special Christmas post boxes.

Save money on your Christmas shopping

While out shopping don’t forget to check online for vouchers for your favourite high street shops. There will be some fantastic offers released for Christmas, like Marks and Spencer discount vouchers, discounts at Boots and 2 for 1 offers on some of the major Christmas retailers like Argos, Debenhams and more. Never leave the house without some printable vouchers in your purse/wallet.

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