Please note, in light of the recent lockdown announcement, dates and events may sadly be cancelled or have to adapt. I’d advise checking event websites and social media for the latest updates.
Please bear with them when it comes to refunds or exchanges, as I’m sure they will have a lot to manage, many with small teams to do so. I’m also trying to update the below as often as possible when I hear further information, so please let me know if anything is wrong. (information updated 29.11.20)
Christmas is definitely one of our favourite times of year and although 2020 is looking a little different, there are still some incredible events being released daily – and they’re booking up fast too!
I know there are probably so many more than this, but I do prefer to share places we’ve visited/have experienced, so we can genuinely recommend them to you.
So, without further ado, here are some of our top ideas for days out with the kids in and around the East Midlands this Christmas – particularly for those around Northamptonshire, Warwickshire, Leicestershire and Nottinghamshire! Whether you’re looking for a Christmas market, to meet Santa, or for a festive family day out, there really is something for everyone.
Please note, as government guidance changes, some information may change too, so it is always best to check their websites before you visit.
Tier 2 Christmas Events – still running
West Lodge Farm Park
Tier 2 – currently running for those in tier 2, Tier 3 bookings are still being accepted but with clear and fair alternative instructions on visiting
West Lodge Farm Park has always been one of our favourite places for both events as well as to visit after lockdown. This year’s Christmas Experience is now on sale with less numbers, but you still get to enjoy all the fun of the Twinkly Wood with your magical glasses, visiting elf school, making reindeer food and more.
As part of your experience you get to visit Santa, who will find out something special about your child, and choose a toy from the elf workshop too, as well as all the fun of the beautiful West Lodge Farm Park. The indoor play barn is also prebookable when you’re there too.
They also have a special SEN Christmas night too for those who may not enjoy the sensory overload of a normal Christmas Experience, with minimised crowds, less noise and queues too. All ages are welcome on this experience – find out more here.
Mini Meadows Farm
Tier 2 but accepting tier 2 and tier 3 bookings
The team at the lovely Mini Meadows farm have announced their Christmas experience this year, with a candy cane maze, meeting the elves in their village, visiting Santa’s workshop and writing a letter to Santa too. You also get to meet Santa and choose a gift from the festive trail.
You can also use discount code ELF10 for 10% off before 30th September!
Tier 3 Christmas events – still running
Tier 3 – still running for 2020
Each year, Conkers is transformed into a popular Winter Wonderland, where you get to see Enchanted Forest and Valley of Christmas Lights with the elves to visit Santa’s grotto!
With mulled wine, mince pies and Mrs Claus’ homebaked cookies as well as the Head Elf’s twinkle train, Christmas shows and a balloon modeller, there sure is plenty to keep the magic of Christmas alive at Conkers again this year.
Christmas at Wollaton Hall
Tier 3 – still running for 2020
Christmas at Wollaton Hall is looking beautiful this year with their Light Up Christmas experience. Enjoy a fairy forest, light up sculptures and stunning light displays across the park to really give you all the feels of festive magic.
They’ve put in extra steps to support all visitors this year and make it a Covid-secure event, allowing everyone to still enjoy the spectacle this year.
Find out more about the Christmas at Wollaton event here
CBeebies Land, Alton Towers
Tier 3 – overnight stays not allowed, but still open for day events
If you’re looking for a family Christmas break with a difference, Santa Sleepovers have been announced this year at CBeebies Land, Alton Towers.
Your packages include visit to the theme park, access to the waterpark, an overnight stay in the themed hotels, entrance to the new Garden Lantern Trail from 6pm, a visit to Santa in his grotto, and more.
Tier 3 – still open in 2020
The amazing Bluebell Dairy is running Santa’s Sleigh School at weekends through December as well as from December 21st-24th 2020.
You can learn to pass your sleigh ride proficiency test with the help of elves, Mother Christmas, Father Christmas and Betsy Bakewell on a 2-hour journey, where you collect stamps from the North Pole helpers, before being rewarded with a present from Santa.
A magical Christmas event has just been announced at Wicksteed Park with a festive train journey.
The event is £15pp and includes train journey, making reindeer food, meeting Santa and more. There’s even a treat for the adults too as well as a carousel!
Information poster is below and bookings/enquiries need to be done by email to email@example.com or click here to find out more.
Tier 3 – still running but the meal is now takeaway rather than seated
Twycross Zoo is hosting a Christmas Spectacular for 2020. Details and tickets have now been released with special festive events happening at the Zoo on select dates in December.
With snowball fights, reindeer food making, story time, elves, a Snow Queen and more, as well as a full festive feast with Mrs Claus, it really sounds like a truly magical and unique way to celebrate Christmas.
Manor Farm Park & Woodlands
Tier 3 – still operating as are afternoon tea Santa visits which have been adapted to meet the guidelines 🙂
We always enjoy our visits to Manor Farm Park & Woodlands, and we’ve heard great things about their Christmas events too. Their events are always so well organised, and so we are excited that from 28th November until 24th December, they have announced Christmas Magic activities too.
Meet Santa in his magical woodland cabin, see the reindeer, make reindeer food, make toast on the campfire and write a letter to Santa to post in the woodland post box.
It really sounds like one for all the little adventurers out there and so magical too. Visits to Santa are also optional, costing an additional £5 including a toy, making it great to still enjoy the magical activities if you have booked other events too 🙂
What’s more, they are even running afternoon tea with Santa too – find out more here.
To find out more, check out their website here.
Check out our full farm park review here
Gulliver’s Theme Parks
Tiers 2/3 – depending on location, some cannot do overnight stays, but day events still operating
Gulliver’s Theme Parks are working on Christmas experiences and overnight stays for all the family. Santa Sleepovers are available at Milton Keynes and Warrington as both are in tier 2. We love staying at Gulliver’s Theme Parks, so these sound so magical – find out more here.
Milton Keynes, Warrington and Gulliver’s Valley Rotherham are all operating their Christmas festive days out, with limited availability at Rotherham due to Tier 3 restrictions, however their Smasher Packages are still available here.
At Milton Keynes you can enjoy different levels of packages including Winter Wonderland, gifts and appearances from Santa. Bing and Flop will also be making an appearance on some dates. Find out more here.
Tier 3 – still going ahead
With festive decorations around the castle, a Christmas light trail festival, festive activities, a huge Christmas tree and an ice rink, Warwick Castle has a truly magical Christmas event. Stories with Santa cannot go ahead but all the outdoor attractions will still be running.
Click here for more information.
National Forest Adventure Farm
Tier 3 – Christmas cracker still going ahead
The National Forest Adventure Farm have unfortunately had to cancel their North Pole Adventure for 2020 however are running a Christmas Cracker event, which sounds fantastic fun.
The Christmas Cracker, running through December, is a 20 minute show, plus gingerbread making, tractor ride and a reindeer carousel, as part of your day out at the amazing National Forest Adventure Farm, with gifts from Santa and the reindeer too.
Hatton Country World
Hatton Country World are hosting a Drive In Cinema and Diner with festive films to enjoy from the comfort of your own car.
With films such as Elf, Home Alone, Love Actually and more, as well as a licensed bar and food delivered to your car, this really does sound like a fun festive event this December.
Click here to find out more and to book tickets
Stonehurst Farm will be running a Christmas event, with further updates soon.
They will be reopening for their usual farm activities from the 5th December and a ticketed Christmas market on the 12th/13th December where you can say hello to Santa and the reindeer. The tearoom will also be open for takeaway onle.
Further information coming soon, so keep an eye on their Facebook page here.
Great Central Railway
Tier 3 – awaiting update
Enjoy the Great Central Railways with a difference this year with either the Winter Wonderlights steam train lit up with magical lights or the Santa Express where you meet Santa in your own compartment of 4 or 6.
There is also activities at the station (Quorn & Woodhouse) with funfair, Christmas Village, funfair and more.
Tier 3 events cancelled up to review on 16th, hoping to run after this
Tropical Birdland & Fairy Walk
Tier 3 – dates before 18th have been cancelled, awaiting decision on dates after the review
We are so excited that the Tropical Birdland Winter Wonderland is back for 2020 as it is always one of our favourite events.
With magical lanterns, glittery fairies, the snow queen and more, it is always one of the most magical of experiences.
We also love how adults are only £2 to enter, making it more affordable for some families too. This year, they’re also offering combined tickets with visiting the Tropical Birdland earlier in the day.
For more information and to book, click here.
For the full review of last year’s event, click here
Tier 3 – event sadly cancelled up to the 16th December 😦 hoping to resume after review
Tamworth Snowdome’s Winter Wonderland is now becoming a tradition for us and now it is in its 16th year, it will be another one not to be missed in 2020.
With plenty of real-snow fun, a fun Santa show and the Christmas Village with real animals to explore, there really is something magical about the SnowDome’s Winter Wonderland. They’ve reduced capacity this year and expanded the theater to help keep everyone safer, but still able to enjoy their fantastic winter experience.
You also don’t meet Santa himself, which means it is great to combine with another event too, plus you have all the fun of playing in the real snow!
Charnwood Forest Reinpaca alpaca walks
Tier 3 – Dates before the 18th have been cancelled but are reopening after this
We cannot recommend the 90 minute experience enough, walking your very own alpaca (festive reinpaca) across the beautiful countryside.
Check out our Reinpaca walk & review here
Tier 3 events – now sadly cancelled
Tier 3 – sadly cancelled 2020
Sundown Adventureland, the fantastic theme park for under 10s, is offering limited tickets from 21st November to 24th December to take a ride through the enchanted forest to meet Santa at their Christmas event.
Enjoy the Night Before Christmas ride and the whole park transformed into a Winter Wonderland for all the family to enjoy, as well as all the fantastic rides at Sundown Adventureland too.
Winterfest Thoresby Park – now cancelled for 2020
This event has now unfortunately been cancelled, however I’m keeping it on here as a reminder for 2021 and will update when I know the events Thoresby park will be hosting for 2020
Winterfest 2020 is set to take place at the beautiful Thoresby Park from November 28th – 29th 2020.
It is a free, socially distanced Christmas market that promises to be a celebration of local handmade crafts and foods, giving you the chance to buy unique and special gifts for your family and friends that you can’t find on the high street.
With a festive atmosphere and a whole host of local traders, we can’t wait to visit Winterfest this year, particularly as so many other events like this have already been cancelled – this really will be very special.
The event is free, although you still need to pay parking fees at Thoresby Park. It will be open 10am-5pm Saturday and 10am-4pm on Sunday.
Find out more about Winterfest 2020 here
Thomas Land / Drayton Manor – now cancelled
The following event has now sadly been cancelled – please visit their website here for further information