Christmas is definitely one of our favourite times of year and I know many are looking for an even bigger Christmas for 2021 after losing out on that special time with the family in 2020.
I know there are probably so many more days out 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.
West Lodge Farm Park, Kettering
West Lodge Farm Park has always been one of our favourite places for both events as well as a fun day out, whatever the weather. This year’s Christmas Experience is now on sale and we’d get in quickly to not miss out on tickets.
The whole experience is just so magical and on our must-do list every year, including wandering through 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 too.
Bluebell Dairy, Derbyshire
The amazing Bluebell Dairy is running Santa’s Snowlympics at weekends through December as well as from December 21st-24th 2021.
You can learn to pass your sleigh ride proficiency test with the help of elves, Mother Christmas,
You’ll discover the TREEmendous trail and an exciting snow contest. The Great Penguin Sleigh Race is the race to end all races, and Santa and friends will be there with you at Bluebell Dairy.
Santa and his team are doing something special this year. They’ve brought some peculiar Polar inhabitants to Bluebell’s dairy farm in Santa Claus’ House. You’ll no doubt be expecting Santa, and a few elves too…. But did you know that other more unusual Polar inhabitants wanted to come along for the ride? And they want YOU to take part in some of their brand new games!
We had a great time at Bluebell Dairy last Christmas and really do recommend it!
Manor Farm Park & Woodlands, Leicestershire
We always enjoy our visits to Manor Farm Park & Woodlands, and last year was just so magical at their Christmas afternoon tea meeting Santa in the woodlands.
Their events are always so well organised, and so we are excited that their Christmas event is running every weekend from 27th November 2021, as well as from Monday 20th December to Friday 24th December.
The events include meeting Santa in his magical woodland cabin, seeing the real reindeer, and why not make reindeer food, toast on the campfire, decorate gingerbread men and write a letter to Santa to post in the woodland post box?
They also have an Early Evening Wonderland where you can meet Santa and see the lights in the magical woodland as well as Santa Tots for the little ones.
To find out more, check out their website here.
Check out our full farm park review here
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 2021.
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.
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!
National Forest Adventure Farm
The National Forest Adventure Farm are once again running their North Pole Adventure for 2021, which we loved in 2019 – it really was so magical.
Hatton Adventure World, Warwick
This Christmas, Hatton Adventure World is being transformed into a Winter Wonderland!
Treat your family to a unforgettable magical adventure, including their first ever Christmas Panto starring Father Christmas and the North Pole Elves (from your private socially distanced sleigh).
Back this year is Mr. Holly and his hilarious Festive Friends Puppet & Yuletide Trickery Magic Shows. Each child will receive a personalised letter from Father Christmas and have access to the Secret Toy Shop to choose a special present. Get creative with gingerbread decorating, and make your own reindeer food with the help of our friendly elves.
Take a walk through the Enchanted Forest, and be amazed by King of the Orient Indoor Falconry Display. This event also includes a festive funfair, animal feeding, guinea pig village, slide mania & soft play. This event is always extremely popular so early booking is advised.
Click here to find out more and to book tickets to their Enchanted Christmas Kingdom
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.
Inside, discover splendid Staterooms adorned with twinkling trees, dazzling decorations and festive flourishes. In the Great Hall, marvel at medieval armour, majestic architecture and the renowned 20ft high Christmas tree.
Outside, climb the towers and ramparts for impressive panoramic winter views and explore 64-acres of grounds and gardens. Overhead, you’ll find impressive birds of prey, flying gracefully as our expert Falconer leads them in an unforgettable demonstration.
Brand new for 2021, enjoy extra special yuletide treats and tuck into a Christmas Afternoon Tea, in the Conservatory Tea House. Santa will settle down to tell charming tales, sharing stories of festive cheer with little ones, accompanied, of course, by his merry elves.
Twycross Zoo, Warwickshire
Twycross Zoo is hosting a Christmas Spectacular for 2021. 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.
Santa’s inclusive workshop – Leicester city centre
A fantastic entry and new for 2021 – a fully inclusive Santa experience in Leicester City Centre: “We are excited to open our doors for the first ever Santa’s Inclusive Workshop. Our aim is to create a fully inclusive space where anyone with special requirements can feel comfortable and enjoy the magic of visiting Santa.”
Here’s what you can expect:
Plenty of time with Santa
Northern lights with falling snowflakes
A present from Santa
Accessible entry – ramp access
Customised lighting and sound for each child’s needs
Take all the photos your heart desires
Find out more here
Mini Meadows Farm, Northampton
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.
Wicksteed Park, Northamptonshire
Wicksteed Park has announced their Christmas Extravagansa show on:
22nd – 25th, 29th and 30th November 2021
1st, 2nd, 6th – 9th, 13th – 16th December 2021
Their family-friendly daytime variety show returns to kick off this year’s festive season.
With over 30 costume changes, stunning vocalists and dancers from West End shows such as Les Misérables, Oklahoma!, Miss Saigon and Carousel, plus the very best variety and comedy performers around, there’s something for everyone – whether you want to join in the festive sing-a-long or not!
You’ll be served a delicious Christmas lunch before this seasonal slice of entertainment begins.
In addition, Magical Wicksteed will be back to! Find out more here
Lap of Lights,Silverstone
This Christmas, you can enjoy the incredible Lap of Lights event at Silverstone, where you drive your family in your car around the Silverstone track under lights and laser displays, promising 3.5 miles of lights and lasers.
New for 2021 is an immersive skating experience, ICE TRAK, where the world-famous pit lane and garages will be transformed into a frozen wonderland. 45-minute skating sessions can be pre-booked when purchasing your LAP of LIGHTS ticket. Get your skates on – this is going to be popular!
There will also be The Lodge, which will house festive food and drink as well as exciting winter-themed activities, in a cosy indoor environment. Your Lap of Light ticket allows all members of your party access to the lodge where you can eat, drink, and play through the evening.
For more information and booking, click here.
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.
Magic Alley, Stratford
Enter The Ice Kingdom and make your way through our magical 10 rooms completing the Christmas quest. On the way you will happen upon various characters and magical creatures before meeting Father Christmas.
All children receive a present and then continue on their journey culminating in a visit to the snow covered Enchanted Forest where you can play in the snow and have a snowball fight!
This year (2021) they have two specific types of session available:
Christmas at Magic Alley for children aged 4 and over
This session is aimed at children aged 4 and over and includes elements of basic reading and puzzle solving. Presents are age appropriate (in light of customer feedback) and as a result you will be asked to provide the age of your child/children upon booking.
In this session children under 4 are only permitted entry as part of a family group including older children.
Some of the later evening sessions are restricted to those over 4 only as a result of experience and feedback from other visitors
Christmas at Magic Alley for children under 4 (marked with * at either end of the title)
This session is targeted at younger children and includes a Christmas quest which is age appropriate. Children will receive a gift suitable for younger children. Please note adults do not receive a gift in these sessions.
For more information, click here
Tropical Birdland & Fairy Walk, Leicestershire
We are so excited that the Tropical Birdland Winter Wonderland is back for 2021 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.
For the full review of 2019’s event, click here
Sundown Adventureland, the fantastic theme park for under 10s, is once again back for Christmas where you can 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.
Christmas at Wollaton Hall
Christmas at Wollaton Hall is looking beautiful this year with their Light Up Christmas experience from November 26th to January 22nd. Enjoy a fairy forest, light up sculptures and stunning light displays across the park to really give you all the feels of festive magic.
Find out more about the Christmas at Wollaton event here
Gulliver’s Theme Parks
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. 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 – you can enjoy different levels of packages including Winter Wonderland, gifts and appearances from Santa.
Find out more here.
CBeebies Land, Alton Towers
This December get ready to enjoy a magical festive day out at Alton Towers Resort, with specially selected rides ideal for families, including CBeebies Land and Gangsta Granny: The Ride!
Plus get ready to visit the brand-new mega-magical Towers Street Christmas Market and discover over 60 fantabulous and wonderous market stalls! But the festive delights don’t end there: new for 2021 experience Alton Tower Resort’s & Lightopia ‘Sense of Seasons’ a magical, immersive journey through the 4 seasons that will transport you to a whim-tastical land where you can control time.
Plus enjoy a host of seasonal entertainment, meet cheery characters and eat delicious food! Endless fun and delights!
What’s more, they also have Santa Sleepovers to make Christmas extra special.
Leicester City Centre
From mid-November to 6th January 2022, Leicester City Centre is bringing back Christmas!
Keep an eye out here for the updates and for the full lineup – the ice rink will be back and Christmas light switch on will be 18th November 2021.
The Jubilee Square Ice Rink will be back from Thursday 2 December 2021 – Monday 3 January 2022.
Christmas in Leicester promises the most magical of experiences this year with an exciting Festive Adventure trail, celebrating the best the city has to offer!
From ice skating on a real ice rink, meeting Santa in his snow-covered grotto, taking a ride on the Wheel of Light to delving into a large-scale light installation and entering a winter wonderland in our interactive adventure.
We are particularly excited to see the Rhizome Light Display and the interactive exhibition but it is always a beautiful time of year in the city. Find out more here or check out our review of Christmas in Leicester events here.
Thomas Land, Staffordshire
Make special memories this festive season when you unwrap an amazing treat at Magical Christmas on selected dates from 13th November – 31st December 2021 at Thomas Land, Drayton Manor.
Discover falling snow, enchanting decorations, a dazzling 35ft symphony tree, cheeky elves frolicking around the park and over 25 child-friendly rides and attractions: including Europe’s only Thomas Land and our 15-acre zoo. Plus, Live entertainment and experience our brand-new live show – ‘A Christmas Wish’.
Then, end your day watching our magical firework display by the lake – featuring Father Christmas, Mrs Claus and the elves for a singalong show like no other!
Don’t miss the most magical New Grotto Experience this festive season, available up until Christmas Eve. The whole family will love this enchanted Christmas walk through the Castle, guided by elves, your little ones can enjoy story time with Mrs Claus, make reindeer food with Father Christmas’ elves and meet Father Christmas himself! As you finish your Grotto experience, the kids will be able to collect their present, along with a hot chocolate and mince pie for the parents!
Great Central Railway
Santa will be back at the Great Central Railway at Quorn & Woodhouse Station in 2021, and he’ll be visiting passengers on both the Santa Special and Santa Deluxe trains.
Santa has swapped his sleigh for a fun filled journey on an enchanting steam train. Ride on board the award winning Santa Specials and let Father Christmas surprise you with a an exciting present at your seat and a chat with the man himself!
For tickets and to find out more click here
Twin Lakes Theme Park
The latest from Twin Lakes theme park: Santa opens his doors to his magical Grotto from 26th November! Follow the Elves through his enchanted extensive walkthrough and ride The Christmas Train before meeting Father Christmas himself! Don’t forget to choose your present from his Elves Workshop!
Breakfast with Santa – Sunday 12th December! Enjoy an early morning feast before meeting Santa and spending a full day in the park.Party in the Park with Santa – Saturday 18th December! Join Santa and Mrs Claus for an after dark party as our festive illuminated park reopens after hours!
All tickets for the above events are now live on their website. Please prebook all festive activities early to avoid disappointment: www.twinlakespark.co.uk