With the festive season nearly upon us, now is the time to start planning some Christmassy trips with the family. Whether you’re looking for a day trip or making a weekend of it, we've put together a list of the best places to experience some winter wonderment this season.
- Chester Zoo
- Santa’s Snow Kingdom, The Chill Factor, Manchester
- Winter Wonderland, Shopshire
- Peppa Pig World & Santa’s Christmas Wonderland, Hampshire
- Santa specials on the Llangollen line, North Wales
- Kielder Winter Wonderland, Northumberland
- Santa’s Winter Wonderland, The Snow Dome, Tamworth
- Blithbury Reindeer Lodge, Staffordshire
- Clearwell Caves, Forest of Dean
- Christmas at The Lost Gardens of Heligan, Cornwall
Visit Chester Zoo to view magical illuminations. You won’t see real animals, but your little one will be entranced by creature lanterns, including penguins and tigers! Plus see Santa on his sleigh. Adult: £9.99; under 15s: £8.99; under 3s go free (max two per adult).
Take a trip to Santa’s Snow Kingdom at indoor snow park Chill Factor and she’ll feel the crunch of real snow under her feet. She can visit Santa and play in Mini Moose Land, featuring soft-play blocks and a mini track she can whizz down on a rubber ring. One adult and child: £15.
Santa and his elves are living in a log cabin in Telford! As well as visiting them, your toddler can meet real reindeers Dancer and Prancer, pop into Geppetto’s Christmas toy shop, and take a spin on the carousel and sleigh ride. Adults: £7.95; 2-16: £9.95; under 2s: £6.
Peppa Pig World at Paulton’s Park is having a festive makeover. All seven toddler-friendly rides will be open and there will be decorations galore. The highlight is sure to be seeing Peppa and George wrapped up in their winter hats and scarves, above, although we can’t guarantee there will be snow! You can also visit Santa’s Christmas Wonderland to meet Santa and his singing reindeers, Rudolph and Donner. Keep an eye out for the elves in the toy factory too. Adults: £23; under 12 months: £5.50; 12-35 months: £17.75; 3-12: £23.
Santa makes a special visit each Christmas to the Llangollen Railway. Your decorated steam train will transport you from Llangollen Station to Carrog, which is specially renamed Lapland. Santa will visit each child and give them a special gift, while the adults onboard receive a tipple from Santa’s Little Helpers. Tickets must be booked in advance; passengers aged one and over: £16.
Let the elves lead the way to Father Christmas in his secret woodland home at this magical winter wonderland. Your little ones can help Mrs Christmas get ready for Christmas or give the elves a hand and carve their own wooden keepsake.
As you can never rely on the great British weather to provide a white Christmas, a trip to the Snow Dome means that the fun of snow is guaranteed! Explore the Christmas Snow Trail which features sledge rides, snow tubes and enchanted forests! If you’re traveling far, stay in the Tamworth Central Hotel just a 10 minute walk away. £12.95 each on saver days, £16.95 on normal days; under 2s go free.
Home to England’s largest reindeer herd, Blithbury Reindeer Lodge is a magical place to take the kids before Christmas. As well as feeding the reindeer, you can enrol yourself in Elf School where you learn how Santa trains his reindeer and how to decorate gingerbread men – rumour has it Santa himself often pops in to say hello! Adult: £9.95; child (2-12): £12.95; under 2s: £4.95; family ticket (2 adults, 2 children, 2 sleigh rides): £54.95.
For a truly unique festive experience, each year the caves tell a different Christmas story. Your little ones will be entranced with the underground Christmas markets and the chance to see Santa Claus. £10 per person; children 2 -14 will receive a present from Santa; under 2s go free - an optional gift from Santa for them is £5.
This festive season, the most popular botanical gardens in the UK are transformed into an exciting and magical Christmas experience. Explore the gardens and the festive trail before letting Father Christmas and his elves know your Christmas wish list by the fireside. Heligan Day Ticket prices: adults: £12.50; children 5-17: £6; under 5s go free; additional tickets to see Father Christmas: child: £6; adult: 1p.
With thanks to Premier Inn for their Christmas days out ideas - why not stay overnight and make it a real adventure!