Great Christmas ideas: days and nights out

Deck the halls – and head out to play

by Bernadette Fallon

It’s December – tra a la la la … la la la la! Time to lap up the Christmas spirit, indulge in the markets, oogle the Christmas trees, turn on the carols.

Here are just a few of the fabulous festive fun things you could do in the next few weeks. As Noddy from Slade so memorably points out every year ‘It’s Christmaaaaaaaaaaaaaaasssssss ….’

 

 

The best Christmas market in the country

There are hundreds to experience – see our Christmas market guide here – but why not head for the best? Bath’s Christmas market is the only one in the country to have received the ‘Quality Assured Visitor Attraction’ from Visit England. Running until December 15 against the backdrop of the city’s Abbey, over 150 traditional wooden stalls showcase the best of the region’s food, crafts, gifts and decorative arts. There’ll be choirs and carol singers around the Abbey, and visitors also have a chance to win a trip to Lapland to visit Santa. If you’re staying in the area for a few days, check out the ice skating rink, Georgian Christmas at the Royal Crescent and Peter Pan at the Theatre Royal. www.bathchristmasmarket.co.uk

 

Christmas at Kew

For the first time ever, Kew Gardens will be opening up for Christmas celebrations after dark – experience the illuminated path through the arboretum from now until January 3, every evening from 4.30 to 10pm. The mile-long walk leads through the garden’s unique tree collections, transformed into a magical light show and soundscape, ending up back at the gloriously illuminated Palm House and into the Christmas Village with traditional arts and crafts stalls, festive music, lots of tasty goodies – roasted Norfolk turkey in sourdough buns, waffles with hot cherry sauce – and vintage rides including a Victorian carousel. Santa’s Woodland Grotto is open from 4.30 to 8.30 every evening, or you can visit him during the day in the Princess of Wales Conservatory. Daytime walks through the gardens are also on offer, led by Kew’s volunteer guides.

Christmas at Kew evening tickets: adults £12.50, children £8, family (2 adults & 2 children £38), under-5s free; www.kew.org/christmas

 

Jane Austen, the Romans, Santa on a train

All of the above – and more – are available in Hampshire this year at the South Downs National Park. You can join Santa on one-hour team train journey through the countryside on the Mid-Hants’ Railway Watercress Line, with Santa sacks and soft drinks for the kids, wine and mince pies for the adults. www.watercressline.co.uk Or experience the palpitations of a Jane Austen ball at the Regency Dance in Gilbert White’s House in Selbourne, December 7. www.gilbertwhiteshourse.org.uk. Celebrate Saturnalia, the Roman winter celebration, in the Roman villa at Buster Ancient Farm on December 20, www.busterancientfarm.co.uk. For full information on all Christmas activities in the region, visit www.easthants.gov.uk/tourism.

 

Once Upon a Christmas

Get the chance to save Christmas at the intriguing ‘theatrical adventure’ for adults around London’s Covent Garden – through shops, bars, restaurants and the London Transport Museum. Access your inner elf and meet a host of Christmas characters along the way. Once Upon a Christmas runs until December 15, performances start every seven minutes between 4.30 and 7.30pm.

Tickets £35, including free return visit to the London Transport Museum within one month; www.ltmuseum.co.uk

 

Santa at Eden

The big man takes up residence at Cornwall’s Eden Project every weekend from now until Christmas – and he’s brought the elves, who will guide young visitors through the gardens, first of all to meet the reindeer, and then into Santa’s tent to listen to magical fireside stories and receive a gift. Around the park there are activities for visitors of all ages - Christmas carols and live music, festive food, exhibitions, craft workshops and fun surprises. And every Saturday and Sunday, the night will end with a lantern parade through Eden’s outdoor gardens, with a fire finale.

Adults £3, children £5, visit www.edenproject.com for more information

 

Sleep with dinosaurs

Sleep under the 26-metre Diplodocus dinosaur in the central hall of the National History Museum on December 28 at the Dino Snores for Grown-ups sleepover. There’s a whole evening of festive fun planned, with science shows (the sex lives of insects), stand-up comedy, art, music and cinema, plus late-night entry into the fabulous Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition – read more about it here. You’ll be served a three-course Christmas dinner in the restaurant and a cooked breakfast before the museum opens to the public at 10am the next morning.

Admission £175, visit www.nhm.ac.uk/after-hours/dino-snores-grown-ups for more information and to book. Sleepovers will take place in 2014 on Jan 17, March 14, May 16, June 20, August 22 and October 25.

 

More ideas for Christmas

See our round-up of festive travel and trips

5 books for Christmas

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Escaping to the country, abroad or just down the road for a long weekend – exploring the world around you. Follow our team of staff writers and add your comments to kick off the debate.
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About The Authors

Carla  Griscti

Carla Griscti

Editorial assistant on allaboutyou; Music lover, travel bee and food fanatic.

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Emma Marsden

Emma Marsden

Food consultant of All About You, loves creating something out of nothing and decluttering.

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Bernadette  Fallon

Bernadette Fallon

Editor of All About You; an online journalist with a fetish for glossy magazines.

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Adrienne  Wyper

Adrienne Wyper

Deputy editor of All About You. I love cycling, cooking and creating

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Carol  Muskoron

Carol Muskoron

Associate editor of All About You, loves life (mostly) and one-pan recipes (always).

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