Tickets for festive events can make the perfect gift. You might want to treat a niece or nephew to a spin around a local Christmas skating rink, book your family friends into a magical lantern-lit procession through one of the country’s favourite zoos or splash out on taking your own children to Disneyland Paris for an Enchanted Christmas. Hopefully, this events page will give you some ideas and inspiration.

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Skate at Somerset House with Fortnum & Mason

November 15, 2017 – January 14, 2018

Celebrate Christmas in capital style at London’s famous Fortnum’s ice rink. Enjoy memorable winter experiences on and off the ice. By day, skate in the splendour of the stunning Somerset House courtyard. At night, there’s a new event for 2017 entitled “Skate Late”. This is a specially curated programme of music for 17 nights, with an eclectic line-up of DJs from across the musical spectrum. Make your visit extra special with one of Fortnum’s ‘Skate Extras’, including Wine & Fondue for Two served on site in the Fortnum’s Lodge. The West Wing is transformed into The Christmas Arcade, a pop-up version of the classic Fortnum & Mason Piccadilly store, and is open daily throughout the season until New Year. Tickets are on general sale from September. Check out somersethouse.org.uk/ice-rink.

Disney’s Enchanted Christmas at Disneyland Paris

November 8, 2017 – January 11, 2018

Disney’s Enchanted Christmas celebration returns at Disneyland® Paris for more than a month from November 8, 2017. Disney says: “Immerse yourself in the festive atmosphere and enjoy a range of special events that are sure to get you into the Christmas spirit.” Disney’s Christmas Parade and the Frozen Sing-Along are among the many highlights. Check disneyholidays.co.uk for booking details.

Lantern Magic at Chester Zoo

This festive delight runs from November 24-December 30, 2017 but has been sold out in quick time the last couple of years so early booking is advisable to enjoy the Christmas sparkle at Chester Zoo in the Northwest of England. You’ll be invited to stroll around the zoo after dark to enjoy all of the night time sounds, the beautiful lantern-lit gardens and the magnificent, imposing animal lanterns. Festive characters will also lead Father Christmas and his sleigh through the zoo. Book in advance for your tickets to Lantern Magic and you can also choose to enjoy supper by adding a Festive Feast or make a day of it with zoo admission, all at discounted prices. Tickets on sale from September. All 2017 dates can be viewed and tickets booked at chesterzoo.org or by calling 01244-380280.

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The Gift of Tickets to a Christmas Show

“Cinderella”, “Sleeping Beauty”, “Jack and the Beanstalk”, “Aladdin” and “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” – these and more of your favourite pantomimes are taking place throughout the festive season in the UK. Visit our Pantomime & Theatre page for choices and details.

Young Frankenstein at the Garrick Theatre

There’s something about Christmas and ghost stories that sit curiously well together – so what about throwing in a monster in a musical? London’s Garrick Theatre is staging the West End premiere of Mel Brooks’ quirky musical “Young Frankenstein” through the Christmas and New Year season. Based on the 1974 film starring Gene Wilder, this new production follows a successful Broadway run that closed in 2009. Hadley Fraser stars as Dr. Frankenstein and comedian Ross Noble plays Igor. Previews start on September 28, 2017 and then this limited season run stretches well into the New Year.

The Snowman at the Birmingham Repertory Theatre

From November 23 to December 31, 2017

“The Snowman” stage show is an enduring festive tradition now in its 20th year. Based on the book by Raymond Briggs, “The Snowman” is the story of a young boy whose snowman comes to life on Christmas Eve and take off on a magical adventure. With music and lyrics by Howard Blake, choreography by Robert North and directed by Bill Alexander, this show is a seasonal stunner. One review from The Times read: “Sheer theatrical magic. Go see The Snowman and melt.” More at peacocktheatre.com.

Christmas at a Country Estate

Buy tickets for family and friends to a fabulous country estate. For example, Christmas at Chatsworth is not to be missed – with tickets on sale from early autumn at chatsworth.org. Chatsworth operates a timed ticketing system so you will need to book online in advance to confirm your visit. The Christmas season begins at this magnificent Derbyshire estate from November 11, 2017 and runs through to January 5, 2018. The Chatsworth Christmas Market, with more than 100 stalls, runs from November 17-December 5 and is a free event.

There’s the return of the Longleat Festival of Light from early November 2017 as the Safari Park rounds off its 51st year of existence. The theme for this year is “The Magic of Storytelling”. Europe’s largest display of Chinese lanterns will once again transform Longleat’s landscaped grounds, featuring temples and a huge dragon boat floating on Longleat’s lake. The event will run alongside Longleat’s traditional Christmas celebrations that include the Santa Train and outdoor Ice Skating Rink. There are selected dates from November 5, 2017 for the Festival of Light so check out longleat.co.uk/christmas.

Christmas at Blenheim was special in 2016 as, for the first time, Blenheim estate was illuminated for an after dark festive trail as the gardens transformed into a winter wonderland. There’s more of that magic this festive season, with the Christmas trail open from November 24, 2017 – January 2, 2018. Highlights include the scented Fire Garden, Christmas trees that sing and brightly lit boats on the lake. Visitors will be able to complete their winter stroll with spiced cider, mulled wine or hot chocolate while the aroma of roasting chestnuts fills the air. Blenheim Palace itself will be decorated for Christmas and is open throughout the festive season from early November, with the exception of Christmas Day. Check blenheimpalace.com for more details, including ticket information. Tickets are on sale from the summer.

And then there’s Christmas at Castle Howard. Yorkshire’s magnificent stately home will embrace the season from November 18 to December 23, 2017. This year’s decorations will be inspired by Angels on High, with angels and angel motifs echoed through the house. The 300-year-old home will flicker with the light of hundreds of candles and roaring log fires, while soaring trees and traditional twigs glisten with hundreds of baubles. The thousand acres of parkland take on a beauty of their own in the winter months and will twinkle with the lights of Christmas trees that line the drive. You can indulge in festive menus at the cafés, before browsing the gift shops, farm shop and garden centre. Visit castlehoward.co.uk for more details.

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Tickets to Sporting Events

Think of purchasing tickets for loved ones to see their favourite sports team or to a traditional festive show like the Olympia Horse Show in west London, with some of the world’s finest showjumpers in attendance. The dates for this year’s Olympia event are December 12-18. Check ticket information at olympiahorseshow.com.

Thursford’s Christmas Spectacular

November 8 – December 23, 2017 (Show times: 2.00pm & 7.00pm)

It’s destination Thursford in Norfolk for the annual Christmas Spectacular, set amid fairground carousels and mechanical organs with a cast of 130 professional singers, dancers and musicians performing a three-hour extravaganza. Bookings can be made online or by calling the booking office on 01328 878477. Click on ‘How to Book’ to access the online booking facility. Use the same booking details for ‘Santa’s Magical Journey’ tickets. The address is Thursford Collection, Thursford, Fakenham, Norfolk, NR21 0AS and is one mile off the A148 between Fakenham and Holt. There’s more at thursford.com.

Polar Express Train Ride

After the huge success of last year’s Polar Express experience at Telford Steam Railway, the fun and adventure returns for Christmas 2017 from December 1-23. Extra dates have been added, but some weekend journeys in December rapidly sold out. Almost half the total tickets were sold within three days of going on sale.  Availability is better on evening journeys and weekday trips. If this becomes an annual event, as it surely must, you can sign up for the newsletter and be among the first to hear of tickets going on sale for next year. The experience is based on the wonderful Christmas film “The Polar Express” – based on one of the most magical of festive books by Chris Van Allsburg. Check out midlandsthepolarexpressride.com for more information.

Tickets to Last Night of the Proms

Royal Albert Hall – September 9, 2017

There’s something about Last Night of the Proms that make our Christmas juices flow. The wonderful night of music and patriotism at London’s famous Royal Albert Hall – and in parks around the UK – is wonderfully celebratory. That definitely has something to do with it. But it also somehow draws a line under summer. The Proms season is over for another year, the children are back at school, autumn is here and Christmas will soon peak its head over the parapet. This year, Last Night of the Proms is on Saturday September 9. Tickets for the event are available through the Royal Albert Hall website, but will sell out fast. They might just make an ideal early Christmas present for the music lover or passionate patriot in your life. And if you miss out this year, plan ahead to secure tickets next year. Also consider visiting the Royal Albert Hall for its enticing array of shows and concerts throughout December’s Christmas Festival, including Carols by Candlelight.

Celebrate a National Trust Christmas

National Trust properties celebrate the season in spectacular style. Invidious as it for us to select just a few highlights, we do so with the knowledge you can find so much more to enjoy at nationaltrust.org.uk:

Corfe Castle, Dorset: Corfe Castle creates a certain magic at Christmas, floodlit so splendidly to mirror the beautifully lit historic village centre. There are fine pubs and restaurants, four galleries selling fine art, crafts and gifts, a large National Trust shop and this year’s ‘Best Village Shop in Dorset’ selling local produce.

Aberdulais Tinworks, Neath Port Talbot: On November 28 and December 5 you can step back in to Victorian times at the Aberdulais Tinworks. You can dress up as a tin worker and embark on a lantern lit walk. These are Christmas lights with a difference.

Blickling, Norfolk: December 1-10 – Lord Lothian was instrumental in brokering Indian Independence and 70 years on his efforts are being celebrated at Blickling with a year-long exploration of the story and Indian culture, culminating in a superb Christmas display. The iconic Christmas trees will also make their welcome return.

Dunham Massey, Cheshire: December 1-3, 8-10, 14-24 – The gardens are aglow with Christmas lights at Dunham Massey. There’s a one-mile path of sparkling wonder winding through the woods and a spectacular water feature finale.

Fountains Abbey, North Yorkshire: November 25-26, December 2-3, 16-17, 23, 27-31 – You can take a stroll through Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal Water Garden, see the trees twinkling with light and the abbey lit in all its splendour. The Cellarium is the place to catch live festive music.

Powis Castle, Powys: Friday to Sunday between December 1-17 – The formal gardens, terraces and courtyard at Powis Castle will be gorgeously illuminated for the Christmas season – perfect for ambling and soaking up the atmosphere on a cold winter’s night.

Wallington, Northumberland: December 1, 8, 15 and 22 – Visit Wallington after dark for Christmas by Twilight. See the house magnificently decorated and illuminated for the festive season and enjoy music in the Central Hall.

Woolsthorpe Manor, Lincolnshire: December 8, 2017 to January 31, 2018 – Visit, enjoy and savour the House of Light this winter. Around the Manor, local groups are creating a series of new artworks inspired by light and science. Take a tour through the rooms and see Isaac Newton’s home in a new light.

Calke Abbey, Derby: Experience a starlit Christmas at Calke. You can explore the festive trail in the house and see the sumptuous decorations, then follow the star trail through the pleasure grounds and up to the candlelit church. There’s chance to visit Father Christmas in his grotto and enjoy some children’s crafts in the stables as you wait to meet the main man. As darkness falls, enjoy Calke Abbey Estate in Ticknall, Derby in all its Christmas starlit glory as this unique property is pleasingly illuminated.

Websites to Inspire

Highclere Castle, home of Downton Abbey: highclerecastle.co.uk or a variety of tour options at viator.com

Harry Potter World: wbstudiotour.co.uk

Steam train jouneys: railwaytouring.net

December Santa Steam Specials: greatlittletrainsofwales.co.uk/events

FOR MORE EVENTS OF FESTIVE INTEREST CHECK OUR EVENTS & DIARY DATES PAGE