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 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.
Skate at Somerset House with Fortnum & Mason
November 14, 2018 – January 13, 2019
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 are special themed nights. The Edmond J. Safra Fountain Court is a wonderful setting to enjoy Christmas with family and friends. Skate at Somerset House with Fortnum & Mason is part of a winter celebration of contemporary culture at Somerset House, including exhibitions, installations, special events and cutting-edge music.
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. Skating tickets are on general sale from September 13th. Check out somersethouse.org.uk/ice-rink.
Disney’s Enchanted Christmas at Disneyland Paris
November 10, 2018 – January 6, 2019
Disney’s Enchanted Christmas celebration returns at Disneyland® Paris for almost a month from November 10th. 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 disneylandparis.co.uk for more details.
The Gift of Tickets to a Christmas Show
“Cinderella”, “Sleeping Beauty”, “Jack and the Beanstalk”, “Aladdin” and “Snow White and the Seven Dwarves” – 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. It’s already updated for 2018/19.
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 early November 2018 and runs through early January 2019. The Chatsworth Christmas Market, with more than 100 stalls, is also an event worth experiencing.
Blenheim Estate was illuminated for an after dark festive trail for the first time in 2016 as the gardens transformed into a winter wonderland. There’s more of that magic this festive season, with the Christmas trail open from November 23rd 2018 to early January 2019. 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 (look out for a Cinderella theme) and is open throughout the festive season from November, with the exception of Christmas Day. Check blenheimpalace.com for more details, including ticket information. Tickets are on sale from early summer.
And then there’s Christmas at Castle Howard. Yorkshire’s magnificent stately home will embrace the season from November 17th to December 31st, with doors closed on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day. 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. This year’s theme is ‘The Twelve Days of Christmas’ and sees the return of theatrical design duo Charlotte Lloyd Webber and Brette Gerecke, who masterminded the spectacular last year’s ‘Angels on High’ displays. Visit castlehoward.co.uk for more details.
There are more stately options on our Events & Diary Dates page.
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 17-23. Check ticket information at olympiahorseshow.com.
Thursford’s Christmas Spectacular
November 6 – December 23, 2018 (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. Tickets sold out in record time in 2017. 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.
Tickets to Last Night of the Proms
Royal Albert Hall – September 8, 2018
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 8th. 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. A 30th Anniversary celebration of television comedy “Whose Line is it Anyway?” and Handel’s “Messiah” are among the 2018 highlights. For a full list of Christmas events go to royalalberthall.com.
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: In late November and early December 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.
Dunham Massey, Cheshire: Selected dates through December – 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: Selected dates throughout November and December – 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 on selected dates through December – 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: Selected dates in December – 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: Early December 2018 to late January 2019 – Visit, enjoy and savour the House of Light this winter. 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