Christmas is just around the corner, and we can barely contain our excitement for the most wonderful time of the year. For a fun and magnificent festive season, we’ve gathered a list of the best Christmas activities that kids, adults and families can enjoy. Let’s get everyone into the spirit!
Visit a Christmas market
The United Kingdom is home to some of the most famous Christmas markets – not only in Europe but also globally. From Edinburge to Exeter, here are some of the best Crimbo markets to visit in the UK;
Opens from Nov 9 to Dec 23, 2023
Famous for independent local sellers
With a wide variety of goods and seasonal food and drink, get ready to dive into the fun offered by over 200 businesses in 70 stalls in a rolling programme.
Opens from Nov 17 to Dec 17, 2023
Famous for wooden chalets, local cheeses, craft vodka, gifts and the magnificent illuminated trail
This year, the lavish Palace rooms will tell the story of ‘Sleeping Beauty’, with each room’s interior representing a different chapter of the fairytale. Make sure to get yourself a ticket in advance before everything’s sold out.
Opens from Nov 2 to Dec 24, 2023
Famous for being the largest authentic German Christmas market outside of Germany or Austria
We’re talking about German beer, Glühwein (mulled wine), schnitzels, pretzels, bratwursts and other tempting food and drink that will surely satisfy your tastebuds. Live entertainment such as carol singers and live bands with their Christmas songs and Jazz music will make the night unforgettable.
Opens from Nov 16 to Dec 22, 2023
Famous for perfect Instagrammable photos, free events & entrance
Other than delicious locally grown wine, gin, chocolate and other yummy food and drink, York is no short of fun and engaging free events for everyone, especially families with very young children. Due to the popularity of the event, remember to order free tickets in advance on the York Minster website or by calling 01904 557200.
Opens from Nov 17 to Dec 21, 2023
Famous for unique and locally made produce, decorations, gifts and food items
From tasty street food around the world to handmade jewellery, accessories, crafts, and stocking fillers, you’ll find the perfect presents in Chester Christmas market.
Go to a Christmas concert
Going to a Christmas concert can be a wonderful way to get into the holiday spirit and enjoy some festive music. Christmas concerts often feature popular holiday tunes, traditional carols, and seasonal favourites, which can be a joy to listen to and sing along with.
Here are some of the best Christmas concerts around Britain this Christmas;
- Caird Hall, Dundee
Wed Dec 20, 2023 – 7.30 pm
Tickets from £15
- Music Hall, Aberdeen
Thu Dec 21, 2023 – 6.30 pm
Tickets from £16
- Usher Hall, Edinburgh
Fri Dec 22, 2023 – 6.30 pm
Tickets from £19
- Glasgow Royal Concert Hall, Glasgow
Sat Dec 23, 2023 – 2 pm and 6 pm
Tickets from £19
Jot down the dates and get ready for a family-friendly event full of enchanting festive melodies.
This year’s performers include the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Royal Choral Society, and National Youth Choirs of Great Britain. With an annual programme of festive carols, shows and concerts, it’s going to be a special feast of Christmas cheer.
Immerse yourself in cinema’s most iconic films with the score performed live in the Royal Albert Hall.
- Home Alone with the Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra
Sat Dec 2 and Sun Dec 3, 2023
- Elf with the Philharmonia Orchestra
Sat Dec 9, 2023
- La La Land
Wed Dec 27, 2023
Embrace the spirit of the season at Westminster Abbey, where Advent and Christmas are celebrated with a blend of traditional splendour and heartwarming festivities. Immerse yourself in the enchanting sounds of carols and festive readings during services, or join a variety of family-friendly events, from captivating concerts to delightful performances.
- Family Day: Christmas at the Abbey (Abbey Free – no booking required)
Sat Dec 9, 2023 – 10 am to 1 pm
- Carols, songs, and other activities
Go ice skating
Head to your local rink to enjoy one of the most popular Christmas activities in the UK. You can even host an ice-skating social to meet new people, break the ice and bring everyone together. It’s also a great way to compete with others and test your skills on the ice.
Britain has many great places to go ice skating, whether you prefer an outdoor rink with fresh air and beautiful scenery; or an indoor rink perfect for practising jumps or spins as the ice is often of better quality.
Where South-east corner of Hyde Park, London
Opens from Nov 17, 2023 to Jan 1, 2024
10 am to 10 pm daily (except Christmas Day)
Famous for extravaganza ice skatings, street food stalls, numerous live shows, live music and festive bars
This is the largest park in the central park and the royal parks of London. It’s also one of the most popular ice rinks in the UK, well-known for its bright and colourful funfair lights, child-friendly activities, Christmas market and a 70m high observation wheel.
Where Eden Project, Bodelva, Cornwall
Opens from now until Feb 2024
Famous for its Biomes – the world’s largest greenhouses in the size of 30 football pitches
Embark on a mesmerising journey of twinkly lights, festive lanterns, and a tree-lined tunnel leading to the main dome. Test your skills at the glistening ice rink and warm up with delicious edible decorations and Christmas cards from the Eden Bakery.
Where Royal Pavilion, Brighton and Hove, Brighton
Opens from Oct 28, 2023 to Jan 7, 2024
Famous for being the UK’s most picturesque ice rink
With glistening ice akin to a frozen mirror reflecting the majestic Hampton Court Palace, it stands as the nation’s sole Christmas ice rink fueled entirely by renewable energy. For children under 1.2m, penguin skate aids are available. Indulge in a steaming mug of hot chocolate or savour the spiced warmth of mulled wine while enjoying a full menu of tempting treats in the rink-side bar.
Where Royal Victoria Park, Bath, Somerset
Opens from Nov 17, 2023 to Jan 3, 2024
Weekdays until Dec 8: 11.45 am – 10 pm
Weekends and from Dec 11: 10.30 am – 10 pm
Famous for dreamy winter wonderland, Glow Golf with glow-in-the-dark balls and Moguls Alpine Bar
One of England’s UNESCO World Heritage Cities, Bath’s enchanting outdoor ice rink is filled with great family deals, freshly prepared food and festive cocktails. Sleds and skate aids are bookable for toddlers.
Throw a Christmas slumber party
Hosting a Christmas slumber party can be a fun and festive way to celebrate the holiday season with friends and loved ones. It can be a great opportunity to spend quality time together, exchange gifts, wear matching pyjamas, play games, watch holiday movies, and enjoy some festive treats.
Have a Christmas dinner
Christmas is often a time when families and friends come together to share in the joy of the season, and a dinner is a perfect opportunity to do just that. It can be a great way to catch up with friends and family, exchange gifts, and enjoy some quality time together. A Christmas dinner can also be an opportunity to prepare and enjoy traditional holiday foods, such as roasted turkey or ham, stuffing, roasted potatoes, and Christmas pudding or mince pies.
Have a Christmas movie marathon
So many classic Christmas movies, so little time. From Home Alone, Miracle on 34th Street, It’s a Wonderful Life, Love Actually, to Harry Potter and the Bridget Jones’s Diary series.
For a breath of fresh air, check out these new Christmas films for 2023;
‘Dashing Through the Snow’
Where to watch: Disney+
Available from Nov 17, 2023
‘Best. Christmas. Ever!’
Where to watch: Netflix
Available from Nov 16, 2023
‘Hannah Waddingham: Home for Christmas’
Where to watch: Apple TV+
Available from Nov 22, 2023
Prepare plenty of snacks and drinks on hand and get into the holiday spirit.
Play or make your own Christmas playlist
What can be better than sipping on homemade hot cocoa, or walking through the streets with a Christmas playlist on? Michael Bublé, Wham!, Pogues Ft Kirsty Maccoll, Mariah Carey, Bing Crosby, Kelly Clarkson, Elton John – the list of great artists goes on and on.
Christmas karaoke is a fun and festive way to celebrate the holiday season. It’s a great activity to do with friends and family, and it’s sure to put everyone in a good mood.
One thing is for sure, Britons love punk, rap, rock, pop and R&B songs! According to Singa, some of the most popular karaoke songs in the United Kingdom include Mr. Brightside by The Killers, Dancing Queen by ABBA, Valerie by Mark Ronson & Amy Winehouse, Bohemian Rhapsody by QUEEN, and Sweet Caroline by Neil Diamond.
Build a snowman
Building a snowman is a fun and creative activity for all ages. It’s a great way to spend time with loved ones, get exercise, and express yourself. Children can also learn problem-solving and teamwork skills.
Fun fact: The world’s tallest snowman is actually a snow-woman! At 122 feet and 1 inch tall which is approximately 37.21 metres tall, the snow woman named Bethel is built in Bethel, Maine, USA. It took the residents 1 month to complete her on 26th February 2008.
In February 2020, the residents of Donnersbachwald, Austria built a huge snowman named Riesi, which is about 2 feet and 7 inches taller than Bethel’s. However, Guiness did not verify that record, so as of 2023, Bethel still stands as the tallest snow person in the world.
Go sledging or tubing
Sledging, or tubing is a fun and affordable way to get exercise and enjoy the snow.
Just make sure that there aren’t any dangerous objects in the way such as rocks, tree trunks, and avoid sledging at night when visibility is low.
Have a snowball fight
Get your heart pumping and release pent-up energy as you engage in the frosty battle. For families with children, snowball fights are an exciting and free way to enjoy the outdoors and fight cabin fever.
Next time it snows, grab your friends and family, and get out there and have a snowball fight!
Make a wreath or garland
Make your own Christmas wreath or garland and unleash your creativity! From fresh or artificial greenery, flowers, ribbons, and ornaments, there are endless possibilities to decorate your front door, wall, mantel, and windows.
Either you’re attempting wreath making for the first time, or haven’t made one in a while, the detailed instructions from Royal florist Philippa Craddock will surely help you create the most beautiful natural wreath from scratch.
Decorate your house
If you’re feeling overwhelmed by all the holiday decorations, start with the basics. Hang a wreath on your front door, mistletoe in every doorway, and stockings over your fireplace. You can also make or buy an advent calendar, and don’t forget to decorate the kitchen!
Visit a Christmas grotto
Visiting a Christmas grotto is a popular holiday tradition for families with young children. It is a magical and festive experience that can help to create lasting memories.
Shop at a farmers’ market
Is there a better way than spending the holidays at a bustling farmers’ market that is full of juicy and scrumptious produce? We think not! From fresh from the garden vegetables and fruits such as brussel sprouts, beetroots, pears, rye breads, pumpkins and squashes, parsnips, berries to homemade loaves and jams, you’ll be able to make the most flavorful dishes out of these local ingredients.
Some of the best farmers’ markets in the UK include Winchester Farmers’ Market in Hampshire; Edinburgh Farmers’ Market in the central Scotland; Truro Farmers Market in Cornwall. Find out if there are any farmers’ markets near you.
Eggnog, cakes and cookies
Many families have traditions of making and eating eggnog, cakes, and cookies at Christmastime. They are a way to show love and appreciation. This year, you can mix things up by holding a neighbourhood cookie swap, or trying a new dessert.
Decorate a gingerbread house
A fun and festive tradition that can be enjoyed by people of all ages, especially young children. Bake a simple gingerbread house and get everyone involved with this recipe from BBC Good Food.
Gift a loved one
Gift-giving has been a part of the Christmas holiday for centuries, and it is a way to connect with our past and to celebrate the traditions of our ancestors. It’s a way to make the ones we care about happy and create lasting memories.
Do a good deed
Christmas is a time for celebrating and giving thanks. Doing a good deed on Christmas is a way to show your gratitude for the blessings in your life and to make a difference in the lives of others.
From donating toys, food or items in good condition to volunteering at a soup kitchen or charity, there is no shortage of ways you can make Christmas extra meaningful.
No matter what Christmas activities you chose to include in your holiday schedule, we hope you and your loved ones have a very merry Christmas!