Christmas day out that doesn't involve shopping .. Ideally a winter wonderland kind of place. Does such a thing exisit?

(41 Posts)
spookysal Mon 26-Nov-12 23:22:44

I want to take dd1 out for a really nice Christmassy day. But now one that just involves buying stuff.

Any suggestions?

BeaWheesht Mon 26-Nov-12 23:32:47

Whereabouts are you?

We love going to Edinburgh - see the lights, have a shot on the ice rink, get go chocolate at the German market and go to the fair. Loads of places do things like that though .

cazza2878 Mon 26-Nov-12 23:33:42

I've got tickets for lapland UK. Not cheap but meant to be amazing and has fantastic reviews.
There is Hyde park winterwonderland but its been asked about on here before and not had great feedback.

lolalotta Tue 27-Nov-12 07:09:37

We hope to go to Bath on Ice this any cities near you have an outdoor ice rink opening up at all? And the hot chocolate... grin

National Trust have various Christmas days at their properties.

Redstockingswillstopsanta Tue 27-Nov-12 10:48:45

Longleat,have an ice rink,singing tree,characters dressed up Peter Pan,Snowwhite etc and there is a santa train but you need to book.

spookysal Tue 27-Nov-12 19:49:51

We are in Berkshire. Would love to do Edinburgh but it's a bit far!

Absolutely gutted I didn't know about Longleat earlier. I think dd1 would be too tired to go after school (just started reception and feeling exhausted most days) and the weekends are fully booked. Must remember for next year.

Do you have to be a member of National Trust to go to their Christmas Events?

bigTillyMint Tue 27-Nov-12 19:51:38

Come up to London and go ice-skating?

Gumps Tue 27-Nov-12 19:52:36

Go to winter wonderland in Hyde park. Free to get in and I just love the feel of the place. Lots of rides and ice skating .

PenfoldRocks Tue 27-Nov-12 19:57:27

If you're near longleat, look at Westonbirt for an evening thing, or how about a 'santa special' on the local railway - steam train with FC. They have these from shepton mallet or Avon Valley in Bitton.

Speedos Tue 27-Nov-12 21:25:27

I'm going to try the Hyde park one this year and will report back!

spookysal Tue 27-Nov-12 21:32:57

I really want to go to Hyde park but the cost is putting me off - I've read it turns into an expensive day out. Would love to hear what you think Speedos when you've been.

I'm not that close to Longleat Penfold, I'm in Reading

ChippyMinton Tue 27-Nov-12 23:28:08

Visit santa in the grotto at Painshill Park.
Or a day out in Windsor - there's an outdoor (but undercover) ice rink, and it's just nice for a wander around.

spookysal Wed 28-Nov-12 00:39:45

Chippy Painshill park looks amazing but all booked up (except for Tuesday 18th when dd1 is at school) sad

OhDearNigel Wed 28-Nov-12 00:44:47

We went to Hyde Park last year - it was very expensive to eat/drink and it's basically a glorified "get your money" operation. The rides were £2 a pop shock

Bearandcub Wed 28-Nov-12 00:51:13
iloveholidays Wed 28-Nov-12 02:47:41

I think there is an ice rink at the Winchester Christmas market...?

PenfoldRocks Wed 28-Nov-12 09:15:15

Ooops, sorry! But the Santa Specials seem to go on most local railways; we were planning to go on East Lancs railway at in-laws, but was fully booked.
How about Legoland or similar? Most theme parks seem to do a Christmas-themed day pass

ArtexMonkeyDude Wed 28-Nov-12 09:25:44

I am nowhere near you, but i know a few stately home type places near me are doing Christmas lights/decorations things. Have a look on English heritage/ national trust website maybe?

LolaLadybird Wed 28-Nov-12 23:00:46

Last year, we did a Christmas day out with the children which involved ice-skating in the morning (temporary rink), lunch at Giraffe and then onto cinema in the afternoon for a christmassy film (we went to see Arthur Christmas). DC's were 4 and 6 and both loved it so we are planning the same format this year. We are in Somerset so went to Bristol but I would imagine there must be something similar near you.

izzyishavingababyAGAIN Wed 28-Nov-12 23:21:45

longleat is amazing, we went last year, we were there all day and evening, and we didnt do skating or Santa train, its £4.50 in tescos couchers if you have any,

izzyishavingababyAGAIN Wed 28-Nov-12 23:22:44

We lef twinter wonderland in Hyde Park last year after less then 10 minutes, it was awful, packed, DCs tantrumming because they couldnt move.

izzyishavingababyAGAIN Wed 28-Nov-12 23:23:44

spooky longleat really is worth the drive, it took us 2 hours to get there and I would go again (except I am 36 weeks pregnant and cant book anything)

RosemaryandThyme Wed 28-Nov-12 23:39:03


Andover has an ice-rink (not much else).

Montisfont (between Romsey and Andover) NT, star spangled winter christmasssy thing going on all through Dec - google NT.

Wyevale Garden Centres - Tea or breakfast with Santa comming to your table, stroll through wonderland photos and pressie (around £8 - parents can go free if they don't eat !)

Alesford Watercress line winter train journey's (mince pies on board and the fat controller santa version)

Zoo - Marwell (about an hour from you, just south of Winchester) - magical grotto experiance and all animals - pricy but soooo would love to do this.

RaspberrysAndIcecream Thu 29-Nov-12 06:49:01

dh and I are planning on going to Bristol in December, this may sound odd but does it feel chistmasy there? We don't have any dc but are big kids at heart, was it a nice place to be?
We read that theres a little Christmas Market - is that any good?
Sorry for the interigation! grin thanks

If you are in Reading I woukd recommend Winchester Chritmas Market and Ice Rink, you need to book the skating at weekends. It does get very busy, I'd go early or late.

Watercress Line Santa Special is good (Alton-Alresford) again need to book.

lolalotta Thu 29-Nov-12 10:57:19

raspberry if you are going to be in Bristol you might be better of checking out Bath Christmad market, wouldn't be far on the train and very picturesque place!!!! Mad busy though! grin

spookysal Thu 29-Nov-12 13:29:46

dd1 has never iceskated before, will she be ok on a busy rink do you think?

izzy - Did longleat have lots of Christmas things on other than the train and ice skating?

spookysal Thu 29-Nov-12 15:22:57

Izzy is it possible to go to Longleat and not see the Santa train? I've just looked and for the four of us it's £36 extra!!! Just don't want dd1 seeing the train and getting upset because she isn't allowed on it

TheOnlyPersonInTheRoom Thu 29-Nov-12 15:27:21

Longleat looks ace, can't wait til DD is old enough to take...
Winchester is always nice at Xmas.

izzyishavingababyAGAIN Thu 29-Nov-12 15:32:16

Longleat was just beautiful - I have a 16 year old as well and it is one of the best Christmas things I have done - I dont remember if we saw the train - but there is so much to do that I don't think they will notice not doing it - we did the safari drive, then the zoo part, then the whole house - twice (DCs loved the fairytale people in the house), there is a huge singing christmas tree and some stalls.

It's a Christmas thing with a difference!

noisytoys Thu 29-Nov-12 15:33:36

We are doing Hyde park hope it isn't too expensive. We will mostly just wander around soaking up the atmosphere rather than do anything. Maybe spend a small fortune on a hot dog smile

Arboretum at Westonbirt has a winter wonderland, trees all lit up, elves (tiny figures) hiding, lovely mince pies and carolling plus santa wandering about.

Raspberries, the Christmas market in Bristol is lovely but not huge smile

lolalotta Thu 29-Nov-12 19:12:23

Longleat is FAB even when there isn't a special event on!!! The train is in an actual little station fenced in so you might get away with your DD not noticing it, though, it is a steam one I think, so it does chug in and out...

RaspberrysAndIcecream Thu 29-Nov-12 19:34:56

Thanku!! From what I read in a Christmas mag, the bath Market ends on the 9th, dh and I were looking to be away a couple of weeks later.

MincePiesTasteBetterHot Thu 29-Nov-12 19:43:30

The Vyne near Basingstoke has nice Christmas events, would recommend (you don't have to be a member of the National Trust.

Christmas bauble hunt for charity sounds quite nice?

Yes, we were thinking of doing The Vyne one this year.

LolaLadybird Thu 29-Nov-12 22:15:33

Hi Raspberry - just seen your post. As others have said, the Bath christmas market is lovely, even if you're there too late for the market, would be worth a trip to Bath as its such a lovely city. I've never been to the christmas market at Bristol.

Our trip last year felt very Christmassy, the shops (even though we didn't go in them) were obviously all decked out for Christmas and we kicked off our day with coffee and toasted panettone at Carluccio's which was lovely. I think if you are big kids and want to feel Christmassy, then it would be hard not to at that time of year.

There are also some really nice bits to Bristol like the waterfront area.

BiddyPop Fri 30-Nov-12 15:56:36

DD was gutted that I missed booking the Santa Train which is a steam train (with a large wooden Santa picture on teh front for Christmas - they run other outings during the year without) run by the Railway Preservation Society (a 2 hour return trip, Santa comes to each carriage, there's rambling guitar players and singers, each kid gets a selection box, adult tickets entitle them to coffee or mulled wine in dining car). There is a little shop - but things like toy trains, Thomas flags etc. No need to buy. (We have done it every 2nd year until this year - I don't want to only do that but DD always asks to go again and I just missed the slot). Adults and children both charged €17 per trip.

Sorry, that was rambly, but I meant to say that you could check if there is any similar type of thing anywhere near you (I'm in Ireland so I don't know what's over there).

We are going to, what's essentially a NT property, in mid-Dec, where the "Green Santa" will be planting native trees to take home with each family (individual visits) and there is a Narnia wonderland to visit too. Again, while there is a coffee shop on site, nothing really to be bought. (Cost about €8 for the ticket for DD, adults free).

spookysal Fri 30-Nov-12 16:15:32

Thanks for all the replies thanks

Thanks to this thread I've booked tickets to Longleat (without the train or skating) and have found out Bailsdon park (NT) has a winter walk with lights in the evenings.

I've also got a free ticket to Bucklebury farm so will use that for their Christmas activities and stay to take part in their Christmas carols in the barn. So along with a trip to Panto and the cinema I think that's the run up to Christmas organised.

I looked into all the suggestions and we either had things booked on the available days or they were too expensive on top of everything else we are doing. Fab ideas though, that I will put away for next year. Marlow looked amazing!

Thank you all. Glad other people found some good days out as well smile

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