Best Christmas Events For Toddlers in 2021

We independently research our recommended products. We may receive commissions on purchases made from our links.

We’ve rounded up the best Christmas events for toddlers in the UK so you can find some festive fun wherever you are in the country.

From light shows to markets, to fully immersive experiences, we’ve got something to satisfy every family — whether you want to kill a couple of hours or want to make an entire weekend of it.

Christmas with toddlers is a hugely exciting event every year as you lay down family traditions and get the kids excited about this incredibly special season.

These events are the perfect way to get the whole family into the Christmas spirit.

Browse our regional list of the best Christmas attractions and places to visit…

Best Christmas Events For Toddlers in London

Hyde Park Winter Wonderland

Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park is one of the most famous Christmas attractions in the UK and certainly one of the biggest.

It runs from mid November to early January and entry is free aside from at peak times. There is a huge amount of festive things to do here for the whole family and you can easily spend the whole day here if you so desire. Toddlers will love the ice skating, Christmas Circus, and especially Santa Land which has been especially designed for young kids with age appropriate rides and, of course, Santa himself in his grotto.

Food and drink are plentiful throughout Winter Winterland so you’ll easily be able to find something to munch on regardless of tastes and dietary restrictions.

Christmas at Kew

Kew Gardens is beautiful at all times of the year but really comes into its own around Christmas time, from mid November to early January.

The main event is the after-dark magical winter trail lights, which are incredibly festive and impressive. Kids should keep their eyes out for Father Christmas who can be found around the trail, and they’ll also be mesmerised by the numerous interactive illuminations. Food and drink can be found at various stations along the trail and there’s even a fairground to hop on some rides when you’re finished!

The trail itself is 2.6km so it’s worth bringing a pushchair if your child isn’t quite ready for such a long walk yet (although note that it may be difficult to manoeuvre in bad weather). You will need to buy tickets in advance — family tickets are available.

Hogwarts in the Snow

Every year, the Warner Bros. Studio host their brilliant ‘Hogwarts in the Snow’ event — a must-visit for any Potter fans, big or small! This runs from mid November to mid January.

If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to celebrate Christmas as a witch or wizard at Hogwarts, you’ll love this festive event. The main feature is the Great Hall, which is lined with Christmas trees and a feast like no other. Snow will cover the castle and Diagon Alley sets to really set the scene.

Family tickets are available although note that the under 4s can enter for free (although will still need an advance ticket).

Christmas at ZSL London Zoo

If your kids love going to the zoo, then ZSL London Zoo’s Christmas event is well worth a visit, combining the magic of Christmas with the thrill of the zoo!

Young kids will absolutely love the Meet Santa events held throughout the festive period, while there are also special animal talks held daily to really help get you (and the animals!) into the Christmas spirit.

ZSL London Zoo is found in Hyde Park, in the heart of the capital, and is easily accessible with public transport. Similar festive events are also being held at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo too.

National History Museum Ice Rink

Ice skating at the National History Museum at Christmas is practically a rite of passage for Londoners — even toddler-aged ones.

The ice rink is erected in front of the majestic Waterhouse building every Winter and is decorated with magical fairy lights, a huge Christmas tree and the scent of mulled wine being sold in the surrounding stalls 🍷

If you’re worried about bringing your toddler ice skating to the general skate sessions, then you can go to the special weekday toddler sessions before 2pm — complete with mini penguins to help them get used to being on the ice. As part of your ticket price, you’ll both enjoy a free mini hot chocolate or other drink.

Christmas Events in the South East

Lapland UK

Ascot, Berkshire

Lapland UK is probably the premier Christmas event in the entirety of the UK thanks to its huge size, quality of entertainment and proximity to what a trip to actual Lapland would be like.

Found in the beautiful environment of Whitmoor Forest, Lapland UK is an immersive adventure that will transport your whole family into the world of Father Christmas for the day. Children are invited to help the elves create toys to deliver on Christmas Eve, while you can all explore the Enchanted Forest and Elven Village, and visit the incredible Mother Christmas’ Kitchen. Of course, you also get to meet Father Christmas himself, see your name on his Good List and even receive a toy to take home.

Tickets are definitely on the expensive side, but this is truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience that your child will treasure forever.

LEGOLAND at Christmas

Windsor, Berkshire

LEGOLAND is a great place to visit with your toddler at any time of year, but it really comes into its own at Christmas time when the whole park is transformed into a winter wonderland. This runs from the end of November to the start of January.

You can expect all the usual LEGO fun but dusted with a sprinkling of snow, fairy lights and abundant Christmas trees. Father Christmas will be in residence in his log cabin, handing out LEGO themed presents to the children — make sure you keep an eye out for him in his sleigh around the park during the day!

There are also special festive rides, light shows, pantomime and create sessions to really get you in the Christmas spirit.

Christmas Special at Audley End Miniature Railway

Saffron Walden, Essex

Calling all train fans! Audley End Miniature Railway has long been a great day out for kids and toddlers, but it turns out they’re also a great place to stop over Christmas too.

The Christmas Special runs from the end of November to Christmas Eve and entails you boarding the Santa Express train through the woodland all the way to Father Christmas’ Winter Wonderland. You’ll get to meet the man himself and his elves, and even receive a gift. There’s also a gingerbread house to explore, adventure play area and the North Pole Post Office.

You’ll need to book tickets in advance — children under 1 go free and there’s a discount on children under 92cm.

Winter’s Tail at Chessington

Chessington, Surrey

Chessington World of Adventures plays host to some high level festive fun at Christmas with their Winter’s Tail event — dedicated to the wonderful reindeer!

It runs from late November to early January and early bird tickets are available for serious discounts. You can expect to meet Father Christmas in his grotto and the elves in their toy workshop — you’ll even be able to choose a gift if you visit before Christmas Eve.

Part of your Winter’s Tail ticket allows you to have a go on 10 of the best rides and attractions at the park, including the much-loved Gruffalo River Ride Adventure. You’ll also be able to see over 1000 animals in the zoo and SEA LIFE Centre.

Christmas at Bedgebury

Flimwell, Kent

Bedgebury Forest is a beautiful Pinetum near Flimwell in Kent, and they’re hosting an after-dark illuminated Winter Woodland walk to help get the whole family into the festive spirit.

The walk holds over a million lights, as well as reflections and sounds through the gorgeous trees. If you look carefully you may be able to spot Father Christmas on the trail himself. The trail runs from mid November to early January from 4pm to 8pm — although times do vary according to dates.

It will take around 90 minutes to walk the trail so you may need to bring the pushchair for your toddler. Remember to wear appropriate clothing and footwear as the trail is uncovered.

Christmas at Paultons

Romsey, Hampshire

Paultons Park, home to the beloved Peppa Pig World, always host a magical celebration during the Christmas period.

Peppa Pig World will be fully decorated for Christmas and Peppa and George will even be in their festive outfits. There’ll also be a twice daily showing of Santa’s Christmas Wish Show, as well as Santa’s Storytime sessions and various magical illuminations around the park.

All the Christmas fun is included in your standard admission ticket to Paultons Park so you won’t need to fork out for anything additional.

Christmas at Blenheim Palace

Woodstock, Oxfordshire

Blenheim Palace always pull out all the stops at Christmas time with their incredible after-dark illuminated trail.

The trail is located in and around their sumptuous palace gardens and features tunnels of light, lakeside dancing reflections and jewel-drenched trees. Keep an eye out for Father Christmas as you go around and make sure you enjoy some of the treats from the many street food vendors along the way.

The interior palace rooms are themed on The Nutcracker — make sure you explore the toymaker’s workshop, Land of Snow and Kingdom of Sweets while you’re here. There’s also a Christmas Market held outside during the season.

Christmas at Hever Castle

Hever, Surrrey

Hever Castle was the childhood home of Anne Boleyn, so you can expect a side of history at their Christmas festivities if you choose to visit.

Christmas at Hever runs from mid November to the start of January and tickets are available in both the daytime and then at twilight (after 4pm) for a slight premium. Some of the festivities include the Pinocchio Christmas Trail, a fairground, a meet the huskies experience, Christmas light trail, and meeting Father Christmas in his grotto.

Children under 5 can enter the castle and gardens for free, although there is a charge of £12 for the Father Christmas and Gardens experience.

Tulley’s Christmas Experience

Crawley, West Sussex

Tulley’s is a force to be reckoned with around Christmas time, thanks to its amazing Santa’s Grotto experience that’s fun for all the family.

Some of the festive activities you can expect here include ice skating, a Christmas circus, reindeer flying school, reindeer food making, gingerbread decorating, Santa’s sleigh ride, the Elves’ Magical Forest, storytime with Santa, Santa’s Post House, an elf hunt, Christmas market and even a fairground.

Tulley’s Christmas Experience runs from the end of November to Christmas Eve during weekends (then every day during Christmas week). Tickets are a little pricey although you certainly get a lot for your money — and there are significant discounts for under 1s.

Christmas at Waddesdon Manor

Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire

Waddesdon Manor is a gorgeous Rothschild house and gardens, and they put on a magical Christmas season every year from mid November to early January.

The gardens will be aglow with festive lights and colours, and there’s even a dedicated Winter Light Trail, Illuminated River and Manor illuminations to enjoy as well. The brilliant Christmas market runs all the way up until 23rd December and there’s plenty of food and drink to enjoy as well.

You’ll need to buy a grounds admission ticket to get access to the Christmas at Waddesdon celebration — there are significant discounts for children and National Trust members.

Christmas Events in the South West

Enchanted Christmas at Westonbirt Arboretum

Tetbury, Gloucestershire

Westonbirt, The National Arboretum, each year holds their magical Enchanted Christmas celebration from the end of November to just before Christmas on selected evenings.

The trees are festively illuminated and there’s usually a theme — this year’s is the Search For The Lost Reindeer, and it entails little ones helping to reunite Father Christmas with his lost reindeer. Make sure you spot the elves hiding amongst the trees on your way around!

There will be local food carts selling seasonal food during your visit, and there’s also a Christmas Village to explore before you start. Relaxed sessions designed for people with additional needs like autism will be running too.

Sail with Santa

Exmouth, Devon

For something completely different this Christmas, head down to Exmouth for a Sail with Santa cruise on the river Exe.

Santa will be on board in his grotto with plenty of gifts for the children as well as snacks and drinks for everyone else. The cruise lasts for around an hour and there’s plenty to entertain kids for the duration. It runs from the start of December to just before Christmas on selected days.

You should book your tickets in advance online and check the timetable for the best time for you — there are multiple cruises per day.

Land of Light at Longleat

Warminster, Wiltshire

Longleat Safari Park is another outdoor space that hosts an illumination show over the festive period.

Land of Light runs from the beginning of November to early January and sees the whole of the park and grounds spectacularly illuminated once dusk settles in. There’s also the Santa Train and Santa Storytelling experiences to enjoy while you’re here.

Christmas Events in the Midlands

Santa’s Sleepover at Alton Towers

Alton, Staffordshire

If you’re looking for a Christmas experience that’s going to last for more than one day, take a look at the brilliant Santa’s Sleepover concept at Alton Towers Resort.

This package includes an overnight stay in one of their themed hotels, 1 day entry to the theme park, a visit to Santa’s Grotto (complete with gifts for the kids), entry to the Christmas Market and the Gardens Lights Walk, and other festive entertainment. You’ll also get buffet breakfasts and a festive evening meal at your accommodation.

There are 4 different hotels to choose from but the one best suited to families with toddlers is undoubtedly the CBeebies Land Hotel, which is full of toddler friendly facilities and has themed rooms based on your favourite shows.

Christmas at the Castle

Warwick Castle, Warwickshire

Warwick Castle’s ‘Christmas at the Castle’ extravaganza has been made famous by the popular Channel 4 TV show, but it’s even better in person.

The castle’s staterooms and Great Hall are opulently decorated in the festive tradition and there’s even a whopping 20-foot Christmas tree. You can also enjoy a birds of prey demonstration in the grounds, Christmas afternoon tea and story time with Santa himself.

Also arriving for the Christmas period will be a brilliant ice rink and a 45-minute light trail experience. If you really want to up the ante, you can even stay overnight for a Santa Sleepover in a cosy wooden lodge.

Santa Safari at West Midland Safari Park

Bewdley, Worcestershire

For a festive animal experience this Christmas, make sure you check out the Santa Safari at West Midland Safari Park.

The experience includes a 4-mile winter safari visiting all the animals, as well as a special visit to see Santa in his grotto. Little ones will be welcomed on to the Discovery Trail by Santa’s elves, who’ll whisk you away to the grotto in his sleigh. Kids will even get to visit the elves’ workshop and pick out a present!

Tickets must be booked in advance but all entries include a free return visit to the park that’s valid for 6 months.

Christmas at Belton

Grantham, Lincolnshire

Belton House is a National Trust property and they host a brilliant after-dark illuminated light show in their grounds every festive season.

The light trail runs from the end of November to early January and includes such delights as a fire garden, sparkling light tunnels and much more. Hopefully you’ll be able to spot Father Christmas while you’re going around the trail. There’ll also be plenty of street food vendors along the way so little tummies won’t go hungry.

It’ll take around 90 minutes to walk the trail so it may be worth bringing a pushchair for your toddler if they’re unlikely to last walking for that long. Bear in mind that bad weather may make it more difficult to traverse the trail.

Santa’s Winter Wonderland at SnowDome

Tamworth, Staffordshire

For a fully immersive Christmas adventure, definitely take a look at the Santa’s Winter Wonderland experience at SnowDome.

You can expect to play and slide around in real snow on the snow trail, complete with falling snow, an enchanted forest, snowball throwing, sledging and snow tubes. There’s also a Santa show with your favourite festive characters and a chance to meet Santa’s animals in the Christmas Village.

The experience runs from mid-November to early January and a visit is around 90 minutes in duration. Under 2s are able to enter for free.

Enchanted Journey of Light

Thursford, Norfolk

Thursford always have incredible Christmas and winter celebrations, and the Enchanted Journey of Light is always one of their biggest attractions.

The journey takes you in and around Santa’s Magical Journey Building where you’ll be able to spot penguins, polar bears, giant teddy bears and definitely Santa’s elves who are hard at work. There’s also the outdoor Lantern Light Extravaganza, vintage funfair and plenty of food and drink stops.

The event is running from mid November to just before Christmas (Friday to Sundays only in November) and tickets should be booked in advance. The under 2s are free.

Christmas Events in the North

Yorkshire’s Winter Wonderland

York, Yorkshire

Definitely one of the best Christmas experiences for the whole family in the UK, Yorkshire’s Winter Wonderland always has plenty to see and do.

It runs from mid November to early January and is most famous for being the home of The Ice Factor — the largest outdoor ice rink in the North. There’s also a vintage funfair with plenty of rides suitable for toddlers — including the much loved Hush Hush Train — and lots of seasonal food and drink available too.

There are special parent and toddler sessions on The Ice Factor during weekdays, and you can also hire penguins and snowmen to help assist the little ones on the ice.

Kielder Winter Wonderland

Kielder Waterside, Northumberland

Up in the depths of Northumberland is the brilliant Kielder Winter Wonderland, which is the very definition of festive fun.

Unlike many of the other attractions on this list, you can have fun at Kielder for a full day as there’s simply so much to do. Some of the activities available include meeting Father Christmas, helping Mrs Christmas in her forest kitchen, visiting Snowy Owl and his friends, watching a Christmas theatre show, helping the elves get ready in time for Christmas in their workshop, meeting reindeers, snow tubing and meeting the very jolly Mr and Mrs Beaver.

The event runs on selected dates before Christmas in November and December and ticket prices are heavily reduced for the under 2s. A relaxed performance is also available for those with additional needs.

Christmas Events in Scotland

Edinburgh Zoo’s Christmas Nights

Edinburgh, Midlothian

If you fancy a Christmas celebration north of the border with your toddler, then definitely head to Edinburgh Zoo for their Christmas Nights event, that’s running from mid-November to early January.

This after dark light trail takes you on a journey all around the popular zoo as you discover the magic of Christmas as well as what Santa gets up to when he visits the zoo. Expect plenty of fairy lights and projections. You can also add on a visit to Santa’s Grotto so your toddler can meet the man himself.

To really step it up a notch, consider buying the Christmas VIP Experience, which includes daytime entry to the zoo, supper at their restaurant, as well as entry on to the light trail.

Christmas Events in Wales

Santa’s Grotto at Folly Farm

Kilgetty, Pembrokeshire

Folly Farm is a fantastic place to visit at any time of the year, but Christmas is always special as the kids can visit Santa’s Grotto and even see his reindeers.

Santa and his elves will be giving out presents to the children during this event which runs from early November to mid December on weekends only. You don’t need to book in advance — simply turn up during your visit to Folly Farm and pay the small additional charge to enter the grotto.

For even more festive fun, the whole family can enjoy the magical indoor vintage fairground rides, which will really get you into the festive spirit.

Christmas Events at Various Locations

Polar Express

A Polar Express train ride is definitely a Christmas experience to remember — you’ll be picked up and taken to the North Pole, meeting Father Christmas and other characters from the famous film along the way.

The Polar Express train runs from the following locations in the UK:

  • Wensleydale, Yorkshire
  • Moor Street Station, Birmingham
  • Seaton Tramway, Devon
  • Buckfastleigh, Devon
  • Dereham Station, Norfolk
  • Cholsey and Wallingford, Oxfordshire
  • Churnet Valley, Staffordshire
  • Royal Tunbridge Wells, Kent
  • Telford, Shropshire

The Snowman Tour

The Snowman will hold a special place in the heart of many a parent at Christmas time — and now we can introduce this festive favourite to our children with the brilliant Snowman Tour that travels around the UK.

This is a showing of the classic film accompanied by a live orchestra.

It will be touring in the following locations:

  • Buxton, Derbyshire
  • Salisbury, Wiltshire
  • Winchester, Hampshire
  • Derby, Derbyshire
  • Cardiff, Glamorgan
  • York, Yorkshire
  • Chester, Cheshire
  • Durham, County Durham
  • Liverpool, Lancashire
  • Coventry, Warwickshire

Winter Wonderland at Center Parcs

A Center Parcs break is always a good choice with toddlers and young children, but they really go the extra mile at Christmas time.

The villages are transformed into magical Christmas playgrounds with a Santa’s Woodland Village, Woodland Workshop where kids can meet the man himself and a whole range of seasonal activities.

Winter Wonderland is available at the following location:

  • Whinfell Forest, Cumbria
  • Sherwood Forest, Nottinghamshire
  • Longleat Forest, Wiltshire
  • Elveden Forest, Suffolk
  • Woburn Forest, Bedfordshire

What’s your top Christmas event with your toddler? Let us know your favourites!

Want to find more seasonal events? See our list of the Best Halloween Events for Toddlers in 2021.

Looking for alternatives? Make sure to check out our activities section for more ideas.

Leave a Comment