When the weather outside is frightful, few things sound better than sitting at home, curled up with loved ones and a Batch Premium Gin & Tonic or two. But if you face the biting weather, you’ll find yourself stepping into a magical winter wonderland at one of the amazing festive events across the UK. From now ‘til New Year, here are our top picks for a perfect day out.
Hyde Park Winter Wonderland, London
Once a humble Christmas Market, Hyde Park Winter Wonderland has become London’s most extravagant winter event. This seasonal celebration abouts with activities – from ice skating and fairground rides to circus shows and food stalls, you’ll be hard pressed to find a more exciting event! Operating from mid-November until New Year’s Day, Winter Wonderland attracts Londoners and tourists alike. With excellent entertainment for both children and adults, this is the perfect event for a family outing to the Big Smoke.
Runs: November 17 to January 1
2. German Christmas Market, Birmingham
Arguably one of the most anticipated parts of the Christmas season, the coming of December sees a whole host of Christmas Markets cropping up across Britain. One of the biggest and most famous markets can be found in Birmingham, where traditional German culture abounds as the city centre is transformed into a scintillating Weihnachtsmarkt. Stroll along the stalls and peruse traditional gifts, listen to live music and enjoy a German-style bratwurst – washed down with a piping glass of German-style glühwein (mulled wine), of course! If you can’t make it to Birmingham, be sure to visit your local Christmas market for a taste of the magic.
Runs: November 17 to December 29
3. Hogwarts in the Snow, Hertfordshire
Every year, the Warner Brothers Studios in Hertfordshire’s Leavesden transform the set of Harry Potter into the frosty and fantastic Hogwarts we all know and love. See the Great Hall in all its splendid Yule Ball glory and relive the magic of the films in a three-and-a-half-hour tour of some of the film’s most iconic scenes. Tickets book up remarkably fast for this event, but don’t worry if you can’t secure yours before Christmas – the tours run throughout January, helping to extend the Christmas fun just a bit longer!
18 November to 28 January
4. Allendale Tar Bar’l Festival, Northumberland
If you’re tired of the same old New Year parties and are looking for a more interesting way to ring in 2018, Allendale’s annual ‘tar barrel’ fire festival is well worth attending. The festival dates as far back as the Middle Ages, and involves forty-five local men marching through the town in a colourful procession carrying whiskey barrels full of hot tar above their heads. At half past 11, the men light the barrels and carry them alit until they reach the ceremonial bonfire in the town’s centre, where they toss the barrels into the flames. The festival is a wonderful taste of British tradition, and enjoyable for all ages.
New Year’s Eve, 31st December
5. Montol Festival, Cornwall
The week before Christmas sees Cornwall celebrating the Midwinter Solstice with its annual Montol Festival. The main event of Montol (an old Cornish word for ‘turning point in the year’) is always held on the 21 December, to coincide with the traditional feast date of St Thomas the Apostle. Celebrations for Montol start early, as the six day-long arts and community festival has visitors and locals taking part in traditional Cornish Midwinter and Christmas customs, including Guise dancing and the burning of the Yule log. The big celebrations take place during the actual Midwinter Solstice, when traditional singing and dancing, Mummers’ Plays, lanterns and fire-lit processions can be enjoyed long into the night.
16 December to 21 December