If you’re looking for something to do over the festive break, there are many heritage sites and public gardens that over the winter months pay particular attention to Christmas and seasonal themes. The biggest frequenter of the headlines this year has of course been Hyde Park’s Winter Wonderland, but below you’ll also find four other sites we deemed worthy to mention in the same breath. However, let’s kick off with the big one itself:
Hyde Park aka Winter Wonderland
Less devoted to the theme of horticulture as it is to catering to our Christmas spirit, Hyde Park’s winter coat is highly focused on entertainment for a variety of ages and wears the badge of a Christmas carnival. Having found time to visit this year, I can safely confirm this as the most family-friendly spot on our list, complete with carousel, two ferris wheels and a myriad of novelty food stands, the park provides a welcome break for a parent shopping or a child shopped for. Also great for any relatives visiting from outside the city.
The Snowdome, located just north-east of Birmingham, provides year-round ski and snow board facilities, however at this auspicious time of year they transform the dome into Santa’s wonderland. The host of attractions includes authentic reindeer and a purpose built grotto complete with a giant Christmas tree, all this as the finale to your walk in the enchanted forest amid real snowfall.
Brighton Pavilion Ice Rink
Having visited the Pavilion earlier in the year, I would strongly recommend this site as an all-day event, after taking a grand tour of one of England’s most beautiful palaces you can slip on a pair of skates and enjoy the frozen sea breeze on ice. An hour session comes in at a pricey £13 per person but this can be justified by the stunning views you’ll be able to enjoy whilst skating, or the clear sky should you fall over!
This little gem harks back to the days of Scrooge and Tiny Tim, as a diorama of Victorian England and Christmas time. It is also an attraction to those interested in royal history, as it was once the private retreat of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. The normal run of Orsborne is that of a Victorian restoration, but this is adjusted annually for the festive season.
Being more of a city wide event, Oxford is famous for its dedication to the ornate and the festive. The whole town is aglow with a procession of lantern light, huge scale choirs and a small scale festival in the ilk Edinburgh’s eponymous celebrations that includes playhouses and museums not to mention Oxford Castle.
Wherever you are, get out and enjoy!
By Josh Ellison