Discover our pick of the best Christmas events
Now that winter is settling in and the countdown to Christmas is officially on, here at Crabtree & Crabtree things are looking decidedly festive. We’ve strung up strings of twinkling lights, we're already thinking about decorations for the tree and have been excitedly swapping notes on the best festive fun that the North of England and the South of Scotland have to offer.
If you’re also after a little Christmas magic, why not gather your family and bundle them up for a festive adventure, taking inspiration from our pick of the best events and days out in The Scottish Borders, East Lothian and Midlothian, Northumberland and Yorkshire. From enchanted woodland walks and magical meetings with Father Christmas to extravagantly decorated castles and brilliant light displays, there is something to thrill the whole family.
The Winter Light Trail at The Alnwick Garden & Lilidorei Evening Lights, Northumberland
13 November 2023 – 7 January 2024
There's nothing quite like Christmas lights to lift the festive spirits! Wrap up warm to admire beautiful Alnwick Garden lit up with spectacular festive projections, sparkling holograms and illuminated installations. Or, if you’re after something a little more playful, then why not opt to see the Lilidorei Evening Lights instead. Surrounded by over 1,300 Nordic Christmas trees, the light show as this magical play village promises to be spectacular – would you expect any less from a place where it’s always Christmas?
The festive play village, Lilidorei, will also play host to Father Christmas, who will be waiting to welcome you to his snow-dusted grotto on select dates in December.
The Twelve Days of Christmas at Bamburgh Castle, Northumberland
11 November 2023 – 7 January 2024
If you, like us, think that Christmas is made better with decorations and spectacular floral displays, then The Christmas Kingdom at Bamburgh Castle is a must! Created by world-class theatre designer Charlotte Lloyd Webber – who has returned to dress the Castle for Christmas a second year in a row – this incredible experience transforms the iconic castle into a magical world full of fantastical creatures such as fairies flying through frosted forests and mermaids diving through sparkling lagoons, with a new surprise hidden around every corner as you explore the magnificent state rooms.
Christmas in Neverland at Castle Howard, Yorkshire
11 November 2023 – 7 January 2024
This year, the grand rooms of Castle Howard will be transformed into a truly magical winter Neverland, where you’ll embark on a Peter Pan-themed odyssey. Revisit your childhood and embrace the Christmas spirit as you follow the immersive trail – and the sounds of Lost-Boy laughter – through the castle, admiring the incredible installations and state-of-the-art soundscapes. Afterwards, pop into the gift shops to pick up some Christmas treats or enjoy a festive afternoon tea in the stunning Grecian Hall.
The Santa Experience & The Christmas Tipi at Archerfield Walled Garden, East Lothian
26 November – 23 December 2023
Nothing captures the magic of Christmas quite like a visit to see Santa and his trusty elves hard at work. This very special event at Archerfield Walled Garden starts with writing a letter to Father Christmas – wrap up warm, this takes place outside – before the elves take you to meet him in his cosy cabin. Here Santa will tell a theatrical festive tale and you’ll have the chance to take photos with the man himself, before receiving a special Christmas gift.
For something a little different, why not book to see ‘The Christmas Tipi’. A brand-new theatrical experience that reimagines the story of Christmas through beatboxing, dance and freestyle rap performances (on select dates only). Afterwards, nip into Archerfield's Christmas shop to admire their cheery array of decorations, perhaps picking up a Christmas present or two en route.
Wondrous Woods at Gosford House, East Lothian
27 October – 19th November 26 November 2023
Marvel at skies, woods and planted borders streaked with coloured light at the seasonal creative lighting installation in the hidden gardens of impressive Gosford House, which will also be illuminated as part of the spectacle. Starting at Gosford House’s lily pond and icehouse the trail will take you past mystical woodland installations where you can look out for Woody the Owl and his forest friends.
Festive Enchanted Forest at Raby Castle, Yorkshire
18 November – 24 December 2023
For a festive event that entertains and delights your children in equal measure, head to Raby Castle and embark on its enchanted forest walk. The festive trail of twinkling lights and Christmas music will lead you through the Plotters’ Forest. If you’d like to soak up the atmosphere at a more sedate pace, then a stop at the Plotters’ Pantry for a warming cup of hot chocolate is a must!
Christmas at Traquair House, Scottish Borders
25 & 26 November 2023
The storied Traquair House is Scotland's oldest inhabited house, with a rich 900 year history. Decorated for Christmas for one special weekend only, you’ll have the chance to marvel at its beautiful festive adornments, browse the seasonal stalls for gifts and visit Father Christmas in his grotto for an early Christmas present. With mulled wine and roasted chestnuts and local craft workshops also on offer, there's plenty to get you in the festive spirit!
Santa’s Grotto at Thorp Perrow, Yorkshire
25 November – 24 December 2023
There’s nothing more delightful than a festive trail through an enchanted woodland, so where better to capture the magic of Christmas than at Thorp Perrow, where the Arboretum will be decked out in all its winter glory. Follow your elf guides along the path to find Santa’s snug log cabin hidden among the trees, where you can stop by for a chat and to receive a Christmas gift.
Christmas at the Botanics Light Trail, Edinburgh
16 November – 30 December 2023
Colourful illuminations of huge seed heads, larger-than-life crocuses and dazzling pampas grass along with trees festooned with lights make up this year’s festive trail at Edinburgh’s Botanics. After dark, the stunning gardens are transformed into a mesmerising winter wonderland with over a million twinkling lights and a seasonal soundscape. Walk through dazzling tunnels of light, under giant baubles and pause to watch the flickering flames of the fire garden. As you explore, keep your eyes peeled for Father Christmas, and warm up with delicious street food, a tasty hot chocolate or toasted marshmallows.
Paxton House Christmas Cracker weekend, Scottish Borders
2 & 3 December 2023
For a festive extravaganza for all the family then a trip to stunning Paxton House is a must this festive season. For one weekend only, the stunning Georgian house will not only be beautifully decorated but will host an array of craft and gift stalls - perfect for picking up a Christmas present or two... there will also be live music, crafts for the children and delicious food stalls selling hot turkey rolls and mulled wine.
York Christmas Festival, Yorkshire
16 November – 22 December 2023
If you’re planning a festive city break, look no further than York and its wonderful Christmas Festival, which sees a wealth of alpine chalets lining the streets, with local traders selling delicious produce and artisan gifts. The perfect place to get in the Christmas spirit, here you can browse for those all-important Christmas presents, sample festive treats and warm fingers and toes with a mug of hot gluhwein.
Stay nearby at: Number 109, Spencer on the Lane or if you’d prefer to stay somewhere a little more rural to balance the bright lights and festivities in York with long walks and cosy pub trips stay at Rose Cottage, Huggate.
Monteviot Gardens Light Trail, Scottish Borders
30 November – 10 December 2023
Get your festive light fix with the Light Trail in the gorgeous Monteviot Gardens. The illuminated journey unfolds within the historic grounds and takes you on a winding trail though beautifully lit gardens and woods. Shining the spotlight on the magic of nature, each light and audio installation along the way has been carefully chosen to accentuate the beauty of the gardens you’ll explore.
Got that festive feeling?
If our list of festive events has got you dreaming of Christmas cosied up in one of our properties, why not take the leap and book in a special seasonal stay?