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, Northumberland
28 November 2022 – 1 January 2023
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. The gardens will also play host to Father Christmas, who will be waiting to welcome you to his festive treehouse grotto on select dates in December.
The Twelve Days of Christmas at Bamburgh Castle, Northumberland
12 November 2022 – 8 January 2023
If you, like us, think that Christmas is made better with decorations and spectacular floral displays, then The Twelve Days of Christmas at Bamburgh Castle is a must! Created by world-class theatre designer Charlotte Lloyd Webber, this incredible experience transforms the iconic castle into a magical world full of swans-a-swimming, lords-a-leaping and turtle doves, with a new surprise hidden around every corner as you explore the magnificent state rooms.
Into the Woods: A Fairytale Christmas at Castle Howard, Yorkshire
12 November 2022 – 2 January 2023
This year, the grand rooms of Castle Howard will be transformed into a truly magical winter wonderland, where enchanting fairytales come to life. Revisit your childhood and embrace the Christmas spirit as you follow the immersive trail 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 at Archerfield Walled Garden, East Lothian
26 November – 23 December 2022
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. Afterwards, nip into Archerfield's Christmas shop to admire their cheery array of decorations, perhaps picking up a Christmas present or two en route.
Spectacle of Light at Dalkeith Country Park, Midlothian
2 – 31 December 2022
Get your festive light fix with The Spectacle of Light at pretty Dalkeith County Park. If you have a head for heights admire the magical light display and spectacular views over the orangery from the treetops at Fort Douglas. Inspired by Treasure Island (dressing up very much encouraged!), you’ll follow pirate maps as you clamber over rope bridges, whizz down slides and fly along zip wires in the search for gold. Leave plenty of time to sip mulled wine and for hungry pirates to devour hot chocolate and toast marshmallows by the firepit.
Festive Enchanted Forest at Raby Castle, Yorkshire
26 November – 24 December 2022
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
26 & 27 November 2022
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. 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
24 November – 24 December 2022
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 in to chat and receive a Christmas gift.
Christmas at the Botanics Light Trail, Edinburgh
17 November – 30 December 2022
Colourful illuminations, glittering tunnels and trees festooned with lights make up the 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
3 & 4 December 2022
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
17 November – 23 December 2022
If you’re planning a festive city break, look no further than York and its wonderful Christmas Festival, which this year is celebrating the 30th anniversary of St Nicholas Fair, 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.