15 fun Christmas events in East Anglia

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Whether it’s a jolly Christmas singalong, sparkling festive lights or the last chance to pick up a present or two from a festive market, we’ve rounded up 15 of the very best things to do this December…

Written by Abby Knight

Bure Valley Railway

Steam ahead to visit Santa at Bure Valley Railway, selected December dates

Each year the Bure Valley railway welcomes it highly popular steam trains to Santa. The enchanting train ride starts in Wroxham and makes it way to Aylsham with the station dressed beautifully in twinkling lights to get everyone into the Christmas spirit as Santa waits to greet everyone in his railway sleigh!  There is entertainment and festive refreshments for all the family before you climb aboard. Available on selected December dates, price £15, visit bvrw.co.uk for details and to book.


Candlelight Tours at Holkham Hall, selected dates throughout December

A magical opportunity to see the magnificent state rooms of Holkham Hall dressed up with opulent Christmas decorations and beautiful flickering candlelight. Join one of the knowledgeable guides and enjoy a tour to see how the decorations were created and the history of the hall. Your ticket prices includes a glass of mulled wine, soft drink or prosecco with dates throughout December. Prices from £12, visit holkham.co.uk for details and to book.


Have a wild Christmas at the Zoo, selected dates in December  

See Santa Clause and enjoy some outdoors festive fun at Banham Zoo in Banham, Norfolk. A brilliant day out for all the family whatever time of year with over 2,000 animals to see including tropical birds, the rare two-toed sloth and lemurs, during selected dates during December you can also join in animal-themed Christmas crafts and face painting, tuck into some tasty seasonal food and more. Sit back and enjoy one of the Amazing Animals presentations and pick up a gift or two in time for Christmas. For details of dates available and ticket prices, visit banhamzoo.co.uk.

Cromer Christmas Show,  25 November – 30 December, Shows 2.30pm and 7.30pm

It’s that time of the year again when Cromer Pier and the Pavilion Theatre put up the Christmas decorations, start serving the mince pies, mulled wine and one of Norfolk’s favourite performers Olly Day takes to the stage to welcome audiences to the ‘must see’ Cromer Christmas Show.

The Cromer Pier Christmas Show, now in its 13th year, has ever-increasing fan bases that make the trip each year to see what is fast becoming one of the main Christmas Shows in the UK. 

Expect a traditional variety show but with a magical Christmas twist where audiences can expect to be entertained with cheeky comedy sketches, big dance numbers full of sequins and sparkle, and Christmas music and songs, hitting just the right note for the festive season. Tickets from £10 – Family Tickets £46Book tickets at www.cromerpier.co.uk

Visit Greenwoods Hotel for the Stock Christmas Fair

Stock Christmas Fair, 2 December 

Visit the picturesque village of Stock in Essex on the 2 December for the first annual Christmas Market. Sponsored by award-winning local hotel Greenwoods Hotel and Spa, highlights include Christmas carols with the Salvation Army around the festive tree in the historic square, a mulled wine and prosecco van, local food, drink and gift stalls with wrapping service available on the day and festive theatre performances. Free entry from 4pm to 8pm.


Santa fun run, 3 December 

Help raise money for charity and burn of some calories before the festive feast in the annual fundraising event for Essex based charity Little Havens Hospice. The event take place at the Wat Tyler Park nature reserve, near Pitsea and includes a 2.5km Reindeer run, live music choirs, festive food and so much more. Prices starts from £8 with family ticket at £25 which includes a Santa suit for adults and festive headgear for children. For further information visit www.havenshospices.org.uk

Festive gin at The Varsity Hotel, 6 December 

Get all wrapped up and head for the roof top of The Varsity Hotel & Spa in Cambridge where there will be the chance to try over 30 types of delicious gin at a pop-up bar on 6 December complete with cosy cushions and blankets. As well as gin cocktails you’ll be treated to warm mince pies while enjoying the sight of the beautiful East Anglia sky line. Open to non-residents as well as hotel guests each hot gin cocktail is priced at £8.50. For further information visit thevarsityhotel.co.uk

Kentwell Hall’s Dickensian Christmas,  8-10 December & 15-17 December

This year Kentwell Hall’s Dickensian Christmas, is more magical, more traditional and combines Victorian splendour and charm with fun and illusions in the Alice in Wonderland Story Book Rooms for the younger visitors.

Visitors can enjoy watching the Victorian Household going about their daily routines in full period costumes, whilst the staff and villagers attend their chores and festive preparation! During a visit to Dickensian Christmas a must ‘join in’ is the joyfulness of the Victorian Music Hall with song’s, readings and recitations. Then it’s on to Mr Dickens presenting ‘A Christmas Carol’.

For the children a visit to Crachit’s Cottage, Father Christmas and a pat with the Donkeys and Reindeers whilst the whole family can enjoy traditional Victorian craft making. Before you leave take part in the ‘Carols by Lantern parade’! 

Christmas at Kentwell Hall

Get crafty at Suffolk Punch Trust, 9 December 

Learn how to make a stunning Christmas wreath for you to take home to decorate your door at the popular wreath making workshop at The Suffolk Punch Trust, Woodbridge on 9 December. The Suffolk Punch trust which supports the pretty local horse breed with a series of events each year is open year round, tickets for the workshop are £50 and booking is essential, call 01394 411327 for details. suffolkpunchtrust.org

Enjoy a Brass band, 10 December 

The perfect way to get in the festive spirit one of the county’s most popular bands Prime Brass presents a special brand of music in a one hour concert for all the family featuring some of your favourite Christmas songs on 10 December. Prime Brass will be joined by Junior Prime Bass and local school choirs to perform at a Christmas concert you won’t forget. Concerts take place in the University of Cambridge Music Facility price from £7.50, visit selected December datesadcticketing.com for details or call 01223 300085.

Slade comes to Norwich Waterfront, 10 December 

The creators of one of the best loved Christmas songs ever, ‘Merry Christmas Everybody’, Slade is coming to the Norwich Waterfront on 10 December. With a popularity that’s lasted over 30 years, the original glam rock band is still prominent on the festival scene and the most exciting bands on the road. Come and see them perform some of their very best roll and rock at this scenic venue. For details call 0114 222 8777 or visit thewaterfront.ticketabc.com.

Enjoy the magic of the Borrowers at DanceEast, 13-17 December

Take in the magical tradition of the Borrowers in a stunning dance performance version by DanceEast from 13 -17 December. The Borrowers capture the imagination of children and families of all ages and this much loved book by Mary Norton is brought to live by the contemporary dance company in Ipswich’s Jerwood DanceHouse with beautiful hand-painted animation that makes it a festive treat for all the family. Ticket prices from £7, visit danceeast.co.uk or call 01473 295230.

The Borrowers at DanceEast

Christmas carol goes to the Circus, 15-17 December 

The Oak House Centre in central Norwich will be presenting three family friendly performances of their Dickens themed cabaret version of ‘A Christmas Carol’ from 15-17 December. Inspired by the ever popular Dickens novel, this circus flavoured performance gives the audience the opportunity to join in the fun and see some heart-stopping aerial and floor acrobatics. For details visit  www.theoakcircuscentre.org 


Sherlock Holmes & The Hooded Lance tours East Anglia this Christmas, 15 December – 13 January 


The Common Ground Theatre are busier than Santa this Christmas as they embark on a tour of East Anglia with a production of ‘Sherlock Holmes & The Hooded Lance’. 

Holmes and Watson faces their stiffest challenge yet, in the shape of the Hooded Lance, their newest and deadliest adversary, who is hell bent on spoiling everyone’s Christmas and being really annoying!

Catch the production at: The Seckford Theatre, Woodbridge: Friday 15th December – 7.30pm & Saturday 16th December – 4.00pm & 7.30pm | The John Peel Centre, Stowmarket: Mon 18th, Tues 19th & Weds 20th December at 7.30pm | St Mary’s Hall, Walton (nr Felixstowe): Thurs 28th, Fri 29th December – 7.30pm & Saturday 30th December – 4pm & 7.30pm| Jubilee Hall, Aldeburgh: Monday 1st January – 7.30pm, Tuesday 2nd January – 4pm & 7.30pm & Wednesday 3rd January – 7.30pm | The Corn Hall, Diss:  Thursday 4th January – 7.30pm | The Headgate Theatre, Colchester: Friday 5th January – 7.30pm & Saturday 6th January – 6pm | New Wolsey Theatre Studio, Ipswich: Mon 8th, Tues 9th, Weds 10th, Thurs 11th & January – 4pm & 7.30pm, Fri 12th January – 5pm & 8pm & Saturday 13th January – 4pm & 7.30pm

Sherlock Holmes & The Hooded Lance


Rudolph flies into Cambridge, 19-20 December

The Cambridge Union in the centre of the city will be transformed into a twinkling, festive wonderland, with the famous Debating space becoming a Winter Chamber where Jay Scrimshaw from the award-winning Guerrilla Kitchen will be serving up a 4-course winter feast on banqueting tables. Taking place 19-20 December, The Reindeer event features entertainment including a Winter Wonderland photo booth and Santa Surprises and ticket price includes dinner, welcome drink and half bottle of wine per guest. Tickets are £65 with late December dates available, visit mylittlefestival.uk for details.

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