We’ve rounded up the very best Christmas activities in the East of England to help keep your little ones entertained and full of the Christmas spirit throughout the season.
Family-friendly festive events in Cambridgeshire
Take the kids to the Cambridge Corn Exchange to enjoy the classic Christmas ballet, ‘The Nutcracker’. Saint Petersburg Classic Ballet returns to Cambridge Corn Exchange from 29-31 December with two Tchaikovsky favourites, The Nutcracker and Swan Lake. Under the expert direction of Marina Medvetskaya, this acclaimed company combines classical training and technique with the best-loved Russian ballets, accompanied by a full orchestra, to entertain audiences in breath-taking style. The remake might be available at the cinema, but nothing beats the beauty of ballet for this festive tale. Book your ticket at https://www.cambridgelivetrust.co.uk/cornex/events/nutcracker-saint-petersburg-classic-ballet
There’s no need to pay thousands to jet to the northern hemisphere for a North Pole experience, it’s right here in Cambridge. Returning for another year of frozen frolics, is the North Pole Festival at Parkers Piece in Cambridge. From 17 November to 8 January, visitors to the city can have the ultimate Christmas experience with ice skating, fun fair rides and winter warmers at the Alpine lodge. Tickets are on sale now, head to www.thenorthpolecambridge.co.uk
Christmas events for children in Essex
Hop aboard the Santa Express at Audley End Miniature Railway and travel into the woodland to discover the magic of Christmas on selected dates between 24 November and 24 December. Cheeky elves will you little ones entertained as they arrive at Father Christmas’s Winter Wonderland. Once back from the journey, children can enjoy writing a letter to Santa, crafts, storytelling and a dance tent. Prices between £11 to £15. This is a hugely popular event so book your tickets quick at www.audley-end-railway.co.uk/events/christmas-special-2018/#tabs
Festive events for kids in Suffolk
There will be another sprinkling of Christmas magic in Ipswich this year as the East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices (EACH) lantern walk. The walk on Saturday, 24 November starts and finishes at DanceEast in Foundry Lane, taking in just over two kilometres of the waterfront in between. Proceedings will be drawn to a close with some festive entertainment and refreshments. Tickets for the lantern walk cost £10.
Registration for the lantern walk is from 5.30pm, with the event to have ended by 9pm. For more information visit www.each.org.uk.
Children’s Christmas events in Norfolk
The Thursford Christmas Spectacular is bringing festive fun to Norfolk once again at the Thursford Collection from 6 November to 23 December. One of Europe’s biggest and most anticipated festive events, and now in its 41st year, this staple of the Christmas season boasts 65 musical numbers, glittering costumes, a troupe of dancers from across the West End and Broadway and is set to entertain over 110,000 people from up and down the country.
The extravaganza is a dazzling festive celebration of non-stop singing, dancing, music, humour and variety, featuring a wealth of acts from outstanding performers, many of whom have frequented the nation’s most coveted stages. It might only be October, but tickets to this seasonal showcase sell out fast! Prices from £37 – £47. Book at www.thursford.com/christmas-spectacular.
Christmas in Hertfordshire
Lee Valley White Water Centre’s Christmas attraction is back for 2018. For the third year running the venue will host an array of seasonal activities and entertainment for families and friends to enjoy throughout the festive period. The Christmas destination will run for just over five weeks from Saturday 1 December to Sunday 6 January 2019 and will feature an ice rink, curling lanes, a Santa’s grotto and fun fair.
Visitors can get into the Christmas spirit with a skate on the venue’s real ice rink. Available from Friday to Sunday, ticket prices for ice skating start from £5ppand include a 45 minute session on the ice. New for 2018, the venues ice rink will also feature four real ice curling lanes, for visitors to experience a taster of the winter Olympic sport.
For those wanting to pick up some last minute stocking fillers, a Christmas market will be open on Saturday 15 and Sunday 16 December. With quirky gifts to dazzling decorations, the free entry market offers an opportunity to discover a host of presents for Christmas.
No festive day out would be complete without a visit to Santa’s grotto. Here, children can enjoy an enchanting experience meeting with the big man himself. Father Christmas is available to visit on weekends between 10:30-6pm and on Christmas Eve. Pre book tickets, please visit gowhitewater.co.uk
Family-friendly Christmas events in Bedfordshire
It’s never too early to plan in advance, head on over to Bedford’s Corn Exchange for Santa’s Christmas Party on 20 December. Jack Frost has been causing mischief up at the North Pole and needs your help to fix it. Enjoy a show packed with festive fun and party games, with a present from Father Christmas for every child. Aimed at 2 to 7 year olds, this is a perfect adventure for the little ones. Find out more at www.bedfordcornexchange.co.uk/events/whats-on
The Dunstable Downs is once again running their Christmas Trail, this year based on the 12 days of Christmas. Pick up your leaflet at reception and follow the clues, singing as you go. Looking to have some time with the big man himself? Then head over to The View Café for breakfast with Father Christmas who’ll be there to chat with children at various dates in December. To find out more about the trail and the breakfast visit: www.nationaltrust.org.uk/events