They’ve been waiting for this moment all year, so make it as magical as possible for your little ones with these fun festive events…
A Wimpole Wonderland, 11-12 November
Arrington, SG8 0BW, Cambs
As schools break up for the two-week festive break, it can be a difficult and laborious task to keep children occupied. Luckily Wimpole Hall provides the answer. A National Trust property in Cambridgeshire, that is readily prepared with activities for all the family. With a Christmas Craft fair open 11-12 November, this is the perfect chance for the adults to start their gift shopping with quirky and quaint finds. Later into December the house opens up for all to enjoy craft workshops, a hot chocolate bar and storytelling. Outside the farm is open to visit the animals with the sounds of folk music to accompany you. www.nationaltrust.org.uk/wimpole-estate
A Christmas Paper Trail, 16 November – 30 December
Norwich Cathedral Quarter, Norwich
To celebrate Norwich Puppet Theatre’s Christmas show, The Steadfast Tin Soldier follow a creative paper artwork trail around the Cathedral Quarter inspired by Hans Christian Andersen’s tale of love and bravery.
From 16 November – 30 December, you can collect the hidden letters on a map as you go, solve the puzzle then return your completed map for a chance of winning some prizes! Maps will be available to download from the Theatre’s website and the Tourist Information Centre at The Forum from October. www.puppettheatre.co.uk/
The Santa Express, 25-24 November
Nene Valley Railway, Wansford Station , Stibbington, Peterborough , PE8 6LR
Santa is swapping his sleigh for the Nene Valley Railway from 25 November – 24 November. Hop aboard for a fun-filled festive ride to Peterborugh and back, enjoying the entertainment on board and a visit from the man in red himself. The Santa Specials are hugely popular so book fast to secure your place. Priced from £15. nvr.org.uk
A classic Christmas at Ickworth
Step back in time at National Trust’s Ickworth House and enjoy the sights, sounds and smells of a 1930s Christmas on 2-3 December. The maids will be busy in house prepping seasonal treats, before everyone gathers around the tree to sing carols – it’s the perfect event for getting into the Christmas spirit! Later in the month sees ‘Ickworth Sparkle’ on 9-10, 16-17 and 21-23 December. A festive family event for making magical memories; there’s the opportunity to follow make decorations and crafts, help with cooking special seasonal treats and listen to storytelling by the tree with gifts for Father Christmas! Tickets cost £12 per child. www.nationaltrust.org.uk/ickworth/whats-on
Help find Rudolph, 9-10 December
Great Notley Country Park, Braintree, CM77 7FS
Santa has a problem, one of his reindeers has gone missing, and it’s up to the children visiting Great Notely Country Park on 9-10 December to find him! Children will be treated to a festive story, before setting out to find the missing reindeer hiding in the park, before receiving a gift from Santa for their help. There’s also face painting, crafts and festive activities. Tickets are £4 per child and children under 1 and adults go free. https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/reindeer-trail-tickets-37598793002
A land of enchantment at Audley End House, 15-23 December
Audley End Road, Saffron Walden CB11 4JF
The English Heritage property, near Saffron Walden, is introducing a new festive event this winter. Its grounds will be filled with light, colour and sound as the ‘Enchanted’ season begins.
From 15-23 December, the gardens of Audley End House will be bathed in dramatic illuminations with strings of lanterns laced through the boughs of trees, and fairy lights twinkling behind leaves will lead visitors along an enchanting trail into a magical wonderland.
Inspiration will be taken from a variety of elements of the site’s history, including the nursery at Audley End and the lives of the eight Braybrooke children who lived there, with miniature scenes recreated with dolls house-sized characters to delight children.
There will also be ‘escaped wildlife’ illuminated through the landscape, a shadow puppet feature and medieval scenes. The fun doesn’t stop there, follow the trail to the end and enjoy a traditional fairground, festive food and drink and shopping opportunities. Tickets cost from £10 per adult, £6 children. www.english-heritage.org.uk/enchanted