It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas in Norfolk. From sparkling lights, wreath workshops, Christmas shows and more, read our guide to the best Christmas events in Norfolk.
Visit Holt for Christmas lights
Perhaps the best town in Norfolk for Christmas lights, Holt is great to visit at any time of year, but it is best known for its Christmas light displays. Though the official switch-on has been postponed due to lockdown, the charming town is still sparkling with white icicle lights hanging from rooftops and store fronts and a giant Christmas tree at the centre. Plan a visit and pick up presents from the many independent homeware and fashion stores, warm up with a cream topped hot chocolate from Byfords before driving out of town and to the coast for a long walk. Read our guide to winter on the North Norfolk Coast.
Dippy Christmas Celebration at Roarr! Dinosaur Adventure, every weekend 4 December, plus 21-24 December
Subject to lockdown restrictions, Roarr! Dinosaur Adventure will be hosting its Christmas celebrations with an abundance of sparkling lights and a traditional family-friendly Christmas atmosphere. Father Christmas’ Grotto Experience is available for pre-booked time slots from 4 December throughout Dippy’s Christmas Celebration event, where a new one-way pathway has been created.
Guests can expect the dinosaurs to be spreading festive cheer all over the 85-acre park, as well as experience a specially designed candy cane trail, with the chance to win a prize, live Dippy shows with Christmas carols, plenty of dancing and a new addition for 2020 – the Magical Present room. Designed for children only, for a small charge they can pick a gift for parents or loved ones and the elves will help with the wrapping, ready for the big day. Older children will enjoy a visit once it’s dark, when the light displays come to life!
Price: entry to park £11, Father Christmas Experience £15 per child. Book your tickets.
Projections on Norwich Castle, 26 November – 31 January
Norwich City Centre
Mesmerising projections will transform Norwich Castle’s historic façade with a celebration of the region’s culture and heritage, Christmas magic and mystery come November. The work of Illuminos projection arts will adorn the castle presenting new original stories to thrill audiences and add atmosphere to Norwich city centre.
Christmas Spectacular Circus & Water Show, 5 December – 10 January
Hippodrome Circus, St Georges Road, Great Yarmouth
The Christmas Spectacular returns for a socially distanced performance, but bigger and better! There’ll be international circus artistes, a water spectacle with aerialists, synchronised swimmers, giant fountains and the magic of Christmas with hilarious comedy from Ben Langley and sensational acrobats with over 50 performers. Tickets are limited due to social distancing so book fast. Check availability.
Tunnel of Light, 12 November – 5 January
Hay Hill, Norwich
Returning with glittering sequences, Norwich’s Tunnel of Light will once again thrill the senses with its 45-meters long, 4 meters high and 6 meters wide tunnel. It’s a must visit if you’re in the city this winter, and a great photo opportunity. This year safety measures are in place; visitors are encouraged to walk on the left and there will be directional floor stickers one metre apart to help you socially distance throughout the tunnel. Find out more information.
Christmas Food, Drink and Gift Market, 5-6, 12-13 and 19-20 December, 10am-4pm
Perfect for some Christmas shopping, or well-deserved treats for yourself, the Christmas market will see the best local producers showcasing their seasonal food, drink and gifts in the Lady Elizabeth Wing. There will be tasty takeaway stalls in the courtyard to tickle your taste buds too. The market is free to visit. There is a parking charge of £4 in Holkham Park, redeemable against purchases of £15 or more in the gift shop.
Thursford Enchanted Journey of Light, 3 December – 10 January 2021
Thursford Collection, Fakenham
A magical walk-through experience for all ages, this is an all-new indoor Wonderland Trail: a maze of steam engines, fairy-tale characters and an immersive experience of light and sound including one of the UK’s biggest kinetic light displays, which will lead to a 4-acre Lantern Light Extravaganza: a beautiful, breath-taking outdoor installation of luminous sculptures, from a fantasy forest of jungle animals to the wilds of the North Pole. Tickets require pre-booking. £15 per person, maximum 6 tickets per booking. Free for two years and under. Time slots allocated from 3pm daily. Book your ticket.
Festive Afternoon Tea at The Maids Head Hotel, selected dates during December
Get into the festive spirit with the hotel’s award-winning traditional afternoon tea full of seasonal flavours. Enjoy this special treat with friends and family in either the Wine Press Restaurant or in one of the cosy lounges. £20 per person. www.maidsheadhotel.co.uk/
Bure Valley Railway Festive Express, 5 December and daily from 19 December, including Christmas Eve
Aylsham Station, Norwich Road, Aylsham
The Festive Express is a one-hour experience from Aylsham station in the Norfolk Broads which includes a 30-minute steam train ride, Christmas refreshments for all the family, a guest appearance from Santa and a personalised present for each child. The attraction is holder of VisitEngland’s We’re Good To Go mark. Advanced booking is essential. Tickets £12 per person (adults and children). Book here.
Panto in a Pickle! 16-24 December various times
Theatre Royal, Norwich
A brand new show for the whole family that captures lots of the traditional panto fun in a madcap adventure through six of favourite stories, ‘Panto in a Pickle!’ The story is a new twist with exciting and unexpected pleasures. Be prepared for pantomime but not as we know it! There has been a terrible mess-up in Panto-land. What is Cinderella doing with those magic beans? Why did Captain Hook stop Snow White going to the ball? How did Aladdin end up in an enchanted sleep? Tickets priced £10 to £13.50. Book your tickets.
Dressing your home for Christmas – Wreath and Floristry Workshop, 1 & 8 December, 10am-2pm
Join local florist, Jo Thomas of Constance Rose, for this hands-on workshop in the North Dining Room in Holkham Hall. Jo will share her top tips for dressing your home elegantly and individually this Christmas and you will have all the materials you need for some magical creations to take home. Learn how to create a mantlepiece showstopper and how to dress a festive table then use your new- found knowledge and greenery from Holkham Park to inspire your seasonal wreath and table centre to take home.
Price: £125, includes parking, refreshments and a light lunch served in Holkham Hall. To book call 01328 713111 or click here.
A Wild Perspective – Inhabitants of Holkham Park Trailer Tour, Thursdays 3rd, 10th & 17th December, 11am
Hop on board a trailer with Holkham’s wildlife expert for a ride around Holkham Park discovering the incredible variety of mammals, birds and invertebrates that call this place home, as well as a diverse range of trees and plants. You will also get to meet the headkeeper, Mark Fitzer, who will introduce you to majestic Fallow Deer and tell you about their history and the valuable work the keepers do to look after them.
Price: £14, includes a hot drink and a mince pie en route. Discover more about the tour.
Gardens, Grottos, Trees and Terraces – Guided Tour of the Secret Gardens, 7, 14 & 21 December, 11am & 2pm
You may have glimpsed the intricate terraces out of the window when visiting Holkham Hall, but did you know that there is a hidden private garden to the east of the hall with its own arboretum and even a grotto? This is a chance to join one of the enthusiastic gardeners who will tell you all about the unusual and rare specimen trees, show you the formal parterres on the terraces, provide an insight into ongoing works and gradual improvements and take you for a very rare visit to the delightful Shell House, one of Holkham’s hidden treasures. With insights into the history of these wonderful gardens, and the work needed to maintain their splendour, this tour will delight garden lovers and history aficionados alike.
Price: £20, includes parking and a hot drink and mince pie in the Courtyard Cafe. Book a space on the tour.
Canine Carol Concert, 6 December, 11-11:30am
A festive celebration of the most important of companions – our four-legged friends! Led by Reverend Brenda Stewart, the short service of thanks will include carols, readings and a blessing. Located on the gravel area outside the north entrance to the hall, there will be plenty of space for all attendees (be they human or otherwise) to comfortably spread out and socially distance.
Price: £4 per car, includes parking. All proceeds donated to Church of St Withburga. Find out more.
Christmas Tree Shop in partnership with Salle Farms, Wednesdays to Sundays, 2-24 December, 10am-4pm
Christmas just isn’t complete without that sweet smell of a real Christmas tree. For the first time, Holkham Hall, have teamed up with local tree experts Salle Farms to offer fantastic, locally grown, premium Nordmann fir trees. Homes come in all shapes and sizes, as will the trees, and the team will be more than happy to help you get the tree into or onto your car ready to go home. All you need to do then is work out what you’d like to hang on it! The Christmas Tree Shop will be located, outside, close to our main car park.
Luminate Sandringham, 17 December – 17 January
The magical light trail, ‘Luminate Sandringham’, has been rescheduled post lockdown and will begin mid-December. Visitors can follow a mile-long trail of enchanting light displays, accompanied by ambient music, through the grounds of Sandringham Country Park. It’s the perfect evening to get you into the festive spirit.
Price from: £14 adult, £10 child. Book your timeslot.