Looking for family-friendly activities in London and special events to keep the kids happy this Christmas holiday? Read our guide to the school holidays, packed with plenty of ideas in the city and the countryside…
Things to Do with Children in London & the Country this Christmas
Christmas at Kew 2018
A spectacular lights show for all the family, this year’s Christmas as Kew is better than ever. With an illuminated trail through the gardens lit up with over a million twinkling lights – it’s nothing short of magical. Follow the illuminated path towards glittering trees dripping with silvery shards of light, snowflakes and stars, before marvelling at the sight of the Sledge Tree, created from hundreds of wooden Santa sledges. Read our full preview of Christmas at Kew, here.
Tickets are on sale now at www.kew.org – advance booking recommended! Tickets from £10 for children, £16 for adults
Practically Perfect Stay at Milestone Hotel & Residences, Kensington
Check in to the award-winning five-star Milestone Hotel & Residences opposite Kensington Palace and Garden this Christmas to experience its Mary Poppins-inspired luxury Practically Perfect package. The stay includes an overnight stay, a full English breakfast for two and a number of Mary Poppins-inspired activities. Young guests will be given a “silver” chocolate tuppence which they can exchange for a bird-feeding kit and, weather allowing, they can also opt to fly a kite “up to the highest height!” in the Italian Garden at Kensington Gardens. The stay also includes a Spoonful of Sugar Afternoon Tea for two, with a children’s version also available.
The Practically Perfect hotel stay starts at £540 per night, based on two people sharing a Classic Double Room. Walk-in guests can also enjoy the Spoonful of Sugar Afternoon Tea in the hotel’s Park Lounge until 31 January 2019, £50 per person. The children’s version of the afternoon tea is priced at £25 per child under 12. Afternoon Tea is served daily at 1pm, 3pm and 5pm. milestonehotel.com
The Tiger Who Came to Afternoon Tea at The Savoy
If you’re in the market for a posh but child-friendly tea for two, three, four or more in the city this Christmas, it’s got to be the Savoy’s very first children’s afternoon tea. As part of the 50th Anniversary Celebrations of Judith Kerr’s treasured classic, the iconic picture book will be the inspiration for a feast of teatime treats such as those that Sophie and her mummy shared with the visiting Tiger.
The Tiger Who Came to Tea at The Savoy will be priced from £40 per child aged from five to 12 years old and will comprise sandwiches, tiger striped scones and pastries and more. fairmont.com/savoy-london
Sleeping Beauty and Other Tales at Haddon Hall
Visit the Peak District’s 900-year-old Haddon Hall with the kids this Christmas as they bring the nation’s favourite fairy tales to life with rooms decorated to represent scenes from them. The floral ‘Sleeping Beauty’ display is truly a wonder to behold, and little ones will enjoy guessing which tale the scenes are depicting. Visitors of all ages can enjoy daily live music performed by local community choirs in the Banqueting Hall, daily storytelling hosted in the Parlour plus an impressive display of Christmas trees, wreaths and lights.
Haddon Hall is open from 1-23 December, 10.30am-4pm, with last admission at 3pm. Adults from £15.75, children under 15 go free. haddonhall.co.uk
King Henry’s Christmas Court at Mary Rose Museum, Portsmouth
Check out the Yuletide traditions of the Tudor Court at the Mary Rose Museum in Portsmouth, free with your entry ticket. You’ll be greeted by Jesters, Courtiers, Musicians and Ladies in Waiting during your visit as you explore the largest collection of Tudor artefacts in the world. You might even run into King Henry VIII of England himself.
Visit on the weekends of 8-9, 15-16 or 29-30 December. maryrose.org
Santa Spectacular at Willows Activity Farm
An Elf Academy, Santa’s grotto, a Woodland Fairy show, an Ice Rink and gingerbread decorating workshops are just some of the festive activities young visitors to Willows Farm can expect this Christmas. Mr Tod’s Lair, the Cotton-tail Village, Peter Rabbit Adventure Playground, Woolly Jumpers indoor play barn and the Farmyard will also be open as usual, and Peter Rabbit will be making daily appearances.
Santa Spectacular runs every day between 21 November and 24 December. On the day admission is £38 for children and £22 for adults including all activities. willowsactivityfarm.com
Slieve Donard Resort and Spa, Northern Ireland
Fancy a little festive family getaway? Check in to the Slieve Donard Resort & Spa in Northern Ireland, the perfect place to stay when visiting the Belfast Christmas Market in Belfast City Hall Gardens. A must during your stay is a trip on the Polar Express train for a festive day out. Guests will be led on an enchanted journey through the Slieve Donard grounds to enjoy festive fun and treats From 14-21 December, Santa, Mrs Claus and the elves will be in residence at the Slieve Donard Resort and Spa offering Christmas workshops and activities in its very own Winter Wonderland.
The Slieve Donard Resort & Spa (hastingshotels.com, 028 9042 1066) offers rooms from £130 per night during the month of December, on a B&B Basis, based on two people sharing a double room. The Polar Express will be available at the Slieve Donard Resort & Spa from 14th December – Friday 21st December 2018 and is £22 per child and £16 per adult including complimentary tea, coffee or mulled wine and refreshments for the children, a personal gift and a photograph with Santa. hastingshotels.com
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