Free Christmas events for the family!

vintage christmas dolls

vintage christmas dollsDecember:  the festive cheer, the giving and receiving… and the cost!  So take advantage of these ideas for free, festive entertainment this Christmas.


Around the country

  • Cheer on thousands of red-suited looky-likeys in the many charity Santa Fun Runs planned in December. Sheffield and Solihull are among the locations raising funds for the British Heart Foundation ( 0207 554 0000 ). Plenty more at
  • Cheer on hundreds of costumed bikers delivering toys to charitable causes. Stoke ( and Reading ( are just two of this year’s toy run locations – check your local press for details.
  • Visit Worcester’s Victorian Christmas Fayre (1-4 December), Belfast’s Christmas Continental Market (ends 18 December) or Manchester’s Christmas market (ends 21 December), just three of many seasonal fairs and markets this month. (
  • Watch the recording of a Christmas television special. The BBC offers free audience seats at recordings studios across the country ( or see 0871 987 1234 for details of shows on various channels.
  • Wrap up warm to watch hundreds of hardy souls take an outdoor swim for charity.  Christmas Day locations include Brighton ( and Lowestoft  ( Boxing Day locations include Sunderland ( and Tenby (

England: north

  • Visit Santa and Mrs. Claus and participate in craft activities at Castle Eden Dene in East Durham on 3 and 4 December (
  • Experience the centuries-old tradition of the Winter Watch Parades in Chester on 1 and 8 December ( / 01244 402 330).
  • Pearly kings and queens are on the invite list for the Robin Hoods Bay Victorian Weekend & Fireworks weekend on 2-4 December (

England: central

  • Attend the carol service by the Christ Church Cathedral Choir in Oxford on the afternoon of the 8 December ( 01865 276155).
  • Hawkshead Christmas Fair (2-4 December) offers street entertainment, crafts and fine food accompanied by the sound of Christmas Carols and the smell of roasted chestnuts (
  • Watch the lighting of the Christmas tree in London’s Trafalgar Square on 1 December or enjoy the Crib Ceremony on 4 December, starting with a torchlight procession from St Martin in the Fields church ( / 0207 766 1100 ).
  • Take a gander at the Christmas Goose Fair in Chertsey. Food, art, crafts and gifts will be tempting visitors on 10 December ( 01784 460108 ).
  • Visit the 31st Great Christmas Pudding Race in Covent Garden on 3 December ( 07918 608 499 ).

England: south

  • Join in with some Cornish festive fun at the official switching-on of the Christmas lights on The Moor in Falmouth on 1 December ( 01326 313553 ).
  • Support the annual Boxing Day pram races in Windlesham ( 01276 472 977 ) or Pagham (


  • Enjoy the Christmas festivities in George’s Square in Glasgow all month; lights, daily entertainment, choirs and more! (
  • Join thousands of partygoers in Edinburgh for the torchlight procession heralding the start of the Hogmanay celebration (
  • Catch the unique Scots Hogmanay Fireballs celebration in Stonehaven late on 31 December (

Northern Ireland

  • Dress up for the forest trail at the Slieve Gullion Christmas Wonderland at Newry, Co Armagh on December 17 ( / 0283086 8900. Pre-booking advised).