Free events across the UK this Christmas

The festive season can be an expensive time with gifts, parties and keeping the kids busy during the school holidays. Here are some free events that are happening across the UK so you are sure to find one close to you.

National Trust Christmas Markets

Get away from the hustle and bustle of city centres and enjoy one of the many Christmas markets run by the National Trust. Let the kids run around in the outdoor spaces and take in the beauty of your surroundings. You will find handmade and locally sourced gifts and decorations for your own home which will are sure to be unique.

Find out the locations and dates here.

Christmas street lights


German-style Christmas Markets

There are free Christmas markets all over the UK which have a real festive buzz about them. Some have rides and funfairs for younger visitors but all of them will have yummy food stalls selling bratwurst, stollen and Lebkuchen, which are the heart-shaped gingerbread biscuits.

Adults can enjoy a mug of Gluhwein or hot fruit punch to keep warm and soak up the festive atmosphere. Find out about markets in your local area here.

Christmas markets

London - Winter Wonderland

 ‘Winter Wonderland’ events are all designed to get the kids super excited on the run up to Christmas. If you live around London or if you plan to visit in the festive holidays, you are the lucky ones as you have the biggest free Winter Wonderland in the UK in Hyde Park.

It is open for 6 weeks starting on Friday 18th November and is free to attend so you can wonder round and can soak up the atmosphere. If you want you could enjoy the open-air ice rink, circus shows, festive rides and German-style markets with plenty of food and mulled wine. Find out more on their website.

South East – Dreamland

Dreamland is the oldest surviving amusement park in the UK established in 1920 in Margate. It had 18 million pounds worth of restoration work done in 2015 and this Christmas there will be pantomimes, a roller disco, a Santa’s grotto as well as all the amusement rides you could wish for.  The grotto will be open from 3rd to 24th December and more information can be found at their website here.

South East – Burning the Clocks

The community of Brighton and Hove make paper lanterns each year, which are paraded through the city to the beach and burned as a symbol of the end of the year. It is a spectacular event of light with a fireworks display too which is suitable for the whole family. This year the event will be held on 21st December and more information can be found here.

South West – Mousehole Light Show

This year is the 53rd annual Mousehole Harbour Light event where boats in the harbor display an array of light displays to create a lovely atmosphere n the area. This volunteer-led event draws in huge crowds each night as visitors walk through the narrow streets taking in all the delights. Find out more here.

East Anglia – Norfolk Festivities

There are events every weekend in Norfolk throughout the festive period so check out their site here and discover more about what’s happening- from Yule log and Christmas Marketplace to A Christmas carol at the theatre.

North West – Christmas Carols in John Rylands Library

The Salford Royal Choir will be singing an array of Christmas carols in the heart of Manchester on 4th December. The John Rylands Library is a beautiful building which has dark wood features and is a must see in Manchester, even being a number one attraction on Trip Advisor for the city. Find out more abut the event here.  

North West – Liverpool Snowflake Trail

Liverpool’s city centre will be turned into a huge Snowflake trail from 1st December to   3rd January and you can pick up a trail map in participating retail stores and take part with the added incentive of some fantastic prizes. Find out more here.

North East – Get Crafty at South Shields

Make some lovely homemade Christmas wrapping and cards for free in South Shields from 3rd December to 17th December. Homemade gifts are even more special at this time of your so friends and family are sure to love your efforts. Click here for more details.

North East – Christmas at Narnia

Newcastle’s Castle Keep and Black Gate will be host to a CS Lewis special this year with a ‘Christmas at Narnia’ event on 10th and 11th December. With some of the fictional characters in attendance it’s sure to be a weekend full of magic.

Scotland – Edinburgh

There are plenty of free events in Scotland’s capital this year with more details available here.  From ‘24 Days of Advent’, where you can visit buildings normally closed to the public, to ‘Street of Light’ on George Street where lights and music are synchronized, you will find something to wow your family.

Wales – River of Light

In Caerphilly, the River of Light Lantern Parade will take place on Thursday 22nd December.  Get your kids involved in the event with free Lantern workshops happening before the event. Details can be found here. The parade itself snakes through the city and ends with a firework display which will keep the Christmas spirit bubbling nicely for the kids. Find out about the parade here.

Let us know if you have any other tips for events this festive season- get in touch on Facebook or Twitter!

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