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Best West Midlands Christmas days out 2020

Christmas days out in the West Midlands sell out fast! This is a comprehensive list of places to see Santa as well as other festive events. I will be updating each location as soon as they release details. Things are set to be a little different in 2020 due to Covid-19 but I will share all the information I can. Please do let me know if I’ve missed any brilliant events off the list, I’d be happy to add them in. Advance booking essential at all attractions unless otherwise stated. If you’re looking for a Christmas event in a particular part of the West Midlands, check out the contents table below to jump to that section. For more days out around the area at any time of year, check out my list of things to do in the West Midlands.

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Best Herefordshire Christmas days out 2020

Brockhampton Estate (National Trust) – Peter Rabbit Winter Activity Trail

It’s lovely to see National Trust properties starting to announce details of some little events taking place for Christmas. At Brockhampton, there will be a self-led Peter Rabbit Winter Activity Trail. Visitors can pick up a trail pack from reception to discover how British wildlife prepares for winter. Meet several Beatrix Potter characters along the route. Packs contain an activity sheet, pencil, certificate and a wooden badge. The trail costs £2 per child and normal admission fees apply. They advise booking tickets to visit Brockhampton in advance.

Dates: Saturday, 12 December 2020 and 11 other dates – it is not clear from the website what the other dates are so I advise checking before you book.

Website: Brockhampton National Trust

Review: Reviews of Brockhampton are available on Trip Advisor.

Brockhampton Manor House

Croft Castle (National Trust) – A Peter Rabbit Winter Activity Trail

Like Brockhampton, Peter Rabbit will be visiting Croft Castle this December. Go nature spotting and help Peter’s friends while you make your way around the Castle Grounds. Advanced booking is advisable.

Dates: Saturday, 12 December 2020 and 16 other dates – it is not clear from the website what the other dates are so I advise checking before you book.

Website: Croft Castle National Trust

Review: I can’t find a review of the Christmas event, but you can read my review of a dog friendly family day out at Croft Castle.

Croft Castle, Herefordshire in black and white

Eastnor Land Rover – Santa and Drive

Details of the 2020 Christmas event at Eastnor Land Rover have not yet been released.

Santa and drive dates: Not yet released.

Website: Eastnor Land Rover

Review: Plutonium Sox

Santa Drive Eastnor Land Rover mum and two girls toasting marshmallows
Toasting marsh mallows after the Eastnor Santa Safari in Herefordshire

Best Shropshire Christmas days out 2020

Blists Hill Victorian Town – Victorian Christmas

There are two events taking place this year at Blists Hill. Rather confusingly, one is called A Victorian Christmas and the other is Victorian Christmas Weekends. For both events, the museum will be decorated with holly and ivy, decoupage baubles and home made paper chains. Visitors can stroll around the town, chat to villagers and find out how their Christmas preparations are going. A real ice rink is available for pre-booking and festive refreshments are on offer. Annual pass holders can visit this event with no additional charges but there is no Santa’s grotto or festive entertainment.

On Victorian Christmas weekends, everything is as above but the grotto and additional seasonal entertainment take place as well. Visitors will be welcomed by carol singers and brass bands. Browse a Victorian shopping emporium, make Christmas cards and decorations and join in with an Elf School lesson. There’s a big top with circus skills, a pantomime and music. There will even be some snowfall. A little electric train takes visitors to Santa’s grotto where Father Christmas has a gift for all the children. There is an extra fee for this. All tickets need to be booked in advance and annual pass holders receive a 25% discount.

Victorian Christmas Dates: December 2020: 2nd to 4th, 9th to 11th, 16th to 23rd, 26th to 31st. January 2021: 1st to 3rd.

Victorian Christmas weekends: 5th, 6th, 12th and 13th December 2020.

Website: Victorian Christmas: Ironbridge Museums. Victorian Christmas weekends: Ironbridge Museums.

Review: Birmingham Mail

Cart horses at Blists Hill
Sepia photo of two cart horses at Blists Hill

Hawkstone Park Follies – Santa Safari

Visitors will arrive at Hawkstone Park Hotel to check in. Enjoy a hot drink before getting into a Land Rover to journey across the park, through a Wishing Arch then up hill to Santa’s caves. Stroll through the caves until you reach Santa’s grotto to meet him. Children will receive a gift. Tickets will be sold by the vehicle for up to six people in the same household or social bubble. Face coverings must be worn in waiting areas and inside the vehicle.

Santa Safari dates: 4th to 23rd December 2020.

Website: Hawkstone Park Follies

Review: Team Stokey

Ray’s Farm, Bridgenorth – A traditional Christmas

It’s an old-fashioned Christmas at Ray’s Farm this year. Look into a donkey’s stable to see baby Jesus and Mary, Joseph, three kings and three wise men. Talk to Santa who is preparing toys for delivery and meet Frosty the reindeer. Follow a Christmas Trail throughout the farm, meeting farmyard animals as you go.

Dates: 12th, 13th, 19th to 24th December 2020. Tickets to be released soon.

Website: Ray’s Farm

Review: Trip Advisor

Telford Steam Railway – The Polar Express

The Telford Steam Railway Polar Express has been cancelled for 2020 due to Covid-19 restrictions.

Polar Express dates: Not taking place in 2020.

Website: Polar Express

Review: Plutonium Sox

Polar Express Telford conductor stamping ticket
The conductor stamping a ticket on the Polar Express, Telford

Best Staffordshire Christmas days out 2020

Alton Towers – Santa’s sleepover

DAY VISITORS: Alton Towers Hotels are unable to reopen at present. Instead, they will be open for day visitors from the local area. Selected outdoor attractions and rides will be open. The gardens will be illuminated and festive entertainment will take place outdoors. Santa will be there too for socially distanced visits on his grotto veranda. Further information will be available from their website in a few days.

SANTA SLEEPOVERS: A sleepover at Alton Towers ticks every box for a magical Christmas. Stay in your choice of themed hotels and visit Santa with a gift for every child. All visitors will get entry tickets for both the water park and theme park. Explore the new garden lantern trail. Only certain rides in the theme park are open, but this will include the CBeebies land attractions. Enjoy a festive evening meal and breakfast. Evening entertainment will include a farewell from Santa. 

Day Visitors Dates: Weekends from 2nd to 16th December 2020 when they will reassess inline with the latest Covid-19 restrictions for the area.

Santa Sleepover Dates: The Alton Towers hotels are currently unable to reopen for the Santa’s Sleepover. However, booking is still open for 17th to 23rd December 2020 as the Covid-19 tiers are due to be reassessed on 16th December.

Website: Alton Towers

Review: Mini Travellers

Churnet Valley Railway – Santa and Steam

UPDATE: This event has now been cancelled.  

Dates: Cancelled

Website: Churnet Valley Railway

Review: Otis and Us

Drayton Manor, Tamworth – Drayton’s Magical Christmas

UPDATE: This event has now been cancelled.

Magical Christmas dates: Cancelled.

Website: Drayton Manor

Review: Plutonium Sox

Drayton's Magical Christmas | Drayton Manor Theme Park and Zoo in Tamworth, West Midlands, UK becomes a festive Winter Wonderland at Christmas. Children can meet Santa in the Castle of dreams and families can enjoy the usual rides and attractions along with extra shows, snowstorms, ice skating and beautiful Christmas decorations. The day is rounded off with a Thomas Land parade and a fireworks display. #Christmas #WestMidlands #ThemePark #DraytonManor
Festive Thomas the Tank Engine at Drayton’s Magical Christmas

National Forest Adventure Farm – Christmas Cracker

Due to covid restrictions, the National Forest Adventure Farm have had to change their Christmas event at the last minute. It will now all take place outdoors but under cover. Two, 20 minute long festive shows take place. They feature Santa giving gifts out and Silvermist the Reindeer. Visitors can decorate gingerbread with Martha Christmas and meet Marston the reindeer. Take a Snowmen Hall of Fame tractor journey and ride the Reindeer Carousel. Tickets also include a day at the adventure farm. Each show will be for a maximum of ten family groups of up to six people with social distancing in place. Visitors will need to choose a show slot and can then enjoy the adventure farm for the rest of their visit from 9am to 6.30pm. The paddocks, outdoor play and tractor ride will be open. The animal barn and restaurant will be closed, as will indoor play areas, the grill and the ice cream parlour. Advance booking online is essential.

Dates: 5th, 6th, 12th, 13th and 19th to 24th December 2020.

Website: National Forest Adventure Farm

Review: The Ladybirds’ adventures

Snowdome, Tamworth – Santa’s Winter Wonderland

2020 will be Santa’s 16th year at the SnowDome in Tamworth and he’s back with a brand new Winter Wonderland stage show. Visitors can also explore the real snow trail with slides, an enchanted forest and snow tubes for sledging down ramps. Animals are waiting to meet you beside Santa’s House in the Christmas village. This year, there’s a traditional carousel and you can post your letter to Santa in his talking post box.

Winter Wonderland dates: From 16th December 2020 to 3rd January 2021 excluding Christmas day.

Website: SnowDome

Independent review: Plutonium Sox

Little girl on a sledge at the SnowDome festive event

Best Warwickshire Christmas days out 2020

Kenilworth Castle (English Heritage) – Christmas adventure quest

Interestingly, there is no sign of an event taking place at Kenilworth Castle in the run-up to Christmas this year. However, they have now published details of their Christmas adventure quest that starts on boxing day. Families can discover untold stories and fun facts while they explore the castle. Clues and QR codes lead you to quirky tales and a little reward at the end of your journey.

Dates: 26th December 2020 to 3rd January 2021

Website: Kenilworth Castle

Review: I can’t find a review of this Christmas experience but you can read our review of a dog friendly family day out at Kenilworth Castle.

Magic Alley, Stratford Upon Avon – A Candy Cane Christmas

UPDATE: Please note, Magic Alley are allowed to go ahead with this event, which complies with Tier 3 restrictions. They are currently sold out but there is a waiting list so it is worth checking the website and asking to be added to the list if you would like to go.

In the heart of Stratford Upon Avon, Magic Alley is a Santa experience with a little more to offer older children. As their buy-in to Santa starts to wane, Magic Alley is there to start it back up again. A 45 to 60 minute visit includes a Christmas Quest to guide you around the event. Every family will spend some time with Father Christmas and he has a gift of a specially written Christmas story and a candy cane for each visitor. This is due to the Magical Alley ethos of encouraging reading and family bonding over a book on Christmas eve. Due to Covid-19 restrictions, Magic Alley are planning a socially distanced Christmas event. One family will be admitted at a time and entry times will be staggered.

Dates: Multiple dates from 2nd to 24th December 2020.

Website: Magic Alley

Review: Birmingham Mail

Photo courtesy of Magic Alley

Warwick Castle, Warwickshire – Christmas at the castle

UPDATE: Please note, they are still trying to work out whether this is able to go ahead. If it is cancelled they will contact anyone who has booked. Full information will be on their website as soon as it is available.

A Christmas light trail and ice rink lead the festivities at Warwick Castle this year.  The whole castle will be lit up by thousands of lights, a 20 foot high Christmas tree is up in the Great Hall and Santa will be spreading festive cheer at story time. A festive market next to the ice rink sells food and drink and look out for the Winter birds of prey show and a Christmas Horrible Histories scavenger hunt. All tickets need to be booked in advance. There is an additional charge for stories with Santa which must also be booked online. For the ultimate Warwick Castle Christmas experience, stay over in a wooden lodge at the Knight’s Village and wake up to the sound of sleigh bells as Santa visits with a special gift for little ones. Then you can join him and the elves for breakfast. 

Christmas at the castle dates: Selected dates from 5th December 2020 to 3rd January 2021.

Website: Warwick Castle

Review: Plutonium Sox

Santa at Warwick Castle

Best West Midlands (county) Christmas days out 2020

Birmingham city centre – Frankfurt Christmas Market

Sadly, the Birmingham Christmas Market has now been cancelled for 2020.

Frankfurt Christmas Market dates: Cancelled for 2020.

Website: German Market

Independent review: Birmingham Mail

Birmingham Christmas Market

Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery – Santa’s Grotto

This event is no longer listed on the website and the museum is currently closed as Birmingham is in tier 3.

Santa’s Grotto dates: The museum is currently closed and this event is not listed.

Website: Birmingham Museums

Review: Mama Geek

Black Country Living Museum, Dudley – Santa Hunts

UPDATE: This event has now been cancelled.

Dates: Event cancelled.

Website: BCLM

Review: There are Trip Advisor reviews of visiting at Christmas and you can read my review of a family day out at the Black Country Living Museum.

Cadbury World, Birmingham – Christmas Celebration Weekends

Christmas weekends have been running at Cadbury world for a long time now and seem to follow a similar format each year. Santa’s stage show is full of music and festive fun for all the family. His elves even come laden with gifts to give out to visiting children. There’s a festive menu in the Cadbury cafe, handmade festive chocolates to buy in the shop and the annual Cadbury pantomime. This year it’s Sleeping Beauty. Expect a chocolatey twist on the traditional panto. Tickets include both pantomime and Santa’s stage show but you will need to prebook slots for each to fit around the tour.

Christmas celebration weekends dates: 17th to 23rd December 2020. The Sleeping Beauty pantomime will also run from 27th to 30th December.

Website: Cadbury World

Review: Mama Geek

A family day out at Cadbury World Birmingham festive area in Cadavra ride
Festive area at Cadbury World

Dudley Canal and Tunnel Trust – A Fairy Tale Christmas

UPDATE: This event has now sold out.

Tickets are now on sale for the Dudley Canal and Tunnel Trust Christmas boat trip. Decorated caves and Krazy Kris’s underground pantomime with his UV friends are old favourites. This year, there will be hidden presents, Little Red Riding Hood and the big bad wolf and a journey to see Santa in his grotto. The whole thing takes place in Covid-safe pods for 1-4 people and tickets include a hot drink and mince pie for adults, as well as a gift from Santa for children. Tickets need to be booked in advance and always sell out quickly so it is advisable to book early.

Fairy Tale Christmas dates: 4th, 5th, 6th, 11th, 12, 13th and 18th to 23rd December 2020.

Website: Dudley Canal and Tunnel Trust

Review: Trip Advisor

Dudley Zoo, Dudley – Santa’s Grotto

There doesn’t appear to be a particular Christmas event at Dudley Zoo this year. However, they are reopening on Wednesday 2nd December with 25% off their admission ticket price. Booking online in advance is essential, even if you are a member or using a pre-purchased ticket. There is lots of guidance on visiting on their website.

Santa’s Grotto dates: Not yet released.

Website: Dudley Zoo

Review: Trip Advisor

National Sea Life Centre, Birmingham – Meet Santa

No Christmas event is taking place this year and the National Sea Life Centre is currently closed.

Meet Santa dates: Cancelled for 2020.

Website: National Sea Life Centre

Review: Plutonium Sox

Santa in sleigh with two little girls, Christmas trees in the background
Children with Santa at National Sea Life Centre Birmingham

The Polar Express Birmingham

Sadly, the website now confirms that the Polar Express Birmingham will not be operating in 2020.

Polar Express Birmingham dates: Not taking place in 2020.

Website: Polar Express Birmingham

Review: Real Mum Reviews

Best Worcestershire Christmas days out 2020

Severn Valley Railway – Santa Specials

UPDATE: This now looks to be sold out.

Severn Valley Railway have confirmed that their Santa Trains will be running this Christmas and tickets are now on sale. A vintage steam train will await passengers at the festively decorated station in Kidderminster, ready for a Christmas adventure. A sweet treat and a drink will be available for everyone as they settle into private compartments to steam through to Arley, passing through festive looking stations en route. A new Christmas show starring Mrs Claus and some mischievous elves will entertain you there. Look out for Santa preparing for his big night. A surprise awaits passengers on the train back to Kidderminster. I would imagine this will be more popular than ever due to both Polar Express events being cancelled.

Santa steam specials dates: December 5th, 6th, 12th, 13th, 19th, 20th, 23rd and 24th.

Website: Severn Valley Railway.

Review: Trip advisor

Three Counties Showground – Malvern Winter Glow

This brand new illumination trail around the Three Counties Showground’s 90 acres of grounds promises to be a magical outdoor experience.  Wrap up warm to stroll around the dramatic light installations on a journey of discovery. The trail is inspired by Malvern’s landscape, heritage and history. Seasonal food and drink will be on sale throughout the evening. Look out for Santa too! They advise wearing warm clothing and appropriate footwear for a mixed terrain trail. Visitor numbers will be limited and tickets must be booked in advance.  

Dates: 9th December 2020 to 3rd January 2021

Website: Three Counties Showground

Review: Plutonium Sox

Two little girls in a tunnel of fairy lights
Posing in the fairy light tunnel at Malvern Winter Glow

West Midlands Safari Park – Santa Safari

This event is no longer taking place this year. However, they are slowly reopening the venue, dates are below.

Dates: Reopening for drive through only on 5th, 6th, 9th, 10th and 11th December 2020. They plan to reopen selected walk-through areas as well from 12th December 2020.

Website: West Midlands Safari Park

Review: DIY Daddy

Witley Court – Enchanted Witley

Sadly, the Enchanted Witley event will not take place in 2020. However, their outdoor areas remain open to locals during the November lockdown.

Enchanted Witley dates: Not taking place this year.

Website: Witley Court

Review: Plutonium Sox

Magical fairy houses at the Enchanted Witley Christmas event in Worcestershire
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