Christmas days out in the West Midlands sell out fast! This is a comprehensive list of places to see Santa in Birmingham and the surrounding areas as well as other festive events. Shows, pantomimes, Christmas markets and trains provide things to do at Christmas in the West Midlands both with and without Santa visits. You can jump straight to each event using the links in the table below. 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 is essential at all attractions unless otherwise stated.
This post covers the West Midlands County area only. If you are looking for Christmas days out in nearby counties, please see below:
Birmingham Botanical Gardens – Luminate Live Winter Light Trail
Luminate Live is back at the Birmingham Botanical Gardens for Christmas 2023 with an illuminated trail that will delight and enthral your senses. The trail is almost a mile long and features gorgeous lighting elements and amazing light play set to ambient music. Tickets need to be booked online in advance and a small amount of free parking is available at the University and a nearby school. The Gardens themselves offers very limited blue badge parking on a first come, first served basis.
Dates: 25th November 2023 to 2nd January 2024
Birmingham city centre West Midlands – Frankfurt Christmas Market and Ice Skate Birmingham
Starting early in the festive calendar, Birmingham’s Frankfurt Christmas market is widely accepted in the area as one of the first signs of Christmas! This is the biggest German Christmas market outside of Germany and Austria. With food, drinks and gifts galore, you’ll be revelling in the fragrance and spirit of the festive season. Look out for live music on Victoria Square and don’t forget to pre-book your slot to go ice skating on Centenary Square.
Frankfurt Christmas Market dates: 2nd November to 24th December 2023.
Birmingham Ice Skating Dates: 2nd November 2023 to 7th January 2024 excluding Christmas day.
Frankfurt Christmas Market Website: German Market
Birmingham Ice Skating Website: Ice Skate Birmingham
Independent review: Birmingham Mail
Birmingham Hippodrome – Jack and the Beanstalk and The Nutcracker
Two festive shows take place at Birmingham Hippodrome for Christmas 2023. Choose between an upbeat panto or a classic seasonal ballet.
Jack and the Beanstalk
The giants of the pantomime world are making their way to Birmingham Hippodrome this Christmas. Matt Slack will take the audience to climb a humungous beanstalk to reach Cloudland. Jack is forced to sell his cow, before being forced to go head-to-head with an evil giant. He wins more riches than he could imagine, along with the hand of the girl of his dreams. Look out for plenty of humour, special effects, audience participation and magic beans.
Dates: 16th December 2023 to 28th January 2024
Website: Birmingham Hippodrome
Sir Peter Wright’s ballet the Nutcracker is coming to Birmingham for Christmas 2023. Clara is on an adventure to a magical winter wonderland on Christmas eve. Dancing snowflakes, enchanted Christmas trees and of course, the sugar plum fairy will be on stage. This classic production is an ideal festive treat for ballet fans.
Dates: 17th November to 9th December 2023.
Website: Birmingham Hippodrome.
Independent review: Review of the Hippodrome at Tripadvisor. I will try to find a review of the shows themselves once they are underway.
Birmingham Moor Street Station – Vintage Trains Polar Express Train Ride
Enjoy a theatrical recreation of the Polar Express movie on board a steam train. If you and your family believe in Father Christmas, now is the time to immerse yourselves in the magic. Take in the sights, sounds and smells as you watch actors portraying the dancing chefs, conductor and other characters from the Classic festive film. Leave Birmingham Moor Street station and travel to the North Pole, where Santa will board the train to give out the first gift of Christmas.
Dates: 2nd, 3rd, 9th, 10th, 16th, 17th and 23rd December 2023.
Website: Vintage trains.
Birmingham Rep – The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
If your festive season is punctuated with showings of the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe like ours, your children will probably love the latest festive stage show at Birmingham Rep. Straight from performing in the West End, this stage show features bewitching stagecraft, magical storytelling and amazing puppets. Join Susan, Peter, Edmund and Lucy as they take a walk through the wardrobe into beautiful Narnia.
Dates: 14th November 2023 to 28th January 2024
Website: Birmingham Rep.
Review: The Guardian (review of the West End performance).
Black Country Living Museum
Information on the Black Country Living Museum 2023 Christmas events seems somewhat sparse, but two festive favourites are returning for 2023.
Head to the museum after dark with the family for a cosy evening by an open fire. Join in with traditional carol singing and favourites from the fifties. Festive treats will be on offer and street entertainers and costumed characters top off the night. This is recommended for visitors aged 8 and over.
Glad tidings dates: 8th, 9th, 15th, 16th, 22nd and 23rd December 2023.
Festive favourite Santa hunts return to the BCLM for Christmas 2023. Visitors can help Santa’s elves to prepare for the big day.
Santa Hunts dates: 25th and 26th November 2023 and 2nd, 3rd, 9th, 10th, 16th, 17th and 21st to 24th December 2023.
Cadbury World, Birmingham West Midlands – Step Into Christmas
Father Christmas will be making the time to spread some festive cheer this year at Cadbury World. His tree-mendous stage show is full of Christmas jingles and festive fun. Look out for chocolatey gifts for all the children at the show, and entertainment for kids and big kids of all ages. The show runs 17 times throughout the day and is included in the price of entry. The rest of the site will transform into a festive wonderland too. Check out the giant chocolate Christmas tree and sparkly decorations. Visitors can stock up on yuletide chocolates in the Cadbury World Shop too.
Dates: Every weekend from 18th November to 23rd December 2023, plus weekday shows on 21st and 22nd December.
Website: Cadbury World
Review: Mama Geek
Dudley Canal and Tunnel Trust West Midlands – Winter Nights by Christmas Lights
Board the boat through festive tunnels to enjoy the Winter Nights by Christmas lights event. Journey to the winter wonderland where tunnels and caverns are decorated and lit to create an incredible atmosphere. Be ready with Christmas carols and pantomime boos while you enjoy the interactive musical experience. After your boat ride, disembark to join Father Christmas and the elves in the festive workshop. Every child receives a gift, whilst adults enjoy a mince pie and hot drink. There are plenty of opportunities for Santa selfies, so bring a camera. They advise booking early as this popular experience sells out every year.
Dates: 1st to 3rd, 8th to 10th and 15th to 23rd December 2023.
Website: Dudley Canal and Tunnel Trust
Review: Trip Advisor
Echills Wood Railway – Santa Trains
Climb aboard Santa’s Express to his grotto, where children under 12 can pay him a visit. Santa will select a special gift for each child based on their age and adults will receive a mince pie and hot, seasonal drink. Then, it’s back on board to ride the train all the way around the railway. Ticket holders for this event will be able to use their ticket on other trains during their visit. Early booking is advised due to limited availability.
Website: Echills Wood Railway.
Dates: 2nd, 3rd, 9th and 10th December 2023.
National Sea Life Centre Birmingham
The National Sealife Centre’s popular South Pole meet Santa experience has not yet been announced for 2023. I have linked to their website events page so you can check for updates.
Dates: Not yet announced.
Website: National Sea Life Centre
National Sea Life Centre Christmas event Review: Plutonium Sox
Resorts World Arena West Midlands – Peter Pan
The Peter Pan arena experience will be coming to Resorts World in Birmingham for Christmas 2023. This is an adaptation of the classic on a big budget. Last year’s Elf the Musical was a huge hit, so the same production team are back for 2023. With Boy George playing Captain Hook, it promises to be a spectacular show with pantomime-like elements. The audience are treated to a water-wall fountain, a life sized galleon and a giant animatronic crocodile. Look out for circus performers, aerial stunts, death-defying escapes and highland dancing.
Website: Resorts World Arena
Dates: 22nd and 23rd December 2023.
Review: Tripadvisor reviews of last year’s Elf event.