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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. Alternatively, check out my up to date list of West Midlands family attractions reopening this summer as lockdown eases.

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Best Herefordshire Christmas days out 2020

Brockhampton Estate (National Trust) – Orchard Elves Trail

Details of the 2020 Christmas event at Brockhampton Estate National Trust have not yet been released.

Dates: Not yet released.

Website: Brockhampton National Trust

Review: Reviews of Brockhampton are available on Trip Advisor.

Brockhampton Manor House

Croft Castle (National Trust) – 1940’s Christmas

Details of the 2020 Christmas event at Croft Castle National Trust have not yet been released.

Dates: Not yet released.

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 2019

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: November 2020: 4th to 8th, 11th to 15th, 18th to 22nd, 25th to 29th. 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

Hawkstone Park are reviewing their Santa Safari to allow social distancing. Visitors will arrive at Hawkstone Park Hotel’s Lyles Bar 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. Elves entertain visitors strolling through the caves until they 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. Tickets will go on sale soon.

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: 5th, 6th, 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 2019

Alton Towers – Santa’s sleepover

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. 

Dates: 27th to 29th November, 4th to 6th and 11th to 23rd December 2020.

Website: Alton Towers

Review: Mini Travellers

Churnet Valley Railway – Santa and Steam

All aboard the Santa Express! Father Christmas and the elves will be returning to Churnet Valley Railway this year for their pre-Christmas world tour. Elves guide visitors to their seats before the train departs festive Froghall station. But standby for a Christmas calamity as the elves realise none of them told Father Christmas to meet them on the train. So, it’s off to the North Pole to collect him. On the journey, elves spread festive cheer with songs and quizzes. Look outside for more fun and adventures. The train passes the Northern Lights before arriving at the North Pole where Santa is waiting. After he has been welcomed aboard, the journey continues as he visits each passenger and distributes gifts to the children. The elves are on hand again with drinks and chocolate for everyone. The journey lasts around an hour and a half.  

Dates: 21st, 22nd, 28th and 29th November and 5th, 6th, 12th, 13th, 19th, 20th, 22nd, 23rd and 24th December.  

Website: Churnet Valley Railway

Review: Otis and Us

Drayton Manor, Tamworth – Drayton’s Magical Christmas

Whilst rides in the main theme park close for the Winter, 25 rides and attractions in Thomas Land open on selected dates for a festive day out. Favourite characters perform in singing and dancing shows and Father Christmas himself will be waiting in the Castle of Dreams to meet children with his elves and give them a gift. Stroll around the zoo, shop in themed gift shops and experience magical snowfall in Thomas Land. Each day ends with a little fireworks display by the lake.

Magical Christmas dates: Selected dates between 20th November and 31st December.

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 – North Pole Adventure

Embark on a Covid-safe North Pole adventure at the National Forest Adventure Farm this Christmas. Santa and the elves have a personalised ticket for every child and you can collect elf-coins at check in too. Then, travel through a magical portal and into the North Pole. Explore a Victorian high street, complete with sweet shop, and head to the post office to help the elves with sorting parcels. A talking polar bear is waiting to chat to you under the Northern lights. Fix a toy machine to save Christmas then sing songs with a talking reindeer. Mother Christmas would love to decorate some gingerbread with you and Santa is on hand to meet visitors as well. Children have a choice of gifts from the present room. Online advance booking is essential and tickets include National Forest Adventure Farm entry for the day and soft play entry for an hour before your allocated North Pole adventure time. The North Pole experience takes around an hour and a half.  

Dates: 22nd, 28th and 29th November and 5th, 6th, 12th, 13th and 18th 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: 14th and 15th November and then every day from 20th November to 31st December 2020 excluding Christmas day.

Website: SnowDome

Independent review: Plutonium Sox

Little girl on a sledge at the SnowDome festive event

Best Warwickshire Christmas days out 2019

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

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

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 21st November 2020 to 3rd January 2021.

Website: Warwick Castle

Review: Plutonium Sox

Santa at Warwick Castle

Best West Midlands (county) Christmas days out 2019

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

In the heart of the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery lies a glittery Santa’s grotto. Snow and sparkly lights get everyone in the festive spirit before meeting Santa who has a gift for all the children. Tickets must be booked in advance.

Santa’s Grotto dates: When I first looked on the website, the dates for this event were showing as 5th, 6th, 12, 13th, 19th, 20th, 21st, 22nd and 23rd December 2020. However, the event has now been removed from the website so it is unclear when or if it will be taking place this year. I will update when more information is available.

Website: Birmingham Museums

Review: Mama Geek

Black Country Living Museum, Dudley – Santa Hunts

The main Christmas event at the Black Country Living Museum this year is their Enchanted Christmas, based on the story of the Nutcracker.  Santa and his elves are hard at work in the Christmas gift mine.  Christmas Tree Sprites Holly and ivy are bringing magic to festive greenery. In Sugarplum city, visitors can meet the Sugarplum fairies as long as they look out for scrooge who is on the hunt for humbugs. Help review broken Nutcracker soldiers at Toy Terrace and see the Rat King and Nutcracker fight a festive battle in the docs. The event has drama, dance, costumed characters and plenty of magic. The museum remains open until 8pm on Enchanted Christmas weekends. 

Outside of those weekends, the BCLM will still be looking festive as they unwrap a Black Country Christmas. Explore Christmas through the ages from Victorian times to the 1960s. Learn about Christmas traditions, how festive celebrations altered during World War One, hear the first Christmas broadcast by the Monarch and dance away to 1960s Christmas classics. Visitors must book in advance for both events.

Dates: Unwrapping Christmas: 3rd December 2020 to 3rd January 2021. Enchanted Christmas: 12th, 13th, 19th, 20th December 2020.

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: Every Saturday and Sunday from 21st November to 20th December, plus 21st to 23rd December. Additional Christmas entertainment from 27th to 30th December, entertainment not yet confirmed.

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

Advance 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

Details of the 2020 Christmas event at Dudley Zoo have not yet been released but they have now reopened following the easing of Covid-19 restrictions.

Santa’s Grotto dates: Not yet released.

Website: Dudley Zoo

Review: Trip Advisor

National Sea Life Centre, Birmingham – Meet Santa

Details of the 2020 Christmas event at the National Sea Life Centre have not yet been released.

Meet Santa dates: Not yet released.

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 2019

Severn Valley Railway – Santa Specials

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: November 28th and 29th. December 5th, 6th, 12th, 13th, 19th, 20th, 23rd and 24th.

Website: Severn Valley Railway.

Review: Trip advisor

West Midlands Safari Park – Santa Safari

Details of the 2020 Christmas event at the West Midlands Safari Park have not yet been released.  

Dates: Not yet released.

Website: West Midlands Safari Park

Review: DIY Daddy

Witley Court – Enchanted Witley

Details of the 2020 Christmas event at Witley Court have not yet been released.

Enchanted Witley dates: Not yet released.

Website: Witley Court

Review: Plutonium Sox

Magical fairy houses at the Enchanted Witley Christmas event in Worcestershire
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