Best West Midlands Christmas days out 2019

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. 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, click the county 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.

Best Herefordshire Christmas days out 2019

Brockhampton Estate (National Trust) – Orchard Elves Trail

Follow the trail of the Orchard Elves this Winter at Brockhampton. Stroll around the wintry landscape to search for elf activity in the orchards. Find their homes and complete the trail to win a prize. Afterwards, enjoy a warming hot chocolate and a snack from the Granary, or lunch at the delightful National Trust tearoom, the Old Apple Store. Brockhampton is a beautiful, quaint National Trust estate and this sounds like a nice alternative activity instead of a visit to Santa. This one is dog friendly too, with dogs on leads welcome.

Dates: 16th, 17th, 23rd, 24th and 30th November and 1st, 7th, 8th, 14th, 15th, 21st, 22nd December.

Website: Brockhampton National Trust

Review: Reviews of Brockhampton are available on Trip Advisor.

Brockhampton Manor House

Croft Castle (National Trust) – 1940’s Christmas

Go back to the 1940s at Croft Castle this Christmas, to find out how they would have celebrated. Hand made, traditional decorations set the mood, along with Christmas carols in the saloon and festive treats in the cafe. The parkland will be open for wintry walks. The parkland and gardens are dog friendly, as is a section of the tea room. However, dogs are not allowed in the castle so they won’t be able to join you in the 1940s.

Dates: 16th, 17th, 23rd, 24th and 30th November and 1st, 7th, 8th, 14th, 15th, 21st, 22nd December.

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 in black and white

Eastnor Land Rover – Santa and Drive

It’s not often you find a Christmas experience that is as much for parents as children. But Eastnor Land Rover really do cater for the whole family. With the Santa and Drive package, parents can take a drive around a Herefordshire forest while children sit in the back in their own car seats. The children are given a treasure map and told to tick off certain animals when they see them around the course. Afterwards, it’s time to meet Santa, do Christmas crafts and toast marsh mallows by the fire. If you don’t fancy the off road driving, a cheaper Santa package is available without the driving experience.

Santa and drive dates: 7th, 8th, 14th, 21st & 22nd December

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

Best Shropshire Christmas days out 2019

Blists Hill Victorian Town – Victorian Christmas

If you yearn for a more traditional Christmas, look no further than Blists Hill Victorian Town. Decorations and entertainment are based on the 1800s and of course, Father Christmas will be in his grotto to meet visiting children. There will also be Victorian Christmas traditions, carol singers, brass bands and hands-on activities. Unusual Christmas gifts will be available to buy in the town’s shops. 

Dates: 7th, 8th, 14th and 15th December 2019.

Website: Ironbridge Museums

Review: Birmingham Mail

Hawkstone Park Follies – Santa Safari

At Hawkstone Park, Santa has a hillside grotto at the end of a network of festively decorated caves. On arrival at the Hawkstone Park Hotel, visitors can have a hot drink before climbing into a Land Rover to head across the park. You drive under a Wishing Arch and head up the hill to the caves. Santa’s elves provide the entertainment in the tunnels and caverns before reaching the grotto. Guests can also meet real reindeer and walk through a woodland fantasy that is lit up by illuminations.

Santa Safari dates: 29th and 30th November and 1st, 6th, 7th, 8th, 11th to 23rd December 2019.

Website: Hawkstone Park Follies

Review: Team Stokey

Ray’s Farm, Bridgenorth – A traditional Christmas

Experience Christmas the old fashioned way at Ray’s Farm. Baby Jesus will be in a donkey’s stable, along with Mary and Joseph, wise men and the three kings. Father Christmas is at the farm getting toys ready to deliver on Christmas Eve. Rudolph and the other reindeer will be there too, preparing to pull Santa’s sleigh. 

Dates: Every Saturday and Sunday from 7th December, plus Monday 23rd and Tuesday 24th December 2019.

Website: Ray’s Farm

Review: Trip Advisor

Telford Steam Railway – The Polar Express

Huddled together on the station platform, we heard a distant rumbling, and was that sleigh bells? The Polar Express experience starts before you board the train. The soundtrack from the film plays on the platform and at the appropriate moment, the train arrives. To a shout of “All aboard!”, pyjama-clad passengers board the train. Here, the story continues.

Chefs dance through carriages handing out hot chocolate and cookies. Staff show pictures from the storybook and bring the Polar Express to life. On arrival at the North Pole, Santa boards the train with the first gift of Christmas for every passenger – a bell from his sleigh. Passengers sing Christmas carols on the return journey to Santa’s workshop where children can get involved in craft activities before and after the journey.

Polar Express dates: Most dates are now sold out. At the time of writing, there are limited tickets available for 23rd, 24th, 27th, 28th and 29th November and 2nd, 4th, 5th, 9th, 11th, 12th, 13th, 16th, 18th December 2019. If tickets are sold out when you visit the website, I recommend signing up for emails to let you know when tickets go on sale next year. This is a brilliant Christmas experience that’s well worth waiting for.

Website: Polar Express

Review: Plutonium Sox

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

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. Only certain rides in the theme park are open, but this will include the CBeebies land attractions. Watch this year’s pantomime, Robin Hood, and enjoy a festive evening meal and breakfast. Evening entertainment will include a meet and greet, shows, festive cinema and farewell from Santa. 

Dates: 24th November and 1st, 8th, 14th to 23rd December 2019

Website: Alton Towers

Review: Mini Travellers

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: 16th November to 31st December 2019

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

Every child will receive their own personal ticket from Santa to allow them entry to the North Pole. When you check in, they’ll each collect some elf coins before setting off on a journey through a magical portal and into the North Pole. Next, explore a Victorian high street with its own sweet shop. Help elves in the post office to sort out parcels and meet a talking polar bear whilst watching the northern lights. Silvermist the reindeer hosts a singalong of festive songs in the music room and mother Christmas is on hand to help children to decorate gingerbread men. Every child can choose a gift after meeting Father Christmas. The whole experience lasts around an hour and 45 minutes and tickets include entry to the rest of the National Forest Adventure Farm. 

Dates: 23rd, 24th and 30th November and 1st, 7th, 8th, 14th, 15th, 21st, 22nd, 23rd, 24th December

Website: National Forest Adventure Farm

Review: The Ladybirds’ adventures

Snowdome, Tamworth – Santa’s Winter Wonderland

This is Santa’s 15th year at the SnowDome in Tamworth and he’s back with a brand new Winter Wonderland stage show. This time, it’s the 12 days of Christmas. 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: Open every day from 15th November to 31st December 2019 excluding Christmas day.

Website: SnowDome

Independent review: Plutonium Sox

Best Warwickshire Christmas days out 2019

Kenilworth Castle (English Heritage) – Christmas at the Castle

A nostalgic family Christmas is the order of the day at Kenilworth Castle this year. Enjoy toy making, festive storytelling and yuletide cheer thanks to the castle jester. Over in the tearoom, festive treats are on offer. Children can even hand-deliver their Christmas lists to Santa. 

Dates: 7th and 8th December 2019. Tickets can only be purchased on the day. A Father Christmas visit is an extra £5 which can also be purchased on the day, on a first-come, first-served basis. 

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 Dickens of a 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 minute visit includes a time-traveller’s map to guide you between Christmases past, present and future. Discover characters and stories, solve puzzles and look out for Charles Dickens himself. Every visitor will spend some time with Father Christmas and enjoy a Victorian frost fair, complete with snowball fun. Visitors will need to search inside magical exhibits to find clues and families have to work together to solve the puzzles. Every child receives a book as their gift from Santa. This is due to the Magical Alley ethos of encouraging reading and family bonding over a book on Christmas eve.

Dates: Santa arrives on November 16th. Dates to visit Magic Alley are 17th, 21st, 23rd, 24th, 28th, 29th, 30th November and 1st, 2nd, 5th to 9th, 12th to 16th and 18th to 24th December 2019.

Website: Seek the Magic

Review: Birmingham Mail

Warwick Castle, Warwickshire – Christmas at the castle

A 20 foot tall Christmas tree in the great hall sets the scene for the festivities at Warwick Castle. Children can listen to Santa and Mrs Claus telling stories or attend a winter wedding in the Princess Tower. A winter birds of prey show is fascinating for visitors of all ages. This year, a Horrible Histories scavenger hunt takes place for the first time. Search the castle gardens and grounds to help Father Christmas solve the clues so he can deliver presents in time for Christmas. You’ll learn historical festive facts along the way, and there’s a reward at the end of the trail. For the ultimate Christmas in the Castle experience, have breakfast with Santa in the state dining room.

Christmas at the castle dates: Slightly unclear on the website at present so I have emailed the castle to check and I will update ASAP.

Website: Warwick Castle

Review: Plutonium Sox

Santa at Warwick Castle

Best West Midlands (county) Christmas days out 2019

Birmingham city centre – Frankfurt Christmas Market

The Frankfurt Christmas Market and Christmas craft market combine to attract thousands of visitors to Birmingham city centre every day during the festive season. When I worked in Birmingham, the market’s arrival signalled the beginning of Christmas. With the exception of Germany and Austria, this is the biggest German Christmas market around. Stalls sell traditional food like bratwurst, candied nuts and schnitzels. Quirky and unusual gifts are sold alongside popular pop-up bars stocked up with weissbeer and gluhwein. I always enjoy the mulled cider and the girls would highly recommend the hot chocolate.

Frankfurt Christmas Market dates: Open daily from 7th November to 23rd December 2019 from 10am to 9pm.

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. Each child also receives a photo of themselves with Santa, printed specially for them. This year, the website reiterates that tickets must be booked in advance.

Santa’s Grotto dates: 7th, 8th, 14th, 15th, 21st and 22nd December 2019.

Website: Birmingham Museums

Review: Mama Geek

Black Country Living Museum, Dudley – Santa Hunts

There’s something cosy and comforting about a traditional Christmas isn’t there? The Black Country Living Museum have captured it in style with their exciting Santa hunts which are returning for another year. Both adults and children will enjoy searching for Santa with the museum’s guides and meeting some interesting characters en route. There are clues for children to solve, a sprinkling of magic dust for the reindeer and letters to be sent up a chimney to Santa in his workshop! When you do find Santa, the children’s letters will have arrived first and surprise gifts await!

Santa Hunts dates: 23rd, 24th and 30th November and 1st, 7th, 8th, 14th, 15th and 20th to 24th December 2019.

Whilst Santa hunts don’t take place every day during the festive season, there’s still something Christmassy going on whenever you visit. Christmas Through Time immerses visitors in the sights, sounds and smells of Christmas past. Watch a film in the 1920s cinema, have a mulled wine in the Bottle and Glass Inn and help children to write a Christmas card. See characters making traditional plum puddings and enjoy fresh wreaths and aromatic pomanders.

Christmas Through Time dates: 23rd November to 24th December 2019.

Special Christmas Nights events take place at the Black Country Living Museum on selected dates. You’ll really be transported back in time as you stroll around gas-lit streets. Meet historic characters getting ready to celebrate and listen to brass bands and carol singers. There’s a festive menu including mulled wine and roasted chestnuts and Santa will be on hand to say hello. It’s an ideal time to pick up some unique gifts from the Christmas craft market too.

Christmas Nights dates: 6th, 7th, 13th, 14th, 20th and 24th December 2019.

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. Expect a chocolatey twist on the traditional panto.

Christmas celebration weekends dates: Every Saturday and Sunday from 16th November to 15th December 2019, plus 20th to 23rd December 2019.

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

An enchanted land of stories and festive magic awaits at the Dudley Canal and Tunnel Trust. Board a boat to the North Pole to meet Santa and his elves. Watch Krazy Kris tackle a giant and a beanstalk in the panto, and see fairy tales unravel inside hidden caves and tunnels. Each child receives a gift, while parents enjoy a mince pie and hot drink. Sing along with some Christmas songs and wear a Christmas jumper to make Santa smile. 

Fairy Tale Christmas dates: 1st, 6th to 8th, 13th to 15th, 20th to 23rd December 2019

Website: Dudley Canal and Tunnel Trust

Review: Trip Advisor

Dudley Zoo, Dudley – Santa’s Grotto

At Dudley Zoo and Gardens, Santa has his grotto in Dudley’s 11th century castle. He has a special gift for all visiting children, before they continue their festive adventure by visiting his reindeer. A visit to the rest of the zoo and gardens is included in the price of admission to the Christmas event.

Santa’s Grotto dates: 30th November to 24th December 2019.

Website: Dudley Zoo

Review: Trip Advisor

National Sea Life Centre, Birmingham – Meet Santa

You could be forgiven for thinking that the National Sea Life Centre had got their geography a bit wrong. But the truth is, in Birmingham, Santa’s grotto is in the Antarctic North Pole. Meeting Santa and receiving a gift from him with a backdrop of Gentoo penguins is certainly a unique experience. The whole Sea Life Centre is celebrating the festive season and all the watery residents wishing you a merry fish-mas.

Meet Santa dates: 23rd November to 23rd December 2019.

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

If you’ve missed tickets for the Telford Steam Railway Polar Express, you’ll be delighted to know that tickets will soon be on sale for the Polar Express Birmingham. Trains depart from Birmingham Moor Street Station. The story starts on a stage, with the young male character from the film introducing the story. Soon, it’s time for the conductor to call passengers onto the train before it departs and actors put on a performance of the Polar Express story onboard. When the train reaches the North Pole, Santa boards to give every child a little sleigh bell as the first gift of Christmas.

Polar Express Birmingham dates: Not announced at time of writing (early September 2019). Please check the website for updates.

Website: Polar Express Birmingham

Review: Real Mum Reviews

Best Worcestershire Christmas days out 2019

Severn Valley Railway – Santa Specials

For the first time, Santa will travel on the festively decorated steam train with passengers on the Severn Valley Railway’s steam specials. Moving along the train during the journey, he’ll chat to each child at their table and find out what they want for Christmas. On standard steam specials, seats are guaranteed for all passengers but cannot be reserved. Upgrade to premium for a reserved seat, a drink and festive treat and a Christmas gift from Santa. Standard steam specials depart from Kidderminster and premium journeys start from Kidderminster and Bridgenorth. The Kidderminster ride lasts 100 minutes, whilst the Bridgenorth ride lasts around 75 minutes.

Santa steam specials dates: 30th November, 1st, 7th, 8th, 14th, 15th, 21st, 22nd, 23rd, 24th.

Website: Severn Valley Railway.

Review: Trip advisor

West Midlands Safari Park – Santa Safari

A four mile, self-drive safari is combined with a visit to Santa in his Winter Wonderland Grotto at the West Midlands Safari Park. When it’s your turn to see Santa, his elf will help you into a sleigh that will magically transport you to the North Pole and Santa’s festive log-cabin grotto. After telling Father Christmas what they’d like this year, children can head to the elf workshop to select their own gift. The safari park’s discovery trail has been transformed into a winter wonderland with a sprinkling of snow. Mrs Claus is on hand with free refreshments in her kitchen and there’s a show on in the sea lion theatre. 

Dates: 16th, 17th, 23rd, 24th, 30th November and 1st, 4th to 8th, 11th to 15th, 18th to 24th, 28th and 29th December 2019.

Website: West Midlands Safari Park

Review: DIY Daddy

Witley Court – Enchanted Witley

The fun starts when the sun goes down at Witley Court and Gardens. Enchanted Witley transforms the attraction into a world of illuminations. Follow a trail around the garden along pathways and through sparkling light tunnels. Look out for magical secrets including a talking tree and fairy village. Then, soak up the atmosphere in the Witley Court ruins with marshmallows and mulled wine. Finish off the evening with a fairground ride and some Christmas shopping in the gift shop. You’ll need coats and wellies to keep warm and dry because the attraction is mainly outside.

Enchanted Witley dates: 5th to 8th, 12th to 15th and 19th to 22nd December 2019.

Website: Witley Court

Review: Trip Advisor

West Midlands Christmas days out 2019. Where to see Santa as well as other festive events including light displays and shows. Families with children of any age will find their perfect Christmas day out whether you're looking for an authentic father Christmas or somewhere to soak up the festive atmosphere. #WestMidlands #Christmas #DaysOut #WhatsOn #familyfun
Pinnable image – Christmas days out in the West Midlands 2019
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