Best West Midlands Christmas days out 2018

Update: Check out my new post for Best West Midlands Christmas days out 2019.

Christmas days out in the West Midlands for children and families are listed in alphabetical order with a link to their website and an independent review of each. I’ll be updating the post with additional Christmas days out because some have not yet been published.  Please do check back soon if your favourite isn’t on the list! For more things to do in the area from family or dog friendly attractions to ideas for a rainy day, head to my comprehensive days out guide.

West Midlands Christmas days out 2018 Drayton's Magical Christmas

Alton Towers, Staffordshire – Santa’s Sleepover

This Christmas, certain attractions and rides in the Alton Towers Theme Park including CBeebies Land will be open for Santa’s Sleepover guests. Other activities and Christmas entertainment include a visit to Santa, Alice in Wonderland pantomime, a day in the Waterpark and crazy golf. To keep you occupied in the evening, there’s character meet and greets and a Christmas cinema. Guests will also be treated to an overnight stay in their favourite accommodation, an evening meal in one of the restaurants and a buffet breakfast.

Santa’s sleepover dates: 25th November, 2nd December, 9th December, 14th December – 23rd December 2018.

Website: Alton Towers

Independent review: Playdays and Runways

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. You can either book tickets in advance online or from the museum’s reception on the day.

Santa’s Grotto dates: Every Saturday and Sunday from 2nd to 23rd December 2018, 10.30am to 12.30pm and 1.30pm to 4pm.

Website: Birmingham Museums

Independent review: Mama Geek

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. When I worked in Birmingham, the market’s arrival signalled the start of the Christmas season.

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. Stalls with an abundance of quirky and unusual gifts stand 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 15th November to 23rd December 2018 from 10am to 9pm.

Website: German Market

Independent review:Trip Advisor

West Midlands Christmas days out 2018 Frankfurt Christmas Market Birmingham

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: November 2018 – 24th and 25th. December 2018 – 1st, 2nd, 8th, 9th, 15th, 16th, 19th to 24th.

Website: BCLM

Independent review:Trip Advisor

Blithbury Reindeer Lodge, Rugeley – Christmas at Blithbury Reindeer Lodge

There’s not much more festive than a reindeer and Blithbury Reindeer Lodge have those in abundance. They offer both a Christmas Lapland experience during the day and reindeer by night for over 18s. Visit Santa’s grotto to meet him, fuss and feed the reindeer and see a festive Punch and Judy show. There’s an educational element too if you’d like to learn about reindeer, or take a sleigh ride and listen to a story.

This year, there’s a new soft play area, indoor reindeer feeding, a new cafe and a licensed bar. Pick up some gifts from one of two Christmas shops and soak up the authentic Scandinavian Christmas atmosphere.

Christmas at Blithbury dates:

Christmas Lapland experience: November 2018: 17th, 18th, 24th and 25th. December 2018: 1st, 2nd, 8th, 9th and 15th to 23rd.

Reindeer by night: November 2018: 29th and 30th. December 2018: 6th, 7th, 13th and 14th.

Website: Blithbury Reindeer Lodge

Independent review: Mrs Shilts

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 17th November to 16th December 2018, plus 20th to 23rd December 2018.

Website: Cadbury World

Independent review: Mama Geek

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 the themed gift shops and experience magical snowfall in Thomas Land. Each day ends with a little fireworks display by the lake.

Magical Christmas dates: November 2018: 17th, 18th, 23rd, 24th, 25th, 26th, 30th. December 2018: 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 14th to 24th, then 27th to 31st without Father Christmas.

Website: Drayton Manor

Independent review: Plutonium Sox

West Midlands Christmas days out 2018 Thomas lit up with festive lights at Drayton's Magical Christmas

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: 1st to 24th December 2018.

Website: Dudley Zoo

Independent review: Trip Advisor

Eastnor Land Rover, Herefordshire – 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. 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.

Santa and drive dates: 1st, 8th, 15th and 22nd December

Website: Eastnor Land Rover

Independent review: Plutonium Sox

Santa Drive Eastnor Land Rover little girl in back of vehicle

Hatton Adventure World, Warwickshire – Enchanted Christmas Kingdom

There are loads of activities at Hatton this Christmas, from Zoobee the magician to Cool Colin’s quiz. A festive funfair is a real treat for little ones and Mrs Claus will help them to decorate gingerbread. Watch a puppet show, help the elves to find the reindeer by following a trail to win a prize and sing Christmas carols or visit the farmyard and guinea pig village.

Children  can even call in to see Santa in his grotto and tell him what’s on their Christmas list. He will give them a golden key to unlock the secret toy shop and choose their own treat.

Enchanted Christmas Kingdom dates: Every weekend from 24th November to 24th December 2018 and weekdays 17th to 21st December 2018.

Website: Hatton Adventure World

Independent review: Raisie Bay

Kenilworth Castle, Warwickshire – Christmas at the castle

Christmas is a nostalgic affair at Kenilworth Castle, with the building decked in festive finery. Storytellers, carol singers and toy makers bring festive cheer, along with the castle jester. The tearoom serves yuletide treats and children can hand deliver their Christmas lists to Father Christmas in his grotto.

Christmas at the castle dates: 8th and 9th December 2018.

Website: Kenilworth Castle

Independent review: Birmingham Mail. Last year’s event took a different format and the reviews weren’t very positive but the event is a lot shorter this year and takes place during the day so hopefully it will be more successful.

Magic Lantern Festival, Birmingham Botanical Gardens

Each Winter, Birmingham’s Botanical Gardens come alive from 5pm to 10pm with a spectacular lantern trail. Lanterns include Santa with his reindeer as well as lanterns depicting animals and flowers. Throughout the pathways, gardens, woodlands and even in the ponds, the Botanical Gardens will be lit up. Each installation is designed and made in China before being shipped over. A giant, fairy themed Christmas area takes up 500 metres of the landscape with a fairy, butterflies and tiny lights. Traditional Chinese lanterns, bamboo pandas and Chinese pagodas mix with giant birds and even an enormous grasshopper.

Magic Lantern Festival Dates: The festival is on from 23rd November to 1st January. It opens Thursdays to Sundays each week and every day from 21st December.

Website: Botanical Gardens

Independent review: Plutonium Sox

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 Christmas with the Polar Express film showing in the 4D cinema and all the watery residents wishing you a merry fish-mas.

Meet Santa dates: 24th November to 23rd December 2018.

Website: National Sea Life Centre

Independent review: Plutonium Sox

West Midlands Christmas days out 2018 National Sea Life Centre Birmingham Meet Santa

Severn Valley Railway, Worcestershire – Santa Steam Specials

Step back in time and onto a vintage steam train carriage to travel from Kidderminster to Arley. Here, both children and adults will meet Father Christmas in his grotto. The historical stations will be adorned with festive decorations and Santa will have a gift for each child. Gifts can be opened on the train back to Kidderminster. Make a day of it by getting off the train at Bewdley for a stroll and some Christmas shopping.

Santa steam specials dates: December 2018 – 1st, 2nd, 8th, 9th, 15th, 22nd and 23rd.

Website: Severn Valley Railway.

Independent review: Trip advisor.

Snowdome, Tamworth – Santa’s Winter Wonderland

This is Santa’s 14th year at the SnowDome in Tamworth and he’s back with a brand new Winter Wonderland stage show. This time, it’s a comedy of errors set the night before Christmas. Visitors can also explore the real snow trail with slides, an enchanted forest, snow tubes and a snowball fight. Anyone less steady on their feet can watch the action on solid ground from the walkway.

Real reindeer are waiting to meet you in the animal village and you can even have a look around Santa’s house and send him a letter by putting it in a talking post box.

Winter Wonderland dates: Open every day from 16th November to 31st December 2018 excluding Christmas day.

Website: SnowDome

Independent review: Adventures and Play.

Telford Steam Railway, Shropshire – 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 each child – 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: Sold out. This is probably the best Christmas experience we’ve ever taken the children to but tickets went on sale in around March this year and sold out within a few days. I’ve included it here because I’d highly recommend it to anyone and it’s well worth signing up to their updates to find out when tickets go on sale next year.

Website: Polar Express

Independent review: Plutonium Sox

West Midlands Christmas days out 2018 Telford Steam Railway Polar Express

The Polar Express Birmingham

If you’ve missed tickets for the Telford Steam Railway Polar Express, you’ll be delighted to know that tickets are now on sale for the Polar Express Birmingham. They became available on 8th November and look like they’re going to sell out incredibly quickly. Trains depart from Birmingham Moor Street Station, with the conductor calling passengers onto the train before it departs and actors put on a performance of the Polar Express story.

Polar Express Birmingham Dates: Thursday to Sunday from 29th November to 23rd December.


Independent review: Not available as this is a new event but it is taking the same format as the Telford Steam Railway Polar Express and you can read a review of that on Plutonium Sox

Town Park, Telford – Winter Wonderland

Get everyone into the Christmas spirit with a visit to Santa’s snow-capped log cabin. There’s an ice mountain to walk through, a sleigh ride and a winter carousel. Geppetto’s toy shop and the elves’ mail room give you an insight into what goes on behind the scenes at the North Pole before you visit Dancer and Prancer in the Winter village.

Winter Wonderland dates: November 2018: 24th and 25th. December 2018 – 1st, 2nd, 8th, 9th, 15th to 23rd.

Website: Winter Wonderland

Independent review: Trip advisor

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 and for the ultimate Christmas in the Castle experience, have breakfast with Santa in the state dining room.

Christmas at the castle dates: Open every day from 25th November to 31st December 2018 except Christmas day.

Website: Warwick Castle

Independent review: Plutonium Sox

West Midlands Christmas days out 2018 Warwick Castle Santa stories

West Midlands Safari Park, Worcestershire – Santa Safari

Combine your safari with a visit to Santa in his North Pole grotto at the West Midlands Safari Park. It’s billed on their website as a magical day out for the whole family but doesn’t give much more information than that. There’s a nice little video on there of the grotto though.

Santa safari dates: Weekends from 17th November 2018. Daily from 1st to 24th December 2018.

Website: Safari Park

Independent review: Twin Mummy and Daddy

Witley Court, Worcestershire – 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 and 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: December 2018: 6th to 9th, 13th to 16th and 20th to 22nd.

Website: Witley Court

Independent review: Worcester News

The best family Christmas days out in the West Midlands. Details of what's on at each attraction and when, with links to their websites and independent reviews. Festive attractions and activities for children of all ages as well as a few for adults. #WestMidlands #Christmas #DaysOut #WhatsOn



  1. September 5, 2018 / 8:52 am

    This is brilliant! Iā€™m so shocked stuff has sold out already though!!!!!

    • monsterid September 5, 2018 / 10:14 am

      Thanks Louise, and so was I! I was hoping to get a ticket for the Polar Express but missed out. I’ll be more organised next year!

  2. September 5, 2018 / 4:06 pm

    Hi Nat, now summer is coming to an end, Christmas will be here before we know it. I must admit that I would love to have a choice of Christmassy days out to enjoy. I’d probably be first in the queue for the Christmas day out at Cadburys and how wonderful would it be to enjoy breakfast with the Father Christmas at Warwick Castle?


    • monsterid September 5, 2018 / 5:18 pm

      Ooh I know, I’m tempted by breakfast with Santa this year too!

  3. September 7, 2018 / 11:26 am

    Love this Nat, its so helpful!! I so want to take Emma on the Polar Express, but I think she will understand more next year anyway! Lia and Libby look too cute!! Amy xx

    • monsterid September 7, 2018 / 12:52 pm

      Ahh definitely sign up to be notified when polar express tickets go on sale next year, she’ll be the perfect age by then. I was gutted we missed it this year, will have to be more organised next year because I think that might be our last one while they both still buy into the Santa thing šŸ™

  4. pigeonpairandme
    September 10, 2018 / 8:54 pm

    After our visit to Warwick Castle last Hallowe’en, I have no doubt that Christmas there would be magical! Some lovely things to do in your neck of the woods.

    • monsterid September 10, 2018 / 9:50 pm

      Oh yes, Warwick is wonderful at Christmas.

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