Three of the best: Festive family days out

Three of the best: Festive family days outGetty

Whether the kids want to meet Santa, show off their ice skating skills or witness something new and exciting this Christmas, we've found three of the best festive family days out for all to enjoy...

Burning of the Clocks, Brighton

If you fancy taking the kids to see something a little different, taking part in the annual Burning of the Clocks parade in Brighton could be just the treat. The event invites everyone to celebrate the Winter Solstice (the shortest day of the year) on 21 December, when residents and visitors take to the streets holding handmade lanterns decorated with wishes, hopes and fears, before throwing them into a fire on the beach. To finish there's a big fireworks display so your Christmas celebrations can really go off with a bang!

The Christmas Adventure at Stockeld Park, Yorkshire

In Yorkshire, stunning Stockeld Park hosts the magical Christmas Adventure, with plenty to see and do throughout the festive season. The four Adventure Zones (until 6 January) set within the beautiful countryside feature a maze, ice skating and the Enchanted Forest, which you can explore on foot or on Nordic skis. Visit Santa (10 November to 24 December) in his brand new luxury woodland log cabin and don't miss the pantomime (24 and 25 November) to get you in the festive mood. Why not pick up your Christmas tree at Stockeld Park too? The estate grows over half a million of them for you to buy from 28 November.

Hyde Park Winter Wonderland, London

For a fun family day out in London, head to Hyde Park's Winter Wonderland from 23 November to 6 January, and treat the kids to traditional winter attractions and entertainment in the city. Here you can find the UK's largest ice rink around the historic Victorian Band Stand with live music playing and 108,000 pea lights twinkling as you skate. The iconic Giant Observation Wheel offers views over the capital and the Angels Christmas Market features over one hundred chalets selling everything from ceramics to clothing. Do the kids like the circus? Head to the super-heated Zippos Circus tent to see world-class jugglers, clowns and aerialists. Entry to Winter Wonderland is free too so you can spend as little or as much as you like!

Browse more brilliant spots to visit with the family this winter...

Britain's wonderful winter wonderlands
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Three of the best: Festive family days out

From the ruined castle to deer park and woodland, there is plenty to discover in this iconic part of the Welsh countryside. Visitors can enjoy walks, spot nature or simply take in the sights before warming up with fine local fare in the tea room.

Originally designed as a tourist destination, Stowe’s temples, lakes and monuments remain as fascinating as ever through the seasons. The newly restored coaching inn is the perfect place to enjoy a winter warmer, from hot drinks to soups and main courses.

Six miles from Exeter, this relaxed 18th-century estate makes an ideal place to stop off for a few hours. Rare trees, woodland walks and a the quirky “Bear’s Hut” are just some of the highlights to be found outside. Pop into the Killerton Kitchen restaurant for a hearty meal, or take tea in the Stable tea-room. Award-winning Killerton cider, chutney, flour or honey can be bought here too as a tasty reminder of your day.

This former Ducal park is open all year and home to nearly 4000 acres of parkland and gardens, peaceful woodlands and open spaces to explore on foot or by bike.

Mottisfont contains the National Trust’s newest winter garden, and specialises in exploring the potential of plants that are at their most beautiful and interesting when other plants are in hibernation. It combines a number of unusual plants, but also some familiar species for visitors to view in a new light.

Magnificent 12th-century ruins combine with beautiful landscaped Georgian water gardens at this lovely World Heritage Site, which also boasts its own medieval deer park. To make a weekend of it, stay in one of the 11 holiday cottages here, including apartments in the luxurious Fountains Hall and five cottages converted from a group of eighteenth century farm buildings, there’s something for everyone.

This seven-acre winter garden is home to more than 700 different plant species and a further 1,600 shrubs to admire, providing plenty of colourful distractions from the cold.

Take in the fresh winter air surrounded by a world-famous landscape garden, where a magnificent lake reflects classic temples, mystical grottos and swathes of surrounding trees. Make a weekend of it at 89 Church Lawn: set at the entrance to the magical landscape garden, this pretty stone cottage is an idyllic country hideaway. Enjoy bracing walks around the ornamental lake before the crowds. Sleeps seven.

Well worth a visit for its plethora of scenic delights, with statues and columns scattered across the atmospheric grounds. And the winter garden will be a delight for gardening fanatics, as it contains over 150 species of plants....

This beautiful 18th-century landscape park and nature reserve offers a taste of the country on the edge of the city. Discover fine Derwent Valley views, winding paths and refreshing open spaces to stretch tired legs while exploring elegant buildings and ruins. Escape along the avenue for miles of tranquil walks or enjoy family adventures at the woodland playscape and challenge trail.


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