What to do this winter
Get out your warmest coat, grab your snuggliest hat and slip on your cosiest gloves and head outdoors this winter to check out some of these fantastic festive events…
As the big chill sets in it is very tempting to stay curled up in front of the fire watching Saturday night TV every weekend, but with so many fabulous things going on across the country, you may just change your mind.
Whether you’re looking for fun for all the family, a romantic setting for you and your partner or a great girly night out, you have come to the right place for ideas.
Have a look at what’s going on and get your festive diary filled.
Christmas at Chatsworth with Mr Toad
Chatsworth House in the Peak District has taken inspiration from a children’s classic this festive season and transformed this stately home, creating a journey through the story of the Wind In The Willows. The painted hall has been designed to recreate the Baronial toad hall, decorated with giant Christmas trees and festive flowers. The Great Chamber and guest bedrooms have also been made into scenes from the Evergreen Story. Great for all the family, children will love discovering the hiding places of the mice, dressing up in costumes and placing their wishes on the wish tree.
Rooftop winter cinema
The Berkeley Health Club and Spa in London have turned their rooftop garden into a pine-filled forest cinema this winter, showing Christmas classics on the big screen over the festive period. Stay warm and cosy with a hot water bottle and Moncler blankets. Heated lamps will also be available when the cold really sets in. While watching films such as ‘Miracle on 34th Street’ you will be treated to homemade hot chocolate, mulled wine and mince pies in one of the custom made chalet cabins built for two.
Once upon a WigWam
Queen of Hoxton has opened its doors to its impressive winter rooftop. Inspired by the Brothers Grimm fairy tales, you will enter through a magical WigWam covered with winding golden trees, gothic style mirrors and ornate seating with a raised treehouse mezzanine in the centre. Outside you will find toadstool chairs surrounding large fire pits and a bar area decorated with meadow flowers and ivy, hanging clocks and gingerbread house trinkets. The menu follows the theme, with a selection of warm cocktails and delicious food on offer – our favourite festive tipple is aptly named ‘Egg snog’.
Ice skating at Somerset House
Skate at Somerset House has returned this year – an event that has become a winter favourite in the capital city. The rink is based in the centre of the iconic 18th century site – a truly spectacular setting – and offers a variety of activities. Club nights will take place, where visitors can skate to the sounds of DJ’s from the Ministry of Sound, Island Records and the South London Soul Train. You can also book into skate school, with single lessons and courses with an accredited NISA instructor being offered. Off the ice there is a shopping pop-up, a Christmas arcade, Fortnum lodge and Apres restaurant and bar, among many other facilities.
The hugely successful ‘Winter Wonderland’ has returned for six magical weeks – an event that is quickly becoming one of the top Christmas days out in the country. Hyde Park will be transformed into a huge festive spectacular, filled with traditional Xmas markets, the Bavarian Village featuring live music, Santa Land, Zippos Circus, the Magical Ice Kingdom, Bar Ice, the Mega Dome, the Ice Rink, rides and attractions and as much festive spirit you could imagine. A fantastic day out for all the family – just be sure to book certain events in advance as they will sell out.
The RHS Garden Wisley in Surrey will include an interesting twist this year. Alongside the winter bedding on the top terrace and the winter walk, the garden will feature giant illuminated floral displays and a Beauty of the Bark walk showing off the many outstanding trees. The new addition has been named ‘Christmas Glow’ and provides the perfect setting for peaceful winter walks. The flowers stand up to five metres tall and include an impressive cluster of lotus style lights that change colour at the press of a button.
Manchester Opera House will host the amazing Cinderella pantomime, starring national icons Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean in their panto debut as the Fairy Godparents. The duo will be swapping their ice skates for high tech rollerblades and performing daredevil routines. Jayne Torvill said, “This will be our first ever pantomime and something we’ve been wanting to do for some time. We’re already working on some brand new choreography which we hope will bring a whole lot more excitement to the wonderful Cinderella story and reworking some old favourites too”.
They will be joined onstage by Wicked star Liam Doyle as Prince Charming and his loyal sidekick, Samuel Holmes. Eloise Davies will play the title role and you can book tickets for evenings from the 5th December to 3rd January.
The Snowflake Trail
This Christmas, Jack Frost is transforming Liverpool into a wonderland of festive fun for all ages. The city centre has been transformed into stunning winterscapes, and with a map in hand families can try to solve the maze and have a chance to win some amazing prizes. The Snowflake Trail will feature spectacular snowstorms with different sounds and sparkling lights, with the highlight being Britain’s biggest snowflake sculpture. Wrap up warm and head down to the event – running from the 19th November – 3rd January.