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Ready to start thinking about Christmas? It's time to start feeling festive so here is our annual list of the top festive markets, Christmas lights and other twinkly events from around the UK. Dive into Christmas like you mean it this year and visit one of these exciting yuletide events, while at the same time taking a pre-Christmas breather in an amazing UK forest.
Christmas at the Eden ProjectÂ is bigger than ever this year. You can go ice skating, shop for special Christmas gifts and meet Father Christmas. Then, prepare yourself for the incredible Lights and Lanterns after-dark experience, an immersive light spectacular in the lush gardens of the huge biomes. After the show, itâ€™s just a short drive back to your own cosy cabin atÂ DeerparkÂ - where weâ€™ve got the lights down low so you can see the night skies.
The Eden Project Ice rink
A grandÂ Christmas at Blenheim PalaceÂ kicks off with the Living Crafts for Christmas Fair, 14-17 November, where you can pick up some fabulous Christmas presents from over 180 designer-makers as you wander through the Churchill and Marlborough Pavilions.
From 22 November, the Illuminated Christmas Lights Trail creates a magical journey, and the palace rooms are decorated in an Alice in the Palace theme with a whimsical topsy-turvy wonderland, and the Christmas Market in the Grand Court is open every day until 15 December for gifts, mulled wine and festive cheer.
Blenheim Palace magical Christmas markets
A more intimate yuletide market, with strong regional links, is held byÂ Taurus CraftsÂ at Lydney, in theÂ Forest of DeanÂ in Gloucestershire. A showcase of local artistry and craftsmanship, itâ€™s great for gifts that you wonâ€™t find anywhere else. Enjoy a satisfying afternoon here on a weekend break at Forest of Dean.
Taurus Crafts Christmas market banner
Book a last-minute break atÂ Thorpe ForestÂ and you can catch theÂ Bury St Edmunds Christmas Fayre, which runs 21 - 24 November. Set in the townâ€™s beautiful Georgian streets, cathedral grounds and Abbey Gardens, it boasts over 300 stalls, Christmas cookery demonstrations and a fun fair. And if all gets a bit too festive, you can disappear into one of Bury St. Edmunds many welcoming hostelries.Â
Twinkling lights at Bury St. Edmunds Christmas fayre
Santa on a steam train - whatâ€™s not to like? Stay for a December weekend at our newest location,Â BeddgelertÂ in Snowdonia, and delight the children with a trip on the Santa Train, which runs on 7/8, 14/15 and 22/23 December. The spectacular journey starts at Porthmadog and runs through the beautiful Aberglaslyn Pass to Beddgelert, where you are greeted by carol singers. Santa and his elves are handing out presents to all the good children, and back at Porthmadog, thereâ€™s a mince pie and a glass of sherry for the grown-ups too.
Ffestiniog Railway Santa train, Snowdonia
The clever people at Rufford Abbey have thought of everyone in the family this year. TheÂ Christmas WeekendÂ market on 23-24 November will keep the adults happy, with delicious food and drink (including a signature mulled wine) and the opportunity to buy some special gifts. Throughout December, you can treat the children toÂ Breakfast with Santa, which, as well as Belgian Waffles with chocolate sauce, includes a present from the man in red himself.
Stay at nearbyÂ Sherwood ForestÂ in one of our cosy pet-friendly cabins â€“ the dog will love the underfloor heating.
Rufford Abbey Christmas weekend banner
Castle HowardÂ dons its Christmas finery from mid-November when the stately home is transformed into a magical evocation of Christmas past. With candlelight, crackling log fires and live yuletide music in the state rooms, and magnificence decorations (including a 25ft Christmas tree with 3,000 baubles in the Great Hall) Christmas is here. And so is Santa,Â Festive Afternoon TeaÂ and some exceptional Christmas shopping.
Festive afternoon tea at Castle Howard, North Yorkshire
Santa is putting in some double shifts on our railways this year. If you canâ€™t get to Beddgelert to see him, heâ€™s going to be handing out gifts every weekend in December on the North York MoorsÂ Santa Express. Trains leave from Pickering, just a short drive from Cropton and Keldy.
Santa warming up on Santa Express
We associate Edinburgh with Hogmanay, but it doesÂ ChristmasÂ rather well too. Although itâ€™s a good drive fromÂ Strathyre, itâ€™s well worth it for a day trip full of adventures. Explore theÂ Christmas Markets, thrill the kids with theÂ Santa Land fairground rides, experience the amazingÂ Light NightÂ shows on George Street and get your skates at the ice rink in in St. Andrewâ€™s Square.
GlasgowÂ is hosting not one, but two major Christmas markets this year, and a host of smaller markets too. Gluhwein and German beer are being served in George Square, where over 50 stalls are spread out in the shadow of the stunning 5-metre Christmas tree. Over at St. Enoch Square, the Christmas Village is serving up a hog roast.
Stay atÂ Ardgartan Argyll, so that you can escape the city before the evening crowds descend, and relax in a lochside hot tub beneath the starlit Scottish skies.
Glasgow Christmas markets