30 + Best Christmas Events East Midlands 2018 – Meet Santa and More

Lots of places are selling out fast for their timed meet and greet Santa slots so it’s time to get booked. There are so many magical events happening that I thought it would be a good idea to put them all into one big post so here you will find 30 of the best Christmas events in the East midlands – Lincolnshire, Derbyshire, Leicestershire and Nottinghamshire – where you can meet Santa and more. Plus a few from the surrounding areas. This is a list of 30+ of the best Christmas events in the east midlands. With opportunities to meet Santa and more. (listed in alphabetical order).


Battlefield Line – Santa Specials – Leicestershire

Santa Special Trains 1st until 24th December – (weekends plus Friday 21st and Monday 24th December). Meet Father Christmas on his train. “Travel in style on our first Deluxe train, each family of up to 6 or 8 has its own special compartment with a special Christmas hamper. Our classic train is formed of open coaches with a buffet car and on board Santa’s Grotto.”

30 + Best Christmas Events East Midlands 2018 – Meet Santa and More
Battlefield Line Santa Special – Photo courtesy Battlefield Line

Baytree Spalding – Winter Wonderland – Lincolnshire

Baytree Winter Wonderland  Winter Wonderland Opening Times: Santa arrives at 2pm on Sat.3rd Nov. Open every day from Nov 3rd to Dec 24th. “Now boasts a staggering 26,000 square feet of undercover area. Winding your way through hundreds of snow-covered trees, onto Santa’s magic sleigh ride, into the heart of Winter Wonderland. Hop off the sleigh and amble through the lights, past the toy workshop and all Santa’s helpers and friends. Get there early as the queues build fast (we can vouch for that!). You get to meet Santa at the end of your visit and your child will get a gift and a small tree to plant.”

Baytree, Spalding

Belton House – Father Christmas at Belton – Lincolnshire

“Visit Father Christmas in his winter grotto or enjoy breakfast or supper with him in the Ride Play Café during December. Please note that it’s essential to pre-book tickets to meet Father Christmas at Belton. All tickets are available to book online or by calling 0344 249 1895. The elves have been busy creating a comfortable winter grotto for families to visit Father Christmas at Belton. No visit, of course, is complete without first saying hello to Mother Christmas first, where she’ll help children decorate their own Christmas cookie. All good boys and girls will also receive an early present from Father Christmas.”

Belton House, Photo courtesy Belton House

Belvoir Castle – Visit Santa – Leicestershire

Visit Santa in our magical Grotto! More news to be announced soon. 6th – 10th December – Outdoor Christmas Market at The Castle. 7th – 9th December – Christmas Musical Extravaganza.”

Bolsover Castle – An Audience with Father Christmas – Derbyshire

On selected dates from Saturday the 1st of December “Join in the festive fun with the man himself at Bolsover Castle this Christmas. Meet Father Christmas as he tells tales of Christmas past amidst the yuletide decorations. An additional charge of £5 applies to see Father Christmas for all children, price includes a small present. Pre-booking essential. Please note max 2 adults per child in each session.”

Bolsover Castle, photo courtesy English Heritage

Charnwood Forest Alpacas – Christmas Alpaca experience – Leicestershire

“Christmas Reinpaca Walks – Take your reinpaca friend around our farm and surrounding paddocks with our classic 60 minute Reinpaca Walk. Available from 10 am – 2.30 pm Thurs – Mon throughout December.” OR “Twilight Reinpaca Walks. As twilight falls the magic begins, Join us with your loved ones for an extra special twilight walk along our twinkly track with your reinpaca in tow. Available from 3.30 pm – 6 pm Thurs – Mon throughout December.” OR “Alpaca Nativity Experience. Relax with your nearest and dearest in our festive nativity barn and meet our “junior” alpacas and newborn lambs! Available from 10 am – 3 pm Thurs – Mon throughout December.”

Chatsworth House – Christmas at Chatsworth – Derbyshire

“The house will be transformed with our annual Christmas displays to get everyone into the festive spirit. Once upon a time… Storytellers with the air of the Pied Piper will roam the halls enchanting visitors young and old as scenes from a selection of favourite tales leap off the pages, from classics like Snow White and Cinderella to contemporary stories like James and the Giant Peach and Charlotte’s Web. Don’t forget to pick up a fun family trail at the entrance to see what mischief our friendly baby dragon is up to on the route.”

30 + Best Christmas Events East Midlands 2018 – Meet Santa and More
Chatsworth House at Christmas, Photo courtesy of Chatsworth House

Christmas in Leicester

Christmas in Leicester is returning for visitors to Leicester this year with experiences and events to get everyone feeling festive. Some of the highlights include a fantastic ice rink with real ice, special Christmas lights and a trip on the Wheel of Light for views of the city centre. From the 22nd November 2018 until the 6th January 2019.

To find out more about what to expect from Christmas in Leicester please read – Christmas Events In Leicester – Fun on the Big Wheel and Ice Skating

Christmas in Leicester
Christmas in Leicester

Christmas in Nottingham

Winter Wonderland 2018 will open on November 15. There is a whole host of entertainment booked throughout the Christmas period, ranging from Christmas songs in the daytime to electric violins, musicians and artists in the evenings and weekends.

Cleethorpes Coast Light Railway – Santa Specials – Lincolnshire

1st, 2nd, 8th, 9th, 15th, 16th, 20th, 21st, 22nd, 23rd and 24th December. “It’s the most wonderful time of the year, so why not kick off the festive season by heading down to the Cleethorpes Coast Light Railway for the famous Santa Specials! Fun for all the family – all aboard the magical Christmas Express! Hauled by a steam locomotive and enjoy a return journey to Lapland Central.”

Cleethorpes Coast Railway – Santa Special, photo courtesy of CCR

Conkers – Winter Wonderland – Leicestershire

“You’ve chosen your time slot? Great! Wrap up warm and get ready for a silly Elf adventure as you arrive at Waterside Winter Wonderland, where Santa’s Chief Elf and his team will lead you through the Enchanted Forest and the Valley of Christmas lights to discover Santa’s Woodland Grotto. This is your chance to tell Santa that you have been good, and fingers crossed, he may share some pre-Chrismas presents! During your visit, you can take a trip on Head Elf’s Twinkle Toes Train through the tunnel of discovery, meet the Balloon Modeller (1:00pm – 5:00pm) and watch our Christmas shows & films. It’s sure to raise your Christmas spirits when you find the Snow Cave for Storytime or Activities!”

Conkers Winter Wonderland, photo courtesy of Conkers

Doddington Hall – Christmas at Doddington and Santa – Lincolnshire

November 25, 2018 – December 21, 2018 – (open 5 days a week) – “Imaginatively decorated for this year’s theme ‘O Christmas Tree,’ Doddington Hall will be open especially for the festive period. Taking inspiration from our woodlands, the Hall will be filled with themed Christmas Trees, with decorations also inspired by each room.

Father Christmas will be joining us on selected dates during December, dates coming soon! Add that extra bit of magic to the festive season for little ones and book a visit to see Father Christmas in the cosy family setting of the Hall’s Library. Meet the Christmas Elves, share your Christmas wishes with Father Christmas and receive a small present per child.”

Doddington Hall at Christmas, photo courtesy of Doddington Hall

Downtown Garden Centre – Meet Santa and Ice Skate – Grantham, Lincolnshire

Meet Santa in his magical grotto. Explore their winter wonderland and skate on their real ice rink. On selected dates in December, you could also go in their giant snowglobe and also have supper or Dinner with Santa.

Great Central Railway – Santa Steam Trains – Leicestershire

Santa Steam Trains 2018 – 24th Nov to 24th Dec. “Make your Christmas extra special by joining us on our Santa Steam Trains. It’s the perfect start to your family Christmas. Santa has swapped his sleigh for a fun-filled journey on an enchanting steam train. Ride on board our award-winning Santa Specials and let Father Christmas surprise you with an exciting present at your seat and a chat with the man himself! We look forward to welcoming you for some pure festive magic.”

Great Central Railway, Santa special – photo courtesy GCR

Gunby Hall – Christmas at Gunby – Lincolnshire

“Join us to discover the Gunby Christmas spirit. We’re steeped in centuries of festive traditions which we’d love to share with you, your family and friends. Enjoy music, sparkles and lots of Christmas cheer.”

Hardwick Hall – Christmas – Derbyshire

“Experience the magic of Christmas at Hardwick with our adventure through advent activities. A sparkly welcome awaits in the Hall where you can discover some of the rooms decorated for the season. Inside and out, magical delights await. There will also be an advent trail through the park and gardens and in the restaurant warm up with a festive treat. The shop has all sorts of lovely things to gift to family and friends too.”

Lincoln Castle – Castle Emporium – Lincolnshire

“The Christmas Emporium event will run for eight consecutive evenings within the medieval walls of Lincoln Castle. The Emporium will combine high-quality merchandise, unique hospitality and an eye-catching light and sound show. The Christmas Emporium will be a treat for all ages and create memories for years to come. Access to the Christmas Emporium will be ticketed and charged. The evening light show event will be ticketed and charged. The light projection will last approximately 10 minutes and will be repeated every 30 minutes throughout each evening.”

An Audience with Father Christmas “Saturday 15th-Sunday 23rd December. Experience the magic of Christmas at Lincoln Castle by joining Father Christmas in the Victorian setting of the Bath House at the Castle. Sit back and listen to stories of Christmases from the past and enjoy finding out more about Father Christmas himself.  Every child will receive a Victorian style gift and have the opportunity to share their Christmas wishes. Places are limited so please book your place in advance to avoid disappointment. Audiences last between 30 and 40 minutes.

Lincoln Christmas Market, photo courtesy Lincoln Castle

Lincolnshire Wolds Railway – Santa Specials – Lincolnshire

“Our ever-popular ‘Santa Special’ trains will be running on four days this year, with five trains each day. Children aged 12 and under will receive a quality present from Santa and adults get a small gift. All Tickets £12 each. Our Santa Special trains fill up quickly so we advise customers to book early to avoid disappointment!”

Lincolnshire Wolds Railway Santa Specials – Photo courtesy LWR

Manor Farm Park and Woodlands – Christmas 2018 – Leicestershire

” Join us this Christmas for festive fun on the farm and join in with songs and stories in our winter marquee. See our animals in fancy dress. Visit Santa* in his woodland cabin to receive a gift. Join in the woodland games. Make Christmas toast on the woodland campfire. Create something in the craft room to take home and enjoy our animal Nativity – Molly the Donkey’s Christmas Story.

*Please note that visits to Santa are not included in our general admission price. Book to see Santa for £3 per child, or £2 per child if you book before 11th November 2018. Don’t forget to add ‘Santa Token’ when booking online and add the relevant number of children.

Midland Railway Butterly – Santa Specials – Derbyshire

“As the Festive Season is getting into full swing why not give the whole family an exciting treat by taking a trip on a Santa Special Train. The children get to see Santa, there’s a treat for the adults, entertainment for the whole family and all without queues.” Plus “For a really special pre-Christmas treat why not take a trip on a Super Santa Train. Combining a visit to see Santa with a picnic tea on a train and a puppet show beforehand is an exciting late afternoon event for many families.”

Midland Railway Butterly, Santa specials – Photo courtesy MRB

Normanby Hall – Christmas – Lincolnshire

Normanby Hall Country Park is a magical place at Christmas. Come and see the deer being fed, visit Father Christmas, warm up by the fire in the festively decorated Hall or dine in style in the Regency dining room.”

Pink Pig Farm – It’s Christmas – Near Scunthorpe

“1st – 24th December. Ho, ho, ho…join us for a crimbotastic Christmas wonderland like no other! Visit the Pink Pig Farm every weekend throughout December and everyday from 20th – 24th December. We have two exciting experiences on offer; The North Star Experience or Santa Experience. Head to our enchanted woodland and meet Mrs. Christmas in her festive yurt where you can make reindeer food for Christmas Eve. Then make your way through the woodland with our elf, spotting the naughty elves as you go! Finally, visit Santa in his grotto, receive the magic key for our woodland toy shop and pick a real quality present to take home. This is such a lovely, organic, natural family experience like no other!

Both experiences include these activities as standard but with The North Star Experience you also get the following; learn how to be an elf in our wonderful ‘elf school’, get a children’s ‘Christmas tea in a bag’ & ‘build-a-cuddle’, pick your very own teddy or reindeer! Oh…and unlimited all day play is included in both experiences!” Book online.


Rand Farm – Christmas – Rand, Near Lincoln

“Our Real Christmas Experience. The Real Christmas Experience at Rand Farm Park is an immersive Christmas journey through our extensively themed zones. Decorate a biscuit with Mrs Claus, travel through our Magical Forest and learn to be a real Elf in Elf Academy before meeting Santa himself and choosing a toy from his secret toyshop! New for this year; enrol at Santa’s music school! All activities as well as our year-roundfavourites such as animal handling, bottle feeding and much more included in the admission price and available from 24th November, it promises to be the best Christmas ever!”

Sundown Adventureland – The Night before Christmas – Nottinghamshire

“When it comes to a Christmas Event in Nottinghamshire, no-one does it better than Sundown Adventureland. As Christmas draws near, the park is converted into a Winter Wonderland with Christmas theming throughout and the annual opening of the wonderful ‘Night before Christmas’ ride. Climb aboard one of Santa’s sleighs and take a magical journey through the enchanted forest.

You’ll be greeted by the elves and the ever friendly Mrs. Claus and when it’s your time, you’ll be invited to meet the big man himself. When you meet him, you’ll find out whether you’re on the naughty or nice list and if your name’s on the right list (it normally is, so don’t worry!), you’ll receive a lovely present and the chance to share your wishes with him.” and so much more!”

My son met santa at Sundown last year, find out all about our day out here – Christmas at Sundown Adventureland – Meeting Santa – What can you do on a Cold Day?

Sundown Adventureland at Christmas
Sundown Adventureland at Christmas

Tattershall Farm – Feeling Festive – Lincolnshire

From December the 1st Santa arrives at our Farm park and stays until Christmas Eve.

Twinlakes – Christmas Events – Leicestershire

There’s a number of Christmas events on at Twinlakes this December. With Santa’s arrival, Winter Wonderland, Breakfast with Santa, weekend fireworks including Christmas Eve and party in the park with Santa. Head on over to here for full details.

“Winter Wonderland – November 17December 24. Twinlakes usual theme Park fun with rides, attractions and farm park with a special Christmassy twist with thousands of twinkly lights and real Christmas trees, welcome to Winter Wonderland. This Christmas Santa will be with us every day during Winter Wonderland with the best family Christmas Grotto in The East Midlands (book online to secure your place, grotto sells out in advance!). Join in the festive fun with festive workshops, Christmas hunts, reindeer feeding, Christmas entertainment, letters to Santa, giant snow globe and gingerbread decorating (additional charge applies for some activities).

See Santa in his magical grotto, travel through the fairytale forest, ride The Polar Express train and meet the big man himself in his cosy log cabin, all children’s grotto tickets receive a special token from Santa which can be taken to the gift shop to choose their own gift.”

Twinlakes at Christmas

Twycross Zoo – Christmas at Twycross – Leicestershire

“Join us for a magical adventure with Santa from 17th November 2018. More than just the usual 2-minute Santa visit – see Santa throughout your Christmas day out at Twycross Zoo! Bring your little ones for lots of festive fun on selected dates throughout November and December – we’ve got plenty of magical activities that all the family will enjoy, all FREE* with your zoo admission ticket!”

Wheelgate Park – Christmas Events – Nottinghamshire

November 17th – December 24th – “Join us for the charming and enchanting Wheelgate Parks’ Christmas Experience Join us for our Magical Christmas Experience! Discover a truly incredible experience as the park is magically transformed into an enchanted wonderland. Visit the Elves in animal farm and help feed Santa’s Reindeer. We have stunning illuminated lights and twinkling snow scenes for a truly magical family experience and a GIANT Christmas tree full of thousands of lights. The perfect day out for the whole family this winter”

Plus Party in the Park with Santa on December the 8th and Breakfast with Santa on December the 23rd.

White Post Farm – Christmas Events – Nottinghamshire

From Saturday 25th November. “One of the best times of year to visit us. Our special Christmas Barn is full of festive fun with games, crafts, the walk-through Christmas Maze and of course Santa in his Grotto – every day. We have our real Reindeer here for you all to meet and, of course, our renowned interactive Nativity Play where you’re the star!”

Woodthorpe Garden Centre – Santa’s Grotto Experience – Alford, Lincolnshire

“Welcome to Santa’s Grotto Experience at Woodthorpe Garden Centre. This year the magic is back and your visit to see Santa includes: • A Chat with Santa • A Fantastic Christmas Gift • A Festive Train Ride. Their Christmas displays are also well worth the visit.” You can click here to book online.

Woodthorpe Garden centre, Santa Train

Outside of the East Midlands our other local favourite Christmas Events are:

Alton Towers – Santa Sleepovers – Staffordshire

“Step inside to the Alton Towers Resort this festive season and experience a magical Christmas escape with a Santa’s Sleepover! Santa, Mrs Claus and all of their friends are preparing the Alton Towers Resort for the most wonderful time of year and the only thing missing is you! Now is the perfect time to secure your place and enjoy the fabulous treats we have in store for your entire family.

With an amazing combination of selected rides and attractions in the Theme Park, including CBeebies Land, Christmas activities to keep all the family entertained, and a full schedule of festive entertainment, a Santa’s Sleepover is the perfect way to treat the family to a special getaway at the most magical time of year! Plus, enjoy our fabulous pantomime, Alice in Wonderland, brand new for 2018.”

Drayton Manor – Magical Christmas – Staffordshire

Magical Christmas opens on Saturday 17th November and is open for selected dates right up until Monday 31st December. “Each day we welcome guests into Thomas Land, with over 25 rides and attractions, it’s perfect for a wonderful family day out. Live shows perform throughout the day, giving your little ones the chance to sing and dance along with their favourite characters. If you choose to visit the Castle of Dreams this is where you will meet Father Christmas and his helpers, all children receive a gift and also get the opportunity to experience the magical surroundings. We can also guarantee snowfall throughout the day in Thomas Land, with spectacular festive shows as well. Every magical day ends with a short but spectacular fireworks display.”

Drayton Manor, Magic Christmas at Thomasland
Drayton Manor, Magic Christmas at Thomasland

Magna Science Adventure – Christmas Family Fayre – Rotherham

“Get into the Christmas spirit with a visit to Magna’s Family Christmas Fayre on Saturday 24th and Sunday 25th of November 2018.  Open from 10am to 4pm, featuring a mix of over 40 seasonal craft and gift stalls, festive food and drink, family entertainment and free parking; it really is a fun day out for all the family!  Our festive children’s activities, traditional fairground rides, and a visit to meet Father Christmas in his grotto make for the perfect family day out to kick off the festive season. Due to popular request, we are releasing 50% of our Family Christmas Fayre tickets for presale.”

Nene Valley Railway – Santa Steam – Peterborough

“Your Santa Steam experience starts with a welcome from our station staff and badge team – entertainment is provided at busy weekends. This is followed by an exciting visit to Santa’s log cabin where each child receives a special present from the old gentleman himself. Following a short wait families then join our steam hauled, decorated train for a fun-filled ride to Peterborough and return.

During the journey, our train staff serve the children with a drink and chocolates. Parents and other adults are not forgotten with a mince pie and either an alcoholic miniature, wine or a hot drink. Santa walks through the train to see the children, providing an opportunity to take photographs and to wish everyone the compliments of the season.”

Sacrewell – Christmas on the farm – Near Peterborough

BACK IN OUR FARMHOUSE FOR 2018 – Come and visit Father Christmas at Sacrewell before he boards his sleigh. Each Christmas visit reservation includes a present for the children from the Elves Toy Workshop and Christmas themed crafts with Mrs Claus. All Christmas tickets include day admission and a special Christmas tractor-trailer ride around the farm. Available dates – 24th, 25th Nov, 1st, 2nd, 8th, 9th, 15th, 16th, 17th, 18th, 19th, 20th, 21st, 22nd, 23rd and 24th* December. *Farm open until 2.30pm on 24th December.”

Tropical Birdland – Winter Wonderland 2018 – Desford Leicestershire

“Join us this December for lot’s of festive fun. Grab a lantern and take a magical stroll down to Santa’s Grotto visiting all of his fairy friends along the way, visit our amazing Snow Queen in her Ice Cave plus much, much more… Plus Fairy Walk – Quieter weekday events starting from 3-6pm. They do not include any entertainment but do include our famous lantern walk though the fairies to meet Santa. The real Macaw cafe will be open for light snacks and refreshments.”

Are you near to or heading to Gloucestershire this Christmas? Travel Loving Family has written a great round up post with 30+ Christmas events in Gloucestershire.

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30 + Best Christmas Events East Midlands 2018 – Meet Santa and More

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