UK events: December 2018

South East and London

London – ice skating at Somerset House

Until 13 January 2019

Once again the iconic fountain courtyard at Somerset House is home to London’s most beautiful ice rink, complete with a 40ft Christmas tree. Look out for Skate Lates, an extra special series of music nights throughout the season. This year the Skate School will be offering sessions with National Ice Skating Association instructors, so whether you’re like Bambi on ice or a graceful glider, all abilities are welcome to come and get some expert skating advice.

Find out more here

London – Christmas carols in Trafalgar Square

6-21 December

Christmas fact for you: every year since 1947 Norway has gifted an incredible 25-metre high Christmas tree to the people of London, as thanks for Britain’s support in World War II. Celebrate this festive season by witnessing the lighting of the tree in Trafalgar Square on 6th December at 6pm.   From Monday 10 to Friday 21 December 2018 (except 15 December), over 40 carol singing groups will gather beneath the famous tree to entertain visitors. Entrance is free and performances take place from 4-8pm on weekdays, and from 2-6pm at weekends.

More info here

South West

Christmas Sunday Cinema at Bristol Zoo Gardens

2nd, 9th, 16th & 23rd December

Every Sunday in December, Bristol’s Zoo Gardens will be offering a cinematic Christmas experience to leave visitors with a warm festive glow.

This December the Bristol Zoo Gardens will showing Christmas classics Elf and Frozen. When it’s finished, enjoy exploring all the amazing animals the zoo has to offer, included in your ticket price!

Find out more here

North East and Yorkshire

York – St Nicholas Christmas fair

Parliament Street, York

Until 23rd December

There’s no better time to enjoy the historic charm of York than winter, as this season sees the city transformed into a festive fairytale. Last year the St Nicholas Christmas Fair attracted over 1 million visitors and it’s not hard to see why. Among the market stalls you’ll find the festive flavours such as mulled wine, brandy hot chocolate and roasted chestnuts. Discover the finest produce Yorkshire has to offer from the craftspeople showcased in the Made in Yorkshire Yuletide Village.

More info here

County Durham – Christmas at Beamish Museum

Until 24th December

Discover the amazing seasonal sights, sounds, smells and delicious tastes of Christmas past in the north of England. Experience the magic of a traditional Christmas as Beamish Museum offers a chance to experience the festive season as it was in the north during the 1820s, 1900s and 1940s. Visit Father Christmas and his magnificent reindeer try some local festive food and whizz your way around the ice rink.

More info here


Santa Dash

9 December

Glasgow City Centre

It’s December so you’ve probably eaten dozens of mince pies, and chomped on mountains of chocolates. Now it’s time to get active and sprint like Santa in this festive 5K! The Santa Dash is a Christmas spectacle you won’t want to miss as Glasgow city centre transforms into a sea of Santa suits, all running to raise money for charity.​ Ready, set, go ho ho! 

Those who don’t fancy dashing through the streets are always welcome to cheer the Santas along as spectators.

More info here

North West


Monday 31st December, 10pm onwards

New Year’s Eve Fireworks at Albert Square

Wrap up warm and venture out into the Mancunian winter night to bring in the New Year with a spectacular fireworks display in the city centre’s Albert Square. This family-friendly celebration will be held in the shadow of Manchester’s iconic Town Hall, with a big screen marking the countdown to midnight. Bring in the start of 2019 with a bang when fireworks are released from the roof of the Town Hall at midnight. Entry is free, but be sure to arrive early to avoid disappointment

More information here

Liverpool Christmas Ice Festival

Pier Head, Liverpool

Until January 6th

Make your way down to Liverpool’s waterfront to be transported into a winter wonderland with the return of the city’s Christmas Ice Festival. Whether it’s your first time taking to the ice or you’re a confident skater, all are welcome at the ice rink. If you’re feeling adventurous try whizzing down the UK’s largest ice slide, with a speedy 30m run that promises plenty of thrills. Wheee!

More information here


Festive Swims – Christmas Day / Boxing Day / New Year’s Day

Porthcawl / Tenby / Llandudno / Abersoch and a number of other locations  

‘Tis the season to wrap up warm and snuggle up inside? Think again! Every festive season in coastal towns across Wales, local communities get together to brave the icy cold winter sea to raise money for charity. Whether you’re adventurous enough to take the plunge or would just prefer to watch the mad dash into the sea from the beach, it promises to be heaps of fun.

Find out more here

For those outside of Wales, who don’t want to miss out, there are plenty of other festive swims in other regions of the UK