Wiltshire at Christmas: The best festive activities to book now
We've got PYO Christmas trees, late-night shopping and carol concerts! Here's how we'll be getting our festive fix in 2021
Roves Farm Christmas Experience, 27 Nov – 23 Dec
Roves Farm has gone all out this Christmas. Not content with Santa’s grotto, they’ve also got a festive activity trail, a twinkling lights trail (who doesn’t love a trail?), reindeer food making workshops – why should Santa get all the Christmas Eve treats? Plus there’s a real live nativity scene with a donkey and llamas in lieu of a camel. Book tickets, prices vary – some events are free, others are paid for.
Christmas at Stourhead, 26 Nov – 2 Jan
Stourhead’s gardens are impressive at the best of times, but they’re sensational at Christmas, with over a million lights and lasers bouncing about. Think sparkling tunnels (we defy you to resist taking a selfie in there), flickering flames and larger than life illuminations. Call in at nearby Bruton (yes, we know it’s in Somerset) for the best pizza ever at The Chapel. Book now, from £14.
Swindon Town Gardens Enchanted Light Trail, 2 – 31 December
For the first time ever, Swindon’s already pretty Town Gardens is being transformed into a winter wonderland with a trail of super-impressive displays lighting up the gardens. Book here, from £6.
Christmas at Longleat, from 6 Nov until 3 Jan
It wouldn’t be a Wiltshire round-up without a shout out to Longleat. This year the safari park hosts the UK’s biggest singing Christmas tree and invites us to get lost in the iconic maze but this time lit by magical lights to guide the way (like a modern-day wise man and the north star, don’t you think?) There’s also a festive train for little visitors and a theatre show too. Book now
Avebury Manor Christmas in Colours, 19 Nov – 2 January, Thursday to Sundays
All ten rooms inside Avebury’s majestic manor are getting dressed up in their festive finery this month, with each room decorated in a different colour. If this isn’t interiors inspo, we don’t know what is! Find out more.
The Salisbury Christmas Tree Trail, 19 Nov – 2 January, starting at Salisbury Cathedral
Starting at the majestic cathedral and winding around the city until finishing at the Market Place, this enchanting walk invites you to traverse the medieval streets of Salisbury in search of 12 Christmas trees. It’s a festive way to see the city and get some tree-decorating inspiration for your own home. Find out more.
Swindon and Cricklade Railway Santa Specials, 27 Nov – 19th Dec
Hop on a traditional steam train and chug through the countryside before disembarking in the North Pole to visit Santa. This is one we’d save for the grandparents to take little ones on! The December dates are sold out, so be quick if you want to book this one. Buy tickets here, from £12.
Charlton Park Christmas Tree Shop, Charlton Park, from 27 Nov
Charlton Park, which you might know as the host of WOMAD, has been growing Christmas trees for over 20 years and during the festive period, the estate invites you to amble around their walled garden and pick your perfect tree.
Once you’ve chosen the one for you, staff whizz over with a chainsaw and chop it down for you, or if you prefer to get hands-on, you can bring your own spade and dig up your tree yourself – prepare to get muddy, though! You can also buy wreaths, holly and mistletoe as well as ready harvested trees. Find out more.
Lacock Christmas Reindeer Trail, from 27 Nov
Possibly the most magical spot in the county (Harry Potter was filmed here for a reason!), Lacock will be twinkling with Christmas lights for the next few weeks. The abbey’s Great Hall will be all dressed up for the season, plus there’s a reindeer trail for children to follow. Find out more.
Lane House Alpacas Santa’s Grotto, throughout December
Yes, we know Santa traditionally had reindeer, but this Alpaca farm is a must-visit at Christmas time. The alpacas (which are much more cuddly than reindeer if you ask us) get dressed up in their festive finery and you can meet them as well as Santa himself. Book here, limited slots available.
Whitehall Garden Centre Christmas, Lacock, throughout November and December
Every year Whitehall Garden Centre transforms into a winter wonderland and it’s no different this year, with endless twinkling lights and some of the most beautiful decorations we’ve seen in the county. It ticks the Christmas shopping and festive fun boxes in one sweep. Head into Lacock afterwards for an ultra-festive wander around the village that looks quaint all year round but really comes into its own at Christmas.
Malmesbury Late Night Shopping, 3 Dec
Malmesbury’s mixture of independent shops and big-name stores stay open late this evening so you can get cracking on your Christmas shopping. Expect mulled wine and mince pies in the shops, plus lots of stalls taking over the high street selling everything from scarves to hot chocolate kits. There will be indoor stalls too and a Santa’s grotto. Find out all the stores taking part here.
Christmas at Steam, Swindon, 4 and 5 Dec
Swindon’s railway museum Steam has had a festive makeover with over 50 Christmassy stalls all set against the classic trains in the museum. Santa will be there too, hosting story sessions and no festive occasion is complete without mulled wine and hot chocolate too… Find out more.
Carols by Candlelight with High Tea, St Mary’s Church, Lydiard Park, Swindon, various Dec dates
It’s not Christmas without a carol service – make it by candlelight and it’s all the more magical. Lydiard Park is one of our favourite spots for a walk and it makes for the perfect location for a carol concert, set in the grounds of a manor house. The carols and high tea event is £15 per person, email firstname.lastname@example.org. for dates.
Countryfile Christmas in the Park, Charlton Park, 10 – 12 Dec
Join Countryfile’s presenters for a festive event in Charlton Park’s arboretum. There will be live baking workshops, Christmas shopping, wreath-making sessions, winter woodland walks, off-road driving experiences and much more. From £15, book now.
Noctis Christmas Carol Concert, Whatley Manor, 12 Dec
Whatley Manor is always top of our Christmas to-do list (their cheese fondue is the best we’ve ever tried) so when we heard they were doing a carol concert this year we were *very* excited. Noctis is a chamber choir consisting of musicians from the South West. You’ll be treated to champagne and canapés reception in the drawing-room followed by the carol recital and four-course set dinner with wine, coffee and treats. £120 per person, call 01666 834 026 to book.
If you’re looking for a wreath-making class, you need to check out our round-up of the best Christmas wreath making classes in Wiltshire, or you fancy getting your skates on, here’s where to take a turn around the ice near Wiltshire.
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