Christmas Activities for Kids
With all the hustle and bustle of Christmas time, there are so many opportunities to make memories kids will treasure.
We’re very lucky in the UK as there are tons of winter wonderlands, festive markets, light festivals and so much more to choose from.
There are so many choices that we might be left feeling miffed that we can’t do it all.
But we don’t have to do everything to have a magical December!
We’ve researched all these Christmas days out for kids in the UK, and picked the cream of the crop.
So whether you’re looking for jaw-dropping events across the country or some free days out, we’ve got you sorted.
And since it is a British winter, we’ve included plenty of activities that can be done in the comfort of your cosy home to make the most of those bleak rainy days.
So if you’re planning on stuffing your Xmas calendar to the brim with events, day trips and activities, you’re in the right place.
In this post we’ll cover:
- Christmas Days Out for Kids
- Free Family Days out In December
- Kid-Friendly Christmas Craft Ideas
- Christmas Games
Christmas Days Out for Kids
What is a Light Festival?
I don’t think there’s anybody out there who doesn’t love a good light festival.
Whether it’s a purpose-built light trail or a lit-up National Trust Property, there’s just something awe-inspiring about them.
Over the winter period, many famous landmarks and heritage buildings become illuminated in spectacular colours and designs curated by artists and LED experts.
The UK’s Best Light Festivals
- Christmas light trail, Blenheim Palace, Oxfordshire
- Christmas at Kew Gardens, London
- Magical Lantern Festival, Leeds, Birmingham, London
- Festival of Light and Sound, Eden Project, Cornwall
- Enchanted Christmas, Westonbirt Arboretum, Gloucestershire
What is a Winter Wonderland?
A Winter Wonderland is like a Christmas market mixed with a fairground, set in the North pole.
You’ll probably find an ice rink or two, hundreds of food and drinks stalls, fairground rides, music, grottos, bars and much more.
They’re packed full of things to do but can be fairly pricey.
The UK’s Best Winter Wonderland
Hyde Park Winter Wonderland, London
Here’s a video of all the different rides and other activities you can find at Hyde Park:
German Christmas Market
What is a German Christmas Market?
A German Christmas Market is a collection of food, traditional goods, mulled wine and beer that’s taken the UK by storm.
You can read more about the history of German Christmas Markets in our post – Christmas Markets In Europe: How To Have The Best Trip Ever.
The UK’s Best German Christmas Markets
- Birmingham’s Frankfurt Christmas Market
- Manchester Christmas Market
- Bristol Christmas Market
- Bath Christmas Market
- Belfast Christmas Market
- Leeds Christkindlemarkt
- Edinburgh Christmas Markets
Theme Parks at Christmas
What do Theme Parks do at Christmas?
At Christmastime, theme parks become less popular for thrill-seekers because of the cold weather. So to get people through the doors, they transform the sites into kids paradises’.
You’ll probably find some of your children’s most-loved characters in costume as well as a santa’s grotto and other festive events.
The Best UK Theme Parks to Visit at Christmas Time
- Twin Lakes, Leicestershire
- Alton Towers
- Drayton Manor
- Chessington World of Adventures
- Paultons Park
Ice skating is a wonderfully festive activity that can be enjoyed by kids of all ages. It can be tricky at first but after a bit of practice it’s a fun and active skill they’ll be able to use for the rest of their lives.
Where to Ice Skate at Christmas Time
- Natural History Museum Ice Rink, South Kensington
- We The Curious Ice Rink, Bristol
- Icescape at Tropicana, Weston-Super-Mare
- Hampton Court Palace, Surrey
- Royal Pavilion Ice Rink, Brighton
- Waterfront Winterland, Swansea
- Admiral Ice Rink at Winter Wonderland, Cardiff
- Ice Skate, Birmingham
- Beamish Ice Skating, Durham
- Manchester Ice Rink, Manchester
Here are some extra ideas for days out to squeeze into your festive schedule:
- Meeting Santa at a Shopping Centre (Click here to get more ideas about Santa)
- Watching a Xmas Movie at the Cinema
- Carol Singing Performance at a Church
- Museums and National Trust Properties
Free Christmas Activities for Children
Free Family Days Out in December
Unfortunately, the amount of effort that goes into the spectacular Christmas events across the UK means that the price tags aren’t small. Especially if you’re trying to fill the whole Christmas holidays with activities.
Luckily there are likely to be a few free festive events in your local area or a discounted ticket price over the winter school holiday.
If you’ve exhausted all your local area has to offer, here are some completely free activities that will make memories that are just as special as the paid events.
Light Switch-On Ceremonies
These fabulous events have a real community spirit and act as the starting point of festive celebrations for many households.
Although they’re free to attend, be prepared for lots of nagging to go on the many fairground rides scattered around these events.
Another fun free day out is visiting a few towns Christmas lights over December and into January.
Muddy Walks Through The Woods
Is there anything more festive than a muddy welly walk through the woods with your family?
Well, maybe just that cosy feeling when you’re back home, bathed and in PJs with a hot chocolate.
Christmas Light Villages
We’re not sure if there’s a name for these, so if there is then please let us know in the comments.
Some streets and villages have a decade long tradition of going all out with their Xmas lights.
The effect is absolutely brilliant, especially for kids.
Houses will decorate their homes from top to bottom with festive lights, and some even use story-telling as part of their designs.
This Warwickshire Village raises money for charity each year through visitors donations.
Visiting a Christmas Tree Farm
Even if you’re not buying a tree, there’s nothing stopping you from visiting the farms or shops and wandering in between the trees trying to find the biggest.
We guarantee your kids will love running around getting lost. This might end up being one of those memories they recall years later when they smell fresh Christmas trees.
Plan a ‘Treasure Hunt’ in Your Local Town
Get creative and make some tasks that are unique to where you live. Some generic festive scavenger hunt ideas are below, but plugging in some local traditions and landmarks is much more special.
- Find Santa
- Find 5 Christmas Trees
- Spot a Robin
- Find somebody wearing a Christmas jumper
- Sing Jingle Bells
- Find colourful Christmas Lights
- Find somebody wearing a Santa hat (can’t be Santa!)
- Buy a Mince Pie
- Find a holly bush
- Find the words ‘Merry Christmas’
Rainy-Day Christmas Activities
- Classic Christmas Movie Marathon
Take a look at our Open For Christmas post on the 24 Best Christmas Movies for some festive inspiration!
- Decorating the house
We know it’s not a novel idea but it’s a good activity to save for a rainy day so you can get outside when (if) it’s sunny.
Spend the day in the kitchen making as much mess as memories.
- Christmas Activity Book
Get your hands on our FREE printable activity book and keep your kids occupied for hours. Just subscribe to our email list below!
- Kids Choose Christmas
Ask the kids what their dream Christmas day would consist of and live it out on a rainy day.
Christmas day follows lots of traditions and is rarely altered that much. Try asking children what their idea of the best Christmas ever would consist of. The sillier the better!
Remember to take lots of photos.
Some prompts for them could be:
- Treats like sweets and chocolates
Who knows, maybe you’ll end up including some of their ideas in your future Christmases!
Christmas Craft Ideas for Kids
- Decorate a Gingerbread House
- Christmas Craft Sets
This 50 Pack of Wooden Hearts makes a great pass-time. Decorate these hearts to go on the tree, or use them as an alternative to a Christmas card to hand out to classmates and family.
Have a go at this adorable DIY Advent calendar of Festive owls that you can make and self-fill with treats.
Or if you want a more traditional theme, how about these lovely Reindeers.
Keep it easy and let the kids go to town on cards and paper with this Christmas craft set.
If you’re looking for some more Christmas craft activities for children, take a look at our post 12 Best & Exciting Christmas Activities For Kids.
Christmas Days Out for Kids and Activities – Final Thoughts
We hope you’ve enjoyed reading this post as much as we enjoyed making it. It was great to research all the great things the UK has to offer at Christmas time.
We are particularly excited to attend some Christmas markets and get started on those adorable handmade advent calendars.
And we’ve also seen that Christmas for kids doesn’t have to mean boring for us. We don’t think there’s anything on this list that we wouldn’t love to do ourselves!
There are tons of options out there for Christmas activities for families, and we think we’ve found the best.
Whether you’re going to book some Christmas days out for kids or stock up on provisions for those rainy December days, we hope you have the best time ever and make memories that will last a lifetime.
Related Children Activity Articles:
- 12 Best & Exciting Christmas Activities For Kids
- 17 Exciting Ways on How to Make Santa Tracks
- 9 Seriously Fun Games To Play With Three People
- Things to Do This Christmas For The Best Christmas
- How to Make a Christmas Stocking in 8 Simple Steps
- 15 Easy & Unique Homemade Christmas Gift Ideas
- Your Printable Christmas Activity Book
- 24 Best Christmas Movies
- Christmas Markets In Europe: How To Have The Best Trip Ever