London, Birmingham, Bath and beyond. All the best things to do before Christmas

From the annual spectacular that is Winter Wonderland through to parades, pantomimes, and festive winter walks, these are all the best things to do across the UK this December. 

London

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    Get in the Christmas spirit with Hyde Park’s Winter Wonderland

    Where: Hyde Park, London
    When: Sat 18th Nov – Mon 2nd Jan

    It wouldn’t be Christmas in London without a visit to Hyde Park’s spectacular Winter Wonderland. Home to Bavarian-style wooden chalets, a glistening ice rink, a Magical Ice Kingdom and themed bars to keep the grown-ups occupied, you’ll find fun for all the family in this activity-packed extravaganza! We know the Grinch stole Christmas, but we think London might have just taken it back!

    Image credit: timeout.com

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    Show off your skating skills at Somerset House

    Where: Somerset House, Strand, London
    When: 17th Nov 2016 – 15th Jan 2017

    Whether you glide across the ice or stumble like Bambi on skates, the perfect winter day out awaits at Somerset House, home to London’s most beautiful ice rink. By day you can skate in the stunning courtyard or arrive after dark for exclusive club nights with music from top international DJs. You’ll also be able to relax before you go skating at Fortnum’s Lodge and the Skate Lounge, or shop at the pop up Fortnum’s Christmas Arcade.

    Image credit: timeout.com

Birmingham

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    Take the family to see Dick Whittington at Birmingham Hippodrome

    Where: Birmingham Hippodrome, Hurst Street
    When: Mon 19th Dec – Sun 29th Jan

    Pantomime season has returned and from 19th December, you and your family can enjoy a star-studded performance of Dick Whittington at Birmingham Hippodrome. You’ll see John Barrowman team up with the Krankies, as well as EastEnders’ Steve McFadden, West End favourite Jodie Prenger, and Brum panto star Matt Slack. An unmissable production of the rags-to-riches tale, expect plenty of laughs, outrageous costumes and amazing special effects.

    Image credit: whatsonstage.com

Bath

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    Score a hole in one (… or not) at Glow-in-the-Dark Mini Golf

    Where: Royal Victoria Park, Bath
    When: Fri 18th Nov – Tues 3rd Jan 2017

    Who said Christmas was just for markets and mulled wine? Bath’s famous adventure golf course in Victoria Park has undergone a stunning new makeover and will be lit up this month as part of the city’s festive fun. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or a just want a laugh with your friends, Bath is taking crazy golf to a whole new level!

    Image credit: visitbath.co.uk

Chester

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    Step into Europe’s largest walk-in Christmas tree at Cheshire Oaks

    Where: Cheshire Oaks Designer Outlet, Ellesmere Port
    When: Thurs 1st Dec – Sat 24th Dec

    The magic of Christmas is well and truly alive at Cheshire Oaks Designer Outlet, where you and your family can step inside Europe’s tallest walk-in Christmas tree. The numbers do the talking – the tree is as tall as seven buses, is filled with more than 100,000 decorations (1,000 of which are football size red baubles) and there’s also five miles of lights. And we thought decorating our tree at home was a struggle!

    Image credit: chesterchronicle.co.uk

Bristol

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    Watch Bristol’s award-winning production of Cinderella: A Fairytale

    Where: Tobacco Factory Theatres, Southville, Bristol
    When: Fri 2nd Dec – Sun 22nd Jan 2017

    If you ask us, Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without going to watch a pantomime (that’s why we’ve featured two in here). This year, we’d highly recommend travelling down to Bristol to watch the Tobacco Factory’s one-of-a-kind rendition of Cinderella: A Fairytale. With incredible acting, original live music and crystal-clear storytelling, you are guaranteed to be left mesmerised.

    Plus, since its premiere back in 2011, the production has been nominated for an Olivier Award, won an Off West End Award and has been seen by 60,000 people – so you don’t want to miss out!

    Image credit: tobaccofactorytheatres.com

Cornwall

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    Experience the spectacular Eden Project Festival of Light and Sound

    Where: Eden Project, Bodelva, St Austell, Cornwall
    When: Selected dates from until Fri 30th Dec

    Want to experience the Eden Project as you’ve done never before? Then head over to the Festival of Light and Sound in Cornwall this December. See Eden’s winter landscape transform with dramatic light projections, music and colour. Gaze in awe as lasers interact with natural phenomena including rain, plants and people, whilst the sounds of top musical and vocal talents from across the South West fill the air. Bliss!

    Image credit: cornwalls.co.uk

Devon

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    Escape the festive frenzy and have a peaceful winter walk in Devon

    Where: St Michael’s Brent Tor, Dartmoor, Devon

    Or, if you fancy a winter stroll away from all the Christmas celebrations? Then head over 13th-century church, St Michael De Rupe (St Michael of the Rock), at the top of Brent Tor on the western fringes of Dartmoor in Devon. At just three miles, it’s a relatively easy walk to the top and oh-so-worth it for the stunning panoramic views of Dartmoor to the east. And when you’re finished, why not unwind with some food and drink at the Mary Tavy Elephant’s Nest Inn nearby?

    Image credit: telegraph.co.uk

Newcastle

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    Party the year away at the New Year’s Eve Winter Carnival

    Where: Newcastle Civic Centre, Newcastle Upon Tyne,
    When: Sat 31st Dec

    Kick off 2017 in style at one of the country’s biggest New Year’s Eve parties. In a traditional music and dance meets carnival performance, Newcastle’s Winter Carnival Parade will be home to otherworldly creatures, puppets and street bands, all heading towards Newcastle Civic Centre for the firework finale. The parade can be viewed for free as it moves through the city centre. Our top tip? For the best views go to the Monument and along Northumberland Street.

    Image credit: visitengland.com

Where do you plan to go this festive season? Tweet us @nationalexpress and remember, our coaches can get you there!