Whether you’ve got toddlers to contend with, or you’re navigating Christmas with a new baby, we round up all the best baby-friendly activities and family days out for December.
No matter how old your children are, Christmas school holidays and weekends with the kids can be stressful. Running after toddlers and tending to a baby can be a juggling act at the best of times. Throw in the pressure of providing 24/7 entertainment, planning family days out and securing play dates, and it can all seem a little too much.
Planning ahead could be the secret to a stress-free school break. However, finding activities to please the whole family isn’t always easy. That’s why we’ve done the hard work for you. We’ve compiled a list of all the best family days out and activities for the everyone to enjoy over the Christmas holidays.
Best Family Days Out for Christmas
Christmas at Hamleys, London
There’s set to be non-stop fun at Hamleys this Christmas, with a bunch of activities planned to keep you and your kids busy – the most wonderful time of the year isn’t quite complete without meeting Santa Bear and having an elfie selfie at Hamleys Santa’s Grotto. As well as meeting Santa and joining in with festive activities with the elves, children will also receive a gift to take home. This is a wonderfully iconic Christmas tradition and the perfect prelude to exploring Hamleys’ seven floors of festive cheer and toys.
When: 20 November-24 December 2022
Where: Hamleys, London
For a full timetable of activities head to hamleys.com/explore.
Lightopia – based in London, Manchester and Alton towers – this year has a unique themed Christmas light trail for you and the kids to experience with a festive illuminated walk featuring 3D projections, silk light installations and Palace of Light centrepiece, with music and interactive exhibits. Plus, kids aged 0-2 go free.
When: 19th November 2022-2nd January 2023
Where: Crystal Palace Park, London
Luxury Family Hotel Christmas Getaway
Want to get away on a last-minute break? Choose from a range of family Christmas packages at five luxurious country house hotels across the UK. From their first Santa’s Grotto at Woolley Grange to festive afternoon teas, magical light trails, illuminated gardens and festive igloos to crafts for children and relaxing spa treatments for parents, there’s something for everyone – plus 90 minutes of complimentary childcare each night of your stay.
When: 26th November 2022-22nd December 2022
Where: Wiltshire, New Forest, Cornwall, Dorset or Suffolk
Legoland at Christmas
From twinkling fairy lights to snowy pine trees and seasonal activities, with over 25 rides, live shows and attractions, including a DUPLO Puppet pantomime and Holiday Harbour lightshow, experience LEGOLAND in a whole new light as your kids meet Father Christmas in his log cabin and receive a special LEGO gift.
When: 26th November 2022-3rd January 2023
Where: Legoland Windsor
Walk in a Winter Wonderland
This is the ultimate family festive experience. With its huge ice rink, festive food stalls and funfair rides, plus endless experiences for children like the Magical Ice Kingdom, Christmas Circus and Ice Sculpting Workshop, Winter Wonderland will delight children of all ages, at what is often called the London’s family Christmas celebrations.
When: 18 November 2022-2 January 2023
Where: Hyde Park, London
Hampton Court’s Palace of Light
Fill your Christmas with light at Hampton Court Palace’s enchanting new light trail of curious creatures. As darkness falls, kids will love the glittering unicorns, polka-dot panthers, lurking lions and galloping greyhounds – inspired by the Royal Beasts, a collection of heraldic statues commissioned for Hampton Court by Henry VIII himself – as you wind through the cobbled courtyards and gardens, indulging in festive food and drinks along the way.
When: 7 December 2022-2 January 2023
Where: Hampton Court Palace, London
One of the best things to do at Christmas with kids in London is, of course, going to the panto. One of our top picks is family favourite Jack & the Beanstalk at Lyric Theatre or Elf at the Dominion Theatre. For something a little different, Alexandra Palace are also putting on a dazzling display of Rapunzel on Ice throughout December.
When: 19th November 2022-8th January 2023
Where: Various theatres across the UK
Morden Hall Park at Christmas
You could spend an entire weekend enjoying all that Morden Hall Park has to offer at Christmas. Bring the whole family and find something for everyone; from choosing your perfect Christmas tree to Hurricane Theatre’s classic tale of Dick Whittington and his cat. Create something for yourself, or make a Christmas present for a loved one.
When: Various dates available for different activities beginning in December
Where: Morden Hall Park, Morden, London
Christmas at The Snow Kingdom, London & Manchester
Bring your little one along for a night of Christmas magic at the Backyard Cinema’s Winter Garden. Choose from a number of festive films when making your booking, and arrive a little early to give your little one time to discover the hidden entrance. Navigate your way through the magical forest, find the secret password and finally arrive in the Christmas cinema.
When: Various dates until 5th January 2023
Where: Wandsworth, London or Depot Mayfield, Manchester
The Magic of Christmas at London Zoo
Your little ones will delight at London Zoo’s fun festive trail, where you and your elves will make your way across the zoo as you gather information to help Santa research what the zoo’s 20,000 animals would like for Christmas alongside 25ft Christmas trees and festive food and drink and toasting marshmallows around firepits. Little ones can join in festive crafts before meeting Santa in his magical grotto at the heart of the Zoo and receive a very special early Christmas gift to take home. There’s also a Giant Animal Advent Calendar, Cookie Decorating with Mrs Claus and Christmas-themed animal talks.
When: 26 November 2022-3 January 2023
Where: London Zoo, Outer Cir, London NW1 4RY
Visitors will need to pull their weight in Lapland UK before meeting the big guy. In an immersive experience lasting four hours, the traditional story of Father Christmas is retold with the help of elves, animals and other friendly, festive characters. Once you’ve passed through the Magical Door into the Enchanted Forest, a world of activities opens up including toy making and gingerbread making. There’s also ice skating on the agenda before the final stop at FC’s house. Tickets are sadly sold out – but mark your calendars because tickets for next year go on sale in March 2023.
When: Saturday 16 November to Tuesday 24th December
Where: Ascot, Berkshire
Christmas at Kenwood
A sensational light trail will be nestled amongst the grounds of Kenwood to captivate visitors of all ages, with illuminations and installations will bring the night to life and transport visitors into an enchanting world of light and colour, alongside festive food, warming cocktails and a host of brand-new sights and sounds with friends and family.
When: Friday 2 December 2022-Sunday 1 January 2023, 4:30pm – 9pm
Where: Kenwood House, Hampstead Lane, London NW3 7JR
Visit Kidzania London
This year bring the kids to KidZania London where they can be specially trained to become part of the next generation of Santa’s little helpers. Learn the ropes and prepare for the big day at the best Elf School in the land, where kids can join the Nutcracker parade, design toys, sing Christmas tunes, and more!
When: 3rd November-31st December 2022
Where: Kidzania, Westfield London
National Gallery Christmas Show 2022
From 26 November 2022, The National Gallery and Boo Productions will come together to present a festive theatrical production for the whole family – Avercamp’s ‘A Winter Scene With Skaters Near A Castle’ adapted for the stage. See the theatre transformed into a wintery theatrical feast.
When: 26th November-23rd December 2022
Where: Trafalgar Square, London WC2N 5D
Meet Santa at The London Transport Museum
Meet Santa in a twinkling winter wonderland at the London Transport Museum from 25 November as you follow a wintery trail to discover vintage vehicles and fascinating facts with the chance to win a Mini Underground Roundel Lightbox worth £25. Get crafty and make a jolly pop-out Christmas card and much more.
When: 25 November to 23 December 2022 selected times
Where: The Piazza, Covent Garden, London WC2E 7BB
Disney On Ice Presents Dream Big
Disney On Ice is back with a bang for 2022, and will be skating back into London’s O2 Arena in time for Christmas from the 22nd – 31st December. This year this show is called Disney On Ice presents Dream Big, and is an action-packed voyage and an adventure for the whole family, featuring Moana, Frozen and other timeless favourites.
When: 22nd-31st December 2022
Where: Peninsula Square, London SE10 0DX
Christmas at Four Seasons London
At Four Seasons Hotel London at Park Lane, staff adore creating lifelong memories for children, and this year they’re offering a Four Seasons pop-up hot chocolate cart, Christmas elves stocking guest rooms with Christmas cards, wish list stationery for children and stockings, a surprise appearance from Santa on Christmas Day and much more.
When: 1st December-31st December 2022
Where: Four Seasons London Park Lane, Hamilton Place, London W1J 7DR
Party at a Baby-Friendly Rave
There’s a new party trend in town and this one is fun for all the family. Baby Raves are sweeping the nation. But if you’re picturing a panic-inducing day of nursery rhymes and soft-play, worry not, as these baby raves are pretty darn cool. From chart-topping DJs to interactive light shows these tot-friendly discos are giving Ushuaia in Ibiza a run for its money. So dust off your dancing shoes, grab your kids and get down to one of these baby-friendly parties for a fun family day out this Christmas.
Check out Some Baby-friendly Cinemas
A sure-fire way to keep your bigger kids entertained during the Christmas holidays is packing them off to the cinema. However, we all know that sometimes little ones don’t want to sit quietly and still for the duration of a film – which can prove to be a stressful experience for parents and the cinema. Take the worries away by paying a visit to specific baby-friendly cinemas or screenings.
- Baby’s First Christmas: Gifts, Outfits and Decorations
- 16 Festive Getaways for a Very Special Christmas Break
- Date Night Ideas for New Parents