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
Where: Hamleys, London
For a full timetable of activities head to hamleys.com/explore.
Richmond’s Magical Father Christmas Experience
Inspired by the rich Tudor history of Richmond Park, be transported back in time to experience the magical traditions and customs of an Elizabethan Christmas Festival, hosted at the Old Deer Park Sports Ground in Richmond. Walk among the cosy, warmly-lit teepees as you and the kids meet Tudor Christmas characters, join in with Christmas carols, create festive decorations and meet a jolly Tudor Father Christmas.
When: Sunday 19 December 2021
Where: Old Deer Park Sports Ground, Richmond
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 2021-2nd January 2022
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 magical light trails and festive igloos to festive 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 2021-31st January 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. Or, stay put in London and head to the world’s largest LEGO store in Leicester Square for some festive family fun.
When: 27th November 2021-3rd January 2022
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: 19 November 2021-3 January 2022
Where: Hyde Park, London
Hampton Court’s Palace of Stardust
Fill your Christmas with light at Hampton Court Palace’s enchanting new light trail that mimics a world of planets and stars. As darkness falls, kids will love the illuminated lights and glowing lanterns in the form of clocks, moons and planets – inspired by the the ticking Tudor clock of Hampton Court, installed by command of Henry VIII – as you wind through the cobbled courtyards and gardens, indulging in festive food and drinks along the way.
When: 8 December 2021-3 January 2022
Where: Hampton Court Palace
Visit KidZania London
Believe in the magic of Christmas this year with a visit to new-for-2021 ‘indoor city’ KidZania London. With six incredible festive activities for kids and adults, KidZania is currently transformed into a Secret Christmas wonderland. Enter with a special password from the elves before getting into the spirit with everything from exploring Mrs Claus’ office and pantomime performances of Cinderella to Christmas baking and designing a toy at Elf School.
When: December 4th-December 31st
Where: Westfield 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 Aladdin at Hammersmith Lyric Theatre or Theatre Royal Haymarket’s Peppa Pig’s Best Day Ever, where kids of all ages – including babies – are welcome. For something a little different, Alexandra Palace are also putting on a dazzling display of The Nutcracker on Ice throughout December.
When: 19th November 2021-5th January 2022
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 biscuit decorating to Christmas card making, wreath making to joining the elves for storytelling and crafts, there is something to capture everyone’s interest. Create something for yourself, or make a Christmas present for a loved one. Visit the website to explore all that is on offer.
When: Various dates available for different activities beginning in December.
Where: Morden Hall Park, Morden, London
Christmas at The Snow Kingdom, London
Bring your little one along for a night of Christmas magic at the Backyard Cinema’s Winter Garden or Snow Kingdom. 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 ball pit river, find the secret password and finally arrive in the Christmas cinema.
When: Various dates until 10th January 2022
Where: Wandsworth, London
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. You’ll then report back to Mrs Claus in the polar post room and send off a card to Santa! Kids will also love the Sensory Sweet Shop – perfect for you to grab a few stocking fillers in the forms of candy floss, marshmallows and candy canes.
When: 27 November 2021-3 January 2022
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.
When: Saturday 16 November to Tuesday 24th December
Where: Ascot, Berkshire
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
- Family-Friendly Holidays to Book Right Now
- Date Night Ideas for new Parents