12 of the best – Britain’s best winter festivals and events

Winter brings a cheerful range of UK festivals, from festive fun to winter walking. Here we bring you 12 of the best - be sure to check the websites for exact dates.

Aberdeen’s Winter Festival

Where: Aberdeen, Scotland

When: November – January

The Scottish city of Aberdeen embraces a full winter-long event from November to January, including many popular festive events in December and January, such as pantos, ice skating, markets, Christmas lights and Hogmanay celebrations.

Click here for more information.


Southbank Centre Winter festival

Where: London

When: November - January

London boasts many festive events including one of the most famous, the Southbank Centre Winter festival. Supported by Natwest, this event offers something for all ages including a Christmas Tree Maze, a Cider Lodge, Christmas Market and lots of shows, such as Slava's Snowshow and the less traditional Apocalypse Meow: Crisis is Born.

Click here for more information.


Christmas in Bristol

Where: The Galleries, Bristol

When: November - December

Visit Santa and his elves at his Arctic themed Grotto. A Christmas market, shopping, a Christmas train ride, a Winter Wonderland and Magic Elves all add up to a fun-time for all in the city of Bristol. For more information on Santa’s Grotto and all else Bristol has to offer this festive period, see Visit Bristol below.

Click here for more information.


Winter Wonderland

Where: Cardiff, Wales

When: November - January

A host of festive family attractions, including an open air ice rink, a funfair and the Alpine Village for food and drink and more entertainments.

Click here for more information.  


Edinburgh’s Christmas

Where: Edinburgh, Scotland

When: November - January 4 Edinburgh

Scotland’s capital city also loves a party. The city hosts weeks of festive shows, rides, markets, ice skating, Santa Land, parties and much more.

Click here for more information.


Penrith Winter Festival

Where: Penrith, Cumbria

When: November - December

Visit the Lakes and see a wealth of festive activities including themed music and theatre performances, Santa’s Cottage, food fayres, a Totally Locally Fiver Fest, party nights and gift markets. For a full programme of activities, see the timetable on their website.

Click here for more information.



Where: Victoria Park, London

When: December - January Winterville


Another great London event with plenty for the whole family to do, including horse-drawn carriage rides, a fairground, street food, music, cabaret acts, an ice rink and the Robin Hood Pantomime.

Click here for more information.


Blackpool Festival at Christmas

Where: Blackpool, Lancashire

When: December

Musical performances, the Craig Charles Funk and Soul Christmas Ball, an open day at the Winter Gardens, comedy performances, films for all the family and a New Year’s party will bring a ton of festive fun to the Fylde Coast this Christmas.

Click here for more information.


Chester’s Christmas

Where: Chester Racecourse, Cheshire

When: December


The popular city of Chester welcomes a magical festive fantasyland filled with fun for all the family. Visit Santa and his reindeer, get your skates on to enjoy our spectacular ice rink, have a festive family portrait in the Snow Globe, and much more!

Click here for more information.  



Festival of Winter Walks

Where: Nationwide

When: December - January

Take advantage of the Christmas holidays and enjoy a chance to burn off some festive calories with the Ramblers’ annual Festival of Winter Walks. There are hundreds of free group walks, from a short stroll to a heartier hike.

Click here for more information.


Celtic Connections Music Festival

Where: Glasgow, Scotland

When: January - February

Just as you put the festive decorations away you can look forward to Celtic Connections, which is the largest winter music festival of its kind. The city event has attracted visitors from all over the world for more than 20 years and boasts a wide range of musical performances including folk, roots and world music.

Click here for more information.


Up Helly Aa 

Where: Lerwick, Scotland

When: January

The annual torch-lit procession and the burning of a galley is world famous. This event takes place on the last Tuesday in January every year in Lerwick, Shetland.

Click here for more information.


WWOf course, don’t forget Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park, London. Go and share your Christmas adventure with Regatta, making the most of the free #itsmyadventure photobooth, situated at the Regatta shop.

Click here for more information.


More things to do Christmas Markets across the country (click here). National Trust Christmas events (click here) this December. National Trust for Scotland at Christmas events (click here).


Journalist Fiona Russell is better known as Fiona Outdoors. She combines work and her love of the great outdoors in a “living the dream” career.


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