Getting away over Christmas is a great treat but, let’s face it, you don’t really need to venture too far to see people spreading Christmas cheer. Cities all over the country are celebrating the holiday season with carols, winter wonderlands, ice rinks and special film screenings. Here’s a pick of some of the best goings on around the UK, this year, proving the you don’t have to jet off for the ultimate in festive fun.
Found out about any other Christmas events happening near you? Let us know about them in the comments box below!
Santa Dash 2011
Now - 27 Dec
Raise money for charity by donning your very best Father Christmas suit and getting your jog on with a load of other Santas. There are loads of fun-runs taking place across the country until 27 December.
18 Nov - 03 Jan
London’s Hyde Park is offering a Christmas market, a giant ferris wheel and even dry sledding at this year’s mega Winter Wonderland event. You can also get your skates on with fellow event-goers and chow down on some seriously good seasonal food.
The O2 December Sessions
London’s O2 venue
3 - 22 Dec
Perhaps you’re not in to the whole festive thing. If that’s the case, why not pop along to O2’s December Session’s which is playing host to some of music’s best up-and-coming talent, with 100 bands playing across 20 nights. And the best thing? It’s free!
Prince Charles Cinema Christmas Double Bills
The Prince Charles Cinema, London
18 - 26 Dec
One of the capital’s greatest independent cinemas is hosting an array of double-bill screenings completely dedicated to the festive season. From The Muppets Christmas Carol and Elf to Die Hard and Die Hard 2: Die Harder, there’s a cinematic double-whammy to suit all festive tastes. And all for just £6.50.
Carols at St Pauls
St Paul’s Cathedral
Now - 27 Dec
Join in with some traditional Christmas carolling at one of the UK’s most iconic landmarks along with thousands of Londoners. Expect celebrity readings as well as festive songs in this atmospheric and magnificent venue.
Manchester North Pole Bar
12pm - 11pm (midnight on Friday and Saturday).
Venture to this welcoming pop-up pub to sip on hot cocktails and cinnamon lattes in Manchester’s modern ski chalet environment. Munch on a minted lamb burger or a corn on the cob and get your photo taken with Parky, the eight foot polar bear.
Festival of Angels in York
The Quarter, York
10 - 11 Dec
Wrap up warm and join the festivities in York as the historical streets become awash with ice sculptures, decorating the city for the al fresco diners, brought together by unique street entertainment.
Sunderland Boxing Day Dip
The North Sea at Seaburn
11am, 26th Dec
We’re getting cold just thinking about this one. 875 individuals took to the waves of the North Sea in Sunderland last year, raising a total of £60,958 for nearly 70 different charities. Watch fundraisers dress up in their craziest costumes for this year’s fancy dress boxing day swim - or join them!
Fancy taking part? Just fill out this form.
Royal Liverpool Philharmonic
Liverpool philharmonic Hall, Hope Street
10 Dec - 07 Jan
Music lovers! Celebrate the festive season with ‘The Spirit of Christmas’ at Liverpool’s Royal Philharmonic. This month-long event kicks off with a Christmas sing-a-long, including songs like White Christmas, Jingle Bells and Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer.
Charity pamper evening with Christmas shopping
Sheffield Royal Society For The Blind, Mappin Street
Indulge in a little pampering alongside some Christmas shopping at Sheffield’s Royal Society for the Blind. Tickets are £5 and include mulled wine and a mince pie, as well as treatment (such as a hand massage or manicure. Proceeds go to the Royal Society for the Blind,
Burning the Clocks 2011
Madeira Drive, Brighton
From 6.30pm, 21 Dec
Sick of the commercialisation of Christmas? Head to Brighton for the Burning the Clocks parade, a family event which sees participants come together to burn homemade lanterns in celebration of the winter solstice.
Southampton’s city centre ice rink
Bargate, Southampton City Centre
Now - 8 Jan
If there’s one thing wrong with many UK ice rinks put up specifically during the Christmas period, it’s that they’re outdoors. This one in Southampton means that visitors can still skate
when it rains! How novel.
Christmas Sounds in Gunwharf Quays
Gunwharf Quays, Portsmouth
Now - 21 Dec
Get some last minute Christmas purchasesg in Portsmouth and be accompanied by various bands, orchestras and performers - the perfect antidote to stressful shopping.
Frankfurt Christmas Market
Victoria Square and New Street, Birmingham
Now - 23 Dec, 10am - 9pm
Get some authentic German Christmas culture into your lives with the ten-year anniversary of the Frankfurt Christmas Market, taking place in central Birmingham. Head there on 03 December for special offers on jewellery, food and drink.
Nottingham Christmas Concert
Albert Hall, North Circus Street
11 Dec, 2.45pm
Join the choir of St Mary’s Church with some carolling at Nottingham’s Albert Hall this month at just £4.50 per person. Go for the seasonal sing-a-long or sit down for a pre-concert meal as well, for just £13.50.
Bath Christmas market
Between Bath Abbey and the Roman Baths
Now - 11 Dec
Peruse over 130 wooden chalets with unique arts and crafts - perfect for Christmas present inspiration or to find that individual tree decoration for your uni abode. Not up for shopping? The food on offer is as much of a draw...
Bristol’s Winter Wonderland
Now - 08 Jan
Bristol’s Winter Wonderland is now open, featuring the largest outdoor ice rink in the South West. Book your tickets now!
14 Dec - 15 Dec, 7.30pm
Join the annual celebration in Exeter and visit the impressive cathedral for a night of carolling. Book ahead and get a student discount!
Christmas at Edinburgh Filmhouse
16 Dec - 24 Dec
Christmas film fans can catch all their favourites on the big screen during this special run at Edinburgh’s Filmhouse. Our choices are the Raymond Briggs Trilogy (The Snowman! On the silver screen!) and newbie, Arthur Christmas.
Christmas Rock Choir Performance
George Square, Glasgow
5 Dec, 6pm - 8pm
It’s not every day a stage in Glasgow’s George Square is erected for a seasonal rock choir performance! Go along for unusual renditions of Christmas classics along with gospel and motown-inspired performances.
UNICEF Carols and Candlelight concert
Manofield Church, Aberdeen
04 Dec, 3.30pm - 4.45pm
Aberdeen’s famous ecumenical choir sing Christmas carols and songs from around the world, with all proceeds going to children’s charity, UNICEF.
Christmas at the Castle
Get a flavour of Christmas in the Victorian era at Cardiff Castle. Don’t worry, there’s no dressing up here but you will be guided by a costumed tour operator who will take visitors through to the Banqueting Hall where the table is set for a full-on old school feast.
National Waterfront Museum, Swansea
Now - 01 Jan
Go ice skating, visit Santa’s grotto and brave the funfair at Swansea’s Waterfront Museum, transformed for the festive season into this Wintery wonderland.
Aberyswyth Christmas Food and Craft Fayre
Did someone say food? Around 60 seasonal foods will be on offer at the Aberyswyth Christmas Food and Craft Fayre, which is completely free to enter.