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Young woman outside enjoying a Christmas event

Top 7 Christmas events in the UK 2021

Looking for the best Christmas events to flex your festive muscles at this December? Welcome to the club. After last year’s festivities turned out to be a bit of a flop, Christmas 2021 looks set to be better than ever – and events are booking up at record speed as so many of us look forward to some long overdue Yuletide fun. Thankfully there’s a bumper crop of brilliant things to do lined up, and we’ve scoured the calendar to find the events you won’t want to miss. There’s everything from seasonal steam trains in London, to wintery light trails in Edinburgh – not to mention festive treats in cities like Bristol, Birmingham, and Leeds, too. And of course, you can get to all of them with megabus, so there’s no need to worry about parking in the Christmas rush. Let’s make it a December to remember…

Party in a giant circus tent in Bristol

Prepare for a seasonal spectacular in Bristol, because Christmas at the Spiegeltent is back, and the organisers have really gone to town with this year’s line-up. The huge circus tent in the city’s harbourside district will play host to a line-up of events that kicks off with a drag ball on November 25th. Then there are club nights, cabaret shows, and a stint from The Puppini Sisters on December 8th. It all wraps up with a huge Twenties-themed masquerade ball on NYE, so you’re going to want to get those tickets sorted pronto.
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Chug across London on a festive steam train

London’s got all the usual December delights lined up – from Christmas markets to ice rinks and everything in between. But if you fancy something a bit different, step onboard the Christmas Steam Express. Passengers on this vintage steam train will feast on a three-course evening meal as they travel across West London and take in the Thames from a totally new POV. It’s Fifties-inspired, so search for the perfect vintage outfit and settle in for an extravagant evening. But be quick, because there are only four dates for this one-of-a-kind trip, which departs from London Victoria.
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Wander through festive light trails in Edinburgh

If you fancy a trip to the zoo with a difference, Edinburgh Zoo’s Christmas Nights will be right up your street. From November 19th until January 2nd, you can wander through a light trail full of projections and fairy lights, not to mention the zoo’s resident animals. There’s a Santa’s grotto you can book separately if you’re coming with kids, or an adults-only evening on December 10th if you’re not. And if light trails are your thing, take a look at Christmas at the Botanics, too. From November 25th until January 2nd the city’s botanic gardens will be lit up like a Christmas tree.
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Giggle at a panto in Birmingham

Fancy seeing Jason Donovan make his panto debut? Then get yourself down to Birmingham Hippodrome this Christmas and catch him as The Evil Ringmaster in Goldilocks and the Three Bears. The show was supposed to happen in 2020 but was postponed, so there’s a real buzz about it being able to go ahead this time. Expect plenty in the way of circus acts, daredevil stunts, and special effects, and get ready to shout ‘it’s behind you’ until you’re blue in the face. It runs all the way to the end of January 2022, so you can keep the Christmas spirit going in the bleak midwinter.
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Take a seasonal city break in Leeds

Leeds Christmas Market may be cancelled for another year, but there’s plenty going on in the city to keep you busy this winter. That includes THOR’s Tipi – a pop-up bar with log fires burning and mulled wine flowing – a huge ice rink and igloo bar on Millennium Square, and the very cool Chow Down Winter Village. The last one combines a food village with a ski lodge, winter gardens and a rooftop curling club, plus a stage with DJs and live music acts. One thing’s for sure: it’s going to be popular.
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Craft contraband cocktails in Manchester

If you’re visiting Manchester with friends this Christmas, pay a visit to Alcotraz: Cell Block Three-Four. This place is unlike any cocktail bar you’ve ever been to, and you’ll need to successfully smuggle a selection of booze behind bars, where the ‘inmates’ will create bespoke cocktails with it. You’ll need to be pretty crafty about it as there’s a warden on watch, and the cocktails will depend on the contraband you’ve managed to get your hands on. It’s a brilliantly theatrical experience that works well for groups of friends, special occasions, and work parties, so be sure to book ahead.
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Belt out Christmas tunes in Liverpool

If you’re a karaoke fan, you’re going to want to get yourself down to Bar Hütte this Christmas. This city centre ski village is made up of a cluster of Alpine hüttes under the Christmas tree at Liverpool One, and you can hire one out with a group of friends. The cosy Karaoke Hütte has space for up to eight people, and your host will bring the drinks to you so you and your mates can focus on another rendition of Last Christmas. There are wreath-making hüttes if you fancy something a bit more sophisticated, or a family option where you can get a photo with Father Christmas himself. The great news is, there are venues at Manchester and Edinburgh, too.
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