Group travel friendly Christmas Experiences

With Christmas around the corner, now is the time to relish in some fantastic events going on around the country to get us all in the festive spirit.  Ahead of the British Tourism & Travel Show in March, a few of our exhibitors, including leading tourist attractions, group-travel destinations and hotels, have shared what seasonal events they have going on this December for your customers:

Visit Southport this Christmas for a fabulously festive time. Experience our 60ft digital tree and its amazing light show, the open-air ice skating rink and historic Lord St lit by half a million tree lights. Add to this three pantos, children’s grotto and over 100 tearooms, restaurants and bars all serving seasonal fare and you’ll find Southport a magical place to beat Christmas.

Liverpool is lighting up this festive season with light installations, multiple Christmas trees and even an ice festival on the waterfront. With boutiques, massive department stores and independent gift shops galore, Liverpool is truly a retail paradise; wander around Liverpool ONE and Bold Street to box off all those Christmas gifts. After shopping, there’s plenty of festive fun for groups of all sizes; thrill-seekers can head to Liverpool Ice Festival where they will find the UK’s largest ice slide and nearby, Double Fantasy: John and Yoko tells the story of the iconic couple in their own words at Museum of Liverpool. For those visiting between Christmas and New Year, the spectacular Liverpool International Horse Show runs from 28th-31st December. 

Hallmark Hotels offer a fantastic collection of 26 individual and authentic hotels around the UK. Destinations include key tour locations such as Bournemouth, Chester, Gloucester and Cambridge. Hallmark Hotels pride themselves in delivering fantastic four-night Christmas Breaks. Itineraries include four course Christmas lunch with all the trimmings, mulled wine and homemade mince pies, welcome drinks reception, three course dinners, sumptuous evening buffets and plenty of Christmas entertainment.

Swarovski Kristallwelten (SwarovskiCrystal Worlds) transforms at Christmas to a magical Winter Wonderland which runs from November 7, 2018 to January 13, 2019. Visitors will be enchanted by fairy-tale light installations in the mythical Winter Wonderland, inspiring all the senses to set the mood for the contemplative season of Advent. From January 18 to February 17, 2019 the Festival of Light comes to Swarovski Kristallwelten and brings a mystic world of light and sound; visitors are treated to a spectacular light show.

Arcona Hotels Christmas offers are just as colourful and attractive as the unique hotels, which awaken the desire to travel.  The 21 destinations all around Germany (and Switzerland / Austria) are worth a trip at any time of year. In winter the Christmas Market tradition is deeply interwoven into the cultural fabric of Germany. 

Visit Exeter this Christmas for the atmospheric Christmas Market on Cathedral Green. Browse for unique and artisan gifts from local retailers, and enjoy festive food and mulled wine whilst listening to local bands at the foot of the magnificent West Front of Exeter Cathedral. Meet Santa in Princess hay, whilst embarking on an Arctic adventure in a brand new festive experience for 2018! The festive season wouldn’t be complete without some pantomime fun! This year a top-class cast will present Aladdin at the Exeter Corn Exchange, whilst Exeter North cott are staging a GIANT of a performance of Jack and the Beanstalk from 3 December – 6 January.

At Bournemouth, experience the magical spectacle of over 100 glittering trees and illuminations. Explore the Alpine Market and skate in the enchanting Victorian Lower Gardens.  Enjoy live music, entertainment and magical illuminations across the town. From Bournemouth seafront, into the lower gardens, through the town centre and beyond to the coastal villages, explore a glimmering world of memorable seasonal fun.

 If you’re planning a festive group outing take a look at the UK’s favourite beach resort, Visit Blackpool has a tempting selection of shows and attractions to entertain all your guests including: Blackpool Opera House, Wizard ofOz from 7th – 30th Dec 2018 at Grand Theatre; Beauty and the Beast from 7th Dec – 6th Jan 2019 at Blackpool Tower Circus; and Aladdin with Mooky the Clown and Mr Boo from 24th Nov – 20th Jan 2019.  We can’t promise snow but we can promise lots of fun! 

The Yarn Market Hotel, ideally located in the very centre of Dunster celebrates Christmas with a traditional “House Party”, for either a 3 or 4 night stay over the Festive Period and for the New Year a Jazz Break with the fantastic John Shillito Band. The Twixtmas days in between are an ideal time for groups to stay as their visit can be combined with a trip on the West Somerset Railway which runs steam trains including its Winter Steam Festival between 27th and 31st December.

Nestled beneath the treetops at the foothills of Snowdonia National Park, hides a magical Christmas adventure to remember. Imagine a 2-hour Twilight adventure full of Elves, crafts, and magical surroundings bringing Christmas to life forevery child. A journey parents and grandparents will love too. Your experience will include an invite posted from Santa, a gingerbread decorating workshop, A magical walk through our enchanted forest, a cup of hot chocolate or non-alcoholic mulled wine, meet Santa in his Log Cabin and have a photograph to take home and finally receive your golden ticket, to spend in the toy shop as well as access to the soft play area.

We’ll deck the halls and dress the trees at Warner Leisure Hotels. Christmas breakfast will be ridiculously good and dinner will be a feast with turkey, pigs in blankets, and so many more trimmings. There’ll be traditional games and carols by the log fire and, outside, refreshing walks in award-winning gardens and grounds. We’ll put on a daytime panto and, every evening, the lounges and stages will come alive with music and dancing. Above all, we’ll take care of every last detail on our Christmas breaks in the UK,from the welcoming mince pie to the pillow menu at night.

Brand NEW and for the very first time in the UK, you can take a trip on the magical Christmas ‘Train of Lights’. This truly spectacular illuminated journey starts at Dartmouth Steam Railway’s Paignton station, where a period carriage awaits you – settle back into your seat and wait for the dazzling light show to begin. You will be propelled through the techni-colour Greenway tunnel and on into the ‘Enchanted Forest’ which has been transformed by a multitude of lights into a nocturnal extravaganza. 

Cruise up the calm and sheltered waters of the stunning River Exe with Stuart Line Cruises. Climb aboard their festively decorated boats and enjoy a fabulous hour-long trip, while sipping a glass of homemade mulled wine and a tasty warmed mince pie. A perfect festive addition to any group itinerary.

Coventry is preparing for an exciting Christmas with an exciting variety of events taking place across the city. Leading the way for family fun is the Belgrade Theatre’s ‘Sleeping Beauty’ pantomime. Coventry’s Festive Weekend will play host to a range of festive stalls include vintage Christmas jumpers, heritage cakes, Christmas cocktails, gift wrapped confectionery and boxed craft beers. And the Christmas Cracker is back at Ricoh Arena on Sunday 23 December as Wasps take on Bath in a nail-biting Gallagher Premiership clash. Keep warm in the magical Christmas themed Fan Village with mince pies and mulled wine, real-life reindeer and carol singers.

Christmas is a magical time in Greater Manchester and the perfect chance to combine a festive break with a spot of Christmas shopping. We’re not just home to the famous and incredibly popular Manchester Christmas Markets, but also some charming regional markets including Tameside, Rochdale, Ramsbottom, and Standish. Then when you’re done with these there’s attractions galore across the region including ice rinks, illuminations, steam train ‘Santa Specials’, an Ice Village, Winter Funland, Santa’s Grotto, a Snowman trail and loads of Christmas theatre and shows. 

Discover the Jewellery Quarter this festive season! Situated only a 20-minute walk from Birmingham city centre and easily accessible via train, metro or bus. Explore this unique historical area of Birmingham with our Heritage Trail. Shop for the perfect gift in over 100 independent stores and jewellers with the JQ Shopping Guide. Invite your friends and family and toast the festive season in style at one of our restaurants, pubs & cafes. 

From 17 November and daily from 1 December, West Midland Safari Park is hosting its annual Santa Safari, where guests can meet the big man himself, Mrs Claus and their jolly elf helpers. Guests will be magically transported to the North Pole, where they will be able to pay a visit to Santa in his grotto. Children will get a memento of their day by having a picture of themselves with Santa to take home and they’ll be able to choose their very own present in the elves’ workshop. They will also receive a drink and cookie, whereas adults are treated to a mulled wine and mince pie. Additionally, on selected weekends will be ‘Elf Story Time’ – a brand new, interactive, story-telling show, sure to spread lots of festive cheer.

Every year ITO Tours Amsterdam hosts the Amsterdam Light festival. Artists from home and abroad take you on a journey along 30 light artworks specially created for Amsterdam. During the run up to Christmas, Amsterdam is the place to visit and admire the exhibition by boat, by bike, or on foot and enjoy some Christmas shopping. We can arrange for a full multi-day programme including attractions and hotels.

Harwood House‘s Christmas rooms include a field of Swarovski crystal-encrusted sunflowers growing across Chippendale furniture, a fragrant army of 500 gingerbread people in the kitchen Below Stairs, and a dining table laden with the most marvellous cakes. Visitors follow a curated journey that leads them through childlike fantasy and wonder, in a work of imagination created bespoke to Harewood’s history.

At York’s Chocolate Story, groups can discover the secrets behind some of York’s most famous confectionery brands, and how they made a significant contribution to the festive season. A fully guided tour through Christmases past will reveal the history behind advent calendars and selection boxes; how they went from rare and luxurious items, to the products we know and love today. Uncover which famous York brand has been a staple of Christmas stockings for generations and just how many fingers were on a Kit Kat advent calendar.

Join us in Cathedral Square, Worcester until Sunday 23 December for a fantastically festive market! Expect tasty treats such as Yorkshire Pudding Wraps and Traditional German Sausage, craft chalets to wrap up your wish lists, full of handmade goodies and a festive bar to really get in the spirit of Christmas. We ho-ho-hope to see you there! 

Christmas has arrived at the House of Daniel Thwaites where thousands of people have been enjoying a Fairytale of New York-themed party atone of the company’s six hotels around the country. Over the festive season they are expecting 30,000 glasses of fizz to be drunk, over 9,000 turkeys to be cooked, 28,000 mince pies served -and the Fairytale of New York to be played around 400 times!                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        

From cobbled streets to the best independent shops,Canterbury is the place to go for a festive shopping experience like no other. We believe the selection of shops is the perfect balance of high street staples and independent artisans. From the art and jewellers on the Kings Mile, fashion and pottery in the Cathedral Quarter, and the quirky independent gems on St Margaret’s Street, you really can find something for everyone! If you’re looking for something really unique, go to the White friar’s Christmas market.

The festive season is upon us and there are plenty of reasons to visit Cheshire’s Country Estate, Carden Park Hotel. Only a thirty minute drive from Chester city centre, we are surrounded by magical events and fantastic experiences. Visit the world-renowned Chester Zoo and discover their famous Lantern event or take stroll through the Christmas Markets located at the heart of the city. Don’t forget the annual Christmas theatre performance at The Storyhouse and shop to your heart’s content at Cheshire Oaks Designer Outlet.

If you would like to find out more about these attractions, hotels and destinations, make sure to meet them at the show in March! The British Tourism & Travel Show returns to NEC Birmingham on 20-21 March. To book a free trade ticket, CLICK HERE. 

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