Best Christmas markets to visit
Bath Christmas Market - 23 November - 10 December 2017
Soak up the Christmas atmosphere at the bustling Bath market. With more than 200 stalls lining the pretty streets of Bath, selling traditional handmade goods and crafts, plus festive food and drink. Once you're done shopping, Bath is a lovely place to explore, visit the Roman Baths, Abbey or walk along the riverside. bathchristmasmarket.co.uk
Sparkling Christmas lights and gardens to visit
Dunster by Candlelight, Somerset – 1-2 December
High on a hill in north-east Exmoor, medieval Dunster Castle glows above lantern-lit houses, music-filled streets and bustling gift shops. It’s a magical scene best enjoyed after a winter walk. dunsterbycandlelight.co.uk
Christmas Eve Torchlight Procession, Goring-on-Thames, Oxfordshire – 24 December
Every year, the village of Goring-on-Thames hosts the Christmas Eve Torchlight Procession, a long-established annual event, attracting winter-loving visitors from miles around. Light a torch and join the parade at Streatley or Goring, meeting at a large bonfire for an evening of warm firelight and carols. goring-on-thames.co.uk/torchlight_procession
Feeling like burning off the indulgence of Christmas? Try this frosty walk from Goring to Pangbourne.
Blenheim Palace illuminated winter wonderland - 24 November 2017 -1 January 2018
Take a stroll along the Christmas Trail in the stunning gardens of Blenheim Palace. The trail has been transformed into an illuminated festive wonderland. Gather the family to explore the trail, hear stories and festive yarns, all set in the backdrop of this magnificent location. www.blenheimpalace.com/christmas
Kew at Christmas - 22 November to 1 January
There’s magic in the air at Kew this winter. From the end of November to the beginning of January, London’s Royal Botanic Gardens invite guests to an enchanting evening of lights, food and vintage fairground rides. Walk the one-mile sparkling trail – illuminated by more than a million lights – past kaleidoscopic projections, giant baubles and singing trees, before joining Santa and his elves at the North Pole village. www.kew.org
lluminated Boat Festival at Foxton Locks - 16 & 17 December 2017
Illuminated boats, festively lit historic locks, a fountain and music create a magical atmosphere reflected by the waters of the Grand Union Canal. The Canal & River Trust’s Foxton Illuminated Boat Festival at Foxton Locks, Leicestershire, takes place on Saturday 16 and Sunday 17 December, 2pm-7pm. This Christmas they’ll be a parade of boats, miles of twinkling fairy lights, carol singing, jazz & blues, rock and festive music from across the world. They’ll also be Christmas stalls and a selection of food and refreshments. For further information, a full programme of entertainment and to book tickets visit www.canalrivertrust.org.uk
Christmas Carol Concerts & live music
Hacienda Club Classics Under the Stars - 2 & 3 December 2017
Lock 91 on the Rochdale Canal, in the heart of Manchester, will be opened for one night only to celebrate the city’s musical heritage, by playing a set of Hacienda club classics. Visitors can dance the evening away under the star lit sky and sway their glow sticks to music by local DJ ‘Just Jane’ all 14ft down inside a drained lock chamber. Throughout the weekend visitors will be able to walk in the drained lock chambers and canal, look around a pop-up museum, visit the ‘virtual hubs’ and an exhibition of historic images. And to carry on the weekend’s music theme, visitors on Saturday will be entertained by a local choir singing Christmas carols in the lock. www.canalrivertrust.org.uk/openday
Peak Cavern Carols, Castleton – 9-25 December
The good folk of fortress-crowned Castleton, at the head of the Peak District’s Hope Valley, like to celebrate the Christmas period underground. And with an abundance of show caverns honeycombing the limestone in and around the village, there’s plenty of opportunity to do just that. Step into the darkness of Peak Cavern this December for mince pies, wine and music. peakcavern.co.uk/christmas-carol-concerts
Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols, King’s College Chapel, Cambridge – 24 December
Perhaps the most famous carol concert of them all – broadcast around the world on BBC Radio 4 – is the Christmas Eve Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols from King’s College Chapel, Cambridge. About 600 members of the public can attend the event, but beware, you’ll need to get there early – the queue to get in starts to form a day or so before the service. kings.cam.ac.uk/events/chapel-services
Christmas Concert National Waterways Museum - 9 December
Join the Wirral Singers and Ringers as they take us through some classic carols and favourite Christmas songs. This annual event takes place at the National Waterways Museum at Ellesmere Port on Saturday 9th December 2017, 9-10pm. To book or for further information visit www.canalrivertrust.org.uk/nwm
Carols by Candlelight, National Memorial Arboretum, Staffordshire – 16 December
Heroes’ Square in the National Memorial Arboretum is illuminated by hundreds of candles and thousands of tree lights for the annual Christmas carol concert. This traditional carol service, suitable for all ages, features a variety of festive music, with carol books, candles and refreshments provided. thenma.org.uk/carols-by-candlelight
Carols by Candlelight, Fountains Abbey, North Yorkshire – 10 December
The flickering glow of 1,000 candles lights up the vaulted arches of Fountain Abbey’s celebrated cellarium during the annual carol concert, held this year on Sunday 10 December. Pick up a candle and a mulled wine or hot chocolate on
your way in before enjoying a sing-a-long to all your favourite carols.
Festive winter walks
Ramblers Festival of winter walks: 23 December 2017 - 07 January 2018
Take part in fun festive-themed walks suitable for ages and abilities with the Ramblers over the Christmas break.
Walks take place across England, Scotland and Wales, from cities to the coast and from parkland to country fields. All our walks are led by experienced volunteers.
BBC Countryfile Magazine's top Boxing Day walks
There's nothing better than a long winter walk after a day of Christmas indulgence – from the mountains of northern Scotland to the canals of southern England, here are some of our favourite Boxing Day walks: countryfile.com/boxing-day-walks
Main image ©Getty
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