Best Christmas Events South West 2023 – Meet Santa and More

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Last Updated on September 22, 2023 by Suzy

There are some magical events happening this festive period in the South West of England in 2023 and some are yet to be confirmed. I’ve put them into one big post so you can search for the best Christmas events near you in the South West – in Cornwall – Devon – Dorset – Gloucestershire – Somerset & Bristol – Wiltshire where you can meet Santa and more. Don’t forget to book in advance this winter so your festive cheer isn’t left feeling disappointed.

Please double-check the event descriptions on the attraction’s website as the below information could change. It is essential that you read their own information carefully, some venues require you to prebook. 

There’s nothing like attending an event before Christmas Day and enjoying the festive atmosphere. Plus many places have some amazing Christmas decorations, previous years have been a testament to that.

Best Christmas Events South West 2020 – Meet Santa and More

Table of Contents

Best Christmas Events Dorset 2023

Adventure Wonderland – Visit Santa’s Grotto – Dorset – Tickets on Sale

It’s never too early to be thinking about Christmas and the team at Adventure Wonderland has just launched their glittering plans for this year PLUS last year’s PRICES HELD until 1st October 2023. Meet Father Christmas in his snowy log cabin, received a great gift plus unlimited play in the Wild Thing indoor play centre. See Rudolph, meet the elves and get arty in our Christmas Craft cabin.

Then take your seats for our festive family pantomime, ’The Wizard of Oz!’ Follow the yellow brick road to The Theatre and join Dorothy on her adventures to the Emerald City – meeting some new friends along the way.

Address: Merritown Ln, Hurn, Christchurch BH23 6BA

When? Selected dates from 2nd-23rd December

How much? Adults are £6.50 and children are £25.

Corfe Castle – Christmas at Corfe – Dorset – Tickets on Sale

For Christmas 2023 we invite you to get into the festive spirit with a visit to Corfe Castle where you can discover winter traditions old and new. Join the Lord of Misrule on an interactive storytelling tour of the castle or help Monty Mouse on his hunt for a festive feast with our new family trail. Warm up around the fire pits, roast marshmallows or make a Christmas wish on our wishing bridge.

Address: The Square, Corfe Castle, Wareham BH20 5EZ

When? Selected dates in December

How much? Normal entry applies

Farmer Palmers – Father Christmas Magic – Dorset – Tickets on sale

Children can enjoy a farm-tastic day out at the Farm Park and experience the wonder and excitement of meeting ‘the man in red’ and all his festive friends in the Magical Christmas Barn, PLUS every child with a ‘Farmer Christmas Experience Ticket’ receives a great gift from the Elves at Ye Olde Toy Shoppe!

The farm park gets a full festive makeover and the team is transformed into extraordinary Elves!

Address: Wareham Rd, Organford, Poole, Organford, Poole BH16 6EU

When? Selected dates in December

How much? Tickets to visit the Magical Christmas Barn are sold in addition to normal admission, these are £17.50.

Kingston Lacy – Christmas at Kingston Lacy – Dorset – Tickets on Sale

Each room in the house is transformed with beautiful decorations to highlight a different magical story, bringing the world to our doorstep as we celebrate tales that have been told for centuries.

Families will find trees twinkling with lights, tables ready for glorious Christmas feasts, and a stunning installation by papercraft artist Yasemin Wigglesworth.

Santa is stopping at Kingston Lacy this festive season! Make memories, start traditions and come on a fantastical journey with his musical helpers to find his storybook nook, before settling in for a festive tale, an early Christmas gift and a chance to take a picture together with Santa!

Tickets are an additional £15 per child (0-12 years old) with one accompanying adult per child.

Address: Kingston Lacy, Wimborne BH21 4EA

When? Selected dates in December

How much? Most events are included, Santa is extra please see above.

Swanage Railway – Polar Express – Dorset – Tickets on Sale

The experience consists of approximately an hour-long return train journey leaving from the Swanage Railway Station, Railway Station Approach, Swanage, Dorset BH19 1HB. The train cannot be boarded at any other station. The nearest long-stay car park (Pay and Display) is on Victoria Avenue, BH19 1AP. We regret there is no parking available at the station.

On board, each train will be actors appearing as characters from the book and film THE POLAR EXPRESS™. There will be singing, dancing and interaction with our customers. All customers will receive a cup of hot chocolate and a cookie on the journey, and a special present on the return journey from the North Pole.

Address: Swanage BH19 1HB

When? Selected dates from 17th November – 30th December

How much? Prices Online

Best Christmas Events Somerset

Avon Valley Adventure Park – Christmas Experience – Somerset – Tickets on sale

This December visit Avon Valley for a full day of festive, family fun in a Christmas experience like no other in the South West. Celebrating one of the best times of the year, we pride ourselves in transporting you and your family to a place of Christmas wonder and magic.  There is so much to enjoy this year at Avon Valley in a specially curated day complete with a theatrical show and many themed activities and entertainment areas to enjoy.  Book your timed specific ‘Santa Show’ but enjoy the rest of the festive fun from 9.30 am.

Address: Pixash Ln, Bath Rd, Keynsham, Bristol BS31 1TP

When? Selected dates in December

How much? Christmas Experience up to £30 pp. Christmas nights up to £12.50 pp.

Avon Valley Railway – Santa Specials – Somerset – Tickets on Sale

Once onboard our festive trains the whistle will sound and you’ll depart on your fifty-minute train ride. Whilst you’re travelling, you’ll enjoy a mince pie or festive biscuit and Santa will pass through the train saying hello to everyone. Then, when you return to Bitton Station each family group will meet Santa again and all good boys and girls will receive a present from him too! There will also be the chance for your family group to take photographs and create those special festive memories.

This year, the present will be in the form of a bespoke Avon Valley Railway reindeer-themed plush toy. This will be offered to all children regardless of age (it’s suitable from birth). We’ve had some great feedback from our passengers over the last couple of years about our bespoke plush presents so Santa is really looking forward to sharing this year’s present with everyone.

Address: Bitton Station, 3 Bath Rd, Bristol BS30 6HD

When? Selected dates in November and December

How much? Tickets from £22 per person

Bishop’s Palace – Christmas Illuminations – Somerset – Tickets on Sale

Discover the beautifully lit inner gardens of The Bishop’s Palace, where a captivating display of festive lights and decorations awaits this December. The Illuminations are open from 3:30 p.m. until 7:30 p.m. on those dates, with the last entry at 7 p.m. Whilst you’re here, indulge in the festive menu served at The Bishop’s Table café – where a culinary treat awaits!

Address: The Bishop’s Palace, Wells BA5 2PD

When? 1st December (Member’s Only), 2nd, 3rd, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 14th, 15th, 16th, 17th, 18th, 19th, 20th, 21st December 2023.

How much? Adults are £16 and children are £8.

West Somerset Railway – Santa Express – Somerset – Tickets on sale

Make memories to treasure for a lifetime on our family favourite – the Santa Express. Step aboard our festively decorated heritage carriages, filled with Christmas cheer and excitement and take a wonderful journey through West Somerset’s winter woodlands.

Santa’s presents and refreshments will be waiting at your table and he’ll be along for the ride to ensure you have received them! A round trip to Williton means there will be plenty of time aboard to soak up the experience, get in the festive spirit or relax with some refreshments whilst enjoying the journey.

Address: Station Rd, Bishop’s Lydeard, Taunton TA4 3BX

When? Selected dates in December

How much? Tickets cost £25 pp.

Wookey Hole – Winter Wonderland – Somerset – Tickets on sale

You’re invited to get into the spirit of Christmas at Wookey Hole’s Winter Wonderland. Your adventure includes three incredible Christmas experiences wrapped up into one magical day out plus all the other activities at Wookey Hole.

You’ll start with a visit to the caves where over 100,000 lights magically illuminate the way. It’s a breathtaking Christmas light show. Best of all because it is always dark underground, even the littlest person can enjoy the twinkle, without being grouchy because it is past their bedtime.

Immerse yourself in Santa’s North Pole Grotto, where every child will get to meet Santa and take home a present from Santa’s Elves from the Toy Shop. Our traditional grotto will make kids smile, with the whimsical displays of animals and children enjoying wintry fun…and more

Address: Wookey Hole Ltd. Wookey Hole, Wells, Somerset BA5 1BB

When? Selected dates from 25th November – 24th December

How much? Adults are £22.45, children aged 3-15 £17.95, under 3s are £5 and other pricing options are available.

Best Christmas Events Devon 2023

Bicton Park Gardens – Father Christmas – Devon – Tickets on Sale

We have a host of Christmas activities for you and your family to enjoy over the festive break.

We have the traditional Santa in his lounge along with his little helpers to make a special visit to remember.

Address: Bicton, East Budleigh Salterton, Budleigh Salterton EX9 7BJ

When? Selected dates in December

How much? The cost per child is £19.95 inclusive of a personalised present selected by you.

Pennywell Farm – Christmas Experience – Devon – Tickets on Sale

Arrive at the magical North Pole where you will be greeted by our friendly Elves and checked-in! Collect your Christmas passport and get the stamps as you journey through our Christmas experience. 

It’s then time to journey back 2000 years, as the Christmas Nativity begins. Travel to Bethlehem to find an inn for the night. After finding a vacancy in our cosy main barn, experience a real manger with all the Pennywell animals looking on. The scene is set and the story of the first Christmas comes to life.

After the Nativity, head to Noah’s Barn for Christmas cheer with delicious mince pies and warming drinks for the adults and homemade Christmas biscuits and cold drinks for the children.

Enjoy a visit to the Elves Sweetshop with a bag of yummy sweets for every child.

Jump on the Tractor and trailer ride and see if you can spot the gingerbread men hiding along the way.

Next, you’ll experience Christmas close encounters with some of our amazing animals. Tickle, touch, and stroke our Pennywell Miniature piglets, and other furry friends. 

Save the best till last! Enter our sparkly enchanted forest where Father Christmas will be waiting in his grotto with a special gift for every child. The perfect way to end your Christmas visit! Group visits to Father Christmas will be limited to a maximum of 2 families at a time.

Address: Lower Dean, Buckfastleigh TQ11 0LT

When? Selected dates from 17th November – 24th December

How much? From £17.95-24.95 pp and toddlers are cheaper.

Powderham Castle – Christmas at the Castle – Devon – Tickets on sale

What can my ticket include? The Castle; Christmas State Rooms Experience. The Secret Garden; Petting Zoo. The Christmas Barn; Food, Bar and Games. The Grounds; Christmas Trail and Grounds Experience. Evening Light Walk (evening admission tickets only). The Exmouth Miniature Railway will also be running every day and evening!

Address: Powderham Estate, Exeter EX6 8JQ

When? 1st – 31st December

How much? There is a variety of pricing options, please visit their website.

South Devon Railway – Polar Express – Devon – Tickets on sale

The most iconic feature of The Polar Express is its sleek black steam engine. It’s even inscribed with the ‘1225’ signage to identify it as Santa’s own train. Your children will gasp with amazement as the Polar Express train pulls into the station. Billowing steam all the way, your authentic steam train ride will last around an hour.

Throughout your train ride you’ll be entertained, meeting the Conductor and his crew. All the while the train steams towards the North Pole. ! Here you’ll meet Santa and one of his friendly elves. He will climb on board the train to meet you all. The Conductor will even clip your Polar Express tickets just like in the film.

Address: Buckfastleigh station, TQ11 0DZ

When? Selected dates from 24th November until 23rd December

How much? Standard tickets from £33.95 per person. More expensive premium tickets are also on offer.

Best Christmas Events Cornwall 2023

Camel Creek – Christmas at Camel Creek – Cornwall – Tickets on sale soon

Info from last year – Santa’s Grotto – Free gift for every child. Christmas Tree Forest. Christmas light tunnel (One of the longest). Seasonal arts & crafts. Christmas family photo opportunities. Christmas Decorations – Delicious festive treats and more.

Address: Tredinnick, Wadebridge PL27 7RA

When? 1st – 23rd December

How much? TBC

Best Christmas Events South West 2020 – Meet Santa and More

Gardens of Heligan – Heligan Night Garden – Cornwall – Tickets on sale

Join us this winter at the Heligan Night Garden and become immersed in an enchanting lantern experience, set amidst the atmospheric Lost Gardens.

Journey through the magical garden trail, exploring woodlands and gardens beautifully lit with installations and lanterns. Discover breath-taking displays of fauna and flora as we celebrate the characters of our community, all illuminated within Heligan’s much-loved and iconic locations.  

The Lantern Company’s illuminated installations at Heligan holds up a nocturnal magnifying glass to the often-overlooked wonders and beauty of nature on our doorstep. From badgers to fungi, bees to butterflies, and a joyful family of cheeky Tamworth pigs, this illuminated seasonal trail creates a treasure-filled space for families and friends to discover these beautiful indigenous species.

Address: B3273, Pentewan, Saint Austell PL26 6EN

When? 17th November – 2nd January

How much? Adults £16.50, children £8.50 and other pricing options are available.

Newquay Zoo – Tea or Breakfast with Santa – Cornwall – Tickets on sale soon

More info coming soon

Newquay Zoo

Address: Trenance Gardens, Newquay TR7 2NL

When? TBC

How much? TBC

Best Christmas Events Gloucestershire 2023

Clearwell Caves – Christmas at Clearwell – Gloucestershire – Tickets on sale

Follow the adventures of Bernard, a young boy who finds a baby polar bear floating on an iceberg and decides to take it home.

Meet Father Christmas (children 2-12 receive a gift), then join Bernard in ‘the land where snow covers the ground for most of the year’! Halfway through there are Christmas stalls selling gifts and decorations, as well as our Underground Café selling hot drinks and delicious cakes, before the story resumes…

After Christmas tickets are also available to see our magical story only (without Father Christmas, the Christmas stalls or the Underground Café).

Address: The Rocks, Clearwell, Coleford GL16 8JR

When? Selected dates in December

How much? £18 pp.

Cotswold Farm Park – Christmas on the Farm – Gloucestershire – Tickets on Sale

Secure your daytime visit with Father Christmas in his grotto, offering full access to the Christmas Experience on the Farm Park.

Enjoy decorating gingerbread, bringing your own soft toy to life and choosing your own present from the elves’ workshop. 

You’ll also get Farm Park entry to meet the animals and make the most of our indoor and outdoor play, all included in one price.

Plus there is a light trail in the evening which is a separate event.

Address: Guiting Power, Cheltenham GL54 5FL

When? 24th – 26th November, 1st – 3rd, 8th – 10th, 15th – 17th and 20th – 23rd December

How much? The daytime experience costs £54.95 for 1 child and 1 adult. Other pricing options are available.

Dean Forest Railway – Santa Specials – Gloucestershire – Tickets on sale

Visit the Dean Forest Railway this Christmas for your chance to ride behind a real steam engine and meet Santa on board!

The train will depart from Norchard Station, heading first to Parkend Station, where there is a short stop while the engine runs round (toilet facilities available on the platform). The train will then depart Parkend and head non-stop through the forest to Lydney Junction Station. Santa will visit everyone at their seats during this time. At Lydney Junction you will then visit Santa’s Elves to collect your presents before returning back to Norchard Station to complete your 75-minute journey.

Address: Forest Road, Lydney GL15 4ET

When? Selected dates from 25th November to 24th December

How much? £19 per person. Under 2’s are free.

Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway – Santa Express – Gloucestershire – Tickets on Sale

Your journey to the ‘North Pole’ will begin from Cheltenham Racecourse Station, from where you will travel by steam train to the North Pole (Winchcombe Station).

Here you will be able to walk through a wonderland of lights, trees, and decorations and on to where Santa will be waiting to talk to all the children.

The whole family will be able to enjoy the usual refreshments including the railway’s famous and highly recommended mince pies; additionally, adults also have the option of a free glass of mulled wine. If you are still feeling peckish our griddle will be on the platform at Winchcombe selling baps filled with bacon, burgers or sausages.

There will also be the opportunity to buy takeaway beer and additional boxes of delicious mince pies to take back with you before re-joining the train for the trip back. Also, keep an eye out for the singing penguins!

Address: The Railway Station, Toddington GL54 5DT

When? 25th November – 23rd December

How much? £25 pp. Children under 12 months are free

Perrygrove Railway – Christmas Twilight Trains – Gloucestershire – Tickets on sale

They are offering 2 different Christmas experiences this winter. You can book Christmas Twilight trains. “Watch the musical arrival of the steam train at Perrygrove Station then take your pre-booked seats aboard the Twilight Express. Spot the illuminations along the line to Oakiron Station where you will watch the Perrygrove Christmas Panto, (from your compartment), featuring Father Christmas. Everyone receives a hot chocolate and children receive a token gift, (these are wooden tree decorations unique to Perrygrove).” Plus Down the Chimney Shows

Address: Perrygrove Rd, Coleford GL16 8QB

When? Selected dates in December

How much? Twilight trains – tickets from £36-72.

Best Christmas Events Gloucestershire 2020

Sudeley Castle – Spectacle of Light – Gloucestershire – Tickets on sale

Explore our magical after-dark experience now in its 8th Year and follow the New illuminated trail around our beautiful castle grounds. Enjoy the wonderful music as you discover each new secret of this romantic environment.

Discover the LightWave on the Mulberry Lawn, the flickering Fire Flowers of the Queen’s garden and the columns of light in front of the Castle. Gaze at the sparkling water features and the Harlequin trees. Light beams, lanterns and much much more.

Address: Sudeley Castle & Gardens Gloucestershire, Winchcombe GL54 5JD

When? Selected dates from November 24th to 30th December

How much? Tickets from £19.20 per adult and from £9.60 per child aged 3-15. Under 3s are free.

Westonbirt Arboretum – Enchanted Christmas – Gloucestershire – Tickets on sale

Welcome to Enchanted Christmas at Westonbirt Arboretum, where the magic of the festive season comes to life in spectacular illuminated fashion!

Prepare to be dazzled by an enthralling winter wonderland, filled with sparkling lights, festive sounds, and mesmerising installations – making for an unforgettable experience for all the family.

Westonbirt’s captivating landscape and stunningly lit trees create an enchanting world full of wonder and imagination – the perfect place to create cherished memories that will last a lifetime.

Address: Westonbirt, Tetbury GL8 8QS.

When? 24th Nov – 23rd Dec, open on selected evenings

How much? Adults £19-21, children aged 3-16 £12-14. Under 3’s are free but will require a ticket. Other pricing options are available. Advanced booking is essential.

Best Christmas Events Wiltshire 2023

Longleat – Festival of Light – Wiltshire – Tickets on Sale

This year Longleat’s Festival of Light is centred around ‘Treasured Tales’. Rediscover childhood stories as you make your own magical memories 

Breathtaking lantern displays will feature scenes from C.S Lewis’ The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe; Cinderella; Snow White; The Wizard of Oz; Winnie the Pooh and more. These stories have always been special and this winter Longleat is adding extra sparkle as they are brought to life with spectacular life-size lanterns.

Address: Warminster BA12 7NW

When? Selected dates from 11th November 2023 – 7th January 2024

How much? See the website for pricing

Roves Farm – Christmas Experience – Wiltshire – Tickets on Sale

Your tickets give you entry to Roves Farm for the whole day, 9 am-5 pm.  Please check the Activities Board on arrival for the full programme of all the day’s activities for you to enjoy.

We would suggest you need at least 4 hours to make the most of your day. Your visit to the Grotto will fall within the time slot you select at booking, and you will receive your exact time upon arrival.

Please arrive at the farm at least 30 minutes prior to the start of your time slot, as we will find it very difficult to accommodate late arrivals as we run on very tight timings!

Don’t miss the Elf Show at 12:30 pm!  Snowballs at the ready…

Address: Sevenhampton, Swindon SN6 7QG

When? Selected dates November & December

How much? Adults are £10.80 when accompanying one or more children entering Santa’s grotto. Includes entry to Roves Farm. Children aged 3-16 are £30-35 and other pricing options are available.

Stourhead – Christmas Lights – Wiltshire – Tickets on sale

A magical trail with new lights for 2023 – after-dark festive fun for all the family. Firmly positioned within the UK’s seasonal calendar, Christmas at Stourhead, Wiltshire has everything you need for an unforgettable time with friends and family, including a magical glimpse of Father Christmas along the way. Discover a sea of light stretching out into the distance, larger-than-life crystals suspended in trees and Liquid Sky filling the air with all the colours of the rainbow, just some of the new displays to see this year. 

Address: Stourton, Warminster, Wiltshire, BA12 6QF

When? Selected dates from 24th November – 31st December

How much? Standard adult tickets are £21.50 and children 3-16 £15.00. Off-peak tickets are more and off-peak tickets are cheaper.

Stourhead Christmas Lights

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