The best things to do this Christmas

Tis the season to be jolly, merry and all the Christmassy things

Glow Wild at Wakeurst

by Marianna Manson and Jessica Whitham |

Keep the kids and the whole family entertained (including yourself, of course) this Christmas and New Year with the plethora of seasonal activities that descend on the UK capital and beyond.

While the big day keeps kids amused, there’s the rest of the holidays to get through. We’ve rounded up some of the best things to do with the family, for free or with some much deserved "me" time.

Check out: the best things to do this festive period in the UK


25 fun things to do at Christmas CLOSER - stacked

fun cheap free things to do christmas
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CREDIT: Shutterstock

Why not have a night in and make your little ones a Christmas Eve box? It'll definitely get them excited for Christmas day too.

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CREDIT: Shutterstock

Have a Christmas movie marathon. From 90s fabulous The Santa Clause to the Muppet's A Christmas Carol – introduce your kids to the best festive films.

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CREDIT: Stephen Frak

Winter Wonderland is back this year with new Magical Ice Kingdom and Bar Ice experiences, the UK's largest outdoor ice rink, new Zippos Christmas Circus and Cirque Berserk shows and of course, the giant observation wheel is returning.When?You can visit Winter Wonderland from Friday 19 November until Monday 3 January between 10am and 10pm.Where?Hyde ParkHow much?Off-peak tickets are free but during peak hours they'll cost between £5 and £7.50. You can buy tickets on their website.

Natural History Museum's Ice Rink
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This is the last year you'll be able to ice skate at London's Natural History Museum so make sure you head down this Christmas. The South Kensington trees are full of fairy lights, there's a 30ft Christmas tree and a Cafe Bar with a tasty array of hot food. When?From Sunday 22 October until Sunday 16 January 2022.Where?London's Natural History MuseumHow much?From £8 for children (aged 12 and under) and £11.50 for adults.

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CREDIT: Richard Haughton RBG Kew

Visiting Kew Gardens at Christmas is an absolute must with their immersive light trail - you'll be amazed. From 4pm expect food, festivities and fairground rides. When? Until Sunday 9 January 2022.Where?Kew Gardens.How much?Adults £21.50 off peak and £26.50 during peak time. Children (aged four to 15) cost £16.50 and kids under four are free. Family tickets (two adults and two children aged four to 15) cost £76.

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CREDIT: Warner Bros. Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter.

If you're a Harry Potter fan then Harry Potter World is definitely one to visit especially during Christmas time. The Warner Bros. Studio tour undergoes a magical makeover for Hogwarts in the Snow so you'll get to see their iconic set decorated for festive scenes. When?Hogwarts in the Snow runs from now until Sunday 16 January.Where?Studio Tour Drive, Watford, WD25 7LRHow much?Adults are £47, kids (aged five to 15) are £38 and children four and under are free.

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If your kids are a fan of Peppa Pig then they'll absolutely love Paultons Park, a family theme park that's the home of Peppa Pig World. During your time there, your little ones can visit Santa's Grotto, meet some magical characters including the Snow Princess and go on some brand new rides in Lost Kingdom, Critter Creek and Little Africa.When?From Saturday 4 December until Thursday 23 December.Where?New Forest in Hampshire.How much? Tickets cost £33.50 but if your child is under one metre then their ticket is free.

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If you're a fan of the famous green ogre then Shrek's Aventure! London is definitely one to visit this Christmas. You'll step into Far Far Away, journey through Shrek's swamp and all children get to meet Santa, get a photo with him and receive a candy treat from the elves.When?Every weekend from Saturday 4 December until Sunday 12 December. Then from Saturday 18 December until Friday 24 December - so kids can go on weekdays during the school holidays.Where?South Bank. The closest stations are Waterloo and Westminster.How much?Adult prices start from £24 and kids prices start from £19.

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CREDIT: Bath on Ice

Everyone loves a round of mini golf, but how about glow in the dark mini golf? When?It's on daily from 11:45am to 9:30pm until Monday 3 JanuaryWhere?Head to Royal Victoria Park in Bath for a round with a difference. How much?Adults £12.50, students/seniors £11.50 and kids £11.

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Check out one of London's most scenic Christmas markets this festive season. Christmas by the River host a series of free workshops from food and drink tastings to glittery arts and crafts and storytelling. You'll also be able to participate in a range of events to ensure you're fully prepared for the festive season. With the stunning views of Tower Bridge, The Tower of London and the City skyline it'll be difficult not to get into the festive spirit.When?Tuesday 16 November to Sunday 2 January.Where?Nearest train station London Bridge.How much?Prices vary.

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It's a Christmas tradition for many so why not sit down around the TV and watch the EastEnders Christmas Day 2021 episode. Here's hoping Gray Atkins will finally get exposed for chilling a few residents including his wife Chantelle Atkins.

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Rainy afternoon? No problem. Download a free Christmas activity pack full of puzzles and mazes – it'll keep kids amused for an afternoon.

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Who doesn't love a spot of colouring in? Download a series of Christmas themed colouring pages and print them out for an afternoon's peace and quiet. Offer a prize for the best colouring.

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Get crafty. From making penguins out of egg boxes to toilet roll snowmen. Start saving bits now and have a day that would make Blue Peter proud. For free crafty ideas head to Net Mums.

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Amuse older kids with a competition to see who can bake the most delicious Christmas biscuits or cake. Give them bottles of food colouring and edible decorations and let their imagination run wild.

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CREDIT: Disney on Ice

Disney on Ice is back across the UK and kids (and adults) can see their favourite characters whizzing around the ice. At Christmas it's even more special than usual too. When?Aberdeen at P&J Live - from Friday 26 until Sunday 28 November. Belfast SSE Arena - from Thursday 2 until Sunday 5 December.Newcastle Utilita Arena - from Wednesday 8 until Sunday 12 December.Sheffield Utilita Arena - from Thursday 16 until Sunday 19 Decmeber.London The O2 - from Wednesday 22 December until Sunday 2 January.Where?Aberdeen, Belfast, Newcastle, Sheffield and London.How much?Tickets start from £26.

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CREDIT: Shutterstock

Okay so shopping during Christmas isn't the best thing in the world and things can definitely get hectic but you'll definitely bag a bargain in the Boxing Day sales and in the dead space between Christmas and New Year when you've got nothing else to do except digest food.

Backyard Cinema Walthamstow
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CREDIT: We Are Full Fat

Backyard Cinema has grown from a non-profit venture in someone's back yard (natch) into a bona fide London staple, and this year it's in Troxy in East London. As is festive tradition, you can fall in love with old Christmas favourites like Home Alone, Love Actually and Elf.When? Various showings from Wednesday 1 December until Thursday 20 December.Where?490 Commercial Road, London, E1 0HXHow much?Tickets start from £15

Baker Street Quarter Christmas lights
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This quaint corner of London's Marylebone has a gorgeous Christmas light display that's befitting of the neighbourhood's history and culture. Follow the trail with the kids to learn about prominent figures who lived in the area and take in the twinkly, Christmassy vibes. When?Up until Monday 3 January Where?London's Bakers Street and Marylebone.How much?It's free to explore.

Winterfest, Wembley
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CREDIT: Jordan Laboucane

This inaugural light festival in the increasingly trendy Wembley Park is free and a fun alternative to traditional Christmas markets. With light installations direct from Burning Man Festival in Nevada, the tallest LED Christmas tree in the world and the Wembley boxpark just a stone's throw away, this will make a great evening out for the whole family. When?Thursday 25 November until early next year.Where?Wembley Park, North West London.How much?It's free.

Glow Wild at Wakehurst
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CREDIT: Jim Holden

Love the idea of Christmas at Kew but can't make it to the capital? The Royal Botanical Gardens own another site, Wakehurst in Sussex, and the grounds are equally spectacular with ginormous light installations and the prettiest light show on the house itself. Awe-inspiring for the kids and the grown ups alike.When?Selected evenings from Thursday 25 November until Sunday 2 January. Where?Wakehurst.How much?Entry for adults is £14 and kids is £9.

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Christmas can be expensive enough without the added cost of entertaining little ones, so you'll notice plenty of the things on our list don't cost a penny.

Whether you want to stay home and get crafty, head out and about on a frosty Christmas walk or enjoy the hustle and bustle of a busy Christmas market, we know it's spending quality time with loved ones that's most important this festive season.


But for those of us who do want to splash the cash, you can't go far wrong with magical Disney on Ice, Winter Wonderland or Christmas at Kew Gardens.

Not feeling festive just yet?

Then this selection of FABULOUSLY festive beauty advent calendars are sure to keep you looking beautiful all the way up until December 25th.

Take the stress out of present shopping and inject some individuality by making your own with the kids (and if your skills don't stretch quite that far, you can always just give home-made greetings cards instead).

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