What's On in December for Families

25 November 2021

What’s On in December for Families (2021)

For what’s on Christmas 2022, see our blog here!

Sometimes you can’t see the wood for the trees with all the Christmas events taking place. This December we have a lot of time to make up for as last year we were in restrictions. So, grab your diary, and start planning some marvellous get together’s with friends and family spending your time well with loved ones. You’ve weekends to fill and school holiday activities to organise. Here’s our best of the best!

Available to do anytime

Christmas Quest: Elf Rescue, City Escape Games

Compete against your friends and family on the streets of Norwich! Santa needs you and your team of Christmas questors to solve the puzzles and free the elves trapped by the devious Jack Frost! Christmas Quest: Elf Rescue is a wonderful, winter outdoor activity for families with children of 7 years old and up. Downloaded to your phone, this treasure trail of puzzles takes you on a tour of 10 iconic Norwich locations. Perfect for your Christmas trips into Norwich City Centre. From 6 November – 9 January, £9.99.

View of Norwich Cathedral in winter

Journey across Norwich visiting some of its iconic spots with Christmas Quest: Elf Rescue

Christmas Crown Trail, citywide

In celebration of King Henry I’s visit to Norwich 900 years ago, we’re taking a journey of discovery across Norwich. Take our Christmas Crown Trail (16 November – 5 January, free) where over 80 shops, restaurants, hotels, and iconic historical buildings have all hidden crowns in their windows and stores for you to find. Pick up a trail map from our City Hosts or visit our Journey Through Christmastime pop-up stall at Norwich Market (stalls 138 & 139, until 17 December).

Chocolate crowns as part of the Christmas Crown Trail

Will you be able to spot all the crowns across Norwich, big and small?

School Holidays

Christmas at the Castle: The Story of the King

This Christmas, celebrate the historic visit of Henry I to Norwich Castle with The Story of the King. Enjoy a dramatic performance by the ‘King and Queen’, follow the royal trail of treasures around the museum and explore the noble ‘play-table’. Free with admission to the Castle, adults £6.70, children £6.20. 20 – 23 December, 27 – 30 December.

Festive Fair at Carrow Road

For a festive day out head to Carrow Road. A range of attractions and entertainment will be provided across the three-day extravaganza. Live music, hot food and drink vendors, Father Christmas, and the only ice-rink in Norwich. 20 – 22 December, £10 adults, £5 for ages 13-17, under 5s free. (Ice-rink sessions at an additional cost).

Christmas Vintage Bus Ride, Castle Meadow

Take a break from shopping to enjoy the lights and sights of Norwich on this ever-popular tour. The vintage London Routemaster bus is back spreading festive cheer and collecting donations for charity at the same time. Hop on board! The tour includes five stops and runs. 20 – 24 December, free (donations welcome).

At other times

Journey Through Christmastime Pop-up

Pay a nostalgic visit to Norwich Market where you’ll find a unique Journey Through Christmastime pop-up installation – perhaps the smallest exhibition in Norwich! Discover stories of Christmases past in Norwich with photos from museums, businesses and the people of Norwich on display. Festive lights, Christmas trees and baubles make this a mini-immersive experience that’s sure to get you in the festive mood. Stalls 138 & 139 until 17 December, free.

Journey Through Christmastime pop-up at Norwich Market

Journey Through Christmastime pop-up at Norwich Market

Norwich Market’s Christmas Grotto and face painting

Santa’s Grotto will be open on Saturday 4 and 18 December from 11am to 3pm, while Saturday 11 December will be getting everyone into the festive spirit with some Christmas face painting, also from 11am to 3pm. Bookings are completely free, and all include a complimentary gift. It is asked that visitors limit bookings to one per child, so as much Christmas cheer can be spread as possible. Visits are by appointment only.

Christmas Tree Festival, St Peter Mancroft

Enjoy a truly festive scene at St Peter Mancroft with the Christmas Tree Festival, organised by the Rotary Club of Norwich St Edmund. Businesses from across the city have sponsored trees to help raise funds for charitable purposes. 1 – 8 December, free entry although donations welcome.

Christmas Tree Festival at St Peter Mancroft

Christmas Tree Festival at St Peter Mancroft

Countdown to Christmas, citywide

Enjoy fantastic free street entertainment across Norwich from choirs and dance groups to jolly characters including Santa Claus himself, there will be something to help everyone step into Christmas in Norwich this year. 28 Nov, 5, 12, 19 December from Norwich City Council.

The Tunnel of Light

The ever-popular Tunnel of Light (in association with Phoenix Events) makes a welcome return, with over 57,000 LED lights! It has lit up the streets of Norwich for several years – with more gorgeous patterns to enjoy this year than ever before. Until 5 January.

The King’s Christmas’ Projection on Norwich Castle

In 1121 one of the most powerful medieval kings, Henry I, used Norwich Castle as the venue for his Christmas court. This Christmas, 900 years later, Norwich Castle will be adorned by beautiful 70ft projections telling the story of the royal Christmas visit, one of the few recorded visits to Norwich by an Anglo-Norman king. Running until 5 January.

'The King's Christmas' projection on Norwich Castle

‘The King’s Christmas’ projection on Norwich Castle

Performance & Theatre

My First Panto: Cinderella Rocks, The Garage

This telling of Cinderella is the perfect introduction to theatre with singing, dancing and comedy, aimed at ages 7 and below. Socially distanced, relaxed and BSL performances also available. 26 November – 16 January, £13.50 adults, £8.50 children.

Dick Whittington and his Cat, Norwich Theatre Royal

Don’t miss this year’s panto with a host of TV stars, a lockdown Youtube sensation, a former wife of Henry VIII and the UK’s youngest one-man-band musician, joining Norwich’s favourite pantomime dame for this year’s much anticipated production, Dick Whittington and his Cat. 11 December – 9 January. Tickets from £18.50.

Pinocchio, Norwich Puppet Theatre

Enjoy puppetry, live music, and object theatre in this brand-new, highly visual, family show created by Norwich Puppet Theatre. Join Pinocchio on a fast-paced adventure of self-discovery, as they try, fail, and try again to find their heart and become a real person.  17 December – 4 January. Tickets £9.

Jack Frost, Norwich Theatre Stage Two

A story about embracing and celebrating difference to warm hearts this winter, this magical, wintery production brings Jack Frost to life through puppetry, music, and enchanting storytelling. 18 – 23 December. Tickets from £10.

Jack Frost at Norwich Theatre Royal Stage Two

Jack Frost at Norwich Theatre Royal Stage Two

A short drive away …

Fancy a day trip from Norwich? You’ll be wowed with what’s on offer across Norfolk, remember to book ahead!

The Christmas Shed from The Goat Shed at Fielding Cottage

The Goat Shed is proud to announce its latest addition – The Christmas Shed. All the magic of a German Christmas market, right on your doorstep in Honingham, just 10-minute drive from Norwich. The original farm shop has been transformed into a unique festive shopping space, packed with gifts and goodies for all the family. And in the build-up to Christmas there will be  product tastings, carol singers and bell ringers, a Letters to Santa service for the little ones, Christmas wreath workshops, plus mulled wine as the weather gets colder. Open now and throughout the Christmas period into the New Year.

Thursford’s Enchanted Journey of Light 2021

Take a trip to Thursford’s Enchanted Journey of Light! Throughout your journey you’ll meet lots of fantasy land characters and discover enchanting light displays. With an outside bar, food, and vintage funfair (funfair rides not included in the price), you’re sure to have a magical day out. 19 November – 23 December, £18 per person.

Thursford's Enchanted Journey of Light

Thursford’s Enchanted Journey of Light 2020

Dippy’s Christmas Celebration, Roarr! Dinosaur Adventure

Enjoy a Christmas celebration with Jingle All The Day when the park is open or visit at night for a magic evening at the Sparkle In The Dark event. Get your magic passport from the elves, a candy cane, hot chocolate, and the golden ticket to exchange for a gift in Father Christmas’ toy shop. 26 November – 23 December, tickets from £15.

Holkham Hall, North Norfolk

The magic of Christmas can certainly be felt at Holkham Hall this winter. From candlelight tours of the house (from 1 – 29 December, £28) to a canine carol service (12 December, free) – there’s plenty of activities to enjoy. Don’t miss out on the Christmas market (18 – 19 December, £2) with fantastic food, drink and goods from local suppliers. Plus, they have a Christmas tree shop (daily from 25 November) – so you can leave with a locally-grown tree as well as cherished memories from your visit!

Holkham Christmas Market

Holkham Christmas Market

Festive Express, Bure Valley Railway

Enjoy a 1-hour experience from Aylsham Station including festive treats, a 30-minute steam train ride and a visit to see Santa in his grotto aboard the Festive Express steam train. Each child will receive a personalised present from Santa himself. 4 – 24 December, £15.

Santa Explorer, Pensthorpe Natural Park

Hop on board the Santa Explorer and journey through the enchanted forest on a quest to find Santa this December. See how the parkland has transformed in the glow of thousands of twinkling Christmas lights. Once you’ve found Santa, snuggle up in the viewing gallery with a hot chocolate (or glass of mulled wine for the adults!) and nibble on a tasty treat while watching Santa give a very special bird feed talk with the warden. After the talk, make your way into Santa’s Grotto where your child will receive an early Christmas present. Various dates in December, £9.95 adults, £14.95 children.