T'was the month before Christmas...

T’was the month before Christmas…

Originally published 2018

Pictured: Santa’s Magical Journey at Thursford

December is here, which means Christmas is around the corner.

All that stands in between then and now is some last minute shopping (unless, like me, you are yet to start), wrangling unwieldy shaped gifts, mulled wine on a school night, hoovering up needles, trips to Santa and testing the fairy lights to find out which bulb has gone.

But amidst ALL that, are some really lovely things to do in Norwich, either with the family, with a partner, with best friends or just by yourself. The city is alive with festive feeling at the moment, and this is our guide to making the most of it.

Norwich Puppet Theatre

Norwich Puppet Theatre run workshops which see your child bring to life some fantastic characters in puppet form. At Christmastime, expect to come home with your own miniature Father Christmas and cheeky little Rudolph! Materials are provided, and at the end of each session participants can take home their creations for performances at home.

24th December, 10.30am to 12pm – Tickets £9.50 per child

OPEN Norwich

There is a broad spectrum of things to do at OPEN over Christmas, taking you from day, to early evening, and the small hours of the morning.

On Saturday 7th December the 5th annual Norwich Vegan Christmas market is returning. Many stalls will showcase not only vegan foodie treats, but gifts too. Your Christmas shopping will be sorted!

On Wednesday 18th December, make the most of the Christmas ‘Shop & Drop’, where you can drop the kids off while you head into the city to do some shopping.  While you’re off battling the hordes, your children will be enjoying a disco, crafts, and all kinds of fun and games!

Visit OPEN’s website for a complete list of all their Christmas events (and more!).

Victorian Father Christmas at Strangers’ Hall

This Christmas, experience a story book experience like no other at the unique Strangers’ Hall Museum on Charing Cross in the city centre. One of the oldest buildings in Norwich, Strangers’ Hall began life as a merchant’s house in the 14th Century, and now it has been converted into a Doll’s House-esque museum that will journey you through different time periods.

This Christmas, the Hall has been decorated just for Christmas, with greenery, projections and installations. Telling the story of ‘T’was the Night Before Christmas’, the centrepiece is a visit to Victorian Father Christmas, with a gift for each child.

Saturday 30 November, 7, 14, 20, 21 December.

Father Christmas visit & museum admission child £10 or Father Christmas only £8, both include quality gift & photo. Adults usual museum entry cost £5.20.

Pre-booking advised, Norfolk-museums.arttickets.org.uk

Christmas at Strangers Hall

Photo: Strangers Hall at Christmas

Holkham Hall

Maybe one of the most beautiful places in Norfolk anyway, at Christmastime Holkham Hall is something truly special. It is decorated sumptuously for the festive season, and is wonderful to visit for a day out that’s the perfect mix of stately home wanderings and outdoor ambles. Join their candlelight tours to see the state rooms in all of their finery, or for children, join in their ‘natural Christmas’ workshops to make decorations out of material from the local area – berries, twigs, moss, pine cones and the like (these workshop run on the 8th and 9th of December so make sure you visit their website to book in advance). Beside all that, there’s a bracing winter walk to be had on Holkham’s dramatic beach.

Candlelight tours running from 1st December until 18th December – Tickets: Adult £25, Child (2-16 years inclusive but we recommend the tours are suitable for 10 years and over) £12.50. Complimentary parking.
Natural Christmas Workshops until 9th December – Tickets: £8.50 per child

Candlelit Tours at Holkham Hall

Photo: Candlelight Tours at Holkam Hall

Santa’s Magical Journey at Thursford

Thursford is about 25 miles from Norwich, and is a place like no other. Throughout the year, it is one of the most eminent collections of steam engines to be found in the UK (including some beautiful fairground rides from years gone by). At Christmas, the place transforms into a winter wonderland, and a very, very special experience for adults and children alike. Take a walk through the frozen landscape of the north pole, where you can see polar bears, penguins, and – of course – elves, before you make it to see the big man himself. This really is a wonderful day out, and something not to miss!

Pre-booking is essential. Click here to get tickets.

Christmas Family Concert with Norwich Philharmonic

The Phil’s Family Christmas Concert this year features the orchestra accompanying the choir and it promises to be another light-hearted evening of seasonal favourites and orchestral lollipops. Always a sell-out, tickets need to be booked soon! Held at the magnificent St Andrew’s Hall, David Dunnett will be your conductor for the evening.

To purchase tickets, click here.