London - What’s the attraction?
This year there’s a festive feast of Christmas markets, open-air ice rinks and yuletide events. At Hyde Park’s Winter Wonderland, 20 sculptors have created a Magical Ice Kingdom from more than 200 tons of ice and snow (until January 6; hydeparkwinter wonderland.com)
Rocking Around the Christmas Trees
At Thetford Forest in Suffolk, the Electric Forest is a night-time adventure taking visitors on a journey through the darkness, emerging from the trees to discover illuminated landscapes and visual art and sound installations.
There are cosy spots where you can eat, drink and soak up the atmosphere of the forest at night (December 13-16; 01665 833751; theelectricforest.co.uk).
Alnwick Garden is hosting the Northumberland Lights winter festival. Visitors wander the spectacularly illuminated Ornamental Garden – December 18-23 and 26-30; 01665 511350; www.alnwickgarden.com/festivaloffools
At Brockholes nature reserve in Lancashire, the Christmas Festival on December 22 and 23 includes a Christmas Trail around the reserve and the chance to make your own cards, decorations and wreaths with natural materials before meeting Father Christmas and his reindeer (01772 872 000; brockholes.org).
Get your skates on
Cornwall’s first open-air ice rink has opened in Truro (until January 6; 01872 262466; iceskatetruro.co.uk), while in Bath you can whirl around against the backdrop of the Georgian Royal Crescent (until January 6; 07583 258688; bathonice.com).
In Brighton, Jamie Oliver’s Fabulous Feasts is this year’s pop-up restaurant at the Royal Pavilion ice rink (until January 20; royalpavilionicerink.co.uk).
At Somerset House in London, the ice rink goes up-tempo with club nights with the Ministry of Sound and Ibiza Rocks making cool music for rockers until January 4; somersethouse.org.uk/ice-rink).
“At York’s Chocolate Story we’re inviting people to get into the spirit of over-indulgence with some special yuletide demonstrations. December visitors will be shown how to make eggnog, winter spice and plum pudding”, says Andrew Thwaite, who is the head chocolatier at York’s Chocolate Story (0845 498 9411; yorkschocolate-story.com). – The Independent