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Your festive guide to Christmas events in the South East!

Written by Lewis Everrett

Head to the South East for some Christmas fun,
With so many events, this festive season has just begun!
Get ready for endless entertainment and dazzling lights,
There is so much to do from festive days to wintry nights.

The most magical Christmas events in the South East

Whether you’re visiting the South East for Christmas, or simply looking for the best festive events happening there, we’ve got you covered! From dazzling displays to magical festivals, this list covers everything a family could wish for. Let’s get in the festive spirit and start counting them down!

1. Santa Experience at Spinnaker Tower, Portsmouth

Availability for weekends through December

Image Credit: Spinnaker Tower

Santa returns to Spinnaker Tower this Christmas to join his mischievous elves for some fun and games! If your little ones are on their best behaviour, they might just win themselves a special gift… enjoy delicious breakfast pastries in the Spinnaker Kitchen before ascending to tremendous heights!

2. LEGOLAND® Windsor at Christmas, Windsor

26th November – 3rd January

The magic has only just begun at LEGOLAND® Windsor! Get ready for an enchanting day out like no other filled with NEW Christmas shows, a NEW magical sleigh, and LEGO® builds to continue the fun at home. Marvel at the giant DUPLO® Christmas tree and send some snap-tastic selfies to your friends and family!

3. Chessington World of Adventures Resort, Chessington

Activities from 25th November – 3rd January

Chessington World of Adventures Resort is planning something special for this festive season and you’re invited! Make your family’s wishes come true with Father Christmas Sleepovers. Meet Santa Claus in his grotto before Britain’s Wildest Sleepover. You’ll get access to the Winters Tail event with endless family-friendly fun and discovering over 1000 animals in the gorgeous zoo!

4. Christmas at the Brighton i360, Brighton

3rd & 10th December

Image Credit: Visit South East England

Meet Santa Claus at his ordinary sky height! Escape to the skies with both the Santa in the Sky experience and the Breakfast & Santa experience. Each experience is guaranteed to leave your little ones feeling extra festive! You’ll get to meet Santa himself and his little helpers at 450 feet above Brighton!

5. Festive season at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard

Activities from 23rd November – 30th December

This winter, experience a festive experience among 500 years of maritime history at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard! Family-friendly festive activities are plentiful, plus if you and your little ones fancy a break, there will be cosy on-site cafes for delicious treats and a warm hot chocolate!

6. Christmas at Howletts Aspinall Wild Animal Park, Canterbury

17th – 23rd December

Image Credit: Howletts Wild Animal Park

Meet Santa and his elves at Howletts Wild Animal Park this festive season! Your little ones can enjoy a sprinkle of magic as Father Christmas takes time out of his busy schedule to this beautiful animal park. Get ready for an enchanting grotto filled with gifts and Christmas joy!

7. Christmas at Kent Life, Maidstone

26th November – 24th December

Image Credit: Kent Life

Prepare for a true Christmas experience filled with family fun and festive treats at Kent Life! Your family will get to meet Santa Claus himself at his magical grotto… if your little ones are good they can even choose a gift of their liking from the well-stocked toy shop! Snuggle up in front of some Christmas films, build your own teddy bear, or try your hand at decorating some gingerbread!

8. Christmas at Birdworld, Surrey

19th – 23rd December

Image Credit: Hampshire’s Top Attractions

Visit Birdworld this Christmas for a magical winter wonderland filled with family-friendly fun and excellent activities for little ones! You’ll get to meet Santa himself, his very special reindeer, and of course his mischievous little helpers. Everyone that enters his festive grotto gets a special present and a delicious mince pie!

9. Christmas Lights at Leeds Castle, Maidstone

25th November – 1st January

Image Credit: Visit South East England

This brand-new festive trail is guaranteed to leave your family in awe! Watch as Leeds castle transforms its gorgeous landscape into a magical wonderland of beautiful illuminations and dazzling lights. Seasonal soundtracks and over 1 million lasers will fill the air with endless festive fun!

10. Poole Christmas Maritime Light Festival, Poole

19th November – 2nd January

Image Credit: Visit South East England

Visit a whole new world of Christmas this year at the Maritime Light Festival in Poole. This brand-new attraction is completely free to attend and features dazzling displays of festivity! There is so much to see here including a 5-meter tall light installation of a ship!

11. Glow Marwell at Marwell Zoo, Winchester

18th November – 30th December

Image Credit: Visit South East England

Marwell Zoo are hosting a one-of-a-kind light extravaganza and your whole family is invited! This after-dark special features an illuminated zoo with magnificent creatures and a winter light trail event that promises an uplifting evening of festive delights!

12. Enchanted Walmer at Walmer Castle, Kent

2nd December – 30th December

Image Credit: Visit South East England

Experience a historic masterpiece this Christmas at Walmer Castle. Turn these dark winter nights into a haven of light and festivity filled with fun family activities! Explore the grounds and gardens to discover a magical world of illumination, sound, and colour.

13. SteamLights, East Sussex

10th November – 8th January

Fancy something a little different this Christmas? Head to East Sussex and experience a magical steam train covered by thousands of colourful lights and displays! This is an excellent activity for any family looking to brighten up their festive season.

14. Christmas at Waddesdon, Aylesbury

12th November – 2nd January

Image Credit: Visit South East England

Soak up the sights. smells, and sounds of Christmas as you enjoy this spectacular light trail at Waddesdon! Watch as this wonderland comes to life with twinkling trees, festive displays and a delicious Food Village.

15. Windsor Great Park Illuminated, Egham

17th November – 2nd January

Image Credit: Visit South East England

Treat the family to a gorgeous wonderland of illumination and light at Windsor Great Park. Follow a magical path through the beautiful woodland filled with festive spirit and excellent food!

16. Christmas Tree Wonderland, Bournemouth

18th November – 2nd January

Image Credit: Visit South East England

Have you ever seen a Christmas Tree Wonderland? Coming to Bournemouth this festive season is a magical display of over 100 sparkling trees! This family-orientated experience is guaranteed to leave you feeling filled with the Christmas spirit.

17. Christmas at Bedgebury, St Austell

18th November – 2nd January

Image Credit: Visit South East England

The magnificent light trail at Bedgebury returns and it’s perfect for any festive family! Wander through the beautiful woodland covered in dazzling displays and thousands of lights… plus, if you make your way to the fire garden, you can watch your little ones marvel at the flickering flames!

18. Glow Wild, Wakehurst

24th November – 1st January

Image Credit: Visit South East England

The enchanting lantern trail in Wakehurst is back, and it did not disappoint! As darkness falls, get ready for a marvelous display of hand-crafted lanterns and captivating light installations. Explore how we see colour and the underlooked role it plays in our day-to-day lives!

19. The Great Christmas Carnival, Newbury

27th November – 18th December

Image Credit: Newbury Today

Celebrate the festive season in stunning carnival style this Christmas! Have you ever wanted to visit the largest Christmas event in the south? That’s exactly what’s on offer at The Great Christmas Carnival. There’s so much going on including an ice rink, Santa’s Grotto, Circus in the Big Top, The Greatest Hits Big Wheel, over 20 rides and games for all ages, Christmas markets, and plenty of food and drink.

20. Santa Specials at Bluebell Railway, Sussex

26th November – 16 December

Image Credit: Golden Lion Children’s Trust

The Santa Special experiences at Bluebell railway truly are one-of-a-kind. With mine pies, chocolate coins, Santa himself, and a variety of festive entertainment on board, you’re guaranteed an unforgettable Christmas journey!

What have you been up to? We’d really love to know! Someone else might love it, and really want to go! If you’ve got ideas, suggestions or reviews, you can shout all about it on whatever channel you choose!
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