Christmas events

Hold tight – we’re working hard behind the scenes to update this for 2018!

There are so many lovely things going on locally around Christmas time, that we thought we’d put them in one handy guide to Christmas events. From enchanted woodland walks to husky sleigh rides, it’s all here… and of course the big man himself!

We’ve also pulled together a selection of events that are going on further afield. It’s a slightly random selection, but based on recommendations from other local mums and dads – so if you know of a little gem outside the area, then please do let us know about it and we can add it in.

Details of all the Richmond Borough events can also be found in our What’s On guide, including opening times. For the Christmas lights switch-on events please see our separate guide to Christmas Fairs, Lights & Markets.


Richmond Borough, Chiswick, Isleworth & Brentford:


Magical Lantern Festival at Chiswick House & Gardens

Magical Lantern Festival 2017 square24th November – 1st January: Festival will illuminate the gardens turning it into a spectacular fusion of dual culture, vibrant colours and artistic sculptures! Prepare to enter a magical experience and discover life-sized and large-than-life lanterns in all shapes and forms, from ‘Santa and his Reindeers’ to a magnificent giant lantern recreation of an ‘Ancient city from the Song Dynasty’. The festival will not only wow visitors with its beautiful hand-sculpted lanterns, the entertainment area adds another dimension to this wonderful night out with a food and drink area, bar, Santa’s Grotto, handful of fairground rides for children and merhandise marquee where visitors can buy a souvenir of their experience to take home. Booking essential.

Father Christmas Has Moved In! At Ham House

Ham House Christmas16th – 23rd December: Father Christmas has made himself at home this Christmas. Come and visit Father Christmas in his new home, he’s got a pile of presents with your name on! Each child that visits Father Christmas will get a little present. £5.00 per child.

Christmas Family Activities at Hampton Court Palace

hampton court palace christmas2nd – 17th December: Join the Palace for some family festive fun in December and learn how Christmas would have been celebrated in the past! All activities are included with palace admission (drop-in activities) – enjoy Tudor style wreath making, Tudor treasure boxes, storytelling sessions about Georgian drinking chocolate, and candle decorating. Included in palace admission.

Christmas At Kew Gardens

kew gardens christmas22nd November – 1st January: As twilight falls, the magic begins… Follow the sparkling trail of over one million twinkling lights, illuminating heritage trees and buildings through the Gardens. Fairy-tale meets fantasy in a world of singing trees, larger-than-life flora, ribbons of light, giant baubles, and a flickering Fire Garden. The Palm House leaps into life with a dazzling show of laser beams, jets of light and kaleidoscopic projections. Little ones can catch a glimpse of Santa and his elves at the North Pole village and enjoy a vintage fairground ride. Not so little ones can warm up with some mulled wine or hot chocolate and toast marshmallows around the fire. Booking essential 

Winter At The Waterworks at the London Museum of Water & Steam

2nd/3rd December: Celebrate Christmas with the Museum 1940s style. Travel back in time to a world of rationing, air raids, the Home Guard and making do and mend. Follow the wartime family trail, make some paper chains, try sending messages by morse code and climb to the top of the Tower to see the same view used by wartime fire watchers. 23rd/24th December: Steam into Christmas. Families can ride the railway, enjoy some Christmas crafts and let off some pre-Christmas steam. The Museum’s pumping engines will be in action, with a special focus on their oldest Cornish engine – the Boulton and Watt. 29th December – 1st January: Grand New Year Steam Up. A fantastic festival of steam. The Museum will be running as many of their engines as possible, together with the Waterworks Railway. Their steam fire engine will also be on display. Normal entry fees apply. Plus kids go FREE & adults just £10 with Twick Mums!

Christmas Weekend & Twelve Days Of Christmas at the London Wetland Centre

wetlands centre christmas2nd/3rd December: WWT London Wetland Centre’s wonderful winter weekend! Children will be thrilled to hop aboard for a husky sleigh ride and visit Santa in his magical grotto. Father Christmas will be ready to welcome families in his cosy grotto among the trees (booking essential). You can also help Santa’s elves prepare for the Big Day in the Elves Workshop. Help them make festive decorations or small Christmas gifts to take home. Children can also take a donkey ride or try their hand at throwing a wellie! Free entry to all ages, the Stonz Wellie Throwing Competition can win prizes on the day. 2nd December – 2nd January: Twelve Days Of Wetland Christmas Trail. Explore the reserve to find twelve hidden stockings, count the number of animals in each stocking and add their name to the appropriate day of Christmas to complete the final verse of the song. Free with paid admission to the Centre.

Santa & Festive Family Fun at Orleans House Gallery

10th December: Santa returns for his annual visit to Orleans House Gallery. Join the festive fun, create Christmas activities, and get your gift from Santa in person. £9.00 per child. Booking essential.

Christmas at Osterley House

osterley house & gardens christmas2nd – 17th December: Christmas is coming, and the servants at Osterley are busy preparing for an unexpected visit by the Child family. The family usually spends Christmas at their London house, so this visit is very unexpected and there’s not a lot of time to get everything ready. See how the preparations are coming along in the house, and then stretch your legs in the formal gardens – it may be cold, but there’s still plenty to see. Take a walk around and see how many stars you can spot as part of the star hunt. Or warm up with a brisk walk down to the play trail, and enjoy the rope swings and den building area. This year Osterley is welcoming dogs into the gardens over the winter, so everyone can enjoy them. Why not take your bike and try out the new all-weather pathways around the estate, or test yourself in the skills areas. Father Christmas is taking time out of his busy December schedule to visit Osterley, so book your spot to visit him before he flies back to the North Pole.

Santa’s Grotto at Squires Garden Centre

18th November – 24th December: Meet Santa in his grotto. Tickets cost £5 per child with £1 from every ticket being donated to Twickenham’s charity of the year ‘The Richmond Carers Centre’.

Enchanted Woodland at Syon Park

syon park christmas10th – 26th November: Wrap up warm and discover Syon Park’s Enchanted Woodland, where an illuminated trail winds round the ornamental lake and through the historic arboretum of Syon House, ending at the spectacular Great Conservatory. A relaxed and informal event for all ages. Booking essential.


Further Afield:


Woodland Walk To Meet Father Christmas at Crockford Bridge Farm, Addlestone

25th November – 22nd December: The Woodland Walk to visit Father Christmas is an immersive theatrical experience – a walking performance lasting approx. 45 minutes, with timed entry. Booking essential.

Visit The Reindeer at Garsons Garden Centre & Farm, Esher

garsons christmas25th November – 24th December: Real reindeer at Garsons to delight animal lovers young and old. Animal lovers will have the opportunity to meet the reindeer every day until Christmas Eve, when they will go to help Santa with some very important deliveries.

Santa Specials at the Hampton Kempton Waterworks Railway

9th – 17th December: Unfortunately these are already sold out, but you might want to put a reminder in the diary for next year!

Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park

winter wonderland christmas17th November – 1st January: London’s spectacular Christmas destination, including an ice rink, magical ice kingdom, circus shows, the Sooty Christmas show, giant observation wheel, Santa Land (with children’s rides, games and eateries, as well as Santa himself), rides & attractions, and Christmas markets. Some attractions need booking.

Father Christmas In The Grotto at Painshill Park, Cobham

painshill park christmas2nd – 24th December: Jump into the festive spirit, and join Father Christmas in the magical Crystal Grotto at Painshill. An annual sell-out, children will have the opportunity to meet Father Christmas and his trusty elves, in the enchanted Crystal Grotto, where they can receive a gift from Father Christmas himself! Booking essential.

Family Christmas Experience at Tulleys Farm, Crawley

tulleys farm christmas25th November – 24th December: Take your family to enjoy a magical and unique Christmas experience for all ages, set within the beautiful woodland grounds of Tulleys Farm. Climb aboard Santa’s Sleigh Ride and journey through the forest to visit Santa in his log cabin where he will delight you with a story and reward you with a gift star! Booking essential.

Santa Specials at the Watercress Line, Alresford or Alton

watercress line christmas2nd – 24th December: See Santa on a magical steam train ride. As you travel in a festive traditional train carriage, Santa and his jolly helpers visit you in your seat with a special gift. There is white wine and mince pies for the grown-ups and soft drinks and a gingerbread man for the children, each child will also receive an activity pack. Don’t forget to bring your very best singing voice to join in with your favourite Christmas songs too! Booking essential.


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