As the festive season twinkles into view, The Ink Pot invites you to explore a wonderland of exceptional Christmas 2023 events across the UK. We've curated a list of 10 must-visit experiences to see this December, all across the UK that are as unique and special as an Ink Pot personalised journaland some of our fancy pens!
So, if you’re keep to get out and about this month, why not grab a dependable gel pen, and jot down these dates in your favourite to do notebook, your diary, your weekly planner, or your bullet journal weekly spread:
- CORNWALL: Padstow Christmas Festival (7-10 December)
Beginning our festive journey around the UK is the Padstow Christmas Festival. A delightful blend of culinary magic and artisanal crafts, this is a foodie's paradise. With over 60 renowned chefs, including local heroes Rick Stein, Paul Ainsworth, and Nathan Outlaw, the festival is a hub of culinary excellence. The Sharp’s Chefs’ Theatre and Festival Kitchen become stages where the secrets of gourmet cooking are shared.
Photo credit: Padstow Christmas Festival
But it's not just about the food. The festival is also a treasure trove for Christmas shoppers, looking for a quirky gift. Our top tip is don’t forget to bring a notebook with lined paper, as you watch the chefs cook up a storm or stroll through the Christmas market stalls – it’s the perfect place to write cooking tips as well as present ideas inspired by the local art and crafts products and produce on display.
- NOTTINGHAM: Crying Christmas at Sherwood Forest (Sunday 17 December 2023 | 12pm - 4pm)
Join the revelries in Sherwood Forest for the time-honoured tradition of the Crying Christmas celebration. Here, in the heart of Robin Hood's realm, legends come to life as the Sheriff of Nottingham and the famed outlaw call a rare truce to commence the Yuletide festivities.
Photo credit: visitsherwood.co.uk
It's an unforgettable day when Robin and his merry gang emerge from the whispers of folklore. This is the perfect place to bring a dotted notebook, to record the extraordinary sight of these archenemies standing side by side - a fleeting moment of harmony in their storied rivalry. You might also take the opportunity to sketch the charismatic Hood, with his feathered cap and mischievous grin, or the stern Sheriff, momentarily softened by the season's spirit. Imagine too jotting down snippets of banter between Little John, Friar Tuck, and the other merry men, their voices mingling with the laughter of the crowd.
The costume competition invites the young and young-at-heart to channel their inner outlaw. With categories celebrating the loudest, most colourful, and best representation of Robin Hood's band, it's a spectacle of imagination and merriment. The judges, none other than Will Scarlett with his flair for style, Maid Marian with her grace, and the Sheriff with his critical eye, add to the event's authenticity.
The highlight is the anointing of a ‘Lord of Misrule’, chosen from amongst the revellers, to lead the celebrations. This role, steeped in tradition and mischief, could be bestowed upon anyone – perhaps even you! Take a handy notebook to chronicle this unique experience. Let your notes and sketches be a testament to a Christmas where the legend of Sherwood Forest comes alive.
- CARDIFF: Christmas at Bute Park (Throughout December)
Christmas at Bute Park in Cardiff is a spectacle of lights and festive cheer. As biggest festive lights trail in Wales, the event features incredible illuminated installations and a dazzling Christmas village. Marvel at the park which is transformed into a luminous wonderland, complete with neon trees, flame-lit artworks, and festive lasers.
Photo credit: christmasatbutepark.com
Even better, as you walk along the decorated, lit-up, magical trail, you can indulge in an array of delicious street food and festive drinks sold at the stalls along the way.
If you have children, extend this experience by getting them to draw their favourite illuminated wonder when you get home. All you will need is a trusty black pen, some colouring pencils and perhaps a few Zebra pens, to add highlights.
We can’t help thinking that a note book with black paper would provide an epic background for replicating the light filled drama of Bute Park; in which case metallic pens, neon pens and a Posca marker set would be perfect for the job!
- CHESTER: Lanterns at Chester Zoo with Sony Music (Throughout December)
This is definitely one to note in your planners! After all, it combines two of our favourite things – cute animals AND beautiful illuminations! This festive light trail, at one of the UK’s most famous destinations, offers a unique experience, where the zoo becomes a canvas for colour-changing displays and visitors will encounter illuminated orangutans, lions, dolphins, and even a woolly mammoth!
Photo credit: chesterzoo.org
Highlights include a Winter Cathedral tunnel of lights, flickering fire gardens, ultraviolet illuminated animals, and a sparkling forest animated to music. There’s also marshmallow toasting and a chance to spot Father Christmas. Every ticket supports wildlife conservation, adding a feel-good factor to your visit.
We say don’t forget to capture the magic in your dotted journal when you come back!
- MIDLANDS: Festive Dogs' Dinner Evenings with Santa (20 – 21 December | 6pm – 9pm)
Let’s not forget our favourite four-legged friends with another date to add to the weekly planner pad! This event is a ‘pawsome’ way to make sure our furry pals aren’t left out of the festive fun this Yuletide! The Festive Dogs’ Dinner Evenings with Santa make our pets the stars of the show – and tails will be wagging with joy as Father Christmas hands out special, edible treats….and that’s before they enjoy a scrumptious doggy dinner menu just for them!
For the humans, a hot festive bap and a warm cuppa await, setting the stage for a merry woodland stroll under the twinkling lights alongside Santa and an elf. It's definitely a festive ‘howl-iday’ walk to remember, filled with joyful barks and festive sparkles.
6. NORFOLK: Dereham – The Polar Express Train Ride (Until 23 December)
Don’t miss this Polar Express experience – it’s one to get on board with….and chuffing marvellous! Why? Well, it’s more than just a train ride – it’s a journey through the heart of Christmas nostalgia; one that recreates the classic Polar Express film……leaving from Dereham in Norfolk. Picture this: the steam rising, the countryside rolling by in a festive blur and the timeless charm of being transported to a bygone era.
As the journey unfolds, enjoy hot chocolate and cookies all served by storytelling conductors. Oh, and the pure joy when Father Christmas himself makes and appearance! It’s like stepping right into a scene from the beloved animated film.
Photo credit: midnorfolkthepolarexpressride.com
Be sure to have some cute pens and an A5 notebook to hand – the children can draw Santa and start making their stocking wish lists!
- SCOTLAND: Skiing and Snowboarding (Throughout December)
Seeking an adventurous Christmas in the UK? Scotland’s the answer! It has five stunning resorts, accessible from all Scottish cities. From Glenshee Ski Centre and the adrenaline-pumping Cairngorms Mountain Resort in the Cairngorms National Park, Britain's largest ski area, to the beginner-friendly Lecht Ski Centre – there’s something for every skill level and age. And, don’t forget the Nevis Range and Glencoe Mountain Resorts for breathtaking views.
Photo credit: visitscotland.com
Before hitting the slopes, we recommend some serious planning. Use a grid notebook or a lined journal – it can be a B5 size or A5 size – and note down the snow reports, weather forecast, lift and road statuses, to make sure you make the most out of your trip to these picturesque landscapes.
- SURREY: The Nativity Journey at Wintershall (Various December Dates)
Experience the Nativity Journey at Wintershall – a true celebration of what Christmas is all about. This isn’t just a spectacle; you will step directly into the heart of the Christmas story in a deeply moving experience where you become an integral part of the greatest story ever told. Imagine being alongside Mary and Joseph, feeling the anticipation in the air, and sharing in their wonder as you walk towards ‘Bethlehem’.
Photo credit: windershall.org.uk
Journey with shepherds and Roman soldiers and watch the true meaning of Christmas unfold around you. Witness the humble miracle of Jesus’s birth, a moment that has echoed through the ages, capturing the essence of hope and joy. This isn’t just for the young or the old; it's a timeless tale that speaks to all hearts. As you're wrapped in the magic of this ancient narrative, let your Ink Pot dot grid notebook be your companion. Sketch the serene faces of Mary and Joseph, jot down the emotions that stir within you, and capture the profound moments that resonate deep within the Christmas spirit.
- LONDON: The Southbank Winter Festival (Through December until 7 Jan 2024)
Now we couldn’t talk about seasonal fun without mentioning Christmas in London! Our first pick is the Southbank Winter Festival. It’s a celebration of all things winter and festive. A highlight is the Wondrous Winter Market along the banks of the Thames, which make a picture-perfect backdrop for savouring delicious drinks and street food treats.
Photo credit: southbankcentre.co.uk
You can also get stuck into activities like alpine-themed curling or marshmallow toasting as well as explore the free outdoor Winter Light exhibition and indoor photography and arts exhibitions. The festival also features an array of musical performances, choirs, and spellbinding shows like an immersive reimagining of the Nutcracker and the show 'Christmas Actually', curated by Richard Curtis himself no less!
- LONDON: Christmas at Dennis Severs' House (Throughout December)
Our next recommendation is one of our personal favourite Christmas things to do in London – stepping back in time into a historical wonderland at Dennis Severs' House. This 18th-century house, transformed into a museum, offers a journey through the lives of an imaginary family from the Huguenot silk-weaving community.
Photo credit: dennissevershouse.co.uk
The house is decked out in lavish festive finery, from the 18th-century dining room's black swan centrepiece to the Victorian Parlour's sparkling tree. Experience the intertwining of tangible and intangible worlds, fact and fiction, in this enchanting setting. With every room telling a story, it makes for the richest tapestry of historical narratives and Christmas traditions you'll ever encounter. Our recommendation? See it in the early evening – during a candlelit tour. Magical!
And so, our festive journey across the UK concludes! But remember these Christmas events are not just for experiencing but for remembering and cherishing. And this is where The Ink Pot note books and planners come in handy. They can be used to plan your festive adventures, for marking important dates and as a place to record memories of each experience. That’s because they are more than just a collection of 160gsm paper – they can also be a repository of wonderful memories, to be revisited over and over again.