Limited spaces means it pays to plan ahead for 2021 Christmas Events

Illuminated Helimgham Hall Picture: HELMINGHAM HALL

Helimgham Hall will be Illuminated for C hristmas this year - Credit: Helmingham Hall

With the nights drawing in and the evening’s getting chillier, it’s a sure sign that Santa is on his way and Christmas is just around the corner. With Guy Fawkes night looming, it’s time to start scheduling in those all-important Christmas events.

Here’s our round-up of some of the events that are currently in the diary.

Santa Specials:
Bressingham Steam & Gardens 

Christmas is always a magical time at Bressingham. Under twinkling fairy lights, a Christmas visit to Bressingham includes a ride on the Steam Train on the Fen Railway for everyone both young and old, a festive spin on the Gallopers and a visit to Father Christmas, including a present, for children up to the age of 12 years. 

Add to that the fun of a wander round a very Christmassy Walmington-on-sea in the Exhibition Hall to see the Dad’s Army display and vehicles decorated especially for the season and you’ll find that there’s something for all ages to enjoy together at Bressingham this Christmas. 

Father Christmas, Mrs Christmas and elves will be at Bressingham on Sunday November 28, Saturday December 4 and Sunday December 5, Saturday December 11 and Sunday 12.The Christmas experience will be running daily from Saturday, December 18 to Christmas Eve.

Tickets can be booked online

The Santa Special will be running again this December.

The Middy's Santa Special will be running again this December. - Credit: Archant

Mid-Suffolk Light Railway
The Middy’s famed Santa Specials are back this year after being shut done by Covid in 2020. The atmospheric train runs will be operating on six days on December 4, 5, 11, 12, 18 and 19.
It promises to be a magical treat for children up to 10 years old, with steam train rides from Brockford Station, Wetheringsett to ‘North Pole Halt’. Each child will meet Santa in his Christmas Guards Van and receives a present.

All bookings must be made in advance and details will be available soon on the railway's booking page.

Colne Valley Railway, Halstead, Essex 
Santa will also be paying a visit to the Colne Valley Railway. This year the ‘Elf and Safety’ team have installed Santa and his grotto in the diesel train where visitors can collect a present from Santa’s Toy Shop.

Bookings need to be made in advance online

Families enjoyed a day out with Thomas the Tank engine at the East Anglian Railway Museum.

Families will be able to a day out with Thomas the Tank engine at the East Anglian Railway Museum in December - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

East Anglian Railway Museum, Chappel and Wakes Colne Station
The East Anglian Railway Museum are doing Christmas a little differently this year by combining their annual festive events with their hugely popular Thomas the Tank Engine steam day. Join Thomas & Friends for a day of festive family fun. Take a ride behind Thomas, meet The Fat Controller and say hello to Sodor Station Sweepers Rusty and Dusty. 

You also get to meet unlimited rides behind Thomas, Percy & Daisy, meet Toby & Henrietta, watch re-enactments of classic Thomas stories with Thomas, Rusty & Dusty and The Fat Controller. There will also be storytelling with Rusty & Dusty along with The Fat Controller.

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There is also an optional visit to Father Christmas. The Festive Day Out With Thomas is being staged on December 4, 5, 11, 12, 18 and 19.

Book online in advance  

Colchester Zoo – Magic of Christmas
Colchester Zoo have announced provisional details of their Magic of Christmas event which this year runs from December 4, 5, 11, 12 and everyday between December 18 – 24. See Santa’s beautiful reindeer in their stables, get crafty at the Elves’ Workshop, hear our Christmas tale and enjoy some festive treats. PLUS all children who purchase a ticket to take part in this year’s Santa Experience will also get to take home another fantastic Christmas character soft toy.

On December 4, 11, 18 and 23 visitors can stay after dark as the zoo remains open until 7.30pm for a special Christmas Starlight Nights event.

Announcements about further events are to be made in the coming weeks. For more information go to the zoo’s website  

Father Christmas has taken up residence at Kentwell Hall as partt of their Dickensian Christmas expe

Father Christmas will take up residence at Kentwell Hall as part of their Victorian Christmas experience. - Credit: Paul Sillence

Kentwell Hall: Victorian Christmas 
Step back in time to meet a range of Victorian characters, including cooks in the Great Kitchen, bakers and villagers at the Moat House, meet Mr Charles Darwin  and the Victorian ladies in the Parlour.  The Great Hall will be decorated in sumptuous style, with a massive Christmas tree and the decorated Dining Room will be set for Christmas Dinner.

Visitors can also follow the Days of Christmas Trail through the Gardens and find the animals and garden crafts at the stables.  Take your Christmas Portrait in Victorian Style in the biggest 'selfie booth' anywhere.

Kentwell Hall's Dickensian Christmas captures the flavour of the Victorian's favourite time of year

Kentwell Hall's Dickensian Christmas captures the flavour of the Victorian's favourite time of year - Credit: Gavin Mills

Father Christmas will be on hand to meet families with children aged 11 and under. Kentwell’s Victorian Christmas is running on December 4-5 and December 11-12, 2021.

Tickets can be booked online

Helmingham Hall: Illuminated Garden Trail
Make the most of the dark winter nights by stepping into a magical world of light, colour and sound, as you explore the grounds of Helmingham Hall adorned with thousands of lights transforming the gardens into an enchanted winter wonderland.

It’s the perfect way to kick off  the festive season. Begin the trail by crossing Helmingham Hall’s famous drawbridge (pulled up every night since 1510) and warming up with a complimentary mulled wine within the courtyard steeped in over 500 years of historical charm. Continue through the gardens absorbing the magical sights and sounds, gather around the fire pits to toast marshmallows for s’mores, and end the evening browsing the Stables Shops and pop-up stalls where you may be able to find some early Christmas gifts.

The Coach House Tearooms will be serving a range of hot and cold festive treats. 

Illuminated Helimgham Hall Picture: HELMINGHAM HALL

Helimgham Hall will be Illuminated for C hristmas this year - Credit: Helmingham Hall

The trail runs from Friday, November 19 to Sunday, December 19, 2021 (not open on Mondays or Tuesdays). The first entry time is 4.30pm and sessions are every 15 minutes. The last entry on a Wednesday and Thursday is 7.30pm, and the last entry on a Friday, Saturday and Sunday 8.30pm.

Tickets should be booked in advance via the Helmingham Hall’s website

Kersey Mill:  Santa’s Workshop
Santa’s Workshop will be open for business again this year. It’s a unique experience primarily for children aged 3 up to 9 years, younger children may also enjoy the experience as well as the adults too.

The elves in Santa’s Workshop always appreciate some help at this busy time of year. A visit will be a memorable Christmas occasion for all.

Kersey Mill is open every weekend in December until Christmas Eve. Booking is essential. 

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