Christmas in England

Christmas in England

The fire is crackling, smells of roasted turkey and ham fill the house and Fair Isle is the order of the day. As the family cram onto the sofa, snug under one giant blanket, the race for the TV remote commences as the Christmas day festivities begin.

But with the seasonal break upon us, why not experience your favourite TV specials first-hand, with VisitEngland’s own Christmas specials listings? There’s Strictly Come Dancing at Blackpool’s Tower Ballroom, flying through the air across Newcastle Gateshead, Manchester, Liverpool or Derby, and even Tardis spotting in London, ensuring that the English entertainment extends beyond Christmas Day, throughout the holidays. 

Go Floating in the Moonlit Sky

To celebrate the first screening of the new film, ‘The Snowman and The Snowdog’ on Channel 4 this Christmas Eve, the award-winning Jurys Inn is offering a free e-reader loan of the original heart-warming festive favourite, ‘The Snowman’ by Raymond Briggs, at a selection of its UK hotels. With rooms from just £49 including breakfast, and children under 12 going free, from 17 December - 8 January, Jurys Inn is an ideal base for a family getaway this Christmas.

Wizards and Wonders at Warwick CastleThough the Merlin series comes to a close with this year’s Christmas special, fans can keep the magic alive at Warwick Castle’s Dragon Tower. Step back into the Arthurian legend and join Merlin in his quest to aid the future King of England in fulfilling his divination. In a land where magic has become outlawed, follow the voice haunting the young wizard and journey deep into Warwick Castle, to discover Kilgharrah, The Great Dragon himself, in this first ever interactive experience inspired by the popular show. The Dragon Tower experience is an additional attraction within the castle and tickets cost an extra £3.60 per person.

Bolero in Blackpool and Waltz to the WurtlitzerThis year's Strictly Come Dancing Christmas special features former footballer Fabrice Muamba, JB Gill from JLS, Bobby Ball, Helen Skelton and Katy Brand as well as Kelly Brook and Rachel Stevens. MP Ann Widdicombe will also make an appearance! Super fans wanting to learn the steps themselves can get lost in a world of elegant charm and refined beauty at the sensationally stylish Blackpool Tower Ballroom, world famous for its unique dance floor, spectacular architecture, and host to previous Strictly Come Dancing finals. Dating back to 1894, The Blackpool Tower Ballroom remains a destination for dance fans from across the globe.

Dance the day away to the sounds of the famous Wurlitzer organ amidst this stunning setting, or watch from the side lines as you enjoy a delicious afternoon tea. Whether you want to glide around the dance floor, relax at your table or spectate from up on the balconies, The Blackpool Tower Ballroom is an experience you will never forget. Tickets to enter The Ballroom cost £9 but if you just wish to spectate from the upper balconies then you can do so for free.

The Making of MemoriesThe Making of a Lady, starring Joanna Lumley, is a new series bought to ITV viewers this festive season. Adapted from Francis Hodgen Burnett’s The Making of a Marchioness and The Methods of Lady Wanderhurst, the show is very much in the period style of the hugely popular Downton Abbey. Francis Hodgson Burnett is better known for her much-loved classic, The Secret Garden. Inspired by one of her many visits to Buile Hill Mansion, the Grade II listed park in Salford, the fantasy-filled children’s story has a special place in many of our hearts.

Explore the garden for yourself and enjoy an adventure of your own making. Buile Hill Mansion remains undisturbed by time and continues to evoke the enchantment of Hodson Burnett’s writing.

A ‘Bonny’ Christmas TailSet in the Lake District, this Christmas will see Beatrix Potter's loveable, blue- jacketed Peter Rabbit bounce onto CBeebies in an exciting series featuring brand new stories based on the classic Potter tales. And where best to catch our favourite furry friend than in his hometown of Bowness upon Windermere? The World of Beatrix Potter Attraction is the only Beatrix Potter-themed attraction in Europe, where you can enjoy a sumptuous tea party with Peter Rabbit, Jemima Puddle-duck and many other delightful characters, including the guest of honour Beatrix Potter "herself"! 

Pre-booking for tea parties is essential and open in 2013 from 15 February. The World of Beatrix Potter is open every-day of the year except Christmas day; however due to essential maintenance works, the attraction will close from 7 January to 9 February 2013. Admission is £6.75 per adult and £3.50 per child.

Doctor Who in LondonCayetano, Flickr 

Ian McKellen and evil Frosy’s await all those tuning in to the Doctor Who Christmas special of 2012. While there may not be evil snowmen to defeat in London, the Doctor has been fighting the Daleks in our capital for years. They made their first trundle across Trafalgar Square in 1964 and returned this millennium to take on the Cybermen in Canary Wharf in 2006 episode Doomsday. Have your own timelord moment at the London Film Museum, home to the Tardis belonging to Peter Cushing, who used it in the 1965 film Dr Who And The Daleks.

Go Cooking Crazy and Munching Mad at River Cottage

If you’re a fan of the River Cottage series, Three Go Mad, then make sure you don’t miss the Christmas special where Hugh will once again be opening the doors of River Cottage, this time to welcome some familiar faces who are famous for everything but their cooking skills! And why not improve your own culinary competence with the four day courses on offer at the River Cottage, designed to celebrate the unique approach to meat, fish, veg and baking with the expert band of chefs at Park Farm.

You will head back up the famous track with all the confidence, skills and enthusiasm to cook a wide range of delicious dishes back at home. Prices start at £870 per person. 

Countryfile’s Christmas CrackerAmandabh Slater, Flickr

Set to star in BBC1’s Christmas special of Countryfile, you too can enjoy the magnificence of Warwickshire’s Ragley Hall. At the heart of Ragley Estate, designed in 1680 by Robert Hooke, Ragley Hall was one of England’s earliest and finest Palladian Houses housing a wonderful collection of art, porcelain and furniture. James Wyatt added the grand portico and front steps in 1780. The House itself stands majestically in well-maintained formal gardens within beautiful ‘Capability’ Brown parkland. As well as being architecturally stunning, the Stables house an impressive collection of carriages really bringing to mind the extravagance of times past. 

Ragley Hall is perfect for the whole family, featuring a playground ofchallenges for the children. The Adventure Playground includes a 3D maze, climbing frames, trampoline and swings – all in a safe and supervised environment.  For the more energetic, we recommend the Woodland Walk, a journey through Ragley’s 400 acres of picturesque parkland and woods. Ragley Gardens re-open on 31st January 2013 and admission costs £8.50 per adult and £5.50 per child. 

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