Christmas in Staffordshire
Ho Ho Ho! It’s the most wonderful time of the year in Britain’s most wonderful county! With Christmas just around the corner we have put together a list of the merriest markets, the most festive fayres, the coolest ice rinks, and of course all the hotspots to catch a glimpse of the big guy in the bright red suit.
Merry Christmas Markets
On Saturday 15 December Leek’s town centre will burst into life with the opening of the Dickensian Christmas Market. For one day only visitors will be transported back in time as they explore the Victorian themed boutique shops, sample tempting seasonal food and drink, enjoy cooking demonstrations and browse the many colourful stalls selling antiques and unique gifts. Dickensian characters will also be on hand to give guided tours and fill the air with Christmas cheer!
Stafford Market Square is also home to its own Victorian Christmas market on Saturday 24 November. With many traders in period costume selling all kind of seasonal treats from roast chestnuts to handmade jewellery, it is a wonderful place to shop and soak up the atmosphere!
From the 23 November until early January 2013 Trentham Shopping Village will become the ultimate Christmas market. Set in the stunning surroundings of Trentham’s award winning gardens, with over 60 shops housed in a timber lodge village adorned with hundreds of twinkling fairy lights, it is the perfect location for seeking out those treasured festive presents.
Country House Christmas
Treat yourself to a traditional Christmas and admire the beauty of Staffordshire’s many stately homes, decked out in their best Christmas finery.
Mrs Claus will be taking over the reins in the Victorian Kitchen at Shugborough Estate this Christmas, as Santa and his helpers move into the servants’ quarters. Children can meet Mrs Claus and help her make a tasty Christmas pudding, before visiting Santa for an early Christmas gift depending on whether they have been naughty or nice! The event runs on the 15, 16, 22 and 23 December from 10am until 4pm. Entry is £8 for adults and £5 for children and also includes a train ride around the beautiful estate grounds, Christmas craft entertainment and activities for children.
Eat, drink and be merry this festive season at Weston Park, near Shifnal. This stunning stately home has as much character as any English castle and as many stories as any royal residence. To celebrate the festive season in style dine and stay in the splendour of the House, enjoy shopping for seasonal food and drink in the Granary Farm Shop or relax with family and friends over a festive meal in the Granary Grill. Weston’s Annual Christmas Fayre will also be returning to the park on 8 and 9 December, with a market with many stalls specialising in crafts, gifts, decorations and food for the festive period.
Experience Christmas at the Manor from the 1 December at Wightwick Manor, the mansion house will be lavishly decorated for a traditional Victorian Christmas and you can listen to festive music in the Great Parlour as it plays host to a variety of Local Musicians. The house is open every day except Tuesdays and Christmas day.
Get Your Skates On
Fancy yourself as the next Torvill or Dean? Well, get your skates on and head to one of Staffordshire’s super cool outdoor ice rinks.
The Christmas and Winter Fayre is at Shugborough Estate from 7 - 9 December, featuring a magical outdoor ice rink. Browse the picturesque Christmas stalls offering a magical array of handmade gifts, decorations and the very best in local farm produce, everything you need for the perfect Christmas celebration! Enjoy the sights and sounds of a traditional Victorian Christmas, from a live brass band to a Punch and Judy show, as well as a chance to meet Father Christmas and his helpful little elves. The Shugborough Candlelit Mansion House will also be open to visitors from 3pm until 9pm. The downstairs area will be decorated throughout with fresh flowers, Christmas decorations and trees. An additional fee of £4.00 per adult or £3.50 for concession is required to enter the mansion house.
The outdoor ice rink at Trentham Gardens, Stoke-On-Trent, opens on 23 November until 24 February. Set on the edge of the picturesque lake allowing ice skaters spectacular views of the frost covered Italian gardens, and twinkling fairy lights hidden in the surrounding trees and under the ice make the scene truly magical after dark. Seasonal refreshments are available ring side, including roast chestnuts and delicious hot chocolate.
Something for Adventurers this Advent!
For a trip to see Santa with a difference, book tickets on the Churnet Valley Railway ‘Santa and Steam’ starting on the 1 December running at weekends and on Wednesdays. This Victorian Christmas celebration is a wonderful way to see Santa, who will stroll through the garland filled carriages delivering traditional toys to the children. Meanwhile, mums, dads, grandmas and grandpas can relax and enjoy a mince pie and a glass of sherry.
From the 23 November until the 31 December Santa’s Winter Wonderland will be at the Tamworth Snowdome. Little elves can whiz down the real snow slopes on Christmas sledges, take a walk through the enchanted forest, and enjoy a game of snowballs. Explore the animal village and meet Santa’s real life reindeer under the huge Christmas tree, and sit in the magical sleigh he uses to deliver all the presents – and don’t miss watching Santa and his helpers getting ready for Christmas in the Winter Wonderland stage show!
There is nowhere more magical for a festive family break than Thomas Land at Drayton Manor Theme Park. The steam engine themed attraction will be sparkling with snow this winter and seasonal guests will include Santa and his little elves. The animals at the Drayton Manor Zoo have also made room for Rudolf and the rest of Santa’s reindeer! There is a variety of festive entertainment including a daily open air musical extravaganza performed by the Fat Controller and his friends and each evening will end with a stunning firework display.
After a long day playing in the snow why not relax in the luxury of the Drayton Manor Hotel? The Thomas stay and play package is £294 based on two adults and two children sharing in December and includes a night in a Thomas & Friends themed family room, Thomas Land tickets, a Thomas welcome pack and a character breakfast. Thomas Land opens for Christmas on the 16 November until 6 January 2013. Entry is £15 Adults, £10 concessions, and the under 4’s go free!