Great Britain
This article was added by the user . TheWorldNews is not responsible for the content of the platform.

Feel festive for free at UK's best Christmas markets with grottos, lights and mulled wine

Christmas may be on a tight budget for many of us this year but there is still plenty of festive fun to be had for free.

So why not soak up the atmosphere at a traditional market, take a snap with Santa or be dazzled by a spectacular light display?

Here are our top low cost picks - and a few unusual grottos you could splash out on - from around the country to generate some much-needed Christmas spirit.

Santa's Grotto, Westfield, London

December 10-24, 12.30pm-6.30pm daily, free

Youngsters can meet and greet Santa free of charge this Christmas.

The walk-up experience allows families to take a photo with Father Christmas and receive a small gift. No need to book. Free elf craft workshops for 4-12 year olds are also on offer from December 14-17 at Westfield London, no booking needed.


The Victorian Christmas market in Stratford (


Press Association Images)

December 8-11, free

Stratford’s award-winning Victorian-themed market provides visitors with an opportunity to feel like a character in a Charles Dickens novel.

Harking back to an era of grand banquets and elegant attire, traders in fine costumes sell gifts and seasonal produce, while a stage in Henley Street also hosts a programme of festive performances.

National Science and media museum, Bradpfrd

Saturdays and Sundays in December, £3

Youngsters and their parents can enjoy festive screenings of Christmas classics Frozen 2, Home Alone 2 and Arthur Christmas at Pictureville Cinema.

And while visiting the museum, be sure to check out the free Switched On exhibition, which celebrates 100 years of broadcasting, before it closes in the New Year.

Selected dates until December 23. Infants under one £2.50, children and adults £15

For something a bit different, take a boat ride through history to see how Christmas used to be celebrated in Victorian times.

Then meet Santa and his elves in his workshop. Little ones will love the pantomime performances, carol-singing and the photo opp next to Santa’s sleigh.

Clearwell caves, Gloucesterhsire.

Selected dates until December 31. Adults £16, children aged 2-12 £16 and a baby with a gift from Santa costs £9

Meet Santa and follow the magical story of Archie and the Unicorn as you make your way through the caverns. There are also stalls selling gifts and decorations, as well as a pop-up cafe deep underground where you can warm up with a hot chocolate.

Telford steam railway

Telford Stream Railway is a recreation of the Polar Express movie

Until Dec 23, except 12 & 19, Prices from £67.99 to £99.99 for two seats

Dress the kids in their best Christmas pyjamas for the Polar Express. This recreation of the festive film brings scenes to life. Steam your way to the North Pole, where Father Christmas and his reindeer are waiting outside the Elf factory. As you head back to the station, the chefs will lead passengers in carols.

Manchester Christmas markets

Until December 22, free entry

Voted the UK's favourite in a poll, the North West City's festive market has ski chalet stalls take over the centre offering an array of food, drink, crafts and more

A giant illuminated Santa will be keeping an eye on all things Christmas from the front of the Central Library and there are also walk-through giant baubles and a Manchester bee to find on the Lights Trail.

Reindeer centre, Kent

Until December 24, Prices vary by date from £14 to £21 for adults and £20-£26 for children, including a gift

Meet Santa’s reindeer and a whole menagerie of animals at the Reindeer Centre in Bethersden. Santa’s animated grotto features eight magical scenes, each child will receive a wrapped present from the man in red and there’s even a snowball pit and a “Selfie Centre”.

Dudley Canal offers a 45-min boat ride through history before meeting Santa and his elves in the Christmas workshop

Poole Christmas Maritime light festival, Dorset

Until January 2, free entry

This brand-new attraction celebrates the Dorset town’s rich nautical heritage with a spectacular trail of maritime-themed lights that will illuminate the gateways to the centre, The Twin Sails Bridge and The Lighthouse. Enjoy a five-metre tall ship, a giant anchor and an “under the sea experience” as you take the festive walk that ends in the glistening harbour.

Museum of Home, Hackney, London

Until January 28, free entry

This diverse festival offers everyone the chance to learn about Christmas, Hanukkah and Lunar New Year through creative workshops, storytelling and film screenings. The Winter Past exhibition shows how the season has changed for London homes in the past 400 years – one 1695 story shows a family warming up after skating on the River Thames.

Santa's Grotto at Westfield London and Westfield Stratford City (



Sheffield Christmas Market

December, free entry

Split between Fargate, the Town Square and Peace Gardens, the South Yorkshire city’s markets play host to more than 50 independent market stalls with 80% local traders selling festive food and drink, gifts and crafts. Jolly old St Nicholas is rumoured to be making an appearance in his Grotto, if he isn’t on a break munching a Yorkshire pudding wrap that is...

Liquorice Santa, Pontefract Museum

December 10, 10.30am-3pm – free

Indulge your sweet tooth with a meet and greet with Santa with a difference.

Pontefract Musuem is offering a day of free family crafts, from making confectionery-themed cards to creating candy cane reindeer decorations, to honour the town’s historic industry.

Follow the Liquorice Santa trail and find Santa esconced in his Liquorice Grotto.

The Donkey Factory, Sidmouth, East Devon

December 9, 6.30pm, £5 per car

Thousands of candles will illuminate the heart of this welfare and rescue charity, which houses hundreds of donkeys, for an hour-long magical carol service.

The gift shop and the onsite restaurant The Kitchen will be open.

Manchester Christmas Market offer traditional festive fun at Cathedral Gardens, New Cathedral Street (



Harrowgate Christmas Market

Until December 11 - free

All aboard the Candy Cane Express road train for a spin around the pedestrianised streets, where stalls groan under the weight of the eye-catching baubles, indulgent hot chocolate and festive food on offer. The Christmas Fayre takes place on Cambridge Street and Market Place and is free to walk around. Little ones might even spot Father Christmas and his elves dropping in from the North Pole, while the fairground rides, twinkling lights and Victorian merry-go-round means there’s plenty in store for all ages.

Chow Down Winter Village, Leeds

Until December 31 - free to book a table

After a day of Christmas shopping, treat yourself to a festive pulled port burger, warm gooey cookie dough or glittery Christmas cocktails at the Chow Down food market in Leeds. Cosy up by the fire pits with a mulled cider, book a slot in the Christmas tipi to meet Santa (only on December 11 and 17) or sign up for a special Drag Brunch in the pop-up market, which is open Thursdays to Sunday throughout December.

The Frankfurt German Christmas Market, Victoria Square, Birmingham (


Darren Quinton/Birmingham Live)

Winter's Den, Belfast

Until December 31, free

There are some fantastic free festive activities happening at this newly refurbished cultural space in the Northern Ireland capital’s city centre. Enjoy a Twilight Market, Rockin’ Round the Christmas Tree Silent Disco, Christmas Swap Shop or a Christmas Crackers Workshop. And the Crufty Christmas Fashion Show sounds a must. Booking is required for some events.

Christmas Tree Wonderland, Bournemouth

Until January 2, free

Visitors are in for a magical Christmas adventure in the coastal town, with over 100 glittering trees and illuminations lighting up the path from the Market all the way down to the seafront where the brand new Kyiv Tree will be taking pride of place. Be sure to spot Santa in Beatles Place as well as the Liberty tree, Lucerne Tree and the captivating Teddy Tree in the city.

Bamburgh Castle, Northumberland

Until January 8 (except Christmas Day and Boxing Day). £15.50 adults £7.65 children, kids under five free

Each of Bamburgh Castle’s stately rooms have been themed around the 12 Days of Christmas - with seven soaring swans gliding over a gilded lake in the Billiards Room, and five huge gold rings hanging in the King’s Hall. The Cross Hall’s 20-foot Christmas tree has six geese-a-laying peeking out from its fronds, while visitors can hunt down the partridge in a pear tree.

Poole Christmas Maritime Light Festival, Dorset (



Bay of Lights, Torquay, South Devon

Until January 8, free

A brand new Christmas lights trail is coming to the Torquay seafront this winter. Glittering sights along the 1.5 mile route include Torre Abbey doused in colour and light, a 12-metre high Christmas tree offering a spectacular sound and light display and a colour changing Tunnel of Light.

Read More

Read More

Read More

Read More

Read More