Below are seven popular festive events that are likely to book out as Christmas draws nearer


CHESTER Zoo will be transformed into a festive wonderland with the return of its annual event, The Lanterns.

Award-winning outdoor arts producers Wild Rumpus have teamed up with the zoo to create nine specially created ‘worlds’ filled with animal-inspired illuminations, lanterns, costumed characters and Father Christmas himself.

Running on selected nights from November 23 to December 23, the event raises funds to help support zoo’s work as a conservation charity fighting to prevent extinction around the world.

Visitors arriving at the zoo will enter into a ‘Garden of Delight’, filled with illuminated flowers that reach up to 10ft in the air and giant friendly snails, before meandering through a series of fairy-tale worlds.

Guests will first discover a Moonlit Meadow, home to some favourite animal lanterns from years gone by, featuring species such as giraffe, elephant, lion, tiger, rhino and zebra – as well as specially created new sun bears, cheetahs and mandrills.

The journey continues through a giraffe lantern filled zone called Shangri La, into a Cloud Cuckoo Land of colourful bird lanterns and costumed characters.

Those who wish to stop off at the zoo’s Northern Lights zone will enjoy Christmas trees, Christmas markets and Father Christmas himself, before travelling on into the snow-filled Enchanted Woodland, placing much-loved British wildlife up in lights, before discovering the colourful Wonderland – a radiant, topsy-turvy world.

In Rainforest Aglow, families can walk underneath fantastical neon vines – and look out for the glowing sloth couple overhead.

And finally, no Christmas spectacular would be complete without penguin lanterns

and characters, in the zoo’s new Ice Kingdom. Visit


GULLIVER’S goes all out at Christmas with a great selection of festive rides, shows and attractions throughout the Warrington theme park.

Look out for some festive favourites returning this year, including the popular Elf School. Don’t miss the chance to become an honorary elf or come and visit Mrs Christmas’ Kitchen for the chance to cook up some yuletide treats. Christmas at Gulliver’s starts on Saturday and Sunday, November 24 and 25.

Following this the park is open every weekend throughout the festive period, plus Wednesdays and Thursdays, and also Friday, December 21.




EXPECT a celebration of all things ice at Liverpool’s Pier Head.

The Christmas Ice Festival is returning for its third year featuring the city’s biggest ice slide and a huge covered outdoor rink so you can skate with the backdrop of the world-famous Three Graces whatever the weather.

Suitable for all ages, the rink has plenty of ‘penguin skate’ aids available to help young skaters stay steady on their blades.

For even faster thrills, the high-speed 30m ice run returns with three lanes for racing down from six-metres above the festival site.

The Ice Jet ride – the only one of its kind in the UK – also makes a return following its Liverpool debut in 2017. It features a sound and light show for a ride like no other.

Families can also enjoy funfair rides, pop-up food and drink stalls serving après skate specialities including traditional German bratwurst, hot roast rolls, crepes, mulled wine and hot chocolate.

The Christmas Ice Festival runs from November 10 to January 6. Visit icefestival to book.


EVENT City’s Winter Funland is described as the largest indoor winter festival in the north west and is tailored for families with young children.

The yuletide extravaganza near the Trafford Centre runs from December 7 to New Year’s Day and includes an indoor ice rink, a circus, a fun fair with all rides included with your ticket and a 100-seat theatre with children’s entertainment hosted by Andy King.

You can even meet Santa himself at his grotto.

A spokesman said: “Santa, his elves and the whole Winter Funland team have been working tirelessly to inject an extra special sparkle into Christmas 2018.”

Tickets cost £24 but youngsters under three get in for free. Visit



CHRISTMAS at Dunham Massey features a magical winter trail with more illuminations promised for 2018.

The National Trust property has teamed up with events producers Raymond Gubbay for the festive event from November 30 to December 30.

Families will be greeted by larger-than-life glittering deer, along with the sights and sounds of Christmas.

Visitors will then walk through a Tunnel of Light festooned by a canopy of more than 100,000 lights while the ‘Singing Trees’ can be heard in the distance.

The Water Fountain Finale, which takes place on the lake, is a showcase of water jets and beams of light which dance in time to much-loved Christmas classics.

There are hidden surprises too – watch out for Bubbles on the Bridge, playful ribbons of colour- changing lights and a scented Fire Garden.

The historic courtyard will once again house festive food outlets, with Manchester Food and Drink Festival providing the stalls this year, as well as a vintage carousel.

Gather to toast your own marshmallows at one of the fire pits along the way and enjoy other traditional fare or feast on a two-course Christmas dinner at Dunham’s Stables restaurant.



COME and see your favourite farmyard friends when you visit Father Christmas and his reindeer, Prancer and Dancer.

Tatton Park in Knutsford is welcoming Santa to its farm every weekend in December in the lead up to Christmas.

There will also be live music from carol singers, brass bands, children’s entertainers and face painting and you can meet Aunty Mary in her Christmas Cottage who will be making traditional salt dough decorations that you can take home to decorate.

Special admission price for this attraction is £7 per adult and £6.50 per child, including a gift from Father Christmas. The dates are December 1, 2, 8, 9, 15, 16, 22 and 23 between 11am and 4pm. Call 01625 374400 to book.



EXPERIENCING The Snowman on the big screen accompanied by a full orchestra has quickly become a Christmas tradition for many families.

Two shows are coming to Warrington’s Parr Hall on December 20 at 1.30pm and 7pm.

It is brought to the stage by Carrot Productions who will also present an introduction to the orchestra where youngsters can learn about all the instruments from musicians who have previously worked with the likes of the Hallé and BBC Philharmonic.

There will also be a screening of the animated film, The Bear and the Piano, based on the award-winning book.

For more information visit and for tickets visit or call 442345.