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October 25th, 2019

It’s nearly that time of year! There are plenty of Christmas festivities that we all know and love, from the Christmas light switch-on to an endless selection of Christmas Markets. But some of the best things to do at Christmas come in the form of uncommon venues and activities which pop-up across the UK during the festive period. We’ve explored the best Christmas attractions off the beaten track within some of the UK’s top locations that everyone can enjoy.

Bath

Glow-In-The-Dark Mini Golf / 15th November – 5th January 2020

Bath is a beautiful city oozing in rich history and heritage, and each year its famous Bath Christmas Market never fails to amaze - but it can get extremely busy. Instead, spend an evening in Bath slightly differently this festive period and challenge your friends or family to a round of glow-in-the-dark mini golf. It’s also a great teambuilding activity if you’re looking for a unique venue for this year’s work Christmas party. The dim winter nights will feel all the more festive with a magically lit course and matching glow-in-the-dark golf balls, making it one of the best things to do in Bath. It’s guaranteed that this 18-hole adventure course, which is open daily from 4pm – 9:30pm at Royal Victoria Park, will definitely bring out the competitive side of you and your companions! After the mini golf is over, why not head over to The Botanist Bath for another round… of cocktails!

Birmingham

The Festive Gift Fair / 14th – 17th November

Frightfully colder weather and darker skies don’t always provide the ideal conditions for trekking through endless Christmas Market stalls. Thankfully, the iconic Birmingham NEC offers a fun indoor Christmas shopping experience accompanied by fantastic live music and festive entertainers all under one roof. A great place to visit for savvy shoppers, get a head start on your gift list at the Festive Gift Fair which is running this year from 14th – 17th November. Whoever you’re shopping for, you’ll almost definitely find the perfect present here. Explore a huge variety of quirky gifts, seasonal decorations, stocking fillers, decorations and not to mention an array of delicious artisan food and drink. There’s even a giant inflatable snow globe with props for the perfect photo opportunity. Just don’t forget to share it on Instagram!

When you’re feeling tired from all the shopping, be sure to visit The Botanist Birmingham for a well-deserved rest and grab a bite to eat from our hearty festive menu.

Cheltenham

Christmas performances at Cheltenham Town Hall

Cheltenham Town Hall is a beautiful early-20th century assembly room turned public venue which regularly plays host to a wide variety of spectacular live entertainment. December is no exception, as throughout the Christmas period you can enjoy some of the best comedy and musical performances within this cosy, intimate setting. It’s a great place to visit if you’re in Cheltenham with friends or family thanks to the huge variety of performances taking place over the upcoming season. There’s almost definitely something to suit everyone, whether that’s a rendition of A Christmas Cracker from the Gloucestershire Symphony Orchestra or a stand-up show from well-loved comedians including Peter Kay, Rhod Gilbert and Frank Skinner.

If you’re heading to a show, why not visit The Botanist Cheltenham for some pre-theatre dining?

Chester

The Lanterns at Chester Zoo / 22nd November – 23rd December

A great idea for a family day out in Chester at Christmas time is the spectacular Lanterns display at Chester Zoo. Wander the winding paths of the zoo after dark and experience a magical trail of illuminations in the form of twinkling fairy lights and glowing animal sculptures across nine different enchanting worlds. Along the way, little ones will be mesmerised by dazzling performances from entertainers in glowing animal costumes singing Christmas songs. You may even spot Santa himself who regularly laps the zoo in his sleigh alongside his little helpers who may hand you a small gift (if you’re lucky!) The Lanterns trail is an excellent alternative for a festive family day out which is quite different to the usual pantomime show. Be sure to pop into The Botanist Chester for some sustenance before embarking on your adventure – our kids menu is guaranteed to hit the spot.

Manchester

Chill Factore

Located next to the Trafford centre Manchester, Chill Factore is an indoor ski and snow resort offering a great day out and activities that everyone can enjoy, regardless of age. If you’re looking for an alternate venue to socialise with colleagues during a business trip to Manchester, or simply a new spot to hang out with friends, then Chill Factore is an ideal venue. There’s a huge variety of snow activities available, from snowboarding, skiing and tobogganing to general snow play in their onsite snow park. Of course, it’s famous for its 180m long real snow slope which is the longest indoor ski slope in the UK.

From 16th November right up until Christmas Eve, Santa and his magical grotto will be taking a residency at Chill Factore’s alpine-themed village. So, if you’re looking for ideas for ways to keep the children entertained, bring them along – they’ll be fascinated by the combination of real snow and twinkling lights as part of this ultimate Christmas experience. Enjoy an unforgettable day of family fun as you journey through Mini Moose Land and Snow Park before stopping off to see Santa himself. Warm up after all the fun with a visit to The Botanist Media City, complete with our festive menus and seasonal drinks.

Knutsford

A Fairytale Christmas Mansion / 26th November – 5th January 2020

Bring family and friends for a wander through the grandeur of Tatton Park, a historic estate which transforms into a magical Christmas Mansion each year. Special lighting, Christmas music and magnificent decorations are laced throughout, from the state rooms right through to the servants’ quarters, all adding to the seasonal atmosphere. You’ll notice the mansion usually follows a festive theme, and this year it will be a Fairy-tale Christmas with tales steeped in folklore being brought to life right before your eyes. A special and unique day out which can be enjoy by visitors of all ages on a day out in Knutsford, just make sure you bring a camera to snap some pictures of the stunning Christmas displays. For a warming, festive meal after all the excitement, be sure to visit The Botanist Knutsford, just down the road.

Newcastle

Witness the iconic Fenwick Department Store

The Fenwick Department Store is notorious across Newcastle for its magically festive window displays every time Christmas rolls around. In the past, Fenwick has displayed some spectacular winter scenes including Paddington Bear, The Snowman, Peter Pan, Oliver Twist and Alice in Wonderland - just to name a few. Flocks of visitors, both local and those who have travelled from further afield, line along Northumberland Street every year to catch a glimpse of the big window reveal. This Tyneside Yuletide tradition first began in 1971 and is usually unveiled on a Friday, so make sure to book a weekend away in Newcastle so as not to miss it! The famous department store also offers many great things to do for families and friends alike with its array of Christmas-themed activities. For a cinematic Christmas experience with a loved one, visit Santa’s Rooftop Cinema instore from 2nd November – 24th December and enjoy an unforgettable evening watching some of the very best festive films. Alternatively, allow little ones the opportunity to meet the big man himself in his enchanted candy-themed cabin when Santa takes over the Fenwick store rooftop from 2nd November - 24th December. Grab a selfie in Santa’s sleigh and help the elves out in his workshop before stopping off at Club Claus afterwards for festive treats. Then head over to The Botanist Newcastle for a delicious meal, or just for a few perfectly-crafted cocktails.

Reading

Reading’s Living Advent Calendar / 1st – 24th December

Reading’s Living Advent Calendar returns to the city this year after a successful stint during Christmas 2018. Visitors can join in on the city’s countdown to the big day by enjoying a variety of spectacular pop-up events that will be taking place every day throughout the month of December. Each event is free to watch so there’s no excuse not to pay a visit at least once during your trip to Reading. There are performances to suit everyone’s tastes, from craft workshops for the creative to naughty shows for the adults and, of course, traditional family entertainment. For a chance to win a prize from an amazing selection of goodies, stay around until the night to take part in the Living Advent raffle where all money raised is split between local charities. Be sure to visit The Botanist Reading for a night cap and sample your way through our tantalising cocktail menu.

York

Christmas at Castle Howard / 16th November – 5th January 2020

If you’re looking for things to do in York at Christmas, Castle Howard is one of the city’s most-loved attractions and a strong favourite among locals throughout December. Explore the magical grand state rooms of one of Britain’s finest stately homes and look out for the magnificent highlight of a 25ft Christmas tree which is adorned with over 3000 beautiful baubles, situated in the Great Hall. Each year, Castle Howard transforms for the festive season with the help of a specialised design team, who a produce a beautiful range of displays and installations to delight visitors of all ages time after time. The onsite gift store presents a great opportunity to pick up some last-minute Christmas gifts, and little ones will even get the chance to meet Father Christmas who will be making some very special visits along the way. On selected days through the month the castle stays open a little later to run its enchanting Twilight Evenings, allowing visitors a unique perspective of the grounds as night falls. A great idea for a romantic date night with a loved one or if it’s simply prolonging your family day out in York, the Twilight Evenings aren’t to be missed! Afterwards grab a spiced cider or mulled wine at The Botanist York to top off your night.

Christmas at The Botanist

Thinking of visiting one of the great locations above to celebrate Christmas a little differently this year? After an exciting day out, either exploring a festive stately home or witnessing a magical live performance, lengthen the festivities and stop off for a delicious Christmas meal at The Botanist. Our restaurants also transform into seasonal wonderlands with the changing of the seasons, and you can find one in every location mentioned above! We combine flowing drinks packages, delicious Christmas menus, and sensational live music at every one of our venues to create a merry atmosphere so you can celebrate an unforgettable Christmas 2019 with friends and family.

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