Christmas Season Is Here, And So Are Winter Wonderlands, Ice Rinks and Santa's Grottos
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The season of sleet, shopping and obligatory mulled wine is upon us.
For parents at a loss of how to entertain their children during the long school holidays, or students wanting to make the most of their university city, the Huffington Post has compiled some of the best winter wonderlands around.
A Lapland inspired Christmas experience in Kent offers unique and truly authentic experience for families. Children enter the toy factory and help the elves compile the missing presents, before taking a stroll around the park to visit the reindeers and the husky dogs. If it gets too cold, "Mother Christmas" takes them inside and teach them how to bake gingerbread to take to Father Christmas in his snowy woodland home.
Winter Wonderland takes over Hyde Park from 18 November until 3 January so make the most of a typical Bavarian village. The rest of the country also has to offer enchanted alternatives; Cumbria, Nottinghamshire, Suffolk and Weltshire all set up Winter Wonderlands in their beautiful parks. With twinkling lights, glittering decorations and Santa's Woodland Workshop, the forest comes alive with the anticipation of Christmas. Couples can enjoy a romantic horse and carriage ride while children boo the baddie and cheer the hero in the traditional pantomimes.
In West Yorkshire, Stockeld Park will be inhabited by illuminated unicorns gracing the Enchanted Forest, while angels glow on the beautiful lake. Inside in the warmth people sip on hot chocolate loaded with creamy marshmallows, while others visit Santa in his magical grotto.
For a cultural Christmas, visit The Isle of Wight's Victorian Christmas at Osborne House, the one-time home of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. For two days the stately home will be transformed into a festive nineteenth-century scene with traditional Victorian fairground stalls.
Another option is Cardiff's Victorian Christmas tour. It will be taken by a costumed guide who will be taking you around each room for a festive tour of the premises. You will be then be taken to the Banquet Hall for food and refreshments. The little ones will also have the chance to go and see Santa and tell them what they'd like for Christmas.
York's Festival of Angels is on the 10 and 11 of December will parade spectacular ice sculptures, led by the Golden Angel.
But Swansea trumps all with its 15 real reindeer, including two newborns, who will welcome you to the Winter Wonderland. Walking through the winter landscape, children will stumble upon eskimos fishing in the frozen lake and penguins sliding in the snow. They will finally emerge at Santa's Grotto for an early Christmas present.
And if you feel like getting your skates on, treat yourself to one of these beautiful venues:
As backdrops go, Brighton's Royal Pavillion is up there with London’s Somerset House.
Both ice-skating rinks have their perks. While Brighton offers some of the best apres-ski refreshments, with an expert in-house mixologist who creates very festive cocktails, Somerset House is all about the glitz.
Glam up your Saturday afternoon tea time with Tiffany's, which includes a glass of champagne.
Or, for a more educated skating session, the Natural History Museum offers a 950sqm ice rink, but don't forget to take a peek at the dinosaurs inside the museum.
If you are in Edinburgh, don't miss Princes Street Gardens transformed into skating heaven. With the Edinburgh Castle as backdrop to the fairground rides and the ice-skating rink, it's definitely one of the most picturesque settings.