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How To Keep The Family Entertained Until the New Year Clockwise from top left; Lilidorei, Rainton Arena, Yorkshire's Winter Wonderland, Beamish, Northwood Trail
December 2023
Reading time 5 Minutes

The festive fun continues this Twixmas

Finding ways to keep the whole family happy in that weird week between Christmas and New Year isn't always easy. Let us inspire you…

Traditional treats…

Until 7th January music, crafts and traditional displays promise a fun post-Christmas outing for the family at Beamish. At Pockerley Old Hall you can enjoy merry music and traditional Twelfth Night celebrations, at the 1900s Pit Village visitors will find out how the New Year was traditionally celebrated and hear the story of first footing, and in the 1900s Town there’ll be traditional food displays. Don’t forget to visit Elf Wood to see the mischievous elves before they disappear. 

Walk it off…

Boxing Day walks and winter wanders can be fun – it’s all about where you go. Your children will love The Gnome Roam, a circular family activity walk at Wakefield’s Newmillerdam Country Park. Follow the buggy-friendly route to find the different gnomes attempting to escape the bear! The Northwood Trail is ‘England’s Fairy Sanctuary’ hidden just 20 minutes from York where those who enter can discover the artefacts and stories of strange woodland creatures and Professor Howlands’ discoveries in the Fairy Museum (the winter trail is open between Boxing Day and New Year’s Eve). The Plotters' Forest Enchanted Christmas Trail at Raby Castle is a magical place to explore with twinkling lights and Christmas music, and at Lilidorei you can help the Secret Keepers unlock mysteries and explore the clans to solve the riddles of the Elf Puzzler. Don’t forget the Alnwick Garden Light Trail is on until 7th January too. Find more winter light trails to visit this Twixmas here.

Northwood Trail

Panto time? Oh yes it is…

A trip to the panto is a must at Christmas and thankfully many of our favourites continue until the end of December (and, in some cases, beyond). Wearside's biggest pantomime never disappoints, and Emmerdale’s Charlie Hardwick is sprinkling fairy dust throughout the Sunderland Empire until 31st December. Find out why we loved it here. Meanwhile, panto-goers are flocking to Newcastle Theatre Royal to see Joe McElderry and Chris Hayward bring Pinocchio to life until 14th January. Find out why you need to book your tickets fast here. For something a little different why not see Robinson Crusoe and the Pirates of the River Ouse (at Grand Opera House York until 6th January) for a swashbuckling panto adventure? For more pantos the whole family will love, find all our favourites here.

Walk in a winter wonderland…

Who needs Hyde Park when we’ve got winter wonderlands right on our doorstep? This year Winter Wonderland Newcastle has set up outside Utilita Arena until 7th January. There’s plenty of rides, food stalls and an Alpine Bavarian lounge bar for the adults to refuel – and there’s no need to pre-book. Plus, the ice rink at Life Science Centre is only a 10-minute walk away. Rainton Arena’s winter wonderland is offering free entry until New Year’s Eve with rides, games, a tipi bar and its own ice rink, whilst Yorkshire’s Winter Wonderland in York also offers free entry (until 7th January) with the North’s largest outdoor ice rink. 

Read More: Meet the 21-Year-Old from Newcastle Who Created a Revolutionary and Fashionable Skiwear Brand

Melted Snowmen Treats Recipe | Hobbycraft

Make or bake it… 

Free time means more time to be creative. From a show-stopping chocolate and hazelnut puff pastry Christmas tree to classic mince pies, try these Francesca Stone recipes to keep the festivities going. These melted snowmen treats, Christmas pudding cakes and classic gingerbread men are brilliant bakes the kids can make. But if savoury is more your thing, here are some clever ways to use up your leftover sprouts, parsnips and (of course) turkey.

Listen up…

Bringing LEEDS 2023 to a close, The Gifting is a rare theatre experience until 31st December. Gather outside Leeds' own film studios, Versa Studios in Holbeck, put on headphones and hear 12 stories inspired by the Year of Culture. This is where the past will collide with the present and welcome in the future. The Gifting is inspired by Northern Dreaming – a free book published by LEEDS 2023 and the British Library that will be gifted to every child in Leeds born in 2023.

Go to the races…

Children 17 and under go free to the races when accompanied by an adult at Newcastle Racecourse, and their fixture on 28th December promises an exceptional afternoon of all-weather racing – always a fun way to continue the festivities. That same day, the Sky Bet Christmas Jumper Day takes place at Catterick Racecourse with six races scheduled. Wear your best Christmas Jumper for a chance to win a pair of tickets to a raceday of your choice next year. 

Staying in? 

We don’t blame you – it’s cold out there! Get cosy on the couch before catching up on these Christmas TV specials you might’ve missed, or old favourites (we’re not judging if you’ve got the Gavin & Stacey Christmas specials on repeat). Tired of the festivities? Search ‘tv guide’ at, and find out what we’ve been watching throughout 2023 (and have a catch-up before Robson Green’s Weekend Escapes series two airs on New Year’s Day). 

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