Looking for things to do this Christmas in the Peak District? Look no further! We’ve picked out the best Santa’s Grottos to visit, festive family events, and Christmassy days out you’ll love.
Christmas brings us joy in Peak District as pretty villages and towns decorate their streets. As snowfall dusts our hills and crags, there’s no better place to be during the festive season:
1. Santa’s Grotto at Mercia Marina
Taking place 3rd & 4th, 10th & 11th, 17th & 18th December 2022, 11am – 4pm. Santa and his Elf will be at Mercia Marina, no booking needed, just turn up to see Santa and maybe get a free present! More information (no need to book): merciamarina.co.uk/whats-on
2. Visit Castleton’s famous Christmas trees
If you’re visiting the Peak District during the festive season, don’t miss Castleton what ever you do. This pretty Derbyshire village is characterised by its limestone cottages and the dramatic scenic entrance to the village on the north side known as Winnats Pass; as well of course as the ‘Shivering Mountain’ or Mam Tor, which can be seen to the left , famous for it crumbling road which closed due to safety in 1982. Then there’s the famous, brightly (always coloured) lit Christmas trees, which line the main street of Castleton every year and have become synonymous with the village – it wouldn’t be Christmas without them basically. Find out about visiting Castleton at visitcastleton.co.uk
3. Candlelit Christmas tours at Haddon Hall
This Tudor and Medieval manor house is one of the finest stately homes in the Peak District and at Christmas the house looks truly stunning with tasteful decorations to compliment its interior.
The Christmas Candlelit Tours offer a unique way to explore the house. Taking place on 14th Dec, 15th Dec, 20th Dec, 21st Dec and 22nd Dec 2022 at 7.15 pm and 7.45 pm.
Candlelight Tours offer the opportunity to experience the Hall in a totally different way. Enjoy a warming glass of mulled wine and a fragrant mince pie before the roaring fire in the Banqueting Hall, before setting off with your guide to explore the rooms in all their festive beauty, softly lit by flickering candlelight. Enjoy the seasonal decorations as the lights on the Christmas trees gently twinkle and are reflected in the latticework of the windows. There’s no better way to enjoy the Hall and to capture the mood of the season! Find out more and book tickets here: haddonhall.co.uk/events/event/candlelight-tours
4. Free Advent Trail at Kedleston Hall
Christmas at Kedleston has lots to offer with fun for all the family – refreshing walks around the estate, meet Father Christmas, the beautifully decorated hall and their free Advent Trail.
Bring along the family and for the advent trail. This free festive trail will run outside within the pleasure gardens and up to the viewpoint on the short walk. Find out more about the trail here: nationaltrust.org.uk/visit/peak-district-derbyshire/kedleston-hall/christmas-at-kedleston
Teamtime with Father Christmas is also a chance for the little ones to meet the man himself! On 7th and 14th December 2022, 5pm – 6pm. Breakfast with Father Christmas is now sold out but there’s still tickets for the team time slot if you’re quick. Book online here: nationaltrust.org.uk/visit/peak-district-derbyshire/kedleston-hall/events
5. Peak Rail Santa Trains
Santa and his Railway Helpers invite you to get Christmas off to a magical start by riding Santa’s festive steam train, through the delightful Derbyshire countryside. Join them on their special train at Peak Rail from Rowsley South Station.
As you sit back and enjoy the journey, a variety of professional entertainers will perform for you, Santa and his helpers will make their way through the train and meet everyone at their seat. Santa will have with him a wonderful age suitable gift for all the children.
Children will receive a bottle of water and small packet of sweets each whilst, Adults can sit back and enjoy a Glass of Wine and a Mince Pie (Dietary requirements can be catered for and bottle of water available upon pre-booked request.)
Some dates are sold out but there are tickets still available for various dates, book online here: peakrail.co.uk/steam-train-events-derbyshire/heritage-railway-days-out-peak-district/peak-rail-santa-steam-specials
6. Buxton Opera House Christmas pantomime Sleeping Beauty
Regarded as one of Frank Matchams finest creations, this is one of England’s most beautiful theatres. The annual Christmas ‘panto’ is an always absolute must here! The beautiful Princess is about to celebrate her birthday. The King has banned all spinning wheels from the kingdom, but will this save the Princess from the Evil Fairy’s curse? This Christmas, Sleeping Beauty will provide side-splitting comedy, colourful dance routines and a scary dragon – for an unforgettable Christmas pantomime at Buxton Opera House. Book tickets here: buxtonoperahouse.org.uk/event/sleeping-beauty-2022
7. Experience the Magical Nordic Theme at Chatsworth House this Christmas
Every year Christmas in the Peak District is not complete without a visit to Chatsworth House, which transforms itself into a magical wonderland with the most fantastic decorations – and each year the theme is different. This Christmas step inside Chatsworth House and be magically transported to the frozen realms of the far north! Travel through scenes inspired by famous Nordic fairy tales; the White Bear, the Little Fir Tree, the Snowdrop and the Teapot. Collect postcards on your journey, each featuring popular tales from Nordic children’s authors, including Hans Christian-Andersen, alongside photographs of items from the Devonshire Collections. Tickets are still available you can visit for Christmas at Chatsworth from 5th November 2022 – 8th January 2023. Book tickets online for your date / time slot here: chatsworth.org/events/christmas
8. Christmas at Thornbridge Hall
There’s lots to see this Christmas at Thornbridge Hall.Christmas Afternoon Tea (yes!) is served from 18th November – 23rd December 2022 and you can enjoy Christmas-themed sandwiches, cakes and treats accompanied by a pot of tea or coffee. You can make it extra special by adding a mulled wine or Prosecco if you wish; advance booking is strongly advised. Christmas House tours take place 18th November – 23rd December 2022; commencing with mulled wine and mince pies in The House Bar, this super-Christmassy, fun, and interactive House Tour takes in the splendour of The Hall and its stunning decorations and costs £15 per person. Book online for either of these events at thornbridgehall.co.uk/christmas-at-thornbridge
9. Christmas fun at Matlock Farm Park
Christmas fun days take place on 26 & 27 November, 3, 4, 10, 11, 17, 18 & 19th -23rd December 2022. 10.30am – 4.30pm each day, enjoy a day of Festive Fun at Matlock Farm Park. As well as all the usual animal and playtime fun of the park, there will be complimentary children’s Christmas crafts, Meet the elf around the park and join in with the Christmas Treasure Hunt. More info here: matlockfarmpark.co.uk/whats-on
Breakfast with Santa! On 3, 4, 10, 11, 17 & 18 December 2022. Your day will start with a group welcome from Santa and a delicious breakfast served in our Garden Room Cafe. The big man in red will also come along to visit your family while breakfast is being eaten. Each family will then be taken by Santa’s elf to try out the Naughty-or-Nice o’meter, before visiting Santa in his grotto to chat all about your Christmas wishes – children will of course receive a lovely gift too! The event starts at 9am prompt, when breakfast will be served. Including visiting Santa, the event will last up to 1 – 1.5 hours and farm park entry for the remainder of the day is included in this ticket, when you can enjoy Christmas crafts and bags of animal and playtime fun! Book tickets here: matlockfarmpark.digitickets.co.uk/event-tickets
Santa’s Grotto! On 27 November, 3, 4, 10, 11, 17, 18, 19-23 December 2022. Meet Santa, his beloved Mrs Claus and their elf for a special experience. **Pre-booking strongly advised. Separate farm park entry tickets are required in addition to Santa’s Grotto ticket. Time slot is for arrival time only, not length of the experience. Please ensure you arrive no later than 15 minutes before the end of the time slot. Start by writing a special Christmas letter to Santa and post it in our North Pole post box. Go with our elf to try our Naughty or Nice-o-meter to find out where you sit on Santa’s list! Book tickets here: matlockfarmpark.digitickets.co.uk/event-tickets
10. Go Christmas shopping
The Peak District has a vast range of amazing independent shops across its towns and villages and you can get your hands on some original gifts and produce unique to the Peak District itself such as Charlottes Chocolates, Bakewell Pudding and Wild Olive. Hot spots for great indie shopping are Bakewell, Leek, Buxton (Cavendish Arcade in particular) and Ashbourne – homewares, antique and vintage, locally produced cosmetics, hand made jewellery, paintings and tasty local food and drink produce.
11. Christmas Carol Concert at Bolsover Castle
Join in the Christmas celebrations and enjoy carols sung by a fantastic Chesterfield Philharmonic Choir in the stunning surroundings of the Riding School. Singalong and enjoy the muisic – t’s sure to get you into the festive spirit!
Taking place on 15th December 2022, 7pm – 9pm. Book your tickets online at english-heritage.org.uk/visit/whats-on/bolsover-castle-carol-concert-15-dec-22
12. Go behind the scenes at Hardwick Hall
Not a Christmas event, but if you fancy doing something a bit different this December, the Conservation Experience with Breakfast at Derbyshire’s stunning Hardick Hall sounds great.
13. Take a refreshing walk on Boxing Day over Chrome or Parkhouse Hill
Having eaten as much Christmas food as physically possible, nothing beats a walk in the countryside on Boxing Day to perk you up again. Chrome and Parkhouse hills are a lovely scenic spot to take in the vistas of the Pack District. In Buxton we’re lucky enough to have beautiful walks right on our doorstep and you can make the most of it to walk off that Christmas pudd!