Summer may only just be coming to an end but it’s never too soon to start thinking about Christmas.
There are so many wonderful festive activities within reach of Worcester but you might need to get booking soon to avoid disappointment.
Here are just some of the top picks in Worcestershire.
Webbs of Wychbold – Enchanted Gardens – November 6 to January 2
Despite the cancellation of their popular Santa’s grotto and ice rink, garden centre chain Webbs still has plenty on offer this Christmas.
The Wychbold store will host the Enchanted Gardens which is proving to be one of their most popular events to date.
Head of brand and digital, Sarah Brooks, said: “Tickets are selling well, and we have sold more tickets at this stage than we have done in previous years for other Christmas events.
“Webbs’ Christmas events have become a tradition for many families. We put a lot of time and investment into making our Christmas events really magical and enjoyable for all ages which is why people come back time and time again.
“There is definitely an appetite for events where families can enjoy spending time together after so many months apart. However, many people are still cautious, and this played into our decision to create The Enchanted Gardens.”
The new event takes place in the centre’s Riverside Gardens and has timed entry slots to ensure social distancing.
The gardens have been extended into the woodland and beyond with heavy investment into new pathways and features.
While there is still good availability, some of the opening evening slots and Saturdays nearer Christmas have nearly sold out.
Severn Valley Railway – Santa Trains – Various dates from November 27 to December 24
Severn Valley Railway are bringing back Santa Trains from the end of November after a sell-out year in 2020.
The special services are already 30 per cent sold out with some already completely booked up.
Marketing manager, Dan Shorthouse, said: “Santa Trains have always been popular and are a staple of the Severn Valley Railway calendar each year – many people see Santa Trains as their family tradition.
“In 2020, we changed how Santa Trains operated against previous years with a show at Arley, presents on the train and the use of our unrivalled amount of compartment stock. This proved popular with families.”
SVR are also once again running Steam in Lights along with the introduction of a new Enchanted Express service, which includes narration from Dame Julie Walters.
Smart Trees – Grotto & Caribou – November 27 to December 23
Smart Trees is once again hosting an array of festive activities and typically sees around 250 school children visit each day.
The 20-acre Christmas tree plantation will have reindeers, presents, zip wires, singalongs and more for the schoolchildren to enjoy.
Smart Cut’s Linda Rimmell said: “Most schools book year after year as they say it’s their favourite trip. However last year all schools cancelled due to Covid.
“We are taking school booking this year and they are gradually coming in with teachers a little cautious in case the rules change.
“People like us because we try to keep things as traditional as possible, we provide a wholesome family day out that’s great value for money without being too commercial.
“We are family owned and run with our own children now helping to run the operation, it works because you only get that Magical Experience if you believe and we certainly do!”
Last year the event was fully booked before it was forced to close due to lockdown restrictions.
With a new online booking system, Smart Trees is expected to be even more popular.
Ms Rimmell said: “Usually we see approximately 4,000 children we are hoping for around 6,000.
“Obviously we took a hit last year but thankfully we will be back, and we are planning for an extra busy year so fingers crossed!”
Black Country Living Museum – An Enchanted Christmas & Santa Hunts – Various dates in November and December
A little further afield, the Black Country Living Museum in Dudley will be hosting a pair of unique Christmas events.
An Enchanted Christmas is a Nutcracker-inspired story set in the museum as guests have to help Santa and his elves stop the Rat King from ruining Christmas.
Meanwhile, Santa Hunts are making a welcome return with a brand-new storyline. Visitors will have to search the museum to find festive ingredients to wake up Saint Nick and children will be rewarded with a gift from the man himself.
Grant Bird, head of audiences and communications, said: “Unfortunately, we weren’t able to hold our Christmas events in 2020 due to Covid restrictions and lockdowns.
“Therefore, we’re really looking forward to being able to host a new line up of Christmas events this year for our visitors.
“We’re hoping that our Christmas events will prove to be popular given we weren’t able to share this special time of year with visitors in 2020.”
Tickets for both events will go on general sale from noon on Wednesday September 8 with members able to purchase already.
The museum will also be bringing back Christmas Nights however dates are still to be confirmed.