The season to be jolly is nearly upon us, and Somerset is going full steam ahead with Christmas. Festive venues serving lashings of mulled cider? Tick! As are enchanting Christmas lights trails, Christmas markets, theatre shows, carol concerts and a whole host of Yuletide events. I’ve rounded up best of what’s on in Somerset this Christmas, so you can maximise the festive feels.
Use the table of contents to skip ahead, or browse through the post for inspiration. There’s so much on, you’re bound to find something you fancy near you. Be sure to check back regularly as I’ll continue to update the post with this to do in Somerset this Christmas, do let me know if you’d like your event added to the list.
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Ice rinks and winter skating in Somerset
Clarks Village ice rink
2023 dates: 9 November-7 January
Get your skates on! Returning for a second year is Clarks Village outdoor, under-cover ice rink, featuring real ice. Look out for quiet sessions as well as parent and toddler sessions for wobbly starters. Penguin and seal skating aids will be available for little ones, as well as bob skates to help guests stay steady.
When you show your ice skating tickets (and/or receipt), you’ll get access to some exclusive brand discounts at Clarks outlet shopping.
Icescape Tropicana, Weston-super-Mare
2023 dates: 7 November-7 January (except 10 November & Christmas Day)
The UK’S largest undercover winter ice rink returns to the Tropicana! The rink features real ice and each skating session is 45 minutes long and the ice rink is (manual) wheelchair accessible. Enjoy the thrill of the rides (including a Christmas rollercoaster and bungee trampolines), indulge in festive treats, and meet beloved mascot, Pippen the Penguin.
Somerset Christmas events 2023
Christmas lights trails in Somerset
Make the most of the nights drawing in with the most joyful of winter events – twinkly Christmas lights trails! A number of attractions in Somerset will be bringing a little bit of festive magic into our lives over the Yuletide season with their outdoor Christmas events – expect neon illuminations, dazzling foliage and glittering light displays! Here’s my round-up of Somerset’s best Christmas lights 2023.
Carols by Candlelight Concerts, Wells Cathedral
2023 dates: 19, 20, 21 December
Share in this treasured tradition for an unforgettable celebration of Christmas within the awe-inspiring walls of Wells Cathedral.
10am-8pm, 26 November 2023
Taunton’s WinterFest is a jam-packed day of festive fun with live music acts and performances, funfair rides, a Christmas market, charming Yuletide characters and the big Christmas light switch-on happening at 6pm. Santa will be enjoying the festivities too!
Festive fun at Montacute House
From 25 November–1 January (excluding Christmas Eve and Christmas Day).
Discover nine reindeer hidden around the house and garden, then explore the house – the ground floor will look beautifully festive. You’ll find trees twinkling with lights, and tables ready for glorious Christmas feasts.
Christmas at Tyntesfield
2023 dates: 3 December-2 January
Soak up a Victorian Christmas atmosphere inside Tyntesfield house as the Gibbs family and servants set about their festive preparations. Look out for a roaming Father Christmas, Christmas horse and carriage rides (£4 per person per ride, book on the day at front of the house), local choirs crooning Christmas classics in the chapel, a festive audio trail, plus seasonal Sunday markets for a spot of festive shopping.
A Country Christmas – Dunster Castle
2023 dates: The castle and gardens are open 10am-4pm at weekends throughout December and daily from 16 December-1 January. The Stables Shop, Watermill Tearoom, parkland and car park are open daily.
Soak up the festive atmosphere at beautiful Dunster Castle, decorated for Christmas the way the Luttrell family – who owned the castle for 600 years – would have enjoyed back in the day. Expect rooms festooned with garlands, using flowers and foliage foraged from the gardens, resplendent Christmas trees, games, dressing up, seasonal treats and knitted robins hidden for your seeking pleasure!
For buckets of fresh winter air, download one of the guided walks on the National Trust’s Dunster website and explore 15 acres of gardens, natural play area.
Mendip Activity Centre Twilight Tobogganing
2023 dates: 3 November-2 January
Mendip Activity Centre are running their popular Twilight Toboggan sessions this winter. Pop on your free santa hat and shimmy to festive music in between swooshing down slopes dusted with snow (from a machine) and glittering fairy lights. Afterwards, head off along an illuminated path to a canopied woodland clearing for marshmallows, hot chocolate, s’mores and sparklers around the campfire.
Coates English Willow Christmas Sculpture Trail
2023 dates: 2-22 December (closed Sundays)
Coates English Willow has been weaving Festive Christmas Sculptures for you to find. Choose a wordsearch or picture quiz with a prize at the end.
2023 dates: (2-3, 9-10, 16-17, 20-24 December)
Festivities at Puxton Park includee gingerbread decorating with Mrs. Claus, Santa’s Grotto, a Christmas Tree Village with a Wish Granting Tree and an Elves’ workshop in addition to the adventure park attractions, animal handling and indoor soft play.
Christmas Search and Rescue Trail, Fleet Air Arm Museum
2023 dates: 16 December-1 January
Calling all budding aviators! Your mission is to help Aircrew Officer Pilot Ellie Copter find Rudolph and his friends in the galleries at the museum and rescue Christmas. Follow the Christmas Search and Rescue Trail around the museum and answer all the clues.
*Carols under Concorde is now SOLD OUT*
Christmas by Candlelight, Dunster
1-2 December 2023
Dunster by Candlelight sees the atmospheric village turn back the clock to medieval times and illuminate its streets with lanterns.
Avoid the stress of parking and travel in style to Dunster on the West Somerset Railway. One train service will run per day and depart from Bishops Lydeard at 4.30pm, returning from Minehead at 8.30pm (a park and ride service will connect passengers with Dunster).
Vee Dub Christmas Cruz, Weston-super-Mare
2023 dates: 10 December
See over VW vans, all lit up for Christmas, raising money for The Grand Appeal – the official charity for Bristol Children’s Hospital. The procession starts at the Queensway Retail Park around 5.15pm, and heads out around Worle, along the Boulevard and up to the seafront, down past the pier and on to Marine Parade.
Carols around the bandstand, Vivary Park Taunton
6.30-8pm, 11 December 2023
Taunton Deane Male Voice Choir and The New Horizon Singers will be belting out some festive numbers accompanied by Taunton Concert Band. Bring a torch or even better, a lantern!
Somerset Rural Life Museum
Visit Somerset Rural Life Museum to paint a plate for Santa (22-23 Dec)and follow the festive trails. A reindeer trail will run everyday around the museum (£1, 1-30 December), feast in the farmhouse kitchen to discover how to make traditional Christmas food (19 December), get creative with Christmas crafts and activities (20-21 December), follow the interactive ‘The Twelve Days of Christmas’ (£1 per child, drop in, 28-30 December), sup mulled apple juice or cider warmed on the range (28 December), meet the animals from Second Chance Petting Farm (29 December), get ready for 2024 by making a calendar to hang on your wall (30 December).
Avon Valley Christmas experience
2023 Dates: 2, 3, 9, 10, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23 December
In addition to the usual indoor play barn, Dinosaur Valley, Mini Jeep Dino Safari, Jurassic Jump Pillows, Chair-O-Planes and farm animals, plus magic, song and dance in Santa’s Show.
Join a race against the clock to get Rudolph feeling fully festive-ready for Christmas Eve. and if you’re brave enough, knock on the Grinch’s door and see if you can make his heart grow! Hop on The Elf Express Miniature Steam Train, pick a gift from Santa’s toy shop and see how Mrs Claus makes gingerbread people, before creating your own reindeer food (beside resident reindeer) to take home.
The Post Room will be open for you to send a letter (or use the Avon Valley SMS – Santa Messaging Service) to send any last minute requests to Father Christmas.
And if all that wasn’t Christmas enough for you, Avon Valley are also hosting a Christmas Lights Trail (not included within your ticket but can be purchased separately) and a festive family fun fair – phew!
Somerset Christmas lights switch-on 2023
Yeovil Christmas lights switch-on, King George Street
4-7pm, 18 November 2023
Join together to switch on the town centre Christmas lights and illuminate the Christmas tree in the Quedam. With acts starting from 4.30pm there will be live music and dance from local and professional groups, family-friendly creative activities in Yeovil Art Space, seasonal delights at EPS Yeovil and a craft market offering you the chance to start your Christmas shopping early with local produce and hand made crafts from local artists.
Christmas lights switch-on and lantern parade, Frome
24 November 2023
Celebrate Frome’s Christmas lights switch-on and ignite your Christmas spirit with a lantern procession through the town centre, carols, festive food stalls and Father Christmas in his grotto.
South Petherton Christmas lights switch-on
1.30-4.30pm, 27 November 2023
An afternoon of Christmas fun with music from Stoke-sub-Hamdon Brass Band in the village square, crafts and games in Blake Hall, decoration-making in St Peter and St Paul church, a craft fair at The Brewers Arms and businesses open late. Lights are switched on at 4.30pm.
Bruton’s Christmas Evening, High Street
4-8pm, 7 December 2023
Enjoy early Christmas magic in Bruton High Street – see the Christmas Tree switched on at Crown Green at 5.30pm, browse food, drink and craft stalls and watch Father Christmas and his Elves arrive, abseiling down from the top of the Chapel! Santa will then take up temporary residence in his Grotto.
Christmas Candle Making Workshop, Bishops Palace, Wells
10am-1pm, 2-5pm 3 December
Join Becky Webster to make and decorate two Christmas candles. Enjoy cake, make a Christmas orange pomander and enjoy the 14 acres of glorious gardens. All ingredients and kit are provided, but it is recommended visitors bring along an apron as it can get messy!
Christmas Wreath-making Workshop, Bishop’s Palace
11am-2pm, 9 December 2023
Get your festive creative juices flowing at this wreath-making workshop led by Crafty Gardener, Louise Bastow. Design Christmassy constructions with lots of traditional greenery, plus dried and foraged material. £55
Children’s Christmas Workshop, Ilminster Arts Centre
10am 9th December 2023
This family-friendly workshop teaches adults and children how to dip and dye a candle or two to give as a Christmas gift for someone special. There’s also the chance to make a mosaic star to hang on the tree. Suitable for 5+.
Christmas Theatre in Somerset
The Wizard of Oz, Tacchi Morris Arts Centre, Taunton
2 December 2023
Enjoy Dorothy, the Scarecrow, Tinman, and Lion and Toto too as they seek the Wonderful Wizard to find that there’s no place like home!
Robin Hood Panto 2023, Tacchi Morris Arts Centre, Taunton
8-21 December 2023
Expect all of the usual characters in this spectacular panto, packed with magic and music, and lots of comedy fun!
A Christmas Carol, Taunton Brewhouse
5-30 December 2023
Go on a thrilling journey to the past, present, and future with brand new musical, A Christmas Carol. It’s a cold Christmas Eve and a young girl’s train from Taunton to London is delayed. While aboard, she escapes the chaos of the crammed carriage by opening the pages of a mysterious old book and a magical (family-friendly) journey begins.
Inspired by Charles Dickens’ classic tale, and adapted for the stage by the acclaimed Pleasure Dome Theatre Company, this joyous retelling will fright and delight audiences of all ages. Expect enchanting puppetry, original music, and a sprinkling of Somerset magic, directed by award-nominated theatre-maker Scott Le Crass.
The Shaggy Dog Tale, The Front Room
2023 dates: 15-30 December
Weston and the surrounding areas are full of tales that no doubt have morphed and changed over time. Did you know, there’s a woman from Uphill who sank a fleet of Viking ships and a Watchett resident who broke the arm of a pirate king with a spade?
Raise a glass to rowdiness and rebellion with an adult musical comedy fuelled by local myth and legend, featuring live music and storytelling.
A Winter’s Tail, The Front Room, Weston
2023 dates: 16 December
The snow is falling and the solstice is approaching. Ratty is getting ready, but will her friends make it through the snow to the winter woodland revels? Led by Sidney & Tristan from The Last Baguette, A Winter’s Tail is a fun, relaxed play-along theatre adventure – expect excitement, adventure, play-acting, games, music, a splattering of silliness and lots of snow!
The show lasts 1 hour including a stay and play session, and is created for ages 2-6 and their grown-ups. Younger and older siblings welcome.
Snow Baby, Front Room, Weston
2023: selected dates 20-30 December
Join the makers of The Selfish Giant and The Sorcerer’s Apprentice for a magical children’s show – a story of castles in the air, of weathering the storm, and dreams coming true in the most unexpected of ways.
Five Little Christmas Monkeys, Taunton Brewhouse Theatre and Arts Centre
16-20 December 2023
The makers of the smash hit Dogs Don’t Do Ballet, Little Angel Theatre, bring the song “Five Little Monkeys” to life. Packed with bold, engaging puppets and music from dub reggae and funky rapping to classical ballet.
Learn to love counting during a riot of music, numbers, and clowning in a madcap monkey puppet zoo! With puppets designed and made by award-winning artist and illustrator Frances Barry, and music composed by Rex Horan of the Neil Cowley Trio.
The Snow Queen, The Ammerdown Centre, Radstock
3pm, 11 December
Michael Whitmore’s enchanting adaptation of Hans Christian Andersen’s magical tale conjures up a captivating mix of fantasy, fable and love triumphing over evil in this ever-popular Christmas classic.
Sleeping Beauty, Moorlight Theatre Productions, Meyer Theatre, Street
13-17 December 2023
Brought to you by the multi-award winning Moorlight Theatre Productions, this is a story of a young girl named Sunshine, who is forced to live with her three fairy Godmothers to protect her from the evil fairy, Meganwy until her eighteenth birthday. Along the way she meets a handsome Prince, but will she get her happily ever after and stay away from the spinning wheel?
Cinderella pantomime, Octagon Theatre, Yeovil
8 Dec 2022 – 31 December 2023
With hilarious comedy, beautiful sets and costumes, and fantastic music, Cinderella promises to be one of the funniest and most spectacular pantomimes ever! Don’t be late for the ball, get your tickets today!
Jack and the Beanstalk, The Blakehay, Weston-super-Mare
2023 dates: 9 December, 6-8.30pm
Bowtie Productions present family pantomime Jack And The Beanstalk this festive season. Will good conquer evil in this epic adventure, or are they doomed for a life of misfortune? Packed with spectacular musical numbers, massive LOLs and audience participation.
Dick Whittington Pantomime, The Playhouse, Weston-super-Mare
2023 dates: 8-31 December
Join Dick Whittington and his dependable cat on their daring journey for fame and fortune, through Ye Olde London and onto the high seas in this rags to riches tale.
The Living Spit’s A Christmas Carol, Blakehay Theatre, Weston
2023 dates: 4-21 December
The Blakehay Theatre and Living Spit bring you ‘the alternative’ Christmas show. Hilarious, tender, idiotic and musically virtuosic by turns, Living Spit’s two-man adaptation of A Christmas Carol promises a feast of festive foolery that’ll have you splitting your sprouts with laughter.
Where to see Santa in Somerset
Visit Father Christmas, Taunton Brewhouse
2023 dates: 1-23 December
Father Christmas is setting up a residency at Taunton Brewhouse for the first time!
Step into a sustainable winter forest, create a craft, and meet the magical man himself in his Somerset workshop. Each ticket will include a small creative gift, something to get arty with at home.
Santa’s Grotto, Museum of Somerset, Taunton
2023 dates: 2-22 December
Enjoy a magical Santa experience in the Museum’s festive grotto this Christmas.
Weston Grotto, We are Super Studios, The Sovereign, Weston-super-Mare
2023 dates: Join Santa and his elves every Saturday and Sunday in December.
✨ Explore the Elf Workshop
✨ Unleash your creativity with cool Christmas crafts
✨ Dive into the holiday spirit with Christmas games
✨ Enjoy playtime with toys, building blocks, teddies, snow, and snowball fights
✨ Don’t miss a visit to Santa in his charming grotto for Christmas stories and a special gift.
Thursdays are extra special with Supper with Santa:
🎉 Party it up with the elves, Santa, and Action Pussycat at an interactive disco.
🎮 Engage in fun Christmas games and frolic in the snow.
🍔 Feast on a meal from Burger King.
Father and Mother Christmas at Bishops Palace, Wells (SOLD OUT)
Make your way through the decorated rooms of The Bishop’s Palace to find Mother and Father Christmas’ grotto. Each family will have exclusive time with Father and Mother Christmas and receive a special Christmas gift.
Father Christmas at Wookey Hole Winter Wonderland
2023 dates: 16, 18-21 December
Wookey Hole decorate their famous caves with thousands of fairy lights for their festive season, turning it into a magical twinkling grotto. Guided tours take you through the spectacular caverns and then you’re free to explore above ground, where you’ll find a giant gorilla, fairy garden, animatronic dinosaurs, festive 4D cinema, circus shows, soft play, Victorian-style arcade and as part of the Christmas festivities, a chance to meet Santa and his elves.
2023 dates: 10 December
See Santa arrive by helicopter, then meet him and his elves in his grotto and sit in his sleigh. In addition there are open cockpits, facepainting, a seasonal fayre and charity stalls.
Somerset Rural Life Museum, Glastonbury
4 and 19 December
Friendly elves will guide you to Santa, who will be waiting in the Farmhouse Kitchen.
After a chat, and a gift from the man in red, you can explore the museum and have a go at the special Christmas Trail. The Grain Store Café will be open serving festive treats.
At the end of your visit, make a Christmas decoration to take home with you!
Christmas at Cheddar Gorge and Caves
Selected dates from 19 November
Did you know that it’s not just cheese stored in Gough’s Cave, but lots of toys too! Father Christmas will be stopping off to ensure his operations are up to scratch and has decided that while the final tweaks are made, he will invite you behind the scenes to marvel at the magic that is Christmas at Cheddar. You’ll see elves checking destinations, busy sorting letters and making toys.
Visit Father Christmas at Sheppy’s House of Cider
2023 dates: 2-10 December, (10am-4pm – weekends, 3-6pm weekdays)
Father Christmas is getting into the Somerset spirit and greeting families in his Sheppy’s Oak Vat grotto! Children will receive a gift and activity pack and afterwards, can visit the donkeys in the Old Barn, take a winter stroll around the orchards or pop by the Christmas Craft Fair (2-3 December).
Cadbury Garden Centre Santa Grotto
Santa’s coming to Cadbury Garden Centre, The Elves are eagerly awaiting your arrival and busy making a gift for you to collect on the way out. Meet Santa in his grotto, go for Christmas afternoon tea or try the breakfast with Santa experience!
Weston Pier Santa Grotto 2023, Weston-super-Mare
2023 dates: 2-3, 9-10, 23-24 December
Meet the jolly man himself a quarter of a mile out to sea (depending on tide times of course) and receive a special Christmas gift.
For a Santa visit with a different festive flavour for your little mischief maker, head over on the weekend of 16-17 and 21-22 December when Mr Grinch is doing a takeover! This green grump will be posing as the magical man himself in an attempt to steal your Christmas spirit!
Santa’s grotto at Museum of Somerset
On arrival, Santa’s elves will guide you to the magical grotto to meet with Santa, and each kiddo will receive a special gift. After seeing Santa, pop over to the museum for more Christmassy fun following the Reindeer Trail (£1). The café will be open serving hot drinks and seasonal treats.
Cost £6 per child (to include a gift from Santa)
Christmas Grotto at Space Adventurers, Taunton
Enjoy a magical 2.5 hour experience hosted by one of Santa’s elves. Create your own reindeer food, decorate gingerbread snacks and make a Christmas decoration to take home. Santa Claus will give each child a personalised meet and greet (thanks to a special form), there’ll be snow ball fights with the elves, a special Christmas Lapland Post-Office Pop up, plus a human-size elf on the shelf.
Kids will also be able to have a go on the soft play when not visiting the grotto.
Sister soft play, Ocean Adventurers, will also be hosting a similar Christmas grotto in Cheddar.
Santa’s grotto and Grinchmas Party, Chicagos, Yeovil
2023 dates: 16 December
Pop along to meet Santa on 16 December (1-2pm, 2-3pm). Tickets (£10 per child) include unlimited soft drinks, and there will be breakfast baps available for adults. Or meet Santa and his elf in a Christmas grotto on 17 December, from 3pm-6pm. Cost will be £10 per child and include a gift.
For fans of The Grinch, there’ll also be a festive Grinchmas party from 1-3pm on 10 December 2023. Tickets include a meal, drink and a gift.
Tea with Santa, Yeovil Railway Centre
2023 dates: 2 & 9 December
Kids can meet Santa (and receive a present), join in with games, music and tuck into a kids’ buffet.
Adults £5 each, children £10 each. NB There is no train ride with this event.
Santa Specials, Yeovil Railway Centre
2023 dates: 3, 10, 16, 17, 21, 23 December
Travel in a decorated heritage carriage on a steam locomotive (about 1/3rd mile long), before making your way to the ex GWR Transfer Shed, to meet Santa and receive a gift.
To add to the festive spirit there’s also award-winning Christmas displays to marvel at and the chance to dance and play in falling snow.
Adult tickets include a mince pie and hot drink.
Christmas Santa trains in Somerset
Santa Express West Somerset Railway
2023 dates: 2-24 December
Step aboard the Santa Express and take an unforgettable journey through West Somerset’s winter woodlands on a round trip from Bishop’s Lydeard to Williton. Inside festively-decorated heritage carriages, Santa’s presents (made from 100% recycled materials) and refreshments will be waiting at your table and he’ll be along for the ride to make sure you’ve found them! West Somerset Railway also run a Winter Lights experience with an illuminated train.
Magical Christmas Experience, Somerset Reindeer Ranch, Yeovil
2023 dates: 2-3, 9-10, 16-17, 21-23 December
Head off on a magical, elf-led guided tour to see real-life reindeer and have story time with Santa. This one-hour experience involves a (Narnia-esque) journey through a magical wardrobe, luxury hot chocolate, reindeer feeding (£2 per portion) and a gift for youngsters under 16.
Christmas markets and shopping in Somerset
Old Rowlands All Year Christmas Shop, Cheddar Gorge
“Oh I wish it could be Christmas every daaayy”… Well, it is at Old Rowlands! Immerse yourself in the festive surroundings and pick up Christmas decorations of all shapes and sizes.
During the festive period, there are lots of Christmas markets in Somerset to potter around, from famous, long-standing annual events, o smaller village hall affairs. All promise unique, local, handmade crafts, festive treats and oodles of Yuletide cheer. I’ve put together a list of Christmas markets in Somerset taking place this festive season in order of when they’ll be happening.
Farm shops in Somerset
There’s something so lovely about pondering with an expert over a cheese or hunk of meat for a special occasion. At Christmas, Somerset’s glorious farm shops are brimming with festive goodies, tasty gifts, stocking fillers and scrummy delights for your Christmas feasting. Here are 18 of the best farm shops you’ll find in the county.