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It’s Twixmas time: family events in the UK between Christmas and New Year

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Powered<span id= by Guardian.co.uk” width=”140″ height=”45″ />This article titled “It’s Twixmas time: family events in the UK between Christmas and New Year” was written by The Guardian, for theguardian.com on Monday 26th December 2016 06.30 UTC

ENGLAND

Lighting up Blenheim Palace, Oxfordshire

In a first for Blenheim Palace, its beautiful gardens will be illuminated to create a magical after-dark trail. There will be seasonal themes in each section, including a fire garden, fibre-optic lawn displays and a fairy-lit arbour – all with a backdrop of ancient woodland and the palace’s baroque architecture.
• 26 December–2 January, adults £16, children £10, blenheimpalace.com

The Winter Trail, Leeds Castle, Kent

This Beatrix Potter-themed trail leads visitors across the castle estate, with clues to collect along the way. The castle is currently celebrating the Beatrix Potter tales with a range of beautiful displays and scenes based on the stories, including a lifesize interpretation of Mr McGregor’s Shed.
26 December-2 January, adults £24.50, children £16.50, leeds-castle.com

Ice skating, Winchester Cathedral

The ice rink at Winchester Cathedral

Now with a see-through roof, the ice rink outside Winchester Cathedral is an all-weather affair, without anything to ruin the beautiful views of the building while you glide across the ice. There’s also a rink-side cafe serving prosecco, mulled wine and mince pies.
• 26 December–2 January, adults £10.95, children £6.50-£8.95, winchester-cathedral.org.uk

Celebrating Christmas past, Geffrye museum, London

The charming Geffrye museum becomes even more so over the festive season, when its range of period living rooms get a seasonal makeover, providing an example of how Christmas was celebrated in households through the ages. • Open until 8 January 2017, closed Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day, free entry, geffrye-museum.org.uk

Yorkshire sculpture park, Wakefield

Open daily, apart from Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, the Yorkshire sculpture park is another family favourite, especially for those who love the great outdoors. In winter the park can be particularly picturesque: when it snows, the artworks stand out even more, as if they’ve been laid out atop a tranquil white carpet.
Free, ysp.co.uk

Ride the Dazzle ferry, Liverpool

Decorated by the “godfather” of British pop art, Sir Peter Blake, the Dazzle ferry is the result of an a eye-popping project to adorn a working Mersey ferry in multi-coloured dazzle paint of the kind used to camouflage ships in the first world war. An on-board exhibition will tell passengers more about the history of dazzle paint. The Dazzle ferry (previously known as Snowdrop) operates from 26-31 December, with a reduced service. If the weather is bright, there’s no better way to enjoy the Liverpool skyline.
merseyferries.co.uk

Christmas at Hogwarts, Leavesden, Hertfordshire

Hogwarts’ Great Hall dressed for Christmas.
Hogwarts’ Great Hall dressed for Christmas. Photograph: Warner Bros Studio Tour

Warner Bros Studio Tour has had a seasonal makeover, giving Harry Potter fans the chance to see Hogwarts – as well as other sets and props – in winter; and learn how the film production team made ice and and snow that never melts.
Until 29 January 2017, open dates include 27-31 December, adults £35, children £27, wbstudiotour.co.uk

Elizabethan Christmas, Hampton Court Palace, London

Award-winning playwright Elizabeth Kuti has written four specially created theatre scenes for the palace, which use live drama, music and performance to create an immersive festive story visitors can dive into as they explore. Join the royal cooks as they rush to make Tudor desserts and find Queen Elizabeth I and her court in residence for the yuletide festivities.
Until 1 January 2017 (closed 26 December). Scenes take place at 11am, noon, 2pm and 3pm. Adults £18.20, children £9.10, hrp.org.uk

Christmas at Kew, London

If you haven’t already had a chance to experience Christmas at Kew, the festivities continue until 2 January, with beautiful illuminations across the gardens, Victorian fairground rides and food stalls.
Until 2 January, adults from £16, children from £10, kew.org

SCOTLAND

Magicfest Christmas Special: Collection of Wonders, Edinburgh

Kevin Quantum will be hosting the Magicfest Christmas special
Kevin Quantum will be hosting the Magicfest Christmas special

Bored of Christmas television? The Magicfest Christmas Special at the George Square Theatre hopes to keep the family entertained with a blend of thrilling magic and comedy, hosted by Penn and Teller-trained magician-scientist Kevin Quantum.
27-30 December, adults £18, children £14, magicfest.co.uk

Edinburgh’s Christmas

Already a magical city, Edinburgh will be even more sparkly over the festive period with a six-week season of entertainment in the city centre. The Christmas market will be running throughout Twixmas, as will the circular ice-skating rink in St Andrew Square.
edinburghschristmas.com

Aberdeen Christmas Village

In Union Terrace Gardens, beneath the Christmas tree gifted by its twin city of Stavanger, Aberdeen holds its festive market, with an ice rink maze, fairground, live music and festive stalls.
• Until 8 January, aberdeenchristmas.co.uk

WALES

Zipworld, Snowdonia

Bounce Below in North Wales
Bounce Below in North Wales. Photograph: Oli Scarff/AFP/Getty Images

Not one to do on a full stomach, but certainly a place to work up an appetite, most of Zipworld’s various high-octane attractions are open throughout the Twixmas period: these include Zipworld Velocity – the longest zip line in the world – and Bounce Below, an underground trampolining experience.
Prices and opening hours vary, zipworld.co.uk

Cardiff Winter Wonderland

With a clear-span roof to keep the rain (or snow!) off, the Cardiff ice rink is a great place to go to get the family moving again post-roast. The roof is lined with sparkling lights, creating a magical environment for skaters.
Until 3 January, adults £9.50, children £6.50, cardiff-events.com

Dambusters walk, Powys

It’s a movie classic, and usually gets a Christmas showing, but now you can learn about the story of the Dambusters outside of the living room, with this four-mile morning guided walk in the Elan valley, which includes the remains of the dam used for tests before the infamous raid. Even if you can’t make the guided walk, the Elan estate is open every day of the year apart from Christmas Day, so it’s a great place to note for a Twixmas stroll.
• 28 December, 10am-1pm, free, elanvalley.org.uk

NORTHERN IRELAND

Walk the Giant’s Causeway, Antrim, Ulster

Mist coming in over the Giant’s Causeway
The Giant’s Causeway. Photograph: Alamy

An iconic part of Northern Ireland’s heritage is the Unesco-protected natural wonder of the Giant’s Causeway. The visitors’ centre is open daily (apart from 24-26 December) and, of course, the iconic basalt columns and coastal path are open all year around.

nationaltrust.org.uk/giants-causeway

Visit the Titanic, Belfast

The world’s largest Titanic experience is open all year around (apart from 24-26 December). The family attraction stands at the historic slipways where the Titanic was built and has nine interactive galleries, as well as other exhibitions about the famous ship.
• Adults £17.50, children £7.25, titanicbelfast.com

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