There’s nothing better than seeing children’s faces light up with the magic and wonder of Christmas, and this year the Suffolk Coast is brimming with festive offerings to help you make this season one to remember!
From dazzling outdoor light trails and merry rides on a decorated steam train, to travelling back in time to experience the charm of Christmases past, there’s so much to do to help children, young and old, get into the Christmas spirit.
Read on for our pick of this year’s unmissable festive events for children – including, of course, some ideas for where you might meet Father Christmas himself!
Africa Alive Christmas Experience
This year’s Christmas Experience at Africa Alive will see children embarking on a magical Elf Safari around the zoo. They’ll delight in helping the Animal Rangers round up Father Christmas’s elves as they journey together towards the Christmas Grotto. There they will meet Father Christmas in his Wild Workshop and watch as dreams come to life!
Tickets include all-day entry to the zoo, making this an excellent choice to get together with the whole family this Christmas.
Find out more at https://www.zsea.org/reserve/tickets/africa-alive-christmas-experience
Easton Farm Park Christmas Extravaganza
Easton Farm Park’s Christmas Experience is jam packed with festive fun!
Precious memories will be made as children decorate cookies with Mother Christmas in her kitchen and take part in Christmassy crafts. They’ll get a chance to meet the farm animals in Santa’s Stables and will enjoy heading off on the Winter Wonderland Walk.
All this as well as meeting the Big Man himself and getting to visit the Toy Store to choose their very own gift!
Running on selected dates in December, visit https://www.eastonfarmpark.co.uk/ to book.
Ride The Lights at East Anglia Transport Museum
A chance to lose yourself in a nostalgic trip aboard the vehicles of yesteryear where you can ‘Ride the Lights’ at East Anglia’s Transport Museum. Help your children imagine Christmases long ago aboard the historic trams, trolleybuses and trains at the museum, all fully decorated for Christmas!
The event runs on selected weekends during December from 2pm – 6pm. We recommend staying until it is dark to see the lights at their most magical.
No pre-booking is required, and all rides are included in the admission price.
For more information visit https://www.eatransportmuseum.co.uk/ and look out for further updates on their Facebook page.
Christmas at Landguard Fort
Enjoy the chance to explore the splendid festively themed rooms on the special trail at Landguard Fort, before then visiting Father Christmas in his grotto where all children will receive a special gift.
With hot chocolates, mulled wine and mince pies; craft activities and seasonal music; snow machines and twinkling lights - we’re sure everyone will leave the Fort full of festive cheer.
On selected December weekend dates, visit Christmas https://www.landguard.com/ to book.
Christmas at Christchurch Mansion
Christchurch Mansion has gone all out for Christmas this year! With a Christmas Tree Festival, a Christmas Trail, and opportunities to meet the Big Man himself!
In a setting steeped in 500 years of history, you can feel a part of the local Ipswich community at the Christmas Tree Festival at Christchurch Mansion. This wholesome annual event invites families to view the glorious Christmas trees on display, each decorated by local community groups who worked together to produce their own decorations.
Once you’ve voted for your favourite Christmas tree, make sure you have time to explore the beautiful mansion, where you can step back in time discovering different time periods from the Tudors right through to the Victorians.
Little ones will be kept occupied by the ‘Where’s Woolly?’ Christmas Trail which will encourage them to explore the period rooms on their hunt to spot the 12 Woolly Mammoths hiding around the Mansion. If they spot them all, they’ll receive a special prize at the end of their adventure!
On 10 December, the whole family can have their own private experience with Father Christmas himself, followed by a Butler’s tour of the Mansion. Not only will you get to enjoy tea and cake with Santa, each child will receive a personalised gift. Alternatively, you can join Father Christmas in his grotto on 16 December.
For more information and to book tickets, visit https://suffolkmuseums.org/event_category/christmas/
Christmas on the River
For families looking for some festive fun with a difference, why not grab a spot on the Orwell Lady for their special Christmas trip? You’ll journey along the River Orwell – one of the most scenic and historic rivers in the country – and return full of Christmas cheer. Everyone will enjoy the festive tunes and Christmas decorations, and all children will be given a special gift. Mulled wines and hot chocolates will be available to buy on board.
As this event is a one-off - taking place on 17 December, booking early is recommended! Visit https://orwelllady.co.uk/ to book.
The Snowman with Live Orchestra Snape Maltings
There's a jam-packed programme of festive events taking place at Snape Maltings this December. A Suffolk Coast tradition, experience the excitement of Father Christmas as he sails around the narrows of the winding River Alde and disembarks at Snape Maltings Quay on 23 December.
Afterwards, continue making your Christmas traditions by enjoying the classic experience of The Snowman with live orchestra in the Snape Maltings Concert Hall. This journey through the magic of winter features the professional artists of the Suffolk Ensemble and a chorus of talented young singers. Finish the day with a delicious Snowman Afternoon Tea in the River View Restaurant!
To book tickets to The Snowman and The Snowman Afternoon Tea visit https://brittenpearsarts.org/events/the-snowman
Yule at Sutton Hoo
Step back in time and experience Christmas as it would have been in centuries gone-by at National Trust Sutton Hoo.
Immerse yourself in the High Hall exhibition and find out how the people buried at Sutton Hoo’s Royal Burial Ground might have celebrated this time of year. Discover how the objects discovered at Sutton Hoo may have linked with Yule traditions, see what the feasting table may have looked like and share your own traditions on our special Yule tree.
Tranmer House will be decorated for the festive season. Head into the sitting room to see how Sutton Hoo archaeologists celebrated in the 1980s, find the runes on the Yule Feast Quest Family Trail before following the path to the Royal Burial Ground to discover special lanterns inspired by Anglo-Saxon designs and patterns from 1,400 years ago.
Yule events run every weekend from 25 & 26 November and daily from 26 December to January 1 and 6-7 January 2024 from 10am - 4pm. For more information and to book visit https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/visit/suffolk/sutton-hoo/yule-at-sutton-hoo
For more Christmas events on The Suffolk Coast, check out our Christmas What's On Guide!