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Santas Grottos and Things to do this Christmas in Bury St Edmunds & Beyond

Enjoy the magic of Christmas and treat yourself in Bury St Edmunds this festive season...

There's nothing quite like the excitement of children at Christmas, and if you're looking to treat your little ones to a magical Christmas experience then head to Bury St Edmunds & Beyond! 

We've rounded up some of the best Christmas experiences and Santas Grottos for you to enjoy...

Visit our Christmas in Bury St Edmunds Guide for all the festive activities taking place this December!


Entertainment

A Christmas Carol (an outdoor production) - 11th December - 24th December

Theatre Royal, Bury St Edmunds will be presenting a brand-new adaptation of one of the country’s best-loved Christmas stories – A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, adapted by Owen Calvert-Lyons and Ian Jarvis.

Set outside against the beautiful backdrop of The Angel Hotel, where Dickens stayed, this outdoor production will bring the streets of Victorian London right into the heart of Bury St Edmunds. With in-the-round staging and headphone technology, audiences will be able to fully immerse themselves in a Dickensian World...

A wonderful way to end the year in the very spot where many scenes for the film The Personal History of David Copperfield were filmed!

Book now at https://theatreroyal.org/shows/charles-dickens-a-christmas-carol/


Bury St Edmunds Science Fiction and Action Exhibition - 3rd December - 20th January

It wouldn't be Christmas without a Stormtrooper or a Tardis in Bury St Edmunds! The 12th Annual Sci-Fi and Action Exhibition strikes back at Moyse’s Hall Museum with an intergalactic exhibition for all ages.

Discover screen used props, artwork, studio replicas and meet an iconic 80s puppet-baddie!

Celebrating two special Sci-Fi anniversaries as well as cult-classics from the small and big screens. 2020 marks 40 years since Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back hit the big screen. It’s 40 years since Galactica hit homes across the globe. This classic series was a spin-off to 1978’s Battlestar Galactica and we’ll be exploring the franchise’s impact upon popular culture.

For more details visit https://www.moyseshall.org/whats-on/. Open Monday-Saturday: 10am-5pm (last entry 4pm) Sunday: 12pm-4pm (last entry 3pm). Tickets: Standard museum admission charges apply.

Jack and The Beanstalk Live Screening 

It wouldn't be Christmas without panto!

We find ourselves in unexpected times with our great festive tradition of the family pantomime cancelled in many towns and cities across the land. But, riding to the rescue to make sure that panto-loving audiences don’t miss out on this special Christmas experience is Blue Peter legend, Peter Duncan, with his biggest and best 'Here's One I Made Earlier' challenge! 

 Peter, a critically acclaimed Panto Dame, writer and director, has decided to use his own massive back garden to film Jack and the Beanstalk, a socially distanced pantomime, complete with ingenious sets, fabulous costumes and even a real beanstalk! We promise you boos, hisses, ‘he’s behind yous', a sing-a-long song and all the classic panto antics that we love.

Socially distanced and Covid Secure showings at The Apex on the 12th and 13th December. Tickets: Adults £15, Children (Under 16) £9, Keyworkers and Jobseekers £10, Family ticket (3 adults, 1 child or 2 adults, 2 children) £40. Book at https://www.theapex.co.uk/whats-on/

Christmas Markets

The Christmas Emporium at Ravenwood Hall - 5th December - 20th December

Set within Ravenwood Hall's extensive gardens will be The Christmas Emporium - a fabulous, festive day out for the whole family. 

Reminiscent of German Christmas Markets, visitors can get into the seasonal spirit with a variety of stalls offering traditional festive fayre, from roasted chestnuts to mulled wine and unique gifts. The Christmas Emporium is the perfect place to support local businesses and find that something special for under the Christmas Tree, and even choose the perfect Christmas Tree for your home.

The Christmas Emporium will be openSaturdays & Sunday 11am-6pm: 5-6th December, 12th-13th December, and 19th-20th December.

So wrap up warm, enjoy the Festive Al Fresco delights at Ravenwood Hall. 

For more information visit https://ravenwoodhall.co.uk/christmas-emporium

Bury St Edmunds Christmas Markets

Bury St Edmunds market will be open on Sundays throughout December for all your Christmas last minute needs!

It has an excellent food offer which has included fruit and veg, meat and fish with many stalls obtaining locally sourced seasonal produce. In recent years the food offer has increased and now has a selection of food and drink from around the world. Stallholders have extensive knowledge about their produce and happy to sell small and nonstandard quantities.

Not only is there a wonderful array of foods you can also find everything from authentic Italian shirts, Portuguese pottery, vintage clothes and colourful plants and flowers.

Open December 6, December 13, December 20 on The Cornhill and The Buttermarket.

A special Christmas Eve Market will also be held on The Cornhill and The Buttermarket in Bury St Edmunds - perfect for picking up last minute gifts, brussel sprouts, and parsnips!

The final Farmers Markets for the year will take place in December. At markets in Bury St Edmunds on December 13, Lavenham on December 20, Long Melford on December 12, and Sudbury on December 18, run by Suffolk Market Events, you will find a fabulous line up of the region's very best local producers.  Freshly baked local bread, regional honey, homemade pies and savouries, delicious cakes and fudge, Suffolk pork, lamb and beef, fresh fruit and vegetables, vegan snacks, fresh and smoked fish and seafood, sauces and chutneys and lots more. Plus they always have a small number of Street Food stalls and a handful of beautiful, hand made craft stalls.

There will also be Makers Markets in December at Bury St Edmunds on December 13, and at Haverhill on December 12.


Christmas Lights

Christmas Lights in Bury St Edmunds - From 20th November 

The wonderful Christmas lights will be on in Bury St Edmunds for the duration of the festive season from November 20, St Edmund's Day!

See The Cornhill, The Buttermarket, Abbeygate Street, The Traverse, St John's Street, Angel Hill and the arc shopping centre lit up for Christmas while enjoying some Christmas shopping.

The town's main Christmas tree is on Angel Hill and there is another in The Traverse from the local Rougham Estates.

Don't forget to cast your vote in the town’s annual best dressed Christmas window competition, which is being run digitally for the first time. To vote, just download the town's LoyalFree FREE app on your smartphone through your app store. When you vote you will be eligible to enter a prize draw to win one of three Our Bury St Edmunds Gift Cards that can be spent in around 50 different town centre businesses! Voting is open between Monday November 30 and Sunday December 13.  


Santa

Meet Father Christmas at Moyse's Hall Museum - 5th & 6th December

Pay a visit to see Father Christmas at Moyse's Hall Museum, tell him your wishes for Christmas, all before he heads off for his busiest day of the year! Children will receive a free gift! 

Tickets (£6.50 per child) include free admission to the Museum for the paying child. 

Please note: there will be no photo included this year, hence the smaller fee. This is to restrict the amount of staff in the room to allow for social distancing, but Father Christmas is more than happy for you to take your own pictures. 

 Time slots are 10 minutes per family group/bubble and should not exceed 6 people. To book visit https://www.moyseshall.org/whats-on/

Meet Father Christmas at Ravenwood Hall Hotel - 5th December - 20th December (Saturdays and Sundays)

Bring the children to say hello to Father Christmas at Ravenwood Hall Hotel, with all proceeds going to charity!

Saturdays & Sunday 11am-6pm on 5-6th December, 12th-13th December, and 19th-20th December.

Part of the hotel's Christmas Emporium.

Santas Grotto at Dobbies - 5th December - 24th December

Dobbies have been working hard with Santa and his elves to ensure the safety of all the team members and guests when you arrive this year. Santa has selected a range of toys, suitable for different ages. You can preselect an age appropriate gift for your child, however, the exact toy may vary on the day. 

For more information and to book visit https://events.dobbies.com/event-detail/?e=2154&v=63&f=20201201

Breakfast with Santa at Dobbies - 5th - 24th December

Join Santa at Dobbies in Bury St Edmunds at weekends and in the lead up to Christmas (5th, 6th, 12th, 13th, 19th - 24th December) 

The popular family event is back at Dobbies. Not only can you tuck into a delicious breakfast, children can take part in fun, festive activities, get to meet Santa himself and receive a special gift.

Perfect for families with children aged 12 years and under!

For more information and to book visit https://events.dobbies.com/event-detail/?e=2150&v=63&r=v

Meet Father Christmas and His Elves at Nowton Park - 12th & 13th December

Father Christmas and his elves are coming to Nowton Park this year! Visit him in his grotto, listen to his stories and receive a special present.

Book your time slot to visit Father Christmas. Time slots are 10 minutes per family group/bubble of up to 6 people maximum. 

Book at https://www.whatsonwestsuffolk.co.uk/ Tickets £8.

Santas Grotto Online! - 12th - 22nd December

To allow for unforgettable and precious memories to still be created, Blackthorpe Barn will be transporting Santa into a new virtual world, ‘Live’ from his wonderful and wintry grotto, with his elves not far away. 

Youngsters aged between two and nine years old will still be able to meet Father Christmas face-to-face and enjoy the same magical and inspiring experience, albeit virtually. 

Costing just £10 per child, to book simply choose your day and timeslot, enter your child’s details and Blackthorpe Barn will send you a link to connect to the grotto. Gifts from Santa can either be couriered (£6.99) or collected from the barn after 1st December. 

To book visit https://www.visit-burystedmunds.co.uk/whats-on/santas-grotto-online-at-blackthorpe-barn

Post Your Letter to Santa - the arc shopping centre - 27 November - 15 December

Post Santa a letter at the arc shopping centre this Christmas as it hosts Santa’s magical Post Office.

Opening on Friday November 27, Santa’s Post Office provide an opportunity for children to write a letter to the big man himself and send their wish lists to the North Pole. To make this experience extra special, each child will receive a personalised response back from Santa.

The Post Office is open daily between 9am - 5pm for children to post letters and can be found in Charter Square outside Costa. Santa’s Elves will be at the Post Office from 11am until 3pm every Saturday and Sunday from Saturday 5th December until Sunday 20th December, organising the letters and handing out the personalised responses to each child. As Santa is a very busy man, the last day to post letters and receive a reply is Sunday 15th December.


Festive Afternoon Teas

There is nowhere quite like Suffolk at Christmas time and there's nothing as British as an indulgent afternoon tea.

It's been a hard year so what better time to treat yourself and get yourself feeling all merry and bright.

There are many places to enjoy a festive afternoon tea in the Bury St Edmunds area including The Angel, The Dragonfly Hotel, Ravenwood Hall Hotel, The Best Western Priory Hotel, and The Swan at Lavenham Hotel & Spa. With sweet treats including authentic milanese pannetone, mini dark chocolate & kirsch cherry trifle, almond sponge cake with amaretto icing and mulled wine macaroon, these pretty teas will be going, going, scone before you know it.

Arts and Crafts for Christmas

There are some wonderful socially distanced (photo above taken pre Covid) arts and crafts workshops to make Christmas decorations in Bury St Edmunds this year! From wreaths to Christmas calligraphy and from paper chains to Christmas Tree pallets. These workshops will appeal to visitors and locals alike!

Booze & Brushes Christmas Workshops - throughout December

Enjoy a drink or two with friends at this fun paint night at The Apex.

You will be guided through a painting, step-by-step, from start to finish. At the end of the night you can take your very own masterpiece home! This class is for everyone, no experience necessary. All materials included (excluding alcohol). Suitable for ages 16+. 

There are three to choose from:

Snowman Pallet Painting - 3rd & 14th December at 7pm. Tickets: Snowman Pallet £25, Snowman Pallet with lights £30. 

Christmas Tree Pallet Painting  - 10th December at 6.30pm. Tickets: Pallet with lights £30, pallet without lights £25.

Standing Christmas Tree - 17th & 21st December at 6.30pm. Tickets £30.

Book for all Booze and Brushes workshops at https://www.theapex.co.uk/whats-on.

Wreath Workshops - No5 Angel Hill - December 3, 4, 10, and 11

Learn how to make and take home a beautiful door wreath.

All the seasonal foliages and materials needed are included to make a luxurious wreath on a 12” mossed base - you will learn how to bind your greenery to form a green leafy base.

You then get creative.....using whole oranges and limes, slices, cones, ribbons, cinnamon sticks to name but a few. You'll leave the evening with a beautiful door wreath and be the envy of all your friends and family.

Classes run from 7pm. Booking is essential contact Becci 07516418526 or email Botanicallace@mail.com. Cost per workshop: £60pp.

Christmas Calligraphy in The Tipi - 5th December

is delighted to welcome back  for a yuletide treat in their tipi.  

The Weeping Willow's Winter Garden makes for a fabulous setting to get crafty and learn a new skill, while creating Christmas gift tags, sipping on mulled wine and stopping for a nibble on some festive treats from our kitchen. Led by Kirstie from Ink and Flow London.

Each workshop will be limited to 12 guests (2 per large trestle table)  and each guest will have their own station, tools and beginners kit to ensure safe distancing.

This workshop is £50 and includes a mulled cider or hot chocolate, a festive treat to eat and your Ink and Flow Calligraphy starter kit. These beginner workshops take place at 9am to 10.15am and 10.45am am to 12.00pm. Book at https://www.theweepingwillow.co.uk/product-page/christmas-calligraphy

Nowton Park Wreath Workshops - 5th & 6th December

Make and decorate your own Christmas wreath using natural materials collected from Nowton Park. 

Construct the frame from willow and adorn it with freshly cut greenery including holly, ivy, and spruce.  All tools and materials will be provided along with a socially distanced workspace. 

Tickets: £15. Book at https://www.whatsonwestsuffolk.co.uk/whats-on

Christmas Wreath Making - 10th December 

Moriarty's will be hosting a Christmas Wreath making Masterclass with Shida Preserved Flowers on December 10. 

Included is a , wreath making kit, time with a fully trained Shida Preserved florist, cocktail (or hot drinks) and cake!

For more information visit https://www.moriartys.online/wreath-making

Make Yuletide Decorations - 19th December

Celebrate the most wonderful time of the year at Clare Country Park!

Make an exciting selection of festive decorations to take home or to give away as gifts. A range of natural decorations will be on offer to make including wooden button trees, mini wreaths and scented sachets as well as some traditional paper crafts like paper chains and woven hearts.

Ideal for children aged 4-12 and accompanying adults. Groups will be sat in booking groups 

This wonderful event is being subsidised by the National Lottery Heritage Fund and will be run by The Woodland Haberdasher.

Starts at 10am. Free entry but booking is essential.

The Crafty Foxes Kids Christmas Workshop - 19th December

Crafty kids can  join The Crafty Foxes for a crafty morning of fun and make a Christmas Eve plate and a Christmas bauble!

This workshop is for children aged 7+. Simply drop your children off and get some Christmas shopping done in peace and quiet!

Tickets: £15 per child. Tickets can booked at https://www.theapex.co.uk/whats-on/



Want to enjoy Christmas in Bury St Edmunds without the drive home afterwards? Our Places to Stay Guide includes boutique hotels, unique self catering, cosey B&Bs and beautiful glamping spots. Whatever your accommodation needs for the festive season, Bury St Edmunds has it all!

Check out our full Christmas in Bury St Edmunds Guide now!