Low-cost (and free!) festive days out in East Anglia

There’s nothing I love more at this time of year than filling up my weekends with festive fun. There are so many fantastic events taking place around East Anglia this year that I could easily double- and triple-book myself on most dates in November and December. That said, I’ve come up with a ‘must do’ list if you want get into the festive spirit, so read on to find out my tips for Christmassy days out in East Anglia this year…

Winter wonderland

If you fancy a festive – and completely free! – day out with the family in December, be sure to visit the New Hall Vineyards Christmas weekend in Purleigh. This twinkling winter wonderland is open for just two days on the 2nd and 3rd December and Santa will be in his grotto! Kids can get involved with crafting their own masks, and the adults can sip on something warm at the rustic mulled wine bar. Amazingly enough, the whole event is free but you’re welcome to leave a donation to New Hall Vineyards’ chosen charity to spread some love to those in need. Wrap up warm, and make sure you enjoy a sneaky tasting of their fabulous wine while you’re there!

Wreath Making & Christmas Crafts

One of my favourite places to visit in the run up to Christmas is Blackthorpe Barn. It’s not only the place where I can choose sparkling new decorations and a fresh Rougham Estate Christmas tree while sipping on mulled wine, it’s also home to the Best of British Crafts event. Each weekend from 11th – 17th December, a new array of crafts are on display including art, ceramics, knitwear, jewellery, glassware, sculpture, metalwork, leather and many, many more. There’s plenty of free parking and you can buy a season ticket for just £7 so you can go back to experience different crafts each weekend. And while you’re at Blackthorpe Barn, why not take part in one of their seasonal workshops? Forage for foliage and learn to make your own wreath, then use up any offcuts to make a table decoration or a kissing ball in the ‘waste not’ workshop afterwards. Make wire gifts or scented candles, lino-print your own cards and make crafts with the kids. There’s even a cocktail masterclass so there’s definitely something for everyone in the festive workshop calendar – plus, you’ll be ready to concoct the perfect G&T for your new years party! 

Christmas Markets

Whether it’s a cool craft and curiosities market at Old Jet on the 2nd December, a family-friendly Christmas market at Jimmy’s Farm or a bustling traditional Christmas Fayre at Bury St Edmunds, it’s well worth visiting a festive market in the run-up to Christmas. There’s no better way to get into the festive spirit this month, and I’m going to try to visit as many as possible to soak in the atmosphere. The added bonus is that you can pick up some unique, handmade gifts from local producers while you’re there, saving you from the nightmare of shopping on the high street at this time of year! In my opinion, there’s nothing better than strolling through a festive market with a cup of hot chocolate (Baileys optional) warming your hands.

Christmas Lights

Surly the big Christmas lights switch-on has got to be the most exciting event in any town at this time of year? Obviously, there are just too many to list here, but have a look on your local town website to find out about switch-on events near you. These are usually completely free evenings out that the whole family can enjoy. Of course, you’ll need to wrap up warm as you’ll be outside for most of the event, but it’s such a lovely feeling to come together as a community to sing carols and celebrate the start of the festive season. The excitement during the build-up to the count-down still gets me every time! Most town Christmas lights are turned on from this week onwards (and many of the famous London streets are already illuminated if you want to take a trip to the capital to view some very impressive displays) so have a quick look online and find the date of your local Christmas lights switch-on today. Please share any other fun, festive days out you can think of in the comments below. What do you love to do at this time of year? Any seasonal events that you just can’t miss? I’d love to hear what you like to get up to in the run-up to Christmas 🙂

2 Responses

  1. Oh I know what you mean, I’m the same! And just imagine how excited the little ones will be to go into the Christmas barn at New Hall! 😀

  2. I love Blackthorpe Barns. Elveden is my fave festive day out, music playing elves, reindeer and big fluffy dogs pulling your tree to the car. I’m going to try and go to New Hall vineyard this year though, those decorations are amazing, I was like a big kid in that barn!

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Cassie is a freelance writer with a Masters degree in Lifestyle Promotion Studies and is trained in Personal Money Management. She loves to ‘get the look for less’ so regularly shares thrifty-living advice, DIY interior design ideas and low-cost recipes on her blog.

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