As the winter chill begins to bite, there are plenty of wonderful things to warm the heart and cheer the spirits in Shropshire this Christmas.
With festive fairs selling traditional crafts and seasonal food, historic homes dressed for Christmasses past, magical Santa kingdoms and Yuletide music and street festivities, there’s something for all the family to enjoy right across the county.
Here are ten of our favourite Shropshire Christmas events, all of which can easily be visited whilst staying at one of our nearby holiday cottages.
1 Christmas at Attingham
When: Various events, selected times; November 5 – December 24 2016
Where: Attingham Park (National Trust), Shrewsbury SY4 4TW
Details: Discover Christmas traditions old and new, from the 1920s to the present day, as you explore the individually themed and decorated rooms of the Mansion. Escape the Christmas rush with a visit to the tranquil parkland and watch the fallow deer herd being fed. Or indulge in Attingham-made cakes and biscuits in the café and tea rooms while you treat the kids to a traditional visit to Father Christmas (selected dates)! Please check the website for event details.
2 Dudmaston Estate Christmas Craft Fair
When: November 19 – 20 2016; 11am – 4pm
Where: Dudmaston (National Trust), Quatt, near Bridgnorth WV15 6QN
Details: Kick start your Christmas shopping in style during a weekend of festivities at this traditional Christmas Craft Fair. Located in the orchard and courtyards, browse over 70 stalls from local craft and food producers for great gift inspiration in a lovely setting. There’s music and festive fayre to get you in the Christmas mood, and children can make a tree decoration to take home.
3 Ironbridge Gorgeous Christmas Craft Fair
When: November 19 – 20 2016
Where: Enginuity, Coalbrookdale, Telford TF8 7DX
Details: This annual event provides wonderful Christmas present ideas, with items to suit all pockets, from designer creations to locally produced handmade goods. In the festively decked main hall there are exhibits of jewellery, glassware, ceramics, textiles, fine furniture, prints and metal work, all made to the highest quality by local craftsmen. The exhibition also features local food producers selling delicious treats including cakes, chutneys, meats and sweets. Entry includes admission into Enginuity, where children and adults of all ages can have fun.
4 Ludlow Medieval Christmas Fayre
When: November 26 – 27 2016
Where: Ludlow Castle, Ludlow SY8 1AY
Details: One for kids and big kids alike, the Ludlow Medieval Christmas Fayre performs exactly as you’d hope it would, given its location in the grounds of the castle. Aside from the market, which features plenty of local craft and cooking, the key attractions are the Plantagenet Knights’ Tournament, the falconry displays, the carols and (above all else) the wassailing. And if all that isn’t enough to persuade you, there’s Ludlow itself – a treasure of a town set in the rolling Shropshire hills, with great shopping and eating options.
Details: It’s that time of the year again (oh yes it is!) as Shropshire’s theatres are busy rehearsing their much anticipated panto clichés for the festive season. Get set for Cinderella at Theatre Severn, Shrewsbury’s performing arts venue. Between November 30 – January 8, the fairy tale classic starring Brad Fitt promises to be their most magical pantomime ever and has already seen record-breaking sales. Meanwhile Oakengates Theatre @The Place in Telford welcome a comedy legend Bernie Clifton to the stage in this year’s production of Sleeping Beauty from December 7 – 31.
6 Santa Safari at Hawkstone Park Follies
When: December 2 – 23 2016 – selected dates
Where: Weston-under-Redcastle, Shrewsbury SY4 5JY
Details: Young children – and big children – love Santa Safari! Check in for a magical adventure by Land Rover across this historic woodland fantasy. Ride through the illuminated Grand Valley, under the Wishing Arch and up the steep hill to Santa’s spectacular network of caves. Here Santa’s elves will keep you entertained as you wander around the decorated, fairy-lit caverns and tunnels until you finally arrive at Santa’s magical grotto. Every child receives a present and has the opportunity to meet Santa’s reindeer in the Woodland Dell.
7 Much Wenlock Christmas Fayre
When: December 3 2016
Details: Independent shops blend with over 100 eclectic stalls to transform the quintessential market town of Much Wenlock in this atmospheric Christmas Fayre. The narrow streets and church green come alive with bustling stalls, brass bands, choirs and roving entertainers. Check out the donkey rides, children’s entertainment and even a Santa’s grotto, bound to keep the kids captivated. The day ends with a magical candlelit procession and carols in the square together with the switching on of the Christmas lights.
8 Weston Park Christmas Food & Craft Fayre
When: December 3 – 4 2016; 10am – 4pm
Where: Weston Park, Shifnal, Telford TF11 8LE
Details: With over 80 indoor and outdoor stalls, this Christmas Fayre is the ideal place to pick up gifts and indulge in some festive food and drink. Take a ride on the Miniature Railway, tuck into a delicious hog roast or enjoy lunch in the Granary Grill. The House, beautifully decorated for Christmas, will be open to explore and children can follow a trail to learn more about Christmasses past at Weston and the festive traditions of yesteryear.
9 Victorian Christmas at Blists Hill
When: December 3 – 4 & 10 – 11; 10am – 4pm
Where: Blists Hill Victorian Town, Madeley, Telford TF7 5DU
Details: This Christmas, join the costumed townsfolk and experience the atmosphere of a bygone era with an array of traditional celebrations from the 1800s. Festooned with traditional Christmas decorations, browse the shops full of interesting gifts, sing-a-long with the carol singers, listen to a brass band and, of course, visit Father Christmas in his grotto. Seasonal entertainment includes ‘Mr Morton’s Christmas Party’, Christmas songs and stories, Punch and Judy and even a traditional Shropshire ‘Mummers’ play – essentially the pre-runner to the pantomime! Join in the Family Activities Workshop in the Goods Shed where children will be able to try a wide range of traditional activities. Please check the website for more details.
10 Shrewsbury Winter Festival
When: December 10 – 11 2016
Where: The Quarry Park, Shrewsbury SY1 1JA
Details: The town has been full of busy elves this year making sure that you have everything you need to enjoy a sensational Shrewsbury Christmas! The wonderland of Christmas goodies from around 160 exhibitors features the best artisan local foods, drink and handmade crafts. There is so much for the whole family to enjoy, from unique Christmas gifts, carol singing, elf workshops, a winter ale trail, artisan producers, festive food, Big Top circus fun, festive films, brass bands, Christmas tasting trails, mistletoe and even a Christmas donkey called Arthur! So drop in to see them at Quarry Park, enjoy a mulled wine and soak up some Christmas cheer.
Need a place to stay?
Why not treat the family to a relaxing pre-Christmas short break at one of our cosy Shropshire cottages, all within an easy drive of these exciting festive events. An escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life in the glorious Shropshire countryside could be just the pick-me-up you need.