1. Winter Wonderland

There’s a magical atmosphere in Nottingham’s Old Market Square, and plenty to keep children entertained for a great day out. Browse the quaint market stalls to take in the festive sights, sounds and scents or warm up with a non-alcoholic mulled cider, hot Vimto or tasty hot chocolate. Glide around on the outdoor skating rink, have a spin on the observation wheel and more.

Winter Wonderland is open daily from Tuesday 7 November to Sunday 31 December 2023.

2. Newstead AbbeyNewstead Abbey

The grand Newstead Abbey looks especially majestic at Christmas. The expansive grounds are worth a visit in themselves, with winding paths, stepping stones and secret hideouts to explore in the Japanese Gardens.

Newstead Abbey Park is open all year round during the week 10am–5pm, while the Historic House is open weekends and school holidays 12pm–4pm.

3. Highfields Park and Lakeside Arts

Magic, mystery, and merriment await you at Lakeside Arts! Time-travelling magicians Morgan & West crash into Christmas with their 'Massive Magic Show'. Expect gawps, gasps, and guffaws in this relentlessly funny and fantastical magic-filled extravaganza. Fun for all the family, everyone will enjoy this utterly splendid (and totally silly) Christmas extravaganza! You can also catch The Boy Who Cried Wolf at Lakeside Arts from Saturday 9th - Sunday 31st December.

And why not make a day of it with a refreshing winter walk around Highfields Park? Enjoy a stunning view of the Trent Building, catch the birds on the lake, and get a picture with the Chinese Guardian Lions! You can even pick up a hot drink from the Lakeside Arts cafe to keep you warm.

4. Panto

A trip to the panto is always a highlight of the festive season, and in Nottingham you’re spoilt for choice of brilliant productions to get your festive fix of slapstick and all-round silliness. Have a ball at Dick Whittingtonboo, hiss, laugh and cheer to your heart's content at Cinderella, or take a trip to the Motorpoint Arena Nottingham for a live production of Peter Pan: The Arena Spectacular!

For our ultimate round-up of Pantos and other Entertainment this festive season, click here.

5. Thoresby Park

The extensive grounds of Thoresby Park cover over 1000 acres of rich unspoilt English countryside, with a range of facilities and attractions open to the public all year round. Visit the Victorian Courtyard and you'll find working crafts people, shops, licensed restaurant and coffee shop, and the acclaimed Gallery featuring regional, national and international artists.

Car parking is £3.00 for a full day. You can also purchase an annual season pass for £40 with a £10 security deposit from the Visitor Centre, making it a great value day out. Thoresby welcomes dogs and their responsible human friends and there are disabled parking and electric charging points.

Thoresby Park may be closed on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. In 2022 they were open on Boxing Day and New Year’s Day 10am – 2pm. Please check with the venue before you travel.

6. Wollaton Hall and Deer Park

Set in five hundred acres of spectacular gardens and parkland, Elizabethan mansion Wollaton Hall is great for a wintery wander in the grounds to blow away the cobwebs and get some fresh air. Batman fans might recognise the historic hall as the setting for Wayne Manor in the 2012 film, The Dark Knight Rises, and though there may not be any bats, there’s plenty of critters to discover in the Natural History Museum at Wollaton Hall, from birds, bugs and beetles to a gorilla and giraffe. Over the Christmas period you can enjoy a light trail around the formal gardens, where the trees and bushes will be adorned with lights and decorations. Booking is essential for the lights display!

Wollaton Hall and Deer Park may be closed on Christmas Day only and usually operate normal opening hours on Christmas Eve, Boxing Day and New Years Day. All day parking is available from £5.

7. Sherwood Forest

Immerse yourself in the world of Robin Hood with a visit to the legendary Sherwood Forest. Start the day at the new visitor centre, full of ideas and inspiration for your visit, with trail guides and information about our elusive outlaw, or let the children explore the exciting Robin Hood play area before you begin your forest adventure.

They are also hosting a range of fun things to do like Crying Christmas at Sherwood Forest on Saturday 16th December, where you can experience the ancient custom of 'Crying Christmas', the official start of the revelry and festivities in Sherwood. You can also enjoy their The Sheriff Who Stole Christmas Trail from Saturday 16th December 2023 - Sunday 7th January 2024.

The visitor centre is open daily 10am - 4pm, and usually closed on Christmas Day only. Parking is usually just £5 per day for non-members of the RSPB and free for members

8. Green's Windmill & Science Park Green's Windmill

This fantastic, historic site in Nottingham is not just a picturesque mill on a hill – it also boasts a brilliant science centre detailing the life and works of local mathematical genius George Green, full of educational, hands-on experiments which explore electricity, magnetism and light. And the best part? Admission is totally free!

Why not drop into one of their free festive events like Xmas Biscuit Baking on Thursday 28th December? All ingredients supplied!

Green's Windmill is closed on Mondays, Tuesdays, Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Years Day. It is open Wednesday to Sunday, 10am - 4pm each day. No need to book general admission.

9. Nottingham Contemporary

One of the largest galleries of contemporary art in the UK, Nottingham Contemporary hosts regular changing exhibitions of international art, alongside a diverse programme of events, including talks, film screenings, music and performances. Nottingham Contemporary is set in an iconic building, designed by the award-winning architects Caruso St John, in the heart of city centre. It is free to enter and explore, making this a wonderful budget-friendly option for the whole family.

Nottingham Contemporary are closed on Mondays. Their opening times are Tuesday – Saturday 10am – 6pm and Sunday 11am – 5pm. They usually close from Christmas Day to early in the New Year.

10. Escapologic

Gather your tribe together and put your skills to the test at the brilliant Escapologic. Their imaginative and immaculately staged escape rooms are great for bringing together the family - or a gang of mates - working as a team to find the clues, solve the puzzles and make good your escape. Recommended for ages 12 and above.

Escapologic is usually closed on Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Years day, with reduced opening hours on Christmas Eve and New Years Eve.  

11. National Ice Centre National Ice centre

Glide into the exciting world of ice skating at the National Ice Centre in Nottingham. Children under the age of 5 can skate for free in a dedicated Tots Zone to help them grow confidence on the ice at their own pace, with cute ice equipment characters available if they need a little support. Choose from a variety of fun sessions throughout week including family skate and club sessions in the evenings where the lights are turned low and the music up high - great for teenagers. They are also hosting a range of fun festive events including Santa' Grotto and Parties. For the full info, click here!

The National Ice Centre is usually closed on Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Years Day. 

12. Creswell Crags Creswel Cragsl

Walk in the footsteps of ice age man with a wander around the ancient limestone gorge of Creswell Crags. The scenic central lake is great for a stroll, surrounded by high rugged cliffs full of fissures and caves. A 30 minute walk will take you through the crags and around the lake, where you can admire an array of flora and fauna as you go. There's much more to this unique attraction than its natural splendour; the visitor centre and museum is a real hive of activity, with exceptionally informative exhibitions explaining the history of the Ice Age. Explore deeper with an Ice Age cave tour of the largest cave on site, or book onto the Rock Art Tour for the chance to see Britain's only known Ice Age Rock Art. 

The gorge is a public bridleway and is open to walk around year round, via the public paths from Creswell and Welbeck, however please note that midweek in November, December and January, the Car Park and Centre are closed, with no facilities provided. Their Meadow area will also be locked.

13. Rufford Abbey

Rufford Abbey is a great place to get some fresh air and walk off some of those extra mince pies. Admission is free, with just a small charge of £5 for parking, making it a great value day out. Explore what remains of the 12 century Monastery, take a stroll round the lake or let loose on the adventure playground.

They also host the Spectacle of Light each winter; a stunning and extremely popular light display. The magical after-dark adventure is suitable for the whole family, but booking is essential!

Rufford Abbey is usually closed on Christmas Day, Boxing Day, New Years Eve and New Years Day. 

14. The Lost City Adventure Golf 

If the weather outside is frightful head to Lost City for an indoor tropical rainforest experience at this incredible state-of-the-art adventure golf complex, full of interactive features and surprises. The Lost City features two indoor 18-hole courses with state-of-the-art theming, dramatic interactive features and obstacles complete with (simulated) thunder and lightning!

Lost City Adventure Golf is usually closed Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day. 

15. Explore Nottingham's Caves

Nottingham has the UK's largest network of caves - over 800 are hidden beneath its streets. At The City of Caves, you can discover the largest publicly available section of this vast underground network. Enjoy a memorable adventure in history at the heart of this subterranean wonder.

They usually have reduced hours on Christmas Eve, New Years Eve and New Years Day. Usually closed on Christmas Day and Boxing Day. 

Please note: whilst every effort has been made to ensure Christmas opening times are correct where provided, we would advise checking with individual attractions before your visit, especially on bank holidays.  

This blog was written by Claire Jones, and updated by Katherine Taylor, Marketing Executive at Visit Nottinghamshire. Originally published December 2018.


Winter Wonderland - Christmas in Nottingham
Christmas Events
Winter Wonderland

Winter Wonderland is back in Nottingham for 2023.

Newstead Abbey
Historic Site
Newstead Abbey

A beautiful historic house set in a glorious landscape of gardens and parkland within the heart of Nottinghamshire.

Thoresby Park
Thoresby Park

Visit our beautiful park with the whole family to enjoy everything Thoresby has to offer. From our cafe, shops, gallery, museum, extensive estate and variety of events. Parking and admission is free.

Creswell Crags
Historic Site
Creswell Crags, Nottinghamshire

Creswell Crags, in North Nottinghamshire is a limestone gorge honeycombed with caves and smaller fissures. Stone tools and remains of animals found in the caves by archaeologists provide evidence for a fascinating story of life during the last Ice Age between 50,000 and 10,000 years ago. Further evidence came to light in 2003 with the discovery of Britain’s only known Ice Age rock art.

Natural History Museum at Wollaton Hall
Heritage / Visitor Centre
Natural History Museum at Wollaton Hall

Since Wollaton Hall opened to the public in 1926, it has been home to the city’s natural history museum. On display are some of the best items from the three quarters of a million specimens that make up its zoology, geology, and botany collections.

Wollaton Hall and Park
Wollaton Hall - Visit Nottinghamshire

Spectacular Elizabethan Mansion and Deer Park set in the beautiful suburbs of Nottingham. Car parking £3 for up to 2 hours and £5 for the whole day.

Sherwood Forest Visitor Centre & National Nature Reserve
Sherwood Forest Visitor Centre & National Nature Reserve

Home of Robin Hood and once part of a royal hunting forest, Sherwood Forest Country Park covers 450 acres and incorporates some truly ancient areas of native woodland.

Green's Windmill
Green's Windmill | Visit Nottinghamshire

Green's Windmill in Sneinton was built by the father of notable scientist and mathematician George Green in 1807. Today the working Mill is a popular museum and science centre.

Nottingham Contemporary
Nottingham Contemporary

Nottingham Contemporary is one of the largest contemporary art galleries in the UK, presenting free exhibitions, special events, and family activities.

Escapologic Escape Rooms
Experience Days
Escapologic Escape Rooms | Visit Nottinghamshire

Thrills, suspense, mystery and horror await in our incredible rooms! Every locked door in Escapologic Escape Rooms opens on another world.

National Ice Centre
Sports Ground
National Ice Centre | Visit Nottinghamshire

Home of ice skating legends Torvill & Dean, the NIC is the coolest place to skate in Nottingham!

Rufford Abbey Country Park
Country / Royal Park
Rufford Abbey Country Park

Rufford Abbey Country Park is the estate and grounds of a former 12 century Cistercian Monastery and country house.

The Lost City Adventure Golf
Golf Course
The Lost City Nottingham

Start your epic adventure at The Lost City Adventure Golf in The Cornerhouse!

City of Caves
City of Caves

Enter and explore a whole new world in the caves underneath Nottingham city and descend into the dark depths of the original Anglo-Saxon tunnels, meeting real cave-dwellers from its dramatic hidden past.

Christmas Skating at the National Ice Centre
Family Fun
Christmas Skating at the National Ice Centre

The National Ice Centre are excited to reveal their Christmas events and festive skating sessions for 2023!



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