Our selection of great family activities this December. Words: Jessica Johnson
1. Have yourself a Cornish Christmas
Rick Stein, Paul Ainsworth and Nathan Outlaw lead a stellar line-up of chef demonstrations as the Padstow Christmas Festival returns with entertainment, stalls, Santa runs and all the usual trimmings (padstowchristmasfestival.co.uk).
2. Follow the festive trail
Snape Maltings’ epic festive programme features farmers’ markets, a live orchestra, song, dance and a visit from Santa Claus himself, plus a winter trail to keep little ones entertained in nature (snapemaltings.co.uk/whats-on).
3. Banish plastics
Don your gloves and do your bit as part of Essex Wildlife Trust’s Big Green Beach Clean. The two-hour guided litter-picking starts at 11am and covers the beaches of the Naze (essexwt.org.uk/events/2019-12-05-big-green-beach-clean).
4. Herald Hogmanay
Goodness gracious, great balls of fire! If you’re looking for a unique way to see in 2020, then the Stonehaven Fireball Ceremony is definitely one for the bucket-list (stonehavenfireballs.co.uk).
5. Catch the harbour lights
In 2017, the fishermen of Filey built a giant Christmas tree from crab and lobster pots to celebrate the local fishing heritage. Join this year’s big switch-on when the ‘Fishtive’ tree is festooned in lights, plus there’s fun and refreshments for all (discoveryorkshirecoast.com).
6. Walk with sea views
Isle of Wight
Work off that Christmas lunch with a bracing four-mile guided walk across Tennyson and West High Down. Spot some winter birds and learn how the landscape has been formed over millions of years. The walk is free, but booking is recommended – call 01983 741020 (visitisleofwight.co.uk/whats-on/winter-guided-walk-p1765831).
7. Wrap a handmade Christmas
29 November-1 December
Sip on mulled wine and stock up on artisan and handmade goodies at the Deepdale Christmas Market; three vast festive marquees under the wide open skies of Burnham Deepdale (dalegatemarket.co.uk/christmas-market).
8. Taste the sea
Sample delicious smoke-roasted organic salmon and smoked dulse seaweed while discovering the inner workings of a micro-smokery on this tour of Ballycastle’s North Coast Smokehouse in Co Antrim. Tours run every Thursday, priced £10 for adults (visitcausewaycoastandglens.com/whatson/smokehouse-tour-taste).
9. Walk in a winter wonderland
Hundreds of twinkling Christmas trees from across the world will light up Bournemouth’s prom and beyond – joining open-air ice-skating, Alpine markets, live music and entertainment as part of a festive extravaganza (christmastreewonderland.co.uk).
10. Stay sea safe
Calling all sailors and seafarers! Brush up on essential water safety as part of a one-day Sea Survival course in Colwyn Bay, covering medical issues, search-and-rescue techniques and preparation for survival (ocean-discovery.co.uk/sail-training/rya-sea-survival).
See more coastal activities to try here.