The festive season is all about family. All across the country parents and children alike are layering up and bundling into cars for exciting days out. If it be walking down your high-street, surrounded by twinkling Christmas lights, or trekking across the frosty ground of a picturesque park, there is something even more magical then usual about spending time with the family at this time of year. However, as all mums know only too well, it can sometime be difficult to appease everyone. It is amazing how quickly that an age-gap of only two or three years between children can suddenly mean they have completely different likes and interests. Moreover, you will undoubtedly have to please Dad as well, even after you have managed to satisfy the conflicting interests of your teens, pre-teens and toddlers. So, to stop you spiralling into a festive funk of indecision, here are three festive days out that the whole family will love.
1. Christmas Party (Cheltenham Racecourse, Cheltenham)
A trip to the racecourse is a British institution and one of our countries proudest traditions. So, why not head down to Cheltenham Racecourse for their annual Christmas Party, which puts a festive twist on this classic day-out. The party's theme this year is 'To Russia with Love' due to the event being held in an authentic Cossack encampment nestled within snow-dusted pine trees. There will be a spectacular performance of Cossack sword dancers before a mouth-watering four-course dinner, which means you won't have to worry about what you're going to cook when you get home. After dinner, there will be more live entertainment with bond dancers and aerialists taking the spotlight. Besides these visual treats, you and the family can dance to your heart's content at the state-of-the-art Disco or whiz around on the dodgems. Moreover, whilst the kids are engrossed with the various activities on offer, Dad can sneak off and place a cheeky bet or two. He can even use the Cheltenham Festival Bets website to get the inside scoop, ensuring that when he returns he will have money to spend on a Christmas treat or two for you.
2. Christmas Market (Frankfurt Christmas Market, Birmingham)
The Frankfurt Christmas Market is the largest authentic German market outside of Germany and Austria in the world. This wonderland of delectable treats, handcrafted gifts and seductive beverages is stretched over an astounding 180 stalls and has been the jewel of Birmingham's festive calendar for decades. Whilst you enjoy a sneaky hot Gluhewein (mulled wine) or a sinful chocolatey Crepe, the kids can sing along with the traditional Christmas choirs scattered throughout the market. Meanwhile, Dad can enjoy a German Bratwurst, perhaps with a cheeky German beer, whilst watching the remainder of your brood whizzing by on the Carousel.
3. A Pantomime (Camberley Theatre, Camberley)
A traditional festive treat, the camp fun of the pantomime has been entertaining families for generations. With engaging performers getting younger children shouting 'he's behind you' with gusto, and subtle saucy gags keeping parents chuckling, this is the definition of all-around entertainment. The pick of the panto-season this year is 'Beauty and the Beast', performed at the historic Camberley Theatre. This pacey adaptation is filled with memorable tunes, striking art-design and powerhouse performances. Whilst Bea Holland's Beast, played with stomping steampunk style, is undoubtedly the highlight of the show, the puppet-creation that is the loveable Gawp will undoubtedly be a firm favourite amongst younger children.