Santa's Grotto

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We know that Christmas and the usual run up to the festive season has changed a little bit this year. Many of the traditional Christmas events, Christmas lights switch on’s and family pantomimes have had to be cancelled, sadly. And, with Father Christmas keeping a safe distance firmly under lockdown in the North Pole, a visit to Santa’s Grotto may well have to wait until next year too.

That doesn’t mean that you won’t be able to enjoy a little bit of yuletide magic, seasonal shopping or festive fun in the Broads National Park this December though……oh no it doesn’t!

To keep up your Christmas spirit, we’ve sought out a few ways for you to celebrate the season, as well as some great gift experience ideas for you and your family to enjoy in the coming year.

Bure Valley Railway Festive Express

Santa trips
The next stop is Christmas with the Bure Valley Railway

Hop on board the Festive Express steam trains at Bure Valley Railway this December. The Festive Express is a one-hour experience from Aylsham which includes a 30-minute steam train ride, Christmas refreshments for all the family, a guest appearance from Santa and a personalised present for each child. The cost is £12.00 per person (adults and children). Festive Express trains are running weekends from 5th December and daily from 19th December, up to and including Christmas Eve. Advanced booking is essential.

Christmas and Winter Warmer Cruises

Broadland charters
Broadland Charters

Broadland Charters will be offering Christmas Cruises and Winter Warmer Cruises throughout the festive season. Celebrate this magical time of year on the Norfolk Broads with family, friends or colleagues (social distancing restrictions permitting). Enjoy mulled wine, delicious festive shortbread and a heated cabin with blankets to keep you cosy. Gift vouchers are also available to use in 2021 for part or full payment of any Broadland Charter cruise, valid for 12 months.

Enjoy a Winter Walk in the Broads

Enjoy a walk in some scenic countryside, such as St Benet's Abbey

There is nothing like a winter walk in the Broads National Park. Many of our local nature reserves remain accessible and we’ve also put together a selection of walking routes for you to download or print out. There are hundreds of miles of footpaths to explore, a number of which are accessible to wheelchairs and those with limited mobility.

Guided Walking Tours

Paul Dickson Bishops-Bridge
Bishop's Bridge in Norwich

Experience the city past and present with a festive amble around historic Norwich during December with Paul Dickson Walking Tours. Choose from a guided tour of Shardlake's Norwich, Norwich on the Dark Side, Norwich: A Black History and Norwich: An Introduction. All tours are between 1.5 and 2 hours and numbers are limited to allow for social distancing. You can also purchase gift vouchers to be used against any tour listed on the website for 2021. More info

Book a cosy break

Stay in a quaint riverside cottage

If you just want to get away over the festive season, we have some of the cosiest and quirkiest places to stay in Norfolk and Suffolk. Choose from a luxury hotel in the heart of the Broads National Park or a self-catering, riverside cottage if you want to really hide away.

Why not spend the holidays planning for 2021, with a unique gift experience in the Broads.

Run Away to Sea for the Day

Take to the sea on Excelsior

What better gift for someone you love than the experience of sailing onboard an iconic piece of East Anglia’s maritime history! Excelsior – a century-old wooden sailing trawler and a much-loved sight off our east coast – invites individuals to join with her crew for a day to experience life aboard an authentically maintained vessel. Guests are given the opportunity to help sail this wonderful old girl or sit back and watch others do it! Refreshments and lunch are provided.

A Daysail gift voucher cost £99. Fixed dates are available from Lowestoft or Ipswich between April-October 2021. Alternatively, why not make a donation to keep Excelsior shipshape? Just £20 donated in your loved one’s name would assist us in maintaining this fine ship for people to enjoy. You will receive a certificate to give on the day and the knowledge that your donation has helped to keep a piece of East Anglia’s maritime heritage afloat for future generations.

Want more ideas?

You can find lots more Christmas events and festive gift ideas from the official tourism websites for: