Christmas, ah here you come again in all your tinsel-wrapped glory. The build-up to the festive season is upon us and in the spirit of embracing the twinkling glamour of it all, we have compiled a list of sparkling events coming up in Suffolk to get you in the Yuletide mood…
Unmissable events to start the festive season include Christmas trails. These ever-popular events show the gardens of some of Suffolk’s best historic houses in, literally, a completely different light.
Festive Outdoor Family Trail at Ickworth Estate
At Ickworth House, it’s 1878, and The Marquess and Marchioness of Bristol are throwing a splendid Christmas party at their home, and you are invited. It’s the event of the season so put on your party clothes for an experience full of festive spectacle and sparkle. Prepare for Victorian finery, lavish desserts and décor galore as you explore the State Rooms and marvel at historic collections while you take in the Christmas splendour. Make sure to pop down to the basement to see how the servants have been preparing for the festivities. And head to the West Wing Gallery to take part in Christmas crafts where you can make festive items to take home with you. Outside, follow the trail, find all ten presents and discover the story of Lady Geraldine, 3rd Marchioness of Bristol. Normal admission charges apply, plus £2 per family for the trail, including members. When – 12 Days of Christmas, 10–21 December, Family Trail, 3 December 2022 to 2 January 2023. Read more
Follow the Christmas Trail at Ickworth (c) National Trust – Warren Page
Illuminated Garden Trail at Helmingham Hall Gardens
This illuminated trail around the historic gardens at Helmingham Hall is back and is bigger and better than before. It truly is a winter wonderland experience, together with mulled wine, s’mores, and toasted marshmallows. There’s also a chance to browse the Stables Shops. When – 18th November – 18th December (not open on Mondays or Tuesdays). Read more
The historic gardens at Helmingham Hall will be lit in a magical display
OH YES IT IS PANTO SEASON
The pantos this year are sure to get you falling around with laughter in the same old-fashioned way they always have.
The Legend of Robin Hood – The Theatre Royal, Bury St Edmunds
The ever-popular pantomime is being presented at the Theatre Royal in Bury St Edmunds, a restored Regency theatre, and only one of eight Grade I listed theatres in the United Kingdom. When – 25th November – 14 January 2023. Read more
Have plenty of laughs and fun at the pantomime in Bury St Edmunds
Goldilocks and the three bears – New Wolsey Theatre, Ipswich
This rock ‘n’ roll panto at the New Wolsey Theatre is a glorious mash-up of pantomime and pop concert and will be a festive treat for all the family. The famous New Wolsey company put on a pantomime that gets you dancing in your seat, singing along and laughing out loud. When – 24th November – 28th January 2023. Read more
Peter Pan – Regent Theatre, Ipswich
Join the boy that never grew up at the Regent Theatre this Christmas, as he flies off on his adventures to Neverland meeting some fantastical characters along the way. When – 16 – 31 December 2022. Read more
Jack and the Beanstalk – Marina Theatre, Lowestoft
This classic pantomime story comes to life with the usual fabulous costumes, stunning sets, along with singing and dancing and, of course, a giant’s handful of panto frivolity. When – 13 December – 1st January 2023. Read more
FOOD, GLORIOUS FOOD
Elvedon Courtyard Farm Shop
The Elveldon Courtyard Farm Shop can be found on the Elvedon Estate on the edge of Thetford Forest. Here you will find everything for a perfect feast along with presents for those foodie-loving friends and family. The children can even book a slot to see Father Christmas in his special grotto in the depths of the Christmas tree forest, watch out for the cheeky elves though as you make your way to see him. Wrap up warm, as this year you can have some festive fun on the roller skating rink. Read more about the Christmas events at Elvedon.
Suffolk Food Hall
Christmas has well and truly arrived at the Suffolk Food Hall on the outskirts of Ipswich, with gifts, decorations, calendars, and of course Christmas speciality foods. Read more
After you have finished your Christmas shopping enjoy a meal at the Cook House at Suffolk Food Hall
Christmas Suffolk Farmers Market, Ipswich
There will be a chance to stock on some festive treats at the Christmas Farmers’ Market held in the Cattle Sheds at Trinity Park, in Ipswich. There will be a special festive feel as you browse over fifty of the region’s very best producers and makers! When – 10th December. Read more
Jimmy’s Farm and Wildlife Park
Give the children a real treat and have breakfast with Santa down at Jimmy’s Farm and Wildlife Park. Indulge in a delicious breakfast and meet Santa or step into the magical grotto and meet the big man himself with his elves and then enjoy a wander around the farm and wildlife park. When – 3rd – 24th December (various dates). Read more
Easton Farm Park
Children will love the chance to visit the Christmas farm animals at Easton Farm Park and to be part of the exciting Christmas experience. They can watch the Welcome Elf Show, make some Christmas Crafts, go on a Winter Wonderland Walk, visit Mother Christmas’ Kitchen, see Santa’s Stables and of course, meet the man himself. When – 3rd – 24th December (various dates). Read more
A Dickensian Christmas at Kentwell
Step back in time to meet a range of Victorian characters at Kentwell Hall this Christmas and see the massive Christmas tree and the dining room, all decorated for Christmas Dinner with magic and songs in the hall. Follow the Days of Christmas Trail through the Gardens and find the animals and garden crafts at the stables. Meet Father Christmas and sing carol around the tree. When – 10th – 18th December (Saturdays and Sundays only). Read more
Go back in time for Christmas fun at Kentwell
CHRISTMAS FAIRS AND MARKETS
Christmas at Valley Farm Flatford and Bourne Valley Crafters Christmas Fair
The idyllic Dedham Vale countryside and Flatford’s picturesque hamlet inspired John Constable to paint his iconic landscapes. This Christmas, enjoy a weekend of festivities as you step into a traditional country Christmas at Valley Farm, the oldest building within the hamlet of Flatford. Enjoy the festive greenery and the cosy log fire and chat with our volunteers as they share stories of Christmas past. There’ll also be mulled wine and mince pies to buy to really help you get in the festive spirit. The Bourne Valley Crafters will return for their popular Christmas Craft Fair in the Granary. A wide range of local artists and craftspeople will be selling their work, so come along to pick up unique Christmas gifts for friends and family. When – 26 and 27 November, 10am – 4pm. Read more
Bury St Edmunds
St Edmundsbury Cathedral will once again hold a Christmas Market Around 40 stallholders from Suffolk and beyond will showcase their products, including baked goods, jewellery and woodcrafts in the beautiful setting of the Cathedral. In addition to the shopping experience, there will be daily entertainment including a very special guest for families on Saturday, 26 November. Free entry. When – 24 – 26 November, 10am and 4.30pm.
A Christmas market is also coming to the arc Shopping Centre in Bury St Edmunds with an exciting line-up of festive market cabins located in Charter Square. Visiting traders will offer a variety of Christmas treats and gifts, as well as festive food and drink. When – 24 November – 22 December.
Blackthorpe Barn, Rougham
Enter into the magical Country Christmas Shop at Blackthorpe Barn and be dazzled with everything glistening to make your home the best decorated in town. Courtyard Café has some delicious homemade cooking and baking to enjoy after seeing the crafts and when you’ve chosen a home-grown tree from the Rougham Estate to take home. When until 22nd December. Read more
Yule at Sutton Hoo
Join Anglo-Saxon living history and re-enactment group Thegns of Mercia as they turn the High Hall exhibition building into an Anglo-Saxon feasting hall. Discover what this time of year meant to Anglo-Saxons living 1500 years ago through the objects they left behind and find out where many of our traditions came from in this special weekend of living history.
Also in December, venture inside Tranmer House to discover what Christmas was like for archaeologists working at Sutton Hoo during the 1980s with our archaeology-inspired Christmas decorations. In the drawing room, enjoy the main Christmas tree with decorations inspired by the objects discovered at Sutton Hoo. Don’t miss the temporary display cabinet to find out how Edith Pretty spent some of her Christmases with extracts from her travel diaries, including her trip to India in 1901, where she watched the sunrise over the Taj Mahal on Christmas Day. When you arrive, pick up a free family activity sheet to see what decorations you can spot and head into the Discovery Room for other free Yule-themed family activities. Normal admission charges apply but no additional event charges. When – Yule with Thegns of Mercia, 3–4 December 10.30am–5pm, Tranmer House decorated for Christmas, weekends in December. Read more
See the Yule decorations at Tranmer House (c) Robin Pattinson
Many of the events we have talked about need to be booked in advance so please check before travelling and keep checking for any new events. Merry Christmas!