Obviously Christmas is winter’s headline act but there’s plenty more going on in the months ahead. Step into our Santa-free zone and check out these wonderful winter events.
Pier Head, Liverpool
9th November to 5th January
Stay: YHA Liverpool Albert Dock
Back for the third year running, Liverpool’s Christmas Ice Festival has taken over the city’s iconic waterfront. The Pier Head has been transformed into a magical winter wonderland, with an ice rink, giant ice slide, family friendly fairground rides and, of course, a whole host of Christmas market stalls. For the adrenaline junkies amongst you, don’t miss the Ice Jet – a white-knuckle ride which reaches speeds of up to 80mph. Get your fill of Christmas thrills and top it all of with a mulled wine in the Apres Bar. Perfect.
Lord Mayor’s Show, Central London
Stay: Any London YHA
800 years ago bad King John granted the City of London the right to elect its own Mayor on the condition that every year the newly elected Mayor leave the safety of the City and travel upriver to Westminster to swear allegiance to the crown. Today’s ceremony continues that tradition and retains all the pomp and pageantry of centuries past. At 9am a grand flotilla of Thames barges will travel to the City. The Lord Mayor’s Procession will begin at 11am and involve 7,000 participants, 20 bands, 150 horses and hundreds of vehicles. Going out with a bang, the day will end with a spectacular fireworks display from 5.15pm.
Kendal Mountain Festival, Kendal, Cumbria
Stay: YHA Ambleside
Join thousands of outdoor enthusiasts, industry experts and celebrated explorers at the UK’s biggest mountain festival. It’s innovative, it’s inspirational and it promises three eye-opening days of film, literature, art, discussion and specialist sessions. The Basecamp Village at the brewery arts centre is a dedicated social hub where you can watch expos by leading outdoor brands, listen to speakers for free and relax with refreshments.
London Illustration Fair, Bargehouse, Oxo Tower Wharf
29th November- 1st December
Stay: Any London YHA
For £12.50 you can spend the day in the company of finest illustrators in the land. Spend the weekend enjoying a packed programme of workshops, talks, music and murals. It’s a great opportunity to discover emerging graphic designers, pick up a few prints or purchase an original gift for that someone who has everything.
Top Tip: By booking in advance you will receive a discounted ticket at £10.
Burning the Clocks Festival, Brighton
Dates to be confirmed
Stay: YHA Brighton
This community event brings people together from every faith and creed to mark the winter solstice. A 2,000-strong parade of luminous lanterns processes to the beach; once there, people pass their handmade paper and willow creations into a huge bonfire before watching a spectacular fire show and firework display.
Jorvik Viking Festival, York
15th- 23rd February
Stay: YHA York
Spend February half term in the company of Eric Bloodaxe and friends. Jorvik’s huge Viking Festival is the largest in Europe and is a city-wide celebration of this fascinating period in York’s past. Throughout the week visitors will have the opportunity to hear from reenactors, watch dramatic hand-to-hand combat and walk around the authentic living history encampments. The festival attracts 40,000 visitors a year and most events are free.