Family Guide to Christmas 2018

Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year! Here at EXPLORE we are at hand to make your hectic Xmas schedule that little bit easier and more fun when tackling the lead up to the Christmas rush with your excited little ones. From pantos, ice skating, films, food, singing and meeting the main man himself Santa Claus, here’s our family guide to all things CHRISTMAS!!!

Liverpool’s Famous Grotto at St John’s Market

Saturday 10th November – Saturday 24th December 2018

St John’s Market, Elliot Street, Liverpool, L1 1LQ

Previously located at the old Lewis’ and following the success of reopening last year, Liverpool’s Famous Grotto returns for the festive period at the new location of St John’s Market. Still showing all the previous magic of the original grotto, be enchanted by the animatronic polar bears and models of the famous iconic landmarks such as the Radio City Tower!

Marking its 139th year in the city, a walk through the winter scenes before meeting Santa himself is one magical experience for all the family.

To enter the magical grotto tickets are priced at £1.00 for adults, £10.00 for children (includes a gift from Santa). The grotto will be open from 9.00am-7.00pm Monday-Saturday, 10.00am-5.00pm on Sundays.


Liverpool Christmas Ice Festival 2018

Saturday 10th November 2018 – Sunday 6th January 2019

Liverpool Waterfront, Pier Head, L3 1DP

The iconic Pier Head has been turned into a magical winter wonderland, with the return of the enchanting Christmas Ice Festival for 2018!

featuring Liverpool’s biggest ever ice slide and a huge covered outdoor rink, the festival allows skaters the chance to glide in style while admiring the stunning backdrop of the world famous Three Graces.

The return will be the third year for the popular festival and offers family friendly fun ranging from funfair rides for both children and adults, pop-up food and drinks stalls to indulge in some mulled wine and hot chocolate as well as some tasty hot roast rolls and scrumptious crepes.

The Ice rink is suitable for all ages and abilities, whether you’re a beginner and require the aid of the cute penguin skate aids to help you along the way, or an expert join in and glide on your blades!  The rink also has a canopy to keep everyone dry whatever the weather may bring.

Seek the thrills of the high speed 30 metre ice run, which is back with three lanes and is set to be the city’s most exhilarating festive ride as racers hurtle down from six-metres above the festival site.

The Ice Jet ride also makes a return following its Liverpool debut in 2017. The only one of its kind in the UK, it features a fantastic sound and light show, giving festival-goers the ride of their life.

The Christmas Ice Festival launched on Saturday 10th November and will run throughout the Christmas and New Year period until the 6th January 2019. So, don’t miss out on some festive activities and lots of icy fun!

For further information visit

Liverpool Christmas Market 2018

Friday 16th November – Sunday 23rd December 2018

St George’s Hall Plateau, Liverpool, L1 1JJ

Nothing screams “it’s Christmas!” more than paying a visit to a traditional Christmas market. This November will see the festivities begin when the Liverpool Christmas Market heads to town on Friday 16th November, giving visitors the opportunity to experience all the glorious sights and Christmassy smells of the most wonderful time of the year.

The event will be offering over 40 stalls and 3 outdoor German style bars for all to shop till they drop while also indulging in some of the finer yuletide treats! There will be a range of hot and cold food on offer, as well as the seasonal favourites including mulled wine, roasted chestnuts and some spicy gingerbread, plenty of choices for both the children and adults to spread some Christmas cheer.

Located at the iconic St George’s Hall Plateau, the warmth of Christmas will be lighting up the city with all the eclectic stalls providing food and arts & crafts from across different continents. Also, a new addition to this year’s celebrations is the brand-new Windmill Bar serving traditional beers, mulled wine and other festive drinks.

The Christmas Market will run until 23rd December, with the traditional festive style cabins dressed in a mixture of garlands and lightings, helping Liverpool create a magical ambience in the lead up to the special seasonal celebrations.

Enchanted at Knowsley Safari

Friday 23rd November – Sunday 23rd December 2018

Knowsley Safari, Prescot, L34 4AN

Be prepared for an enchanted experience when a magical wonderland arrives at Knowsley Safari! For the first time ever, Father Christmas will be heading to the venue, there will also be an enchanting light safari where families can walk through dazzling animal sculptures, street performers to brighten up the dark evenings, fairground rides for plenty of fun!

For the full Enchanted at Knowsley Safari experience children’s tickets cost £14.00 and include entry around the light safari as well as meeting Father Christmas (price includes a gift). Adults are priced at £5.00, under 3s gain FREE entry. To just meet Santa tickets are £6.50. If you would just like to enter the Light Safari the entry cost is £7.50.

Enchanted will be heading to Knowsley Safari from 23rd November- 23rd December and will be open each evening from 4.00pm-8.00pm (last entries at 7.00pm) when booking you will be able to choose a timeslot for meeting Father Christmas.


Meet Father Christmas at Speke Hall

Saturday 24th November – Sunday 9th December 2018

Speke Hall, Garden and Estate, The Walk, Speke, Liverpool, L24 1XD

Visit Speke Hall this festive season and meet Father Christmas! The rooms will be beautifully decorated with handmade greenery garlands and a stunning Christmas Tree will be located in the Great Hall.

The magical family day out includes listening to Christmas carols at Home Farm, lots of festive storytelling and plenty of Christmas trails inside and out! You can even try out some sugar mice making.

Father Christmas and Mrs Christmas will be at the grotto between 10.45am and 4.00pm, with normal admission applies and the cost to see Santa is £4.00, during the Victorian Christmas weekends.


St Luke’s “Bombed Out” Church Winter Wonderland

Saturday 1st December – Sunday 23rd December 2018

Leece Street, Liverpool, L1 2TR

This December the iconic “Bombed Out” church will be transformed into a spectacular Winter Wonderland in the weeks leading up to the festive holidays!

Located at the top of Bold Street, the magical Christmas grotto is set to be the “must visit” experience of the year in Liverpool. Set against beautiful and atmospheric festive backdrops and with lots to explore, families will be escorted by an elf and immersed into their very own Christmas spectacular full of festive characters, workshops, and fun activities.

St Luke’s Church is one of the city’s well-loved heritage sites and the Winter Wonderland will transform its grounds into magical enchanting surroundings, where families can make their way through a whole host of activities which includes a special appointment with Santa during the experience.

Two-hour timeslots are available to book in advance and the Winter Wonderland ticket price includes Santa’s Workshop where youngsters can make their own bauble or Christmas card to take home; art sessions at Mrs Claus’s Art Studio; build and dress up a snowbuddy in hats and scarves in the Snowland; storytelling in Storyland with characters; show off fun dance moves in the Silent Disco; and not forgetting a trip into Santa’s Grotto with a gift and framed photograph with Santa to take home. Adults are also treated to a hot drink and mince pie.

Tickets are priced at £18.99 per child, £12.99 per adult, family ticket £59.99 (2 adults/2children).

Early bird ticket offer – quote SANTA1 when booking for a 20% discount for the first 2 weeks of on-sale, this will be valid for sessions booked for the first 2 weeks on sale. (valid for sessions booked for the first 2 weeks of December only/ excluding weekends).


Story Time with Santa

Saturday 1ST December – Monday 24th December 2018

Liverpool Town Hall, High Street, Liverpool, L2 3SW

Taking place at the scenically beautiful Liverpool Town Hall, Story Time with Santa will be bringing a truly magical experience to the city this Christmas. Offering so much more than your traditional Christmas Grotto, Liverpool Town Hall will be playing host to Father Christmas and his friend Buddy the Elf as they share enchanting stories and some fun sing a song in front of their cosy log fire.

A visit to Story Time with Santa will leave you and your little ones spellbound as each child shares their Christmas wishes with Santa and receives a special gift!

With a maximum of 30 children per story session, be sure to book early for this hugely popular family experience that brings the true magic of Christmas alive.

Each session is approximately 45 minutes with tickets priced at £15.00, two adults per child are able to attend free of charge. The sessions run on the following days at these times:

11.15 am, 12.30 pm, 13.45 pm, 15.45 pm, 17.00 pm, 18.15 pm.

Saturday 1st December
Sunday 2nd December
Sunday 9th December
Saturday 15th December
Sunday 16th December
Monday 17th December
Tuesday 18th December
Wednesday 19th December
Thursday 20th December
Friday 21st December
Saturday 22nd December
Sunday 23rd December

Monday 24th December:

1.15 am, 12.30 pm, 13.45 pm


The Secret Winter Garden at Crotexth Hall

Thursday 13th December – Saturday 22 December 2018

Crotexth Hall and County Park, Muirhead Avenue, Liverpool, L12 0HB

Enter in to a world of enchantment this December when The Secret Garden heads to Crotexth Hall.

The brand-new winter lights event, brought to you by the Lantern Company, will be inviting fun lovers and families to step through a magic doorway and discover what magical illuminated adventures await! Lantern Company, renowned for their extraordinary illuminated events and parades the world over, are back in town with a brand-new illumination’s extravaganza called The Secret Winter Garden – created especially for Croxteth Hall. The event has been made possible by support from Liverpool City Council.

The illuminating extravaganza will be running for 10 nights only and will see the Victorian venue and its stunning gardens transformed into a luminous wintery wonderland to delight visitors of all ages. Visitors can also enjoy a beautiful twilight market, stocked with delicious festive food and drinks as well as unique handmade Christmas gifts and crafts made by local artisans and craftspeople.

And for those wanting to get creative, you can also take part in Lantern Company workshops, where you can make a mini lantern or tree decoration to take home – brilliant activities for the whole family.

Tickets are available now to purchase at the early bird price of £12.00 (plus BF) per adult and £10.00 (plus BF) per child.


Peter Pan

Friday 14th December – Monday 24th December 2018

Echo Arena Liverpool, Kings Docks, Liverpool, L3 4FP

This December will see Leanne Campbell return to the auditorium at the Echo Arena! Following last Christmas’ smash hit Aladdin, Radio City’s starlet Leanne will return as Tinkerbell in this year’s festive spectacular Peter Pan. Also, the cast boasts the ever-popular panto stars Bippo and Danny Mills playing Mr & Mrs Smee.

Leanne played the Slave of the Ring last year and said, ‘I am delighted to be returning to the Auditorium at Echo Arena this Christmas. The audience there were brilliant for Aladdin. I know that we have some big things in store for everyone with this panto and I can’t wait to show you all Neverland.’

Bippo is a circus performer and theatre funny man who has toured Europe, entertained Prince Charles and gathered a loyal group of fans the ‘Bipsters’. Danny Millls is a hilarious actor who has played panto dames up and down the country. The show is set to the funniest panto in Liverpool, with the trio set to have the venue full to the rafters with laughter!

With tickets priced from £12.50, we suggest you get sprinkling that magical fairy dust and book tickets now!


Kids Christmas Cinema

Saturday 15th December 2018

Camp and Furnace, 67 Greenland Street, Liverpool, L1 0BY

Fancy taking part in the most magical Christmas Cinema Experience in the city? Well Camp and Furnace will be bringing a festive event for all the family to enjoy this December, which will be jam-packed full of iconic Christmas films and plenty of surprises!

Experience Frozen and Home Alone like never before seen on the big screen! With unlimited FREE popcorn and lots of Christmas magic, this festive wonderland is the ideal event to kick starts all the family’s Xmas countdown.

Event runs from 12.00pm-7.00pm

Frozen 2.00pm

Home Alone 5.00pm

Tickets are priced at £8.00 (plus BF) per film, under 2s GO FREE.


Christmas Chocolate Parties

Saturday 15th December 2018

The Palm House, Sefton Park, Liverpool, L17 1AP

The Palm House will be holding a special Christmas Chocolate Party for both children and adults to take part in some yuletide fun! Let your little ones become mini chocolatiers and get creative in making their very own chocolate tree decoration and lollipop to take home. With chocolate games and tasting what’s not to love!

Adults will have the opportunity to make their own festive chocolate truffles and lollipops with the professional assistance from a chocolatier from Oliver’s Chocolate Parties. From piping different shapes to experimenting with Salted Caramel, Espresso Martini and Christmas Pudding flavours, let the fun begin!

Children’s Christmas runs 2.00pm & 4.00pm tickets priced at £16.50 per person.

Adults Christmas runs 6.00pm & 8.00pm tickets prices £22.00 per person.


The Snowman and Sing-along with Santa

Saturday 15th December – Sunday 16th December 2018

Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, Hope Street, Liverpool, L1 9BP

Liverpool Philharmonic family concerts are set to showcase that little bit of Christmas spirit this December. If you’re a massive fan of the popular Christmas film favourite The Snowman, you and your little ones are about to receive an early present! The Philharmonic will be showing the seasonal screening accompanied live music by the Orchestra, who’ll be sharing a whole stocking full of musical treats.

The main man himself, Santa will be making an appearance, leading the sing-along too! So get ready to sing at the top of your lungs in an enchanted experience.

Tickets are priced from £15.00 to £29.00, children are invited to have a go on a variety of instruments from 30 minutes prior to each concert at the Instrument Petting Zoo.


Waterfront Wonderland – Sunday Lunch with Santa

Sunday 16th December 2018

The Venue, First Floor, Royal Liver Building, Pier Head, Liverpool, L3 1HU

Join in the festivities and get into the Christmas spirit this December and indulge in a Sunday Lunch with Santa! Taking place on Sunday 16th December, the iconic Royal Liver Building will be transformed into a stunning Winter Wonderland and is welcoming friends and families to join them for a fun filled afternoon.

Royal Liver Building is giving you the opportunity to enjoy a delicious three-course meal with Santa Clause as well as offering an array of festive fun and interactive games! Taking place from 1-4pm, guests can enjoy a mouth-watering three-course feast, enjoy live performances and a sing along with the beautiful Snow Queen, and play games with Santa’s Elves. In additional to this, little ones can enjoy a Christmas disco, write their very own wish lists to Santa, and pay a visit to him in the grotto and go home with an early Christmas present worth £10. The Venue at Royal Liver Building has also teamed up with Radio City’s ‘Cash for Kids’ and will be giving £5 to the charity for every gift given out at the event, with a variety of goodies available.

Tickets are priced from £29.95 per adult, £12.95 per child, children under 2 go FREE. Advance pre-bookings only. To book please call 0151 559 1950.


A Christmas Carol

Wednesday 19th December – Thursday 20th December 2018

St George’s Hall, St George’s Plateau, Liverpool, L1 1JJ

This December St George’s Hall concert room will play host to A Christmas Carol, performed by Charles Dicken’s great-great grandson, Gerald Dickens. The stunning Concert Hall is the setting for this fabulous festive show, with the furnishings of this stunning place taking you back to yester year adding to that “Dickens” feel.

Gerald Dickens, a talented actor and gifted storyteller, brings to life the wonderful characters in this timeless classic. Following a sell-out performance last year, don’t miss out on booking tickets to avoid disappointment!


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