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Peak District Christmas 2023: the ULTIMATE guide

Peak District Christmas 2023: the ULTIMATE guide

This page is updated regularly as events are announced. If you would like to feature a relevant Peak District Christmas event that is not listed, please email us.

Christmas is a magical time wherever you are in the UK. But a Peak District Christmas is very special. The quaint little villages decorated in festive cheer feel like you’ve stepped in to a Dickens novel, and if there’s a light dusting of snow on Mam Tor and the Kinder Plateau, those escarpment views are even more spectacular. Plus the charming local pubs feel even cosier with the holly framing the roaring log fires, and we mustn’t forget the impressive decorations and markets at Chatsworth House.

If you’re planning to visit the Peak District at Christmas, or looking for Peak District Christmas Markets 2023, here are all the events you need to know about; this also covers many of the Christmas events in Derbyshire 2023, including where to see Santa in the Peak District.

As always, we will be keeping this list updated as dates are confirmed, tickets go on sale, and more information is provided, but do email us if you know of any changes.

Wondering what to do in the Peak District between Christmas and New Year? Then check out our guide to Twixmas in the Peak District.

Peak District gift guide

Peak District Gift Guide

Looking for that perfect Peak District gift for someone special this Christmas? If you know someone who absolutely loves the Peak District and you’re stuck with what to get them, then check out our Peak District inspired gifts for all the family.

Santa

Where to meet Santa in the Peak District

If you specifically want to book at time slot to check in with the Big FC this Christmas then this is the guide for you. We have compiled all the places in the Peak District to meet Santa in 2023.

Click here to join our Facebook group! We have over 26k members sharing ideas and tips for exploring the Peak District with kids.

1. Christmas at Chatsworth

4 November 2023–7 January 2024
Chatsworth Christmas markets are 4th November 2022 to 26th November 2022

Click here to book your tickets

Chatsworth Christmas 2023
photo credit: Chatsworth House Trust

From early November, Chatsworth House, Garden and Farmyard are decorated for Christmas, with this year’s theme being, The Palace of Advent.

Discover 24 rooms filled with Christmas wonder and the sights, sounds and scents of the season. Travel beneath archways adorned with candy canes, handmade Christmas stockings and mistletoe. Explore a winter wonderland and glittering Christmas tree brooch forest. Get caught up in the hustle and bustle of Father Christmas’ workshop, and look out for mischief-making elves. 

The celebrations continue in the garden with an interactive light and sound trail leading to a spectacular animated light show that transforms the house into a giant advent calendar. The farmyard will also be dressed with traditional lights and decorations.

Christmas at Chatsworth: The Palace of Advent runs from 4 November – 7 January and includes access to the decorated house, illuminated garden trail, farmyard, and parking. Pre-booking is essential. 

Paper magic – a children’s Christmas workshop

9th and 16th December (10am to 12pm and 1pm to 3pm)
£7 per child | £2.50 per adult
Click here to book (pre-booking essential)

Have fun creating a range of Christmas themed paper decorations, such as paper wreaths, a concertina Father Christmas and a traditional Swedish hanging decoration, called a Himmeli, perfect to take home and display.

Suitable for children ages 4+. Children must be able to use scissors and glue. Workshops involve cutting, folding and gluing that may require adult assistance during the workshop.

This event doesn’t include access to the garden.

Storytime with Father Christmas

Saturdays and Sundays from 2nd to 23rd December 2023
Session times: 10.15am, 11am, 11.45am, 12.30pm, 2pm, 2.45pm, 3.30pm & 4.15pm
£16 per child | £12 per adult
Click here to book (pre-booking essential)

Father Christmas will captivate little ears with the story of the first Christmas. Children will then be able to help our elves make some reindeer food and receive a small gift to take home and enjoy. 

Includes entrance to the farmyard and playground, Father Christmas storytime, a craft activity with our elves, a gift to take home for children and a hot drink for adults. Gifts are suitable for ages up to 11.

Christmas in the garden

4 November 2023–7 January 2024
Click here to book (pre-booking essential)

An illuminated walk around the garden from dusk.

2. The Snowman Tour Including Wallace & Gromit: The Wrong Trousers

Buxton Octagon, Pavilion Gardens
Thursday 14 December: 1.45pm (Schools), 6.30pm (Public)
Click here to book tickets

A magical presentation of The Snowman accompanied by a live orchestra returns to The Octagon at Buxton Pavilion Gardens this Christmas.

Alongside The Snowman film, a whistle-stop Christmas guide to the orchestra and a visit from the Snowman himself. Plus join everyone’s favourite cheese-loving inventor, Wallace, and his trusty companion, Gromit, in the multi award-winning film, The Wrong Trousers (including THE best train chase sequence ever created).

The tour this year is extra special, as it’s also the 30th anniversary of Wallace & Gromit: The Wrong Trousers.

3. Peak Rail Santa and Steam Special

On Saturdays and Sundays in December on the run up to Christmas Day, as well as Friday 22nd December
There is no service on Sunday 24th December
Click here to book online

Santa train Peak Rail

Santa and his Railway Helpers invite you to get Christmas off to a magical start by riding Santa’s festive steam train, through the delightful Derbyshire countryside. Join them on their special train at Peak Rail from Rowsley South Station.

As you sit back and enjoy the journey, a variety of professional entertainers will perform for you, Santa and his helpers will make their way through the train and meet everyone at their seat. Santa will have with him a wonderful age suitable gift for all the children.

 Children will receive a bottle of water and small packet of sweets each, whilst Adults can sit back and enjoy a glass of wine and a mince pie. Dietary requirements can be catered for and bottle of water available upon pre-booked request.

4. Christmas Carol Concerts in “The Devil’s Arse” (aka Peak Cavern)

Every Saturday and Sunday in December from 2nd to 24th
Click here to book

Peak Cavern Christmas Carol

It’s hard to imagine a more atmospheric and impressive venue for a Christmas Carol concert. 

On arrival you are greeted by warm and friendly helpers with mulled wine and mince pies. The Brass bands, aided by compere Barry Jarvis, play a variety of Christmas favourites, both modern songs and traditional carols, and the audience joins in the singing. The mixture of humour and energy makes this the perfect festive fun in the run up to Christmas.

The concerts last for approximately 60-75 minutes and are seated for most of the time (12 Days of Christmas and Schnee Waltzer excepting!)

It will be extremely cold in the cavern so dress for the Arctic! You are welcome to bring a blanket.

5. Festive Village Santa experience at Matlock Farm Park

2nd, 3rd, 9th, 10th, 16th 17th, 21st, 22nd and 23rd December
Adults £20, child (2-4) £30
Click here to book online

Santa at Matlock Farm Park

Santa and his Elves will be bringing delights and surprises from the North Pole to thoroughly entertain you as you make your way around Matlock Farm Park’s Festive Village.

First stop will be the Christmas Crafts with the super friendly Mrs Claus and one of her elves! Whilst hearing what’s been happening at back at the Noth Pole this year, children will be able to get stuck in making food for Santa’s Reindeer and take this home with them ready to put out on Christmas Eve. They will also make a decoration perfect for hanging on the Christmas tree or attaching to their stocking – a special keepsake.

Next stop is time with the Chief Elf, gathering around in our cosy setting to hear a wonderful Christmas Story, perhaps ‘Ten little Elves’ or ‘‘Twas the night before Christmas’. After the story, children will then be invited to write the most important letter of the year to Santa, ready to hand over to him in his Grotto…

As you exit the Festive Christmas Village, you will need to try out the Naughty or Nice-o-meter to find out where you sit on Santa’s list! How will the grown-ups in your group fair? Here you will also find a warming cup of hot chocolate with marshmallows and cream for the children and mulled wine for the adults.

Finally, the moment you’ve all been waiting for! You will be taken down to meet Santa himself in his beautiful grotto and chat about all of your Christmas wishes. Of course, Santa will provide children with a lovely early Christmas gift and adults will be given a special gift too!

As your experience includes entry to Matlock Farm Park, you can enjoy our lovely animal and playtime activities before and/or after your Christmas experience.

Please allow 1 – 1.5hrs for this experience

Breakfast with Santa

26th November and 2nd, 3rd, 9th, 10th, 16th and 17th December
Ticket £25pp
Click here to book online

Your day will start with a group welcome from Santa and a delicious breakfast served in the Garden Room Cafe. The Big Man in Red will come along to visit your family during breakfast and knowing the names of the children in your party, have a lovely chat all about them and their Christmas wishes. 

Santa will have his BIG sack of gifts with him and he will provide a gift specially labelled for your young loved one.

Following breakfast, there will be a special story time in a separate room with Santa’s sister, Mary Christmas! Find out more about Santa Claus’s reindeer and the children recieve a bag of magical reindeer food to sprinkle at home on Christmas Eve.

All adults will recieve a hearty breakfast cob of bacon, sausage, egg & hash brown (or vegetarian alternative), plus tea or coffee. Children will have a choice of pancakes with fruit and syrup, beans on toast or a mini full English. These will be able to select when booking.

The event starts at 9:00 am prompt, when breakfast will be served. Including seeing Santa, the event will last up to 1 – 1.5 hours and farm park entry for the remainder of the day is included in this ticket, when children can enjoy lots of animal and playtime fun! 

Autism Friendly Santa Sessions

Come to see Santa for a special, more relaxed experience and at a pace suited to your loved one. Book a specific time slot to avoid crowded areas & noise and meet with our friendly staff member first to discuss how we can provide the most memorable experience. All children are welcome at our regular Matlock Farm Park Christmas experience, however these sessions will be lively and busier and include other Christmas encounters and activities. The Autism Friendly Santa Sessions are designed for loved ones who require a calmer, shorter experience.

6. Santa’s Grotto at Poole’s Cavern

READ: Poole’s Cavern REVIEW
Click here for updates on ticket releases

Poole's Cavern Santa's Grotto

Parents have raved about their experience of Santa’s Grotto at Poole’s Cavern in past years. This ancient natural limestone cavern is transformed into a magical grotto complete with elves and bright twinkling lights. And you will be able to meet the big man himself! Kids will receive a gift and there are lots of photo opportunities.

Poole’s Cavern is part of Buxton Country Park and it is worthwhile combining your visit with the short Solomon’s Temple walk, which is great for kids with it’s magical wood carvings, plus the views from the top are fantastic. Afterwards, you may want to head into Buxton itself for a bite to eat or play at the playgrounds in Buxton Pavilion Gardens. Check our our guide for things to do in Buxton.

Check out our guide to Peak District inspired gifts

7. Buxton Pump Room – Pigeon Post Family Activities

From the 8th December to the 8th January, 10am to 4pm
(Closed 24th, 25th, 26th, 31st Dec and 1st Jan)
Buxton Pump Room SK17 6BH

FREE
Click here for more information

During the school Christmas holidays, pop into Buxton’s beautiful Pump Room and craft a Christmas message or maybe even a thank you card at our Pigeon Post Office.  Whilst you’re there follow the free Pigeon Post family trail around the Pump Room for a small chocolate prize.

Or why not visit the Buxton Crescent Experience? Perfect for rainy days and livening up Twixmas,  time travel together and discover Buxton’s amazing story in nine very different rooms. Under 8’s go free.

  • Family Trail – Follow the  Pigeon Post Christmas Trail and discover fascinating Christmas facts as you search for Parkin the pigeon’s missing post. Suitable for 4-11 year olds. Small chocolate prize for each completed trail.
  • Pigeon Post Office Crafting – Ask for the Pigeon Post Office basket and get busy making and creating in the beautiful festive surroundings of the Pump Room. Maybe you’ll write your Christmas list to Santa, pen season’s greetings to friends and family or even finish off those thank you letters. Enjoy decorating paper and envelopes with a selection of crafty items!

8. Santa’s Grotto at Peak Wildlife Park

Saturday 25th November and Sunday 26th November
Saturday 2nd & Sunday 3rd of December
Saturday 9th & Sunday 10th of December
Thursday 21st until Friday 24th December

Prices from £12.95 per child (20% OFF if you book before 10th October)
Click here for more information and to book

This Christmas bring the whole family to Peak Wildlife Park to meet Santa in his magical grotto! The elves have some Christmas crafts planned for all to enjoy and are on hand to help you write your letter to Santa before visiting the man himself for an early festive treat.

9. Reservoir Christmas Trails

7th December 2023 to 2nd January 2024 (except Christmas Day), 10am to 3pm
No booking required, just come along on the day and time that suits you!

Severn Trent Christmas Trails are taking place at Carsington Water and Tittesworth Reservoir.

You don’t need to book for any of these. Just turn up to the relevant Visitors Centre (open 10am to 3pm) to pick up your trail map (£4 each). Each completed sheet will get a selection box as a prize (non-dairy selection boxes are available).

10. Christmas at Ilam Park

Click here for more information

From wreath-making and bauble needle felting workshops, to family trails and crisp winter walks (do check out the Ilam Park pram-friendly walk), there’s lots at Ilam to get you and your family feeling Christmassy.

Ilam Park be selling high-quality, sustainable Christmas trees with all profits going to support their vital conservation work across the Peak District. Plus, very special guest, Father Christmas, will be attending the Manifold Tea-room in December (this event usually sells out quickly so book in advance).

The tea-room will be open every day serving seasonal warm lunches and hot drinks – sit inside feeling cosy, or grab a take-away coffee to accompany you on your wander round the parkland.

11. Christmas at Longshaw National Park

Longshaw Christmas Tree Festival

Sat 25 and Sun 26 November
10.30am – 3.30pm
Click here for more information

A festive celebration to sweep you up in the magic of Christmas.

With festive family games, seasonal food and drink, open craft workshops for you to make your own Christmas decorations to take home, seasonal songs from local groups, a special visit from Father Christmas and your first chance to pick this year’s Christmas tree with our Rangers much loved Christmas tree sales.

Breakfast with Santa

Sat 2, Sun 3, Sat 9, Sun 10, Sat 16, Sun 17 December
9.00am – 10.00am
Click here for more information

Meet Father Christmas over a cooked breakfast.

Longshaw Cafe is one of Father Christmas’ regular cafes when he’s in the Peak District, often popping by with presents for the children he meets here.

Ticket price includes cooked breakfast, a story, meeting Santa with gifts for the children, and parking.

These breakfasts often sell out, so booking early is advised. Assistance dogs only. Please indicate when booking if you have any specific dietary requirements.

Nature Inspired Festive Crafts for Kids

Sun 17 December
10.30am – 2.30am
Click here for more information

Get in the festive spirit and create nature inspired creative decorations and crafts in the Moorland Discovery Centre at Longshaw.

Combine your Longshaw visit with one of the Peak District Kids walks. There are three to choose from:

12. Breakfast with Santa

Dine with the Big Man himself this Christmas at these locations:

13. Panto at Buxton Opera House – Cinderella

Friday 8th December 2023 to Monday 1st January 2024
Click here to buy tickets

Cinderella Buxton Opera House

Working all day long, completing chores and being taunted by her ugly stepsisters is all Cinderella has ever known, that is until her Fairy Godmother makes all her wishes come true…

Following the success of last season’s spectacular Sleeping Beauty, join the incredible cast for another year of wonderful music, the finest comedy routines and a sprinkle of Christmas magic. It’s pantomime for the whole family to enjoy!

Autism-friendly performance: Wednesday 13 December 5.30pm.

14. Christmas fun an Brick Corner

2nd and 16th December (and more dates to be announced)
Click here for more information and to book

Lego xmas ornament

Christmas fun is coming to our favourite Buxton café, Brick Corner, where LEGO fans of all ages can get creative with a cake and cuppa on the side.

On the run up to Christmas, there are lots of ‘Festive Create & Keep Sessions’ and ‘LEGO Robotic Taster Sessions’ planned, as well as the ‘Christmas Kids LEGO Challenge’ (a fun 90 minute session of Lego puzzles and challenges).

Plus there are activities planned during Twixmas week (in between Christmas and New Year) and also in that first week of January before the kids go back to school.

15. Hare & Tortoise at Buxton Opera House

Sat 16 Dec 10am, Sat 16 Dec 1:30pm, Sat 16 Dec 4pm, Sun 17 Dec 10am (AUTISM-FRIENDLY Relaxed performance), Sun 17 Dec 1:30pm, Sat 23 Dec 10am, Sat 23 Dec 1:30pm, Sat 23 Dec 4pm, Sun 24 Dec 10am (BSL INTERPRETED) and Sun 24 Dec 1:30pm.
Pavilion Arts Centre
Click here for more information and to book

Running throughout December, Buxton Opera House are excited to share their production of Hare & Tortoise.

Hare is always in a rush. Tortoise likes to take things more gently. Hare wants to race; Tortoise would prefer to go on holiday. Come join us this winter for the beautiful reworking of Aesop’s famous fable as we travel through the seasons, with these two unlikely but loveable friends and help them prepare for their big race, a perfect story to share with your children this Christmas time.

This exciting play, especially designed for our younger audience, is a perfect introduction to theatre and a perfect way to celebrate this Christmas time.

16. Peak District Christmas Markets 2023

Peak District Christmas markets are the perfect way to kick off the festive season in the UK’s oldest National Park. Browse local artisan crafts and sip mulled wine as you sway along or tap your toe to local musicians playing Good King Wenceslas.

Here in the Peak District, the Christmas Market season kicks off at the start of November, straight off the back of October half term, with the one of the best Christmas markets in the UK, Chatsworth.

So grab your diary and make some space for a Peak District Christmas market – the link to our full Peak District Christmas Markets guide is below, which features all the details and dates for 2023.

Most are free, except for Haddon Hall’s Mercatum Winter Artisan Market, but they are all a wonderful way to support local businesses and get into the festive swing.

Chatsworth Christmas 2023

Christmas markets

Details and dates of all the Christmas markets taking place in and around the Peak District National Park. Grab your diaries and make some space, as the Christmas market season begins in early November!


You may also like to read:
Top days out in the Peak District
Things to do in the Peak District when it rains
Things to do in Matlock and Matlock Bath