Make it special

See the Christmas trees at Great Yarmouth Minster

See the Christmas trees at Great Yarmouth Minster - Credit: Nick Butcher

With so much to see and do in the county this December, get in the festive spirit with this selection of events chosen by Judith Palmer


Potter Heigham Christmas tree festival

4-6 December, 10.30-4pm

Over the past 30 years Glenda Tooke has amassed more than 1000 Christmas trees including some made of brass, glass, pottery, metal, hand-knitting, and various other materials. This festive season she will be putting a large number of them on display at Potter Heigham Methodist Church (NR29 5LP) to raise money for the church itself. There will also be floral arrangements, items for sale and refreshments.

Fakenham Parish Church’s 15th Christmas tree festival

3-10 December, 10am-8pm (Sunday 12-7.45pm)

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Seventy charities have registered to take part and decorate a tree in this year’s festival, which will be the first for new rector Rev Francis Mason. There will be six prayer trees with stars available for visitors to add their own prayer to, and all donations collected at each tree will be kept with individual charities. Admission is free, and coach parties are welcome with prior booking; 01328 862268.

Dickleburgh Church – 50 Trees In A Church

29 November – 6 December, 10am–7pm

An unforgettable celebration in a beautiful historic church which dates from 1490, this year’s Christmas tree festival has the theme of Christmas Hope, with profits and donations going to support three local charities. Visitors will have the opportunity to vote for the best adults’ tree, children’s tree and most innovative tree, with cash prizes to the winners. Admission is free but donations welcome; contact Lyn Banks on 01379 741994 or 07811 133567.

Great Yarmouth Minster, Christmas tree and crib festival

11–20 December, 10am-4pm

The fifth annual festival will be taking place to help raise money for the fabric and organ of the Great Yarmouth Minster. Places are still open to enter a tree for a £10 donation and a trophy will be presented for the best tree or crib voted by the public and also by a judging team including the town’s mayor. Admission is £2 for adults and free for under-16s;


Bure Valley Railway Santa Specials

Enjoy a steam train ride from Wroxham station to visit Santa in his grotto, including a personalised gift for each child as well as entertainment and refreshments on arrival. Tickets are £15 per person – both adults and children - dates available from December 4-24. Check website for booking form;

North Norfolk Railway

On various dates throughout December, trains will depart from Sheringham station, to arrive at Santaland (a transformed Weybourne station) where young and old can enjoy a visit to Santa. Tickets include return train journey, entertainment at the station and an age appropriate present. Tickets from £16.50. For dates available see website,

Mid Norfolk Railway

The reindeer have escaped - so it’s all aboard the Lapland Express to search for them before Christmas Day! On board the Lapland Express, there will be fun for all the family, including music, games, entertainment and bags of fun. Every child will get to see Santa in his magical grotto and receive a special gift. For an extra treat, go first class in the Christmas carriage, with refreshments and gifts for the children. Tickets from £15. For dates available see website,

Fairhaven Woodland and Water Garden

At 11am Father Christmas arrives by lawn mower (of course, how else would he arrive at a garden?) Visit the elves’ workshop for a spot of Christmas crafting, or pop into the tearoom for a hot chocolate. On the way to see Father Christmas, take a walk along the woodland trail, being sure to say hello to reindeer Comet and Blitzen along the way. Tickets £6.20 adults, £7 children; 01603 270449;

Holkham Hall

As the big day approaches, there is a special Audience with Father Christmas as he stops off during his busy schedule to entertain in the Saloon at Holkham Hall. Listen to tales of wonderment and meet Father and Mother Christmas and the band of cheeky elves too. There will be a present for all the younger visitors, and tickets to the Audience with Father Christmas include a glass of Prosecco or a soft drink plus a festive biscuit. There will be a chance to browse the Christmas pop-up shop after the performance for last-minute presents and festive treats. Performances are at 9.30am, 10.45am, noon, 2pm, 3.15pm and 4.30pm from December 18-21. Tickets, £15;

Hoveton Hall Estate

Children will love taking part in the Santa’s Trail round the beautiful estate, concluding with a meeting with Father Christmas and his real reindeer and sleigh. Entry fee includes a small present for the children and a glass of mulled wine and a mince pie for the grown-ups. Plus there will be lots of local craft stalls to visit all under cover in the stable yard. Santa’s Trail is on December 12 and 13, 10am – 3pm, no booking necessary, tickets £6;


The Thursford Christmas


1-23 December, 2pm and 7pm performances

Set in the magical surroundings of mechanical organs and fairground carousels, with a cast of 130 professional singers, dancers and musicians, many of whom are West End performers, the three-hour show delivers an extravaganza of non-stop singing, dancing, music, humour and variety. It’s a fast-moving celebration of the festive season featuring an eclectic mix of seasonal and year-round favourites. Tickets from £30; 01328 878477;

King’s Lynn Guildhall Theatre: Smile it’s Christmas

6 December, 7.30pm

Nigel “Boy” Syer brings together a Christmas hamper of entertainment. Enjoy listening to British country music with Gary Perkins; Lisa Marie singing in the style of Karen Carpenter, and the Colchester Pipes and Drums. Tickets, £12.50;

Cromer Pier Pavilion Theatre: Christmas Seaside Special

1-30 December, 2.30pm and 7.30pm

Now in its 11th year, the Cromer Pier Christmas show returns full of festive Christmas sparkle. Funny man, Olly Day returns to star in his seventh show, bringing a magical and glittery winter wonderland of live, traditional variety to warm the heart and get audiences in the Christmas spirit. Tickets from £10; 01263 512495 or online

Great Yarmouth Hippodrome’s 12th Christmas Spectacular:

12 December to 10 January at 1.30pm and 5.30pm

The Hippodrome Great Yarmouth Christmas Spectacular features some of the world’s best international circus artists, dancers and acrobats as well as great comedy with Jack Jay. Plus, enjoy the amazing water spectacular with swimmers, fountains, aerialists and special effects. Tickets are from £10;

Gorleston Pavilion Theatre:

A Family Christmas

6 December, 7.30pm

Triple T productions bring its musical theatre take on Christmas, featuring seasonal songs from classic musical theatre films and shows alongside all time festive favourites. A cast of more than 30 singers and dancers will be rocking around the Christmas tree for a truly family show. Tickets, £10;

Last minute shopping:

Victorian two-day Christmas Market at OPEN, Norwich

3 December, 11am–6pm

Remember the Barclays Christmas carol concerts? Then go along and join in the Community Christmas Carol Concert with Norwich Cathedral Choir in the former Banking Hall at OPEN. Carol concert at 1pm;

Deepdale Christmas market

4 and 5 December, 2-8pm Fri, 10-4pm Sat

The seventh annual Deepdale Christmas Market will host 100-plus stalls, offering Christmas presents, decorations, plenty of festive cheer, tasty food and drink, and there will be entertainment throughout the weekend;

The Global Village Christmas Market, The Forum, Norwich

4 and 5 December (10am-5pm)

Global crafts, gifts and cuisine will be available and Father Christmas is expected to arrive on Saturday, with storytelling sessions in library (ticketed but free). There will also be music from Norwich Community Choir and Norwich Brass Band;

Christmas Crafts at Dinosaur Adventure Park, Weston Park, Lenwade

Every weekend in December

The Animal Encounters barn is playing host to Christmas crafts and activities including paint-your-own Christmas plates and letters to Father Christmas;