Pantos, Santa and Family Events in Somerset

Christmas is a time for children, and with so many plays and pantomimes going on, your only problem will be which ones to choose

Festive family fun

An outdoor performance in Blake Gardens, Bridgwater, to celebrate the coming of winter and the festive season from 6pm on 19 November. into the Christmas spirit on 27 November with a practical wreath-making workshop in Bristol with the Avon Gorge & Downs Wildlife Project then go for a walk to discover the folklore of trees and shrubs used to make seasonal decorations. Booking essential: 0117 9030609Get your skates on because until the New Year, The Mall, Cribbs Causeway has the largest ice rink in the South West. Cabot Circus hosts a skating rink in its Quakers Friars area until after Christmas.Join the Christmas Jingle Fun Run on the seafront at Burnham-on-Sea – a festive fun run of either one or four miles on 19 December. bospool.comFamily activities at the Somerset Rural Life Museum in Glastonbury on 11 December include the chance to have a go with traditional toys. 01458 831197Christmas Tree Festivals are being held in St John’s Church, Glastonbury (11 December to 6 January), St Mary’s Church, Ilminster (6-11 December) and the Avenue Methodist Church, Minehead (2-5 December).Enjoy a Christmas Social Dance hosted by Sid Gateley at the Winter Gardens, Weston-super-Mare on 18 December. thewintergardens.comDo your Christmas shopping in Wiveliscombe and stay fit at the same time with an eight-mile celebratory walk for the Wivey Walkers’ ninth birthday, starting from Wiveliscombe Square at 9.30am.

Christmas Markets

Unique and handmade presents created by South West artists and craftspeople  will be on offer at a Christmas Craft Fair on the Ashton Court Estate on 4 and 5 December, 10am-5pm. 0117 963 9174Bath Christmas Market features 120 traditional wooden chalet stalls offering a tempting array of local food, toys, homewares, clothing and jewellery from 25 November to 12 December. Original German Christmas Market runs until 22 December in Broadmead. For more information on this and other markets in Bristol visit Buy your last-minute Christmas food and drink from local producers at the Christmas Eve Farmers’ Market in Burnham-on-Sea from 9am-1pm in High Street.Join Ferne Animal Sanctuary near Chard for their Christmas Bazaar on 20 and 21 November. ferneanimalsanctuary.orgIlminster Arts Centre offers an opportunity to buy the work of local artists and makers during their Christmas Collection exhibition from 29 November to 23 December.Discover the work of Somerset designers and makers at a Traditional Christmas Fair at Kilver Court, Shepton Mallet on 12 December. kilvercourt.comThe Somerset Guild of Craftsmen’s Christmas exhibition at The Courthouse Gallery in Somerton is entitled ‘Reflections of Nature’. Gardens, near Taunton, will glitter and sparkle at the Christmas Market on 20 and 21 November, 10am-5pm. Over 50 stalls and children’s attractions. hestercombe.comOver 70 local exhibitors will offer a wide range of products at the Taunton School Christmas Fair on 5 December. Village Christmas Market will be held on the village green on 4 December, 9am-12.30pm Mulled wine and mince pies, carols and madrigals, wreaths and flowers are among the attractions at the Candlelight Bazaar in St Andrew’s Church, Wiveliscombe on 3 December from 5pm-8pm.Williton holds its Christmas Festival on the evening of 8 December, and in the village hall of nearby Sampford Brett a fayre entitled ‘Miss Vellacott’s Christmas Afternoon’ is held on 4 December at 2.30pm.Middle Street hosts Yeovil Farmers’ Market on the morning of 19 December.

It’s panto time

Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without a visit to a pantomime. At The Bristol Hippodrome the legendary Barbara Windsor MBE appears as Fairy Bowbells in Dick Whittington at  from 11 December to 9 January.

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A musical adaptation of the classic children’s adventure story Swallows and Amazons is the Christmas treat at the Bristol Old Vic from 1 December to 15 January. Pinocchio comes to Bristol’s Tobacco Factory, 8 December to 16 January. tobaccofactorytheatre.comBridgwater Arts Centre present their community panto on 18 and 19 December. Expect a show full of drama and humour. brave Dick Whittington and his trusty feline sidekick Tiddles can stop the rats’ quest for domination in The Portishead Players’ production at the Somerset Hall on 8, 9 and 11 December. Tickets: Morgan-Westley and Mother Nature, High StreetAmateur theatre company Miracles at Glastonbury present Alice Buckton’s beautiful nativity play at Strode Theatre, Street on 16 December. Taunton four children will step into Narnia when the Brewhouse Theatre presents The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe from 3 to 31 December. thebrewhouse.netThe Weston-super-Mare Playhouse Theatre’s Cinderella stars actress and Eternal singer Kelle Bryan and Coronation Street’s Sean Wilson from 14 December to 9 January. Civic Players present Agatha Christie’s Cards on the Table at the Swan Theatre, Yeovil from 1 to 4 December. Box Office: 01935 421772Over at the Octagon in Yeovil, Chapterhouse Theatre presents a heart-warming production of A Christmas Carol on 28 November and from 11 December to 2 January Bob the Builder and lead singer of the Honeyz Celena Cherry will appear in the Octagon’s 2010 pantomime Peter Pan.

Meet Father Christmas

Children from all over Somerset are invited to have breakfast or tea with Santa at Sanders Garden World in Brent Knoll, near Burnham-on-Sea. Father Christmas will be hosting afternoon parties from 29 November and morning parties from 4 December. To buy tickets call 01278 761111 or visit Wednesday Hestercombe Gardens near Taunton is transformed into a Winter Wonderland with late night shopping, eating and Father Christmas in his cosy grotto. To book call 01823 413923; hestercombe.comWhy not combine a visit to a popular Somerset farm attraction with the chance to see Father Christmas in his grotto at Puxton Park, near Weston-super-Mare.’s magical castle is open every day until Christmas Eve at The Mall, Cribbs Causeway. Tickets: And you can also join Father Christmas for tea and a story at John Lewis, on Friday from 26 November to 17 December. Tickets �15 per child (suitable for children aged three plus) from the Place to Eat. johnlewis.comDon’t miss the West Somerset Railway’s Santa Express and Traditional Santa Steam Specials this December.

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