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What is there to do in Somerset in Christmas week?

The Palladian Bridge at Prior Park Landscape Garden, Bath under a dusting of snow (c) National Trust Images /Philip Pierce
The Palladian Bridge at Prior Park Landscape Garden, Bath under a dusting of snow (c) National Trust Images /Philip Pierce

Join Angharad Paull as she explores the best places to entertain children in Somerset.

MENDIP ACTIVITY CENTRE

If you’ve been dreaming of a White Christmas, here’s the next best thing. Mendip Activity Centre’s toboggan run will be dusted with festive flurries, fired from its snow machine this winter. Round up the troops and stave off the post-Christmas lull with a family twilight experience (available until 2 January). Groups of up to eight people get exclusive use of half of their toboggan slope, set a-twinkle with fairy lights, multi-coloured flood lights and lasers. Don a free santa hat and shimmy to festive music in between swooshing, before heading off along an illuminated path to a canopied woodland clearing for marshmallows, hot chocolate, s’mores and sparklers around the campfire. And if that’s got your adventurous ears pricked, there’s also a vast array of outdoor activities to blow away the turkey-scented cobwebs - make a day of it with frisbee golf, orienteering, ski or snowboard lessons. mendip.co.uk

CLARKS VILLAGE ICE RINK

For a wholesome activity that’ll cut through all the rich festive food, head to Somerset shopping outlet, Clarks Village. The all-weather 500m2 ice-skating rink, set within the grounds of the neighbouring Arthur Gillet Trust, features real ice, discos, quiet sessions and dedicated parent and toddler times. Clip-on bob skates and skating aids are available to hire, so wobbly skaters can swish and glide to their heart’s content, and the ice rink is also (manual) wheelchair accessible. Combine with some serious sale shopping - you'll get access to some exclusive brand discounts at Clarks Village when you show your ice skating tickets. Open until January 7, including Christmas Eve, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. clarksvillage.co.uk

PRIOR PARK NATIONAL TRUST

Set in a sweeping valley, with winding paths and jaw-dropping views over Bath, Prior Park makes for a spectacular, wintry family walk. Christmas is particularly magical, as the Palladian Bridge (one of only four of this design in the world) is draped with a festive garland. Motivate little legs with the advent trail - 24 doors hidden around the gardens open to reveal seasonal images and clues to unlock a festive message (running weekends from December 2-16, daily until January 1, closed December 24, 25). Hot chocolate rewards await at the Tea Shed at the end.nationaltrust.org.uk

PIP’S RAILWAY CARRIAGE

If you’re looking for some gingerbread house fun with the kids this Christmas, but foresee the inevitable destruction of your kitchen, let the gorgeous Pip’s Railway Carriage save you from icing-splattered walls. From the kitchens of their quirky 1850s railway carriage, head baker Harriet will be rustling up charming miniature gingerbread houses filled with a lemon cheesecake, edible snow path and a mini meringue Christmas tree and snowman. Each one comes with a mini piping bag of ‘fluff’ snow, so you can add the finishing touches yourself. Best eaten alongside one of their S’mores hot chocolates (if your sweet tooth can handle it!) pipsrailwaycarriage.co.uk

THE TRADING POST FARM SHOP

If you’ve ever shopped in The Trading Post, the array of tempting treats home-baked for the farm shop by Justine Wilkinson (on Instagram as @can_i_bake_you_a_cake), can’t have passed you by. Come Christmastime, she ramps the deliciousness up a festive notch with her Mini Rocky Road and Tiffin Christmas puddings and crumble-topped mince pies. Want a large batch or different size-version (there are five different types) of these goodies? Get in there early and DM her directly for your own personal box to share with family and friends.

For even more festive sweetness (think marzipan fruit, chocolate elves, and 40 varieties of Turkish Delight), head through The Trading Post to the Aladdin’s Cave-style Christmas marquee at the back. tradingpostfarmshop.co.uk

THE SOMERSET CHEESECAKERY

For family-pleasing desserts, drop by Ilminster High Street for handmade, loaded cheesecakes. Alongside their usual offering, this year’s Christmassy flavour combinations include mince pie and gingerbread, plus a new special treat just for the festive season: cheesecake-filled profiteroles. Is that what you call a culinary mic drop? Hurry, though! It’s first come, first served on individual cakes - pre-order in the shop or on social media if you need more than 10, or if you’re after a larger size for your festive gatherings. Or, give the gift of cheesecake - vouchers are available.

instagram.com/the_somerset_cheesecakery



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