Christmas in Shropshire
PUBLISHED: 17:04 01 December 2010 | UPDATED: 16:25 20 February 2013
Wartime, Edwardian, Victorian... musical, foodie, creative... Sarah Hart discovers every type of Christmas celebration in Shropshire's towns and villages
As the winter chill begins to bite theres plenty of wonderful things to warm the heart and cheer the spirits at Christmastime in Shropshire.
Fairs selling traditional crafts and seasonal food, historic homes dressed for Christmas past, magical Santa kingdoms and Yuletide music and street festivities theres something for all the family to enjoy right across the county.
Take a break from the frenzied Christmas shopping in the town centre and discover that theres much in and around Telford to help cultivate the Christmas mood.
Winter Wonderland, in Telford Town Park, is the one place in Shropshire thats guaranteed a white sprinkling on the ground. Children love its enchanting mix of fairy tale houses decorated with Christmas sparkle. Highlights this year include an outdoor ice rink, an ice mountain, a Christmas carousel and a visit from Santa in his sleigh pulled by reindeer. Admission: adults 5.75, children 6.75 on December 5 and 6; adults 5.75, children 10.95 on December 12, 13, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23.
An Edwardian Christmas: Learn how the Edwardians celebrated Christmas with the National Trust at Sunnycroft Villa, Holyhead Road, Wellington, between Friday December 18 and Monday December 21, 1-5pm. See the grand entrance hall festooned in evergreen swags and find out what the Edwardians tucked into for Christmas dinner. Adults 6; children 3.
Santa Specials are operating at the Telford Steam Railway, Bridge Road Horsehay, on weekends leading up to Christmas. They take children on a ride to Santas Grotto where they receive a present. Adults enjoy a warming hot drink and a mince pie. Tickets 6 adults/children.
Step back in time with Christmas at Blists Hill Victorian Town. The costumed townsfolk are busy preparing seasonal decorations and food and making traditional Victorian presents. On weekends up to Christmas the air will be filled with the voices of carol singers and the breathy base tones of brass bands. A small seasonal market will be open and theres even a promise of a flurry of snow showers. Santa will also be in attendance. Open from 10am to 4pm. Admission: 13.25 adults; 10.50 senior citizens; 8.50 children.
The stately home near Shifnal is hosting a Local Christmas Food and Craft Fayre on December 12 and 13, 10am to 4pm. Visitors can also see the house dressed for Christmas.
On weekends up until Christmas families can take a Santa Special train ride through the wintry woods to Santas Grotto. Children 9; Adults 7.
The mansion house, the ancestral home of the Earl of Bradford, is also hosting Christmas dining evenings on December 11, 12, 17 18 and 19 from 60 per person, including carols and classical music. Guests can stay for bed and breakfast amid the 17th century splendour.
From December 5 to 15 the RAF museum, near Shifnal, celebrates Christmas during the Second World War. Families can discover what Christmas dinner on rations was like. There are stalls, a 1940s Santa and elves and the chance for youngsters to decorate some gingerbread men. Free admission.
Shrewsbury has an abundance of delightful Christmas fairs from charity events to the large-scale annual Frost Fair at Attingham Park. On the weekend of December 5 and 6 (11am to 4pm) the Frost Fair at the National Trust property includes more than 90 craft and food stalls.
The same day shoppers in the heart of Shrewsbury can drop into the Medieval themed charity Christmas Fair at St Julians Church in High Street (10am to 4pm).
Learn about the festivities of a late Georgian Christmas at Attingham Park when the Palladian-style house opens suitably bedecked from December 19 to 21, 11am to 4pm.
Saturday December 12 is the date for a Christmas Market in The Square and a Christmas Crafts Day at the historic headquarters of Shropshire Wildlife Trust, in Abbey Foregate. Adults can learn to make a Christmas wreath from materials gathered from the trusts nature reserves and weave some willow decorations. Children can create Christmas cards, and decorations from recycled materials. Admission: Adults 10, children 5.
The Phoenix Singers will give a Christmas choral concert at St Marys Church on December 11, 7.30pm. Tickets available from the Theatre Severn box office. A Christmas by Candlelight celebration will be held at St Chads Church on December 15, 7.30pm. Tickets: adults 15, children 7.50. A Celebration of Advent will be staged at Shrewsbury Cathedral, Town Walls, on December 17, 7.30pm.
HAWKSTONE PARK FOLLIES
Santa Safaris at this enchanting adventure world at Weston under Redcastle involve a Land Rover ride through stunning scenery and along forest tracks to Santas secret cave grotto. There are reindeer and woodland illuminations, food and craft fairs and childrens rides, 10.30am-8pm December 5, 6, 12, 13, 19, 20, 21, 22 and 23. Admission: adults 14.95; children 15.95; families 55.
Saturday December 5 is the date for the annual Much Wenlock Christmas Fair. The narrow streets of the town will come alive with bustling stalls and roving entertainers. Theres a magical lantern parade, Christmas carols and the traditional switching on of the Christmas lights.
The towns Christmas Lights Festival on December 5 has a jam-packed programme from 11am until late including a street party, a Christmas street market, a funfair, Morris dancers, live music, Punch and Judy and Santa on his sleigh. The towns famous lantern procession snakes along the main streets at 5.45pm followed by the Christmas lights switch-on and a fireworks display.
Oswestry Christmas Live on Friday December 4 is an annual free music fest which turns the centre of Oswestry into a giant outdoor concert. The first band takes to the stage at 6pm followed by music until 10pm. The streets are closed to traffic and filled with stalls, a fun fair and other attractions. The festivities continue the following day with a Christmas Parade of vehicles and festive walkers through the town from 11am in aid of charity.
The Spirit of Christmas Past, an Arts Alive production by music ensemble Fleur de Lys, at Whittington Castle, Whittington, near Oswestry, on December 16 evokes Christmases of the Middle Ages. Medieval music and song mixes with traditional folk carols, local wassails and fascinating yuletide anecdotes. Vocal harmonies are accompanied by early instruments such as the hurdy gurdy, the medieval fiddle, the harp and pipes. Starts at 7.30pm. Tickets: adults 5; children 3; family 18.
From December 4 Santa will be at Parkhall Farm, near Oswestry, every Friday, Saturday and Sunday before Christmas and from Monday December 21 until Christmas Eve. There is a host of Christmas-themed attractions. Booking a time to visit Santa is advisable online at parkhallfarm.co.uk or by calling 01691 671123. Admission: children 5.75; adults 6.25; family 23. A visit to Santa costs an extra 3.50.
The towns wonderful farmers market takes on a seasonal theme on Sunday December 13. There will be all the usual local producers plus live music and a special person visiting his grotto. Venue: Library Square, Cheshire Street, 10am to 2pm.
The Wem Christmas Festival on December 3 includes the Christmas lights switch-on, carols and stalls 6-9pm.
Christmas kicks off in Bridgnorth with a Winter Street Fair and Victorian Craft Fair on Sunday December 6. High Town will be filled with stalls while the Victorian fair takes place in the towns stunning St Leonards Church.
The church will be the venue for Carols By Candlelight on December 8. The Severn Valley Railway will be running Santa Specials to St Nicholass grotto at Arley on weekends up until Christmas. Booking early is recommended to avoid disappointment. Dudmaston Hall Christmas Fair is a wonderful seasonal destination to head to on Sunday December 13. On December 19 theres another chance to see The Spirit of Christmas, by the Fleur de Lys ensemble, at Chelmarsh Village Hall, Chelmarsh, near Bridgnorth. Rays Farm, Billingsley, near Bridgnorth, has Christmas themed events, including a nativity scene with donkeys.
Ludlow Choral Society Christmas Concert is staged at St Laurence Church on December 12. Tickets 12, 10 and 6. A Christmas Craft and Country Fair will be held on December 13 and there will be a Christmas Eve Market, both in Castle Square.