Forget the ice rinks and gluhwein stalls, there are more unique ways to get together with friends and family in the run-up to Christmas.
American Express has compiled a list of alternative experiences around the country, from hands-on activities to enchanting walks and festive films.
Learn how to make a Norwegian seasonal wreath at one of Flor Unikon’s workshops, using natural materials including spruce branches, berries, dried fruits and nuts. The workshops start with a demonstration of the unique wreath making technique before guests have the chance to get hands-on and make their own.
When: 20 November and 4 December
Where: Flor Unikon, London
How much: £55pp
Join industry-leading mixologists as they teach guests about the history of cocktails at one of 69 Colebrook Row’s Holiday Cocktail Masterclasses. Find out how to make classics like the Daiquiri or a festive champagne cocktail.
When: 6 and 20 December
Where: 69 Colebrooke Row, London
How much: £40pp
Hampton Court Palace has set the scene for many historic events and this winter, the palace is offering those brave enough the chance to explore palace’s state apartments, deserted courtyards and eerie cloisters on a chilling late night ghost tour.
When: throughout December
Where: Hampton Court, Surrey
How much: £27.50pp
On the Fox & Squirrel Street Photography Walk you will join expert photographers as they point out little known locations and views to reveal some of the best urban shots of London. Whether using a smartphone or SLR, the walk will help you take amazing photos of the capital at its festive best.
When: 13 December
Where: Camden, London
How much: £75
Burning the Clocks is an annual parade of paper and willow lanterns that, for one night each year, brings a little magic to the streets of Brighton. After a procession through the city, the parade ends with a fire show on Brighton beach that the whole family can enjoy.
When: 21 December
Where: Brighton Beach, East Sussex
How much: free
Visit Britain’s only herd of reindeer as they roam wild at the Cairngorm Reindeer Centre at Glenmore in the Highlands. Guests can feed, stroke and get up close to the real life Rudolfs on one of the centre’s guided tours.
When: throughout November and December
Where: Aviemore, Inverness-Shire
How much: £13
Grab your swimsuit and Santa hat and head down to this Cornish beach for a refreshing Christmas Day dip. Work up an appetite for Christmas lunch and join over 100 people in one of England’s most westerly, and wintery, yuletide swims.
When: Christmas Day
Where: Bude, Cornwall
How much: free
Tumble down the rabbit hole with The Royal Ballet this Christmas as a live performance of Christopher Wheeldon’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland hits cinemas across the country for one night only.
When: 16 December
Where: cinemas nationwide
How much: prices vary
Take a trip to the beautiful Brodsworth Hall where Mrs Beeton will show visitors the ropes in the kitchen, offering hints and tips for how to create the perfect Victorian Christmas meal. Guests can taste, enjoy and take home recipes to share with friends and family.
When: 29-30 November
Where: Brodsworth Hall and Gardens, Doncaster
How much: £9.70 (non-members)
Make sure your gifts are as beautiful on the outside as they are in by taking part in a present wrapping course. Learn the basics and embellish your creations under the watchful eye of professional gift wrapper, Amanda.
When: Throughout November and December
Where: Bristol and surrounding area
How much: £25pp
If one Christmas tree is simply not enough this year, visit the Enchanted Christmas trail at Westonbirt Arboretum. Don a festive jumper and pour yourself a hot chocolate while strolling through the mile-long illuminated tree trail.
When: 28 November - 21 December
Where: Westonbirt, Gloucestershire
How much: £10
Treat yourself to a traditional winter story of love and friendship with Irving Berlin’s much-loved musical, White Christmas. Visit the West Yorkshire Playhouse and sing along to Sisters, Blue Skies, I've Got My Love to Keep Me Warm and of course, White Christmas.
When: throughout December
Where: West Yorkshire Playhouse
How much: £12-£33
Amex Insider Lauren Laverne is taking a peek into some of the more unusual and inspiring festive experiences on offer around the country. For more insider information on some of the UK’s other exciting events, visit youtube.com/AmericanExpressUK.Reuse content