Put Lanarkshire on your Christmas list this winter

It’s beginning to feel a lot like Christmas and we’re helping visitors of all ages to get into the festive spirit. From a Christmas carnival, to movie screenings of festive classics and craft making workshops, this calendar of events is sure to be on top of everyone’s wish-list. 

New Lanark World Heritage Site

Christmas is a time for families and there are few better ways for everyone to come together than with a trip to the iconic New Lanark World Heritage Site. This 18th century working mill provides the perfect setting for a magical day out where visitors can split a mince pie with Santa, travel through time with the Spirits of Christmas Ride and capture a Victorian-style family photo in Robert Owen’s house. There is even a chance to tick those remaining items off the Christmas shopping list with a visit to the Mill shop.

It wouldn’t be Christmas without a trip to the pantomime and New Lanark’s festive shows have been a favourite for parents and children alike for the past 16 years. This year, the attraction will be telling the story of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol with a dash of Lanarkshire humour thrown into the mix.

Christmas activities at New Lanark run every weekend from 26 November until 18 December, with additional events on 23 and 24 December. Entry to this winter wonderland costs just £5 with children under two years going free. 

Festive Films

Relaxing in front of a Christmas classic is guaranteed to get anyone in the festive mood and this year Lanarkshire is providing plenty of opportunities to get the popcorn out.

On 17 December Lanark Memorial Hall will be welcoming visitors for a screening of Elf, a Christmas comedy favourite for children and big kids alike. The show starts at 1.30pm and all seats cost £5. Visitors can also head along to North Lanarkshire Heritage Centre for screenings of everything from Wreck-It Ralph, to Miracle on 34th Street, The Muppet Christmas Carol and Frozen. All showings are free and screenings will be taking place throughout December.

Lanarkshire is giving people the chance to experience a true festive great like never before, with a radio play production of It’s A Wonderful Life. The audience will be able to follow the story of George Bailey as he deals with the hardships of life before a visit from his guardian angel changes his perspective on life. The show will run throughout December at various venues including Rutherglen Town Hall, Lanark Memorial Hall, East Kilbride Arts Centre and Hamilton’s Town House.

Workshops with Santa’s little helpers

Santa’s little helpers will be heading to North Lanarkshire Heritage Centre every Saturday from 3 – 24 December. These workshops are ideal for children who are interested in craft-making, festive storytelling and singalongs. Tickets cost £3 and include a present for every child.

Mackinnon Mills Carnival

Lanarkshire will be welcoming its first ever Christmas Carnival, taking place at Mackinnon Mills every weekend in the run up to Christmas. Visitors can race down the giant inflatable slide, reach new heights on the swing-a-planes and satisfy their sweet tooth at one of the many candy floss stalls. All children will be on their best behaviour for Santa, as he and his elves will be on-site to hand out gifts. Entry to the carnival is free with rides costing £1.50 each. 

Christmas nights out

Lanarkshire is providing plenty of opportunities head out and let loose this Christmas. Visitors can dance the night away to the sound of Scotland’s top swing band, That Swing Sensation, at Lanark Memorial Hall's  Big Band Christmas Ball taking place on 16 December.

Alternatively, they can take a trip down memory lane with a classic 80s tribute night featuring a range of live acts at Tinto Hotel, Biggar. Local favourites Big Vern ‘n The Shootahs will also be in action at Hamilton Town House on various nights in December. Now in its ninth year this is still a hugely popular Christmas event, so guests are encouraged to book their places quickly. 

For more information on these events, and more, visit our dedicated what’s on page.