Christmas crackers in Berkshire

Karen Neville

The Lexicon

December 25th is hurtling towards us faster than a child can unwrap their presents but there’s plenty to wrap yourself up in before the ‘big day’ with events to enjoy, markets to plunder, food and drink to tuck into and not forgetting Santa to visit…

Are you hanging up your stocking on the wall? Ok, perhaps a bit too soon but in the words of Noddy Holder ‘It’s Christmas’ and there’s so much to do before it’s stocking time.

Christmas demands sparkle and magic so how about starting the festive season with a light trail? Back for its third year, Windsor Great Park Illuminated will once again be awash with dazzling light installations that meander through woodland, by field and pond to take visitors through a dreamlike laser-scape. The dazzling light trail includes breathtaking projections, flood-lit fountains, and a wondrous adventure through colourful woodland with mythical creatures and dancing fairies lighting the way. Cosy rest spots offer mouth-watering food, mulled wine, hot chocolate, and marshmallow toasting. Booking essential www.windsorilluminated.com

Step into an illuminated kingdom at Wellington Country Park this winter and join Hope on an imaginative journey into Neverland.  Walk along poetic paths and embark on the enchanting adventure of Neverland Illuminova — an illuminated night trail that never grows old. Explore the woodlands and extended trail for 2023 with friends and family in a magical quest that offers something for everyone. Book essential, for more info visit www.neverlandilluminova.co.uk

Inspired by the timeless tale of woodland animals messing about on the river, Basildon Park is transformed into a Christmas woodland wonderland of The Wind in the Willows. Decorated trees, garlands and twinkling fairy lights set the scene and the magical theme extends out into the garden where woodland creatures frolic. Help keep Mr Toad out of trouble on the active festive trail around the garden.

Open at Christmas for the first time, Nuffield Place will be beautifully decked with trees, garlands, fairy lights and lots of car-inspired decorations. Home to William Morris, Lord Nuffield, founder of Morris Motors, the house guides share stories of the house and family as you wander around the decorated house, Driving Home for Christmas.

Greys Court has always been a place of warmth and welcome and this Christmas it is brimming with cherished Christmas memories. The house and estate are adorned with decorated trees, twinkling fairy lights and the magic of the season. Embodying the spirit of Christmas past, nostalgia runs through the gift-wrapped presents, traditional toys in the nursery and Lady Brunner’s gingerbread baking is available to taste in the kitchen. There’s a Christmas trail for children around the garden and candelight tours for grown-ups to explore Greys Court after dark with a glass of mulled wine and a mince pie.

Get ready to embark on a wild and wonderful Christmas adventure as Beale Wildlife Park gears up for the holiday season. It’s an opportunity to create lasting memories and support wildlife conservation efforts. Visit Santa’s Magical Grotto, meet the reindeer, follow the festival park trail hunting for hidden penguins or snowmen scattered throughout the park. A prize awaits at the finish line! Join in free festive crafts in the education centre and why not round off your day with mince pies and non-alcoholic mulled wine?

Santa needs help to find his missing reindeer at Didcot Railway Centre, they’ve escaped and he needs them to deliver the presents. Explore the unique collection of Great Western Railway steam locomotives, carriages, wagons, buildings and artefacts at the 21 acre museum while you locate all the reindeer stations. You’ll all receive a special passport and a stocking as you enter and as a reward, at each reindeer station, you’ll receive a small gift before finishing with a visit to Santa in the giant toy workshop and you’ll get to choose your own gift. Your entry ticket also includes unlimited train rides on the main demonstration line.

The perfect place to build special memories this Christmas is LEGOLAND® which has a variety of fun-filled activities and entertainment, as well as a sprinkling of magic. Snap an (s)elfie in front of the giant DUPLO® Christmas Tree, visit Miniland, where there will be lots of festive scenes hidden – don’t forget to write down your findings in your very own Jolly Journal! The Brick has been decorated for the festivities and has lots of activities & LEGO builds to keep little ones entertained! Don’t miss the live entertainment, Christmas Carols, characters to meet, plus over 30 rides and attractions to enjoy.

Reading Winter Wonderland is one of Berkshire’s ‘hottest ticket’ Christmas destinations. Opening its doors for the festive season through to January 7th, it offers a wide range of attractions, activities and entertainment for visitors of all ages including the Huge North Pole Giant Observation Wheel and the Penguin Bumper Cars, an après Ski Bar, a real ice skating rink undercover, Santa’s grotto and a wide variety of festive food and drinks to keep you full of festive joy.

Enjoy a skate in the historic Alexandra Gardens, Windsor, and take in all the fun of the fair! As well as the ice rink, ride family favourites the dodgems and others including the bungees, Twister, Race-o-Rama, the Waltzer, the toy ride, mini planes, helicopters and Santa’s sleigh roller coaster. Fully licensed food outlets will serve hot food and snacks from midday to 9pm.

Make chocolate lollies, join in with Santa’s Elf’s crafting and see Father Christmas himself at Chocolate for Chocoholics at Lea Farm, Hurst RG10 0SS. Selected dates this month. Book at www.chocolate-parties.com/santas-christmas-chocolate-grotto

Hop aboard Pinewood Miniature Railway in Wokingham for the Mince Pie specials and enjoy a train journey around the line – look out for the reindeer and other lineside decorations, a small gift for each child, mulled wine or non-alcoholic alternative and a mince pie or biscuit.

Hobbs of Henley are running their popular Santa Cruises again this year. The brilliant Bertie Slippers will have everyone roaring with laughter and will be adding some magic, balloons and puppets to the children’s entertainment. Santa will be in his grotto bearing gifts for all the children. Plus there will be refreshments and biscuits for the kids and a cash bar for the parents. Trips on 16th, 20th and 22nd, booking at www.hobbsofhenley.com/santa-cruises

Create a unique sensory winter wonderland with 20,000 dazzling LEDs in the Glow Room at The Lexicon, visit the Sparkle Selfie Station and shop at seasonal stalls among many more fun activities lined up for all the family to enjoy this Yuletide at the Bracknell shopping centre.

Give a gift that shows how much you care this Christmas. A pain relieving muscle rub is the perfect gift for anyone looking to genuinely improve the lives of their loved ones. Soothe this season with a groundbreaking anti-inflammatory gel that got Ian Botham back on his feet. Give the gift of relief, with EthicaCBD Sports Gel, for muscles, joints, and tendons. Visit www.ethicacbd.com

The Very Hungry Caterpillar’s in town

Karen Neville

The Lexicon

Here’s your chance to make like a caterpillar in an interactive trail at The Lexicon this half term

Young visitors to The Lexicon can wriggle their way through a fabulous interactive trail, based on Eric Carle’s best-selling children’s book The Very Hungry Caterpillar.

Following the same journey of the caterpillar from egg to butterfly, visitors will wind their way through an assortment of larger-than-life fruit sculptures (starting at Waitrose and finishing in Princess Square), a cosy chrysalis and a beautiful butterfly, all based on artwork from the famous book.

From February 11-19, pick up a trail leaflet and free piece of fruit (while stocks last) at Waitrose to start your adventure and pop the completed leaflet into The Lexicon post box to be in with a chance of winning some fabulous prizes.

The interactive mini adventure, will help to teach children about the close relationship between plants and insects as they search for items such as apples and pears to complete the trial.

Feeling hungry? Then make sure to check out the various kids eat free offers at Fuego (Fenwick), Las Iguanas, Marks & Spencer Café, Tangs, The Real Greek, Wagamama and Waitrose Restaurant.

You won’t want to miss this fun event so pop the dates in your diary now.

Find out more and for details of the kids eat free offer, visit The Very Hungry Caterpillar.

Celebrate Christmas at The Lexicon

Karen Neville

The Lexicon

Enjoy festive fun activities for the whole family at Bracknell’s leading shopping centre

Shoppers at The Lexicon will be greeted by glittering lights, a 10-metre Christmas Tree and festive market stalls, as part of an array of festive activities for all the family from Saturday, 26th November to December 24th.

One of the borough’s spectacular forest giants, Will Wildwood will return to Princess Square, dressed for the festive season complete with festive forest foliage and frost-tipped sparkling lights to help raise money for Bracknell Foodbank. Every time someone uses the Winter Will Wildwood slide, The Lexicon will donate 20 pence to the foodbank up to a maximum of £5,000.

There’s a Snowflake Trail for families to follow around the town centre, using spectacular artwork created by local children with a chance to win a fabulous family prize from Cineworld and Gymfinity.

But, the star of the show is a magical virtual sleigh ride. Families will be transported across the world as they give Santa’s brand-new sleigh a trial flight before Christmas Eve.

Begin your journey by being transported into a virtual bay using a VR headset with a fully immersive experience including 360-degree views and matching movements. Hold on to your hats everyone, this could be a bumpy ride!

SEND sessions available.

For more information about Christmas at The Lexicon and to book tickets for the sleigh ride visit https://www.thelexiconbracknell.com/.