Temperatures are dropping, the woolly scarves are coming out and mince pies are lining supermarket shelves: Christmas is just around the corner.
In the coming weeks Somerset will get well and truly into the festive spirit, with a calendar jam-packed with events – from carol concerts to Santa fun runs.
So whether you’re looking for family fun, ways to celebrate the Christmas countdown with friends or just somewhere to do your shopping in style, Somerset has it covered.
Santa Trains at West Somerset Railway
Meeting Santa is the highlight of Christmas for the little ones, but why not make it extra special by making the journey by Santa Train?
Climb aboard a Santa Special steam train and travel to his grotto – from Minehead to Blue Anchor and back or from Bishops Lydeard to Crowcombe Heathfield and back.
After the 15 minute journey you’ll see Santa by the fire, and the children will receive a special present from the man himself. Meanwhile mum and dad can enjoy a festive drink and a mince pie during the journey.
Santa Specials run on December 2, 9, 15, 16, 22, 23 and 24.
Alternatively, you can see Santa on the train itself. Catch a Santa Express steam train - from Bishops Lydeard Station to Williton and back – where Santa will visit the little ones on board and give them a present. Once again, mums and dads get a mince pie and a drink.
Trains have a buffet car, and the round trip takes around 90 minutes. Seating capacity is limited, so it is advisable to book early.
The Santa Express runs on December 1, 2, 8, 9, 15, 16, 22, 23 and 24.
Find out more here.
Carol Trains at West Somerset Railway
If carolling is more your thing, why not catch a Carol Train from either Minehead or Bishops Lydeard?
Arrive at 6.30pm to see the locomotive waiting in steam and the band preparing for the carols.
Once all passengers are on board, the train will depart at 7pm to make a round trip to Williton. Along the way the train will stop at stations so carols can be sung, accompanied by the band!
The carol train runs on December 1, 10, 11 and 12.
To find out more, click here.
Santaland at Wookey Hole
For the ultimate Santa extravaganza, head to Wookey Hole this winter.
There you’ll find more than 20 attractions – from Santa’s grotto to Christmas Magic Circus, from a Magical Mirror Maze to a Fairy Garden. The kids can also meet real reindeer.
And why not round off the day with a Christmas dinner at the Big Top restaurant? Adults dine for £10 and children £8.50.
Santaland tickets are £12 per person. To find out more click here.
Sing Noel by Glastonbury Cantilena
For a Christmas concert with class, head to St Mary's Church, Glastonbury this winter.
From Charpentier and Poulenc to Vaughan Williams and Tavener, the concert of French and English tunes at is sure to conjure the magic of Christmas.
The concert, taking place on December 15, will support St Margaret's Hospice with an interval collection. There will also be mince pies and mulled wine during the interval.
Find out more here.
Hestercombe Gardens Christmas Market
Christmas is the perfect time to show your loved ones you care, and what better way than with a unique gift they can treasure?
At Hestercombe Gardens Christmas Market, there’ll be no shortage of inspiration. Somerset’s leading Christmas market, here you can peruse more than 50 stalls brimming with hand-made gifts, decorations and festive food, many of them made in Somerset.
You can also snap up hand-crafted cards, a homemade Christmas cake and printed gift paper.
And when you’ve found the perfect present, why not put on your skates and enjoy the Winter Wonderland ice rink, and take the little ones to visit Santa in his grotto?
The Stables Restaurant and Coffee Shop will be selling food until late, and local bands will be performing live.
The market is open on Saturday November 17 and Sunday 18, from 10am to 5pm.
Santas on the Run
‘Tis the season of goodwill, so why not lend a helping hand to those less fortunate by taking part in a charity fun run?
Held in Wells and Taunton in December, Santas on the Run events raise much-needed funds for Children’s Hospice South West.
Join hundreds of people dressed as Santa and take to the streets! Everyone who signs up gets a free Santa suit.
Find out more here.
Carols by Candlelight
If there’s one thing guaranteed to get you in the mood for Christmas, it’s carols. So what better way to spend an evening than enjoying Carols By Candlelight at Hestercombe House?
Singing the carols we all know and love, Wellington School Chapel Choir will conjure the magic of Christmas.
Topped off with mulled wine and a mince pie, this is a night you’ll never forget. This concert, due to take place on December 8, was a sell-out last year.
Book tickets here.
Christmas Concert Under Concorde
For a festive night out with a twist, head to Fleet Air Arm Museum. There, under stunning suspended concords you can enjoy mulled wine, mince pies and performances from Royal Navy Volunteer Bands.
This year, the Bands will also be joined by the newly-formed Yeovilton Military Wives Choir.
To find out more click here.