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Christmas is Coming in The National Forest!

Friday, 9th November 2007

Whether it's seasonal singing, Christmas crafts or last minute shopping ideas, The National Forest has a bumper selection of events to whet the festive appetite.

See Santa

Santa will be busy throughout the Forest! Everyday in December (1–23) he will be at Moira Furnace with his helpers, and for 7 days only he will be calling at Conkers. Take the Santa Special train, and travel through the trees to the woodland grotto, where he will have gifts for all the good girls and boys, and parents can pick up a warming glass of mulled wine and a mince pie after the kids' treat. Catch the train on Saturday 8, Sunday 9, Saturday 15, Sunday 16, Friday 21, Saturday 22 and Sunday 23 December.

During the Christmas Reindeer and Lantern Parade at the National Memorial Arboretum on Friday 7 December, children are invited to light Rudolf's way with lanterns, before Santa takes up residence in the Arboretum's magical grotto. He will appear on Saturday 8, Sunday 9, Saturday 15, Sunday 16, Saturday 22 and Sunday 23 December.

Christmas music and entertainment

Green Groweth the Holly! Get joyful and in the Christmas mood with the authentic sound of Christmas past and early music group Galliarda, at Donington le Heath Manor House on Friday 7 December. Or join Sing Christmas!, a fun-filled day of festive singing on Saturday 8 December, when singers of all ages and abilities can join local musician Robert Newton, with Forest Arts at Rosliston Forestry Centre.

As Christmas draws nearer wrap up warm for the traditional outdoor family Christmas Carol Concert at the National Memorial Arboretum on Friday 21 December, or see the eyes shining at the beautiful candlelit community carol service in the Tree of Life Hall at Conkers on Saturday 22 December.

"Fi, fy, fo, fum!" Fun for all the family with Jack and the Beanstalk, this year's pantomime at Conkers, showing on Saturday 15 and Sunday 16 December.

Speed down the slopes of Swadlincote Ski and Snowboard Centre to the boisterous tunes of Karl's Bavarian Brass Band. Umpah Nights on Saturdays 1, 8 and 15 December include toboggan rides and a three course meal.

Christmas crafts

Making things for Christmas is a good way to take time out and tick things off the ‘to do' list at the same time. Get creative with personalised Christmas Cards or edible Christmas decorations in a choice of two workshops on Saturday 8 December at Sharpe's Pottery Museum or make a holly wreath at Snibston Discovery Park on Saturday 8 and Sunday 9 December. Whether it's for a nativity play or not, the Shepherd's Crook Workshop at Snibston is always very popular – it runs again on Sunday 9 and Monday 10 December.

Have a go at Christmas flower arranging at Sharpe's Pottery Museum on Saturday 15 December or spend the weekend of 15 and 16 December out in the woodland at Daniel Hayes, collecting material to make decorations and a holly wreath. Forest Arts offers a workshop to make a festive door wreath using foliage and decoration from the forest at Rosliston Forestry Centre on Sunday 16 December.

Christmas feasts

Throughout December (1-23) Calke Abbey will be offering a festive menu using local produce; you can enjoy a Christmas carvery at the National Memorial Arboretum on Tuesday 4, Wednesday 5, Tuesday 11, Wednesday 12, Tuesday 18 and Wednesday 19 December; or a Christmas Evening Dinner in the Cornishware Bistro at Sharpe's Pottery Museum on Friday 14 and Saturday 15 December. The medieval manor house at Donington le Heath offers a feast of fun and Tudor Christmas fare at a Tudor Banquet on Saturday 15 December.

Shopping

Pick up some extra presents at the Christmas Craft Fair at Rosliston Forestry Centre on Saturday 1 December, and stock up on those Christmas treats at the Festive Farmers Market at Sharpe's Pottery Museum on Saturday 15 December.

Ferrers Centre for Arts and Crafts has a wonderful selection of unusual gifts, and the added attraction of entertainment in the courtyard on Seasonal Sundays: 25 November (with Charnwood Wind Band and a Victorian barrel organ) 2 December (the Lights of Love Ceremony and Staunton Wind Band) and 9 December (Leicestershire Co-op Band and a Victorian barrel organ).

And where better to get your Christmas tree than The National Forest! Real Christmas trees are available during December from the Forestry Commission at Rosliston Forestry Centre and Sence Valley Forest Park as well as the National Memorial Arboretum and Forest Timber, near Conkers Waterside in Moira.

In the midst of all the preparations, a good walk is just the thing. The Tree Trail around Calke Abbey grounds will be magically transformed when lit by festive lights and lanterns for evening walks on Saturday 1, Sunday 2, Saturday 8, Sunday 9, Saturday 15, Sunday 16 December. Or enjoy a bracing walk and warm up with mulled wine and a mince pie in the restaurant at Rosliston Forestry Centre on Saturday 15 December.

When the tree is decked and all the presents wrapped, join the warden at Calke Abbey for the Christmas Walk around the National Nature Reserve, on Sunday 23 December.

Party on in the Forest!

The Tree of Life Hall at Conkers will be all lit up for Christmas Party Nights on Saturday 8, Friday 14, Saturday 15 and Friday 21 December. And once more Conkers will be offering its popular New Year's Eve Extravaganza. Bigger and better than ever before, it's a great party for all the family.