Minimum 3 nights stay
St Albans really is a lovely place to visit over the Christmas period and Christmas in St Albans kicks off with the lights being switched on, on Sunday 18th November. A fun programme of events runs from 12 noon to 6pm with the lights being switched on at 5pm. For the best views we recommend you arrive in good time and visit the main stage on St Peter’s Street or the Clock Tower.
30 November – 22 December
Part of Christmas tradition in St Albans is the popular St Albans Meraki Christmas Festival located on the Front Meadow of the Verulamium Park in St Albans. Here you can enjoy their St Albans Christmas Market with traditional chalets selling all kinds of Christmas gifts. Get into the festive spirit with live music, Christmas lights and drinks by the fire pit or something from the Igloo Bar!
Entry to the Meraki Christmas Festival is free apart from a small charge that is made for use of their reusable cups. You can keep these as a memento of the evening or return them to the festival and they will make a small donation to charity. Alternatively you are invited bring your own cup, or if you have a Meraki Summer Festival cup, please bring that along.
There are of course a number of experiences that you can pay for once you are at the St Albans Meraki Christmas Festival:
£20 plus booking fee for a 40 minute experience aimed at 3 to 11 year olds. Only the children need tickets, and the adults go free!
Meraki Skating - £5 plus booking fee for a 30 minute skating experience on a synthetic ice rink.
£5 plus booking fee for a movie and popcorn in ‘the Snug Movie House’.
£6 + booking fee for a Dry Ice Shot or an Ice Glass Drink and a guaranteed 30 minutes in The Igloo Ice Bar, or longer if it is quieter
Please check out the Meraki Festival website for more details, and to pre-purchase tickets. They also have multi activity passes for kids, which may save you some money, depending on what activities you wish to do.
As well as the above activities there are of course the German style St Albans Christmas Market shopping chalets, a fairground, the Meraki 3 Tipis Bar, live music, storytelling sessions, a photo booth and much more.
The Christmas fun in St Albans doesn’t just end at the Meraki Christmas Festival. Head to St Peters Street where you will find the Charter Market which has held a special Royal Charter since 1553. It is widely considered one of the best markets in the area and its Christmas Charter Market runs every day in the run up to Christmas.
While you are there why not pop into the St Albans Museum and Gallery, and visit their Twelve Days of Christmas Gallery Trail.
As you walk around St Albans look out for their Living Advent Calendar shop displays. A number of businesses will be displaying official campaign stickers with details of which date their advent window display will be revealed. Each reveal will take place at 1pm during December (1st to 24th) and the final reveal will be at St Alban’s Cathedral on the 25th. The displays will remain in place until 5 January 2019 and the public get to vote on the best dressed window.
Our top tip is to walk from the Meraki Christmas Festival to the St Albans Christmas Charter Market in St Peters Street and back again. Make sure you pass Ye Olde Fighting Cocks, which is reputed to be Britain’s oldest pub, and stop off for a Christmas tipple if you have the time! Walk along George Street and head past the Clock Tower then towards the Charter Market. Make your return journey back along Holywell Hill where you can window shop in all the lovely independent shops whilst picking out the advent displays.
In this world of excess, why not take a few minutes to pop into St Alban’s Museum and Gallery on 15 December 2018 and drop off something for the St Albans for Refugees charity to Help fill Santa’s Sleigh! They are in need of warm clothing and presents for refugee children. A rather nice way for children to meet Father Christmas and they receive a lollipop instead of a present!
Christmas is of course a very important time of year in the St Albans Cathedral calendar. There are a host of events including the Advent procession, and a number of carol services that really add to that Christmas magic, plus the Christmas services themselves.
For more details of all the Christmas events in St Albans over the festive period check out the St Albans Christmas brochure.