Things to do with the kids this Christmas in Salisbury

If you are looking for something to do with the children in the run up to Christmas, or ways to keep them occupied over the upcoming school break, then we have some ideas. 

As you’ll see, our modern medieval city is the perfect location for family festive fun this Christmas. 

A Christmas Cathedral 

Salisbury Cathedral is looking festively fabulous this Christmas. Their giant 33ft Christmas tree takes pride of place at the West End of the Cathedral building. The Norway Spruce was grown and felled in Longleat Forest, where trees are managed sustainably. It will be festooned with around 1000 LED lights, as well as glass baubles and glass droplets. The tree will be there in all its glory from Thursday, 9th December 2021. 

Salisbury Cathedral giant Christmas tree 2020

While you are at the Cathedral, watch out for the mice (don’t worry, they’re not real ones)! From today (8th December 2021) through to Candlemas on 2nd February 2022, children will be able to flex their detective skills to find the hidden mice in the Christmouse trail. 

Ten knitted mice have been hidden at various locations around the Cathedral floor and shop and children will have to use the clues on the trail to locate them all. No booking is required as this festive trail is included in a standard entry ticket. 

If you want to go one further and make some mice for yourself, you can do just that on Monday 20th December. Children will have the chance to make their very own pinecone Christmas mouse inspired by the trail during Salisbury Cathedral’s Children's Christmas Activities which will be taking place in the South Nave Aisle between 10am and 2:30pm. 

This year the Cathedral are also introducing new child-friendly, wooden Nativity figures created by Ray Wirick, a chainsaw artist. The figures will be on display from 15th December. 

Don't forget, if you live in the SP1, SP2 and Laverstock areas you can get in free to the Cathedral at any time.

Christmas Tree Trail and city lights 

Christmas trees are always a magical part of Christmas and you can enjoy a lot of them in Salisbury this year!  

Head into the city centre and take a family stroll around Salisbury to hunt down the 12 large, beautifully decorated trees on Salisbury City Council’s Christmas Tree Trail. They are situated across the city centre, creating a magical trail for the whole family to enjoy. Starting at Salisbury Cathedral and finishing at the Market Place, the trail will guide you through the medieval streets of Salisbury. You can download a helpful map to find all the trees here. 

If you wait until it gets a little darker, take in the amazing Christmas lights that illuminate the city centre this year. Make sure to stop off at the Market Place where the twinkling trees are wonderfully enchanting. 

Christmas at the Cross Keys Shopping Centre 

Christmas has arrived at Cross Keys Shopping Centre - the Christmas Tree is up, the lights are twinkling and there is plenty to keep the kids happy!  

Their Facepainting Fairie will be creating memorable festive designs on Saturday 11th and 18th December from 11am to 4pm. And it’s free! 

Plus, you can find out if you’re on the naughty or nice list this year when Father Christmas takes time out to meet and greet children in the centre on Tuesday 21st December. 

Festive family shows 

Live Christmas theatre is always a big part of the festive season and this year Salisbury Playhouse puts a modern twist on a classic tale to entertain the whole family. Snow White and the Happy Ever After Beauty Salon brings toe-tapping live music, dazzling design and laugh out loud entertainment together in one show. Join in the fun until 31st December. Book now to secure your seats. 

Salisbury’s Sparkling Selfie Hotspots! 

Create Christmas memories with the children this year with a festive selfie! Salisbury has plenty of locations to choose from. Highlights include: 

  • Salisbury Guildhall. Grab the family, stand under the beautifully decorated Guildhall pillars and snap away! 
  • The Christmas tree in the Cross Keys Shopping Centre is perfect as a selfie spot during a day of shopping 
  • Twinkle, twinkle 'giant’ star, there’s no longer any need to wonder what they are! Head to the Fisherton Mill and see their festive star. Big enough to gather the whole family around. 
  • Another festive selfie favourite is the Christmas bauble in the Old George Mall. Wait till the end of the day and the children will love the fabulous light display. 

Nutcracker Kings Hide and Seek 

Sticking with selfies.... if you want to take some festive photos and win a £50 Salisbury Gift Card then take part in Salisbury BID’s Nutcracker King Hide and Seek challenge! The giant statues have been hidden in businesses around the city centre, task the kids with finding them, then take a selfie, post it to social media and you will go into the draw to win a gift card. You can find all the details and full terms and conditions here. 

Christmas walks 

Wrap up warm and prepare the children for some spooky stories! Join the City Guides to learn about the strange happenings that have taken place on our medieval streets during special Christmas Ghost Walks on the 27th and 28th December and then on the 1st and 3rd of January 2022. Children will enjoy listening to the tales of ghostly goings on from the experienced Blue Badge Guides.  

Ghost of Christmas past 

Falconry, strolling minstrels, a bouncy castle and martial arts – what more could the children want! You can find them all at The Salisbury Museum’s Tudor Christmas event. Running across both the 11th and 12th December, it will see the Kings House in the Cathedral Close decked in Tudor splendour and filled with the sights, sounds and smells of Christmas during Tudor times. A full day of festive fun for everyone. 

Santa’s Little Wonderland 

Make dreams come true this Christmas by meeting Santa. The jolly man himself will be at Santa's Little Wonderland in the Guildhall Square every day from Thursday 9th to 24th December. There are VERY few spaces left though so please check bookings in advance here. 

Christmas at Stonehenge 

English Heritage have made sure to add some festive fun to the Wiltshire prehistoric monument this Christmas. Until 2nd January 2022, you can explore Stonehenge with a family-friendly Christmas adventure quest. Follow the trail to find clues dotted around the site, and discover fun facts and festive folklore along the way. Stonehenge is open every day, except for Christmas Day. 

Is it getting frosty?! 

After a day of fun activities, the kids may need a pit-stop to refuel and what better way than with a very festive hot chocolate and marshmallows! FROST at Christmas on the Square brings the feel of a winter cabin to the heart of Salisbury. The children will love gathering around the fire to warm through and enjoy their chocolate treat. Find it in the Guildhall Square until 3rd January 2022. 

If you prefer your chocolate and marshmallows in a different form, why not swap a hot drink for a tasty waffle! Wafflemeister on the High Street has a delicious sounding Original Liège waffle with mini marshmallows, dark, milk or white Belgian chocolate and sprinkles. They also have crepes, shakes, gelato and sundaes - something to keep the whole family happy!


Whatever your age, there is something to keep you entertained and bring merriment this festive season. Click through to our What's On pages to find the perfect activity for you, and get ready to #ExperienceSalisbury this Christmas.

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