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The festive season is looking a little different this year, but there’s still plenty of fun events for families to enjoy in and around Bury St Edmunds

There will not be a Christmas light switch-on event, but for the first time, the lights will be turned on from St Edmunds Day, Friday, November 20, bringing some colourful Christmas cheer to us all.

Other events to look out for (subject to pandemic restrictions) are set out below.

Christmas Emporium at Ravenwood Hall, near Bury St Edmunds

Friday-Sunday, December 4-20, 10.30am-4pm

Set within Ravenwood Hall Hotel’s extensive gardens at Rougham, the emporium will be reminiscent of the German Christmas markets, with a variety of stalls offering traditional festive fayre, from roasted chestnuts to mulled wine, gifts and crafts.

Tuck into fire-pit roasted salmon, wood-fired pizzas and an array of festive treats, as well as drinks including mulled wine, Christmas punch, spiced apple juice and real ales. Sit in the main marquee or keep warm and cosy in a booked Ravenwood snug, which has space for six with table service, while you listen to carol singers.

Visit ravenwoodhall.co.uk or call 01359 270345

Meet Santa at Dobbies garden centre, Bury St Edmunds

December 5-24

Take your little ones to the Winter Wonderland at Dobbies garden centre, where they will be welcomed by Santa and receive a special gift. His grotto will be open from 11am, closing times vary, the latest being 4.30pm.

Dobbies has been working hard with Santa and his elves to ensure the safety of their guests and ticket numbers have been reduced to comply with social distancing. All visitors are required to wear a face covering.

Timed tickets are £11.99 per child (up to 12 years) including a gift. Book online at events.dobbies.com

Christmas in Bury St Edmunds (43176583)
Christmas in Bury St Edmunds (43176583)

Breakfast with Santa at Dobbies garden centre, Bury St Edmunds

December 5-24, 8am

Families with children aged 12 years and under can book Breakfast with Santa at Dobbies where they will be seated and served at their own table. The children’s menu is £13.99, including a visit to Santa’s Grotto where they will receive a gift, while the adults menu is from £6.99 (excluding a gift).

Book tickets at events.dobbies.com

A Christmas Carol, Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds outdoor Christmas 2020 production of Charles Dickens’ classic on Angel Hill

December 11-24

This December, Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds will be presenting a new adaptation of one of the country’s best-loved Christmas stories, A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, adapted by Owen Calvert-Lyons and Ian Jarvis.

The 60-minute show will be performed twice on Angel Hill each evening from December 11-23, at 7pm and 9pm (excluding December 15 and December 21) and the Christmas Eve performances will be at 5pm and 7pm.

Set against the backdrop of The Angel Hotel, the production will bring the streets of Victorian London right into the heart of Bury St Edmunds. With in-the-round staging and headphone technology, audiences will be able to fully immerse themselves in a Dickensian world.

The professional cast of five includes local actors Matthew Cavendish, Rebecca Peyton and Howard Saddler, along with Paul Sandys and Melissa Lowe.

The production has been made possible with the support of West Suffolk Council and is sponsored by Taylor Wimpey East Anglia.

Book tickets online at theatreroyal.org

Virtual Santa at Blackthorpe Barn, Rougham

December 12-22

Youngsters aged between two and nine years can ‘meet’ Father Christmas face-to-face and enjoy a magical and inspiring experience, albeit virtually. Blackthorpe Barn at Rougham will be transporting Santa into a new, virtual world chatting ‘live’ from his wintry grotto with his elves nearby.

Book a day and time slot at the online box office, enter your child’s details and Blackthorpe will email a link to connect to the grotto. Youngsters will still receive a present from Santa, which can either by couriered to your home (£6.99) or collected from the barn.

Tickets are £10 per child, for more details visit blackthorpebarn.com or call 01359 270880

Christmas at Moyse's Hall (43176594)
Christmas at Moyse's Hall (43176594)

Moyse’s Hall Sci-Fi and Action Exhibition,

Bury St Edmunds

December 3-January 20

Moyse’s Hall Museum strikes back with an intergalactic exhibition celebrating two special sci-fi anniversaries as well as cult-classics from the big and small screens.

The 12th annual Sci-Fi and Action Exhibition will mark the 40th anniversary of the second Star Wars film, The Empire Strikes Back, one of the greatest sci-fi movies ever to hit the big screen.

See a display of props and memorabilia from the movie that introduced us to Yoda, the legendary Jedi Master, AT-AT all terrain armoured walkers and a shocking family revelation that set the world talking.

In addition, it’s 40 years since Galactica landed in homes across the globe. This classic series was a spin-off to 1978’s Battlestar Galactica; displays will explore the franchise’s impact upon popular culture. Around this time, Tom Baker was also capturing the public’s imagination as Dr Who; high-end screen props will reignite memories and look out for a real Dalek as you walk round the museum! Finally meet an icon baddie – a real screen used Gremlin from the mid-1980s cult classic.

Suitable for all ages, the exhibition is open Monday-Saturday, 10am-5pm, and Sundays noon-4pm. Admission: adult £5, concessions £3; child £3 (5-16 years), family £15 (up to 5 people). Call 01284 758000 or visit moyseshall.org

Christmas Gift & Food Fair

Until December 20

Ely Cathedral’s incredibly popular Christmas Gift & Food Fair is going virtual this year, so grab a glass of mulled wine and a mince pie and prepare for a festive shopathon!

No need to worry about elbowing your way to the best stall as the Christmas extravaganza is running online until December 20, featuring more than 150 ‘stalls’. There’ll be a selection of bespoke products spanning home décor, clothes and accessories, handmade arts and crafts, jewellery and festive food. And to get you in the spirit, there’ll even be a tinsel-topped programme of virtual entertainment, including carols by the Cathedral Choristers, seasonal workshops, gift-wrapping demos, a Christmas cake bake off, and a unique performance of festive music by Ian Anderson from Jethro Tull.

Visit elycathedral.org for a full programme of events and exhibitors list