There are still some free and cheap places you can visit with your children in and around Milton Keynes in 2020 around Christmas time. Do be aware that shops are likely to be busy in the run up to Christmas Day so you may want to think about when you do go, should you want to. If none of these ideas do appeal and you would prefer to visit parks or go on local walks you’ll find lots of information on my website. If you do find this list useful or benefit from any of the reviews on my website please do consider buying me a coffee to support the costs of running it. All of my reviews and guides are written independently with no advertising. Thank you.
Best Christmas houses in and around Milton Keynes
Summerhayes and Kennington Close aren’t decorating their houses this year. Here’s some others that we know about.
Portishead Drive, Tattenhoe
The address for this one is Portishead Drive, Tattenhoe, MK4 3DF. Louise’s nan and grandad are raising money for charity. Here’s the link to donate.
Osterley Close, Newport Pagnell
If you’re local to Newport Pagnell it looks like there’s some good Christmas houses in Osterley Close. Thanks to Marie for the pictures. Postcode is MK16 0EZ. The collection box is a red bucket on the lamp post between 20 and 19.
There’s a cheap drive-in cinema at the Point in Milton Keynes. It costs £5 per car. All the money raised goes to the Food Bank. At the time of writing there were still some tickets left. Click here to see what’s available.
There are some delightful Christmas shops to visit with your children in and around Milton Keynes in 2020. If you want to feel festive this is a great way to do so. All the ones I’m featuring have cafes and have lovely things to look at. They’re not specifically aimed at children AND you may have to queue to get in them. I’d suggest checking opening times, restrictions and latest info before travelling.
Centre MK Christmas lights
This is what you can see for FREE at Centre MK shopping centre in Milton Keynes. The giant igloos have gone. Personally I think the bright scenes and characters with lights are a refreshing change from the last 5 years. Much of the space outside John Lewis is taken up with the grotto which you have to pay to go in as well as the train, helter skelter and carousel. So what you see in these pics is what you can see without paying. The individual lit selfie spots are dotted around the centre. There also a bauble one you can sit in but it had people in when I was there. There’s a couple as you head towards the John Lewis car park. Others are near the M and S end.
The Olde Watermill, Barton-Le-Clay
The Olde Watermill is a quirky collection of independent shops located just off the A6 in Barton-Le-Clay Bedfordshire. There is a section of it that reminded my eldest son of Diagon Alley. They have a large area absolutely full of wall to wall Christmas decorations. The highlight for the children is a couple of model trains which are fascinating to watch. There’s also a cafe there – the babyccino is really cheap – I think it was 59p. There’s an outdoor play area although it was closed when we went. There’s also a small indoor play area in another cafe which is suitable for toddlers. Have a look at their website for opening times and details.
Poplar’s Garden Centre, Bedfordshire
Poplars have some of the most creative Christmas displays locally. This year there’s a hotel scene, a surfing holiday scene and a spa among others. They’re all a showcase for different colour schemes and they’re really pretty. The Christmas shop is sectioned off from their big shop and it’s a good size. If you want to go into their main shop you need to leave and go back in the other entrance. The main shop is pretty cool too with some big animals to look at. There is a large cafe there although it’s worth checking what time they are open to as on the day we went they shut at 3pm. More info on the Poplars Garden Centre website. The postcode is LU5 6HE. It’s really easy to get to and located just of junction 12 off the M1.
Frosts Garden Centre, Woburn Sands
We’ve visited Frosts for years to see their Christmas decorations. This year there aren’t the photo ops that there has been in previous years. They have moved the miniature Christmas scenes to the middle of the shop so you have to seek those out. The singing reindeer are outside so you have to go via the plants entrance to find them. The huge stag looks stunning lit up outside. As the days are going on there is less in the Christmas area of the shop so the best bits are definitely the reindeer and big stag. There is an excellent large cafe there. Postcode is MK17 8UE. Don’t leave it too late to visit, ideally go before Christmas Eve. More info on their website.
Woburn Sands Emporium, Woburn Sands
If you’re going to Frosts above, you may as well go to Woburn Sands Emporium as well as it’s down the road. This year there is the front of a bus, an animatronic reindeer and polar bear and the front of a train. There’s a cafe. There’s also lots of big fish to look at their and you can feed them. If you don’t mind spending a bit of money there’s an ice-skating rink there too. More info on their website.
Rushmere Country Park – fairy trail until the end of January 2021
There’s a festive fairy trail in at Rushmere Country Park in Bedfordshire from 28th November. Trail Sheets are £3 from the visitors centre. Rushmere is one of our favourite places throughout the year. There’s a giant chair, giant spider and lots of fairy doors. The play area which includes the big slide is still closed from what I understand. Make sure you read my previous review before you go. People often miss Oak Wood which includes some lovely sculptures including a beetle and dragonfly. You can visit Rushmere at any time. It’s free to visit but you pay £3 to get out of the car park. The fairy trail is on until the end of January. The address is Linslade Rd, Heath and Reach LU7 0EB. You don’t specifically need the trail sheet if you’ve been before as you simply need to go on the circular walk that many people follow normally past the chair and spider. But if you’ve not been before or aren’t sure where everything is then it’s worth buying.
Houghton Hall Park, Bedfordshire – Christmas Spirit Trail and Stick Man Trail
Houghton Hall Park is a good sized park in Houghton Regis, Bedfordshire. There’s some play equipment as well as pretty gardens and woodland. It’s not as big as a country park but big enough for a couple of hours out. From 12th – 24th December there is a Christmas Spirit trail on which involves spotting characters around the park and scanning QR codes on your phone. Do bear in mind though when visiting the toilets are closed. So you may only want to visit if you’re reasonably local. Have a read of my previous review of Houghton Hall Park so you can see what it’s like.
12 days of Christmas Trail, Great Linford Manor Park, Milton Keynes
There’s a free festive trail on at Great Linford Manor Park between 14th December and 3rd January. There are twelve doors to find and behind them twelve pictures of objects from the famous carol. You can find out more about it on The Parks Trust website. Free parking is available at Milton Keynes Arts Centre (off Parklands, MK14 5DZ) or limited spaces are available at Great Linford Memorial Hall (off Marsh Drive). Great Linford Manor Park is a lovely park to visit. There’s some restoration work going on there at the moment. It’s set next to the canal and there’s also some excellent stones to climb on there. There are no toilets there.
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