Alternative things to do this Christmas beyond the German Markets

For some, the Frankfurt Markets are one of the best things about the most wonderful time of the year in the city as they tuck into beers and Bratwursts.

But beyond the markets, there are so many other fantastic activities to do in the city that will help you get into the Christmas spirit without having to battle your way through New Street.

Here’s our ultimate guide of the best alternative things to see, do and discover across Birmingham to have yourself a merry little Christmas.

Book to see a Christmas show

Birmingham Royal Ballet’s The Nutcracker

No Christmas in Birmingham is complete without a trip to the theatre and as usual, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.

Famed for its unmissable pantomimes, Birmingham Hippodrome is welcoming Snow White & the Seven Dwarfs to its stage from Saturday, December 21 2019 – Sunday, February 2.

Birmingham’s favourite panto star Matt Slack is returning as Muddles; he’ll be joined on stage by a star-studded cast including Joe McElderry, Lesley Joseph, Faye Brookes, Doreen Tiptop and Andrew Ryan. Tickets are on sale now, so click here to book yours.

Alongside the panto, the Hippodrome will be hosting Birmingham Royal Ballet’s sensational production of The Nutcracker. Running from Friday, November 22 – Saturday, December. Book your tickets here.

Elsewhere across the city, UB40 are heading to Arena Birmingham for a festive homecoming show on December 21 and families can enjoy a live-action version of David Walliams’ Grandpa’s Great Escape on December 23, 24 and 26.

Birmingham REP has a re-imagined version of Peter Pan running from November 30, 2019 – January 19, 2020, and over at The Alexandra Theatre you can catch shows including A Christmas Carol, How the Grinch Stole Christmas and The King and I. Click here for dates and tickets.

Oh, and last but not least, Love Actually in Concert is returning to Symphony Hall on December 16. Get your tickets here.

Indulge in a bottomless festive brunch

Toast to Christmas with Harvey Nichols

Calories don’t count at Christmas – or the weeks leading up to it for that matter. If you want to start your celebrations early, on Sunday, December 8, Harvey Nichols is hosting a bottomless festive brunch complete with a live DJ set.

Running from 11am3pm, you can indulge in three tempting courses featuring classic brunch options, a traditional Sunday roast, seasonal favourites and delicious desserts. Of course, you’ll need something to wash it down with, options include Prosecco, Champagne or a selection of cocktails.

A perfect pre-Christmas treat if we do say so ourselves, tickets for the Festive DJ Brunch cost £40 with Prosecco or £50 with Champagne or select cocktails.

Tickets for the Festive DJ Brunch cost £40 per person. Click here to book your tickets or alternatively call 0121 616 6028 or email reservations.birmingham@harveynichols.com

Go on a magical journey on The Polar Express

The Polar Express will be travelling from Birmingham Moor Street

Looking to add a little magic to your Christmas? Based on the magical film that’s a festive favourite in thousands of households, families can hop aboard The Polar Express Train Ride for an enchanting experience that will immerse you in the much-loved tale.

With journeys departing from Birmingham Moor Street between November 22 – December 22, guests can enjoy hot chocolate and cookies before embarking on a journey that will unfold before your very eyes.

Guaranteed to get you in the festive spirit, tickets for The Polar Express Train Ride are on sale now. Click here to secure your tickets of an unforgettable adventure this Christmas.

Try at festive toastie at City Social

City Social returns from November 28 – December 21

If the Frankfurt Markets really aren’t on your Christmas list, then you might enjoy this. Bigger and better than ever before, City Socials returning to the Suffolk St Queensway underpass outside the Mailbox.

Featuring a fantastic collection of local independent traders, you’ll be able to tuck into some delicious food – we highly recommend Roastie Toastie – sip on a drink or two and even pick up some beautiful handmade gifts, all while enjoying live music from local performers.

Running from November 28 – December 21, City Social is a perfect alternative to the often over-crowded German Markets. We’ll see you there for a drink and a boogie?

Snap a photo in The Fantasy Snow Dome

Step inside Selfridge’s stylish snow dome

Whether it’s a family portrait or a snap with friends or colleagues, Selfridges has undergone its huge Christmas transformation – complete with a giant snow dome.

As well as shopping for some fantastic personalised pressies – including a pair of socks that you can get a picture your face printed on for a hilarious gift – you can also step inside a life-sized snow globe on select dates and times.

You need to book tickets for this one – they’re free – so click here to check out a full list of dates and times before securing your tickets for the ultimate festive holiday photo.

Wrap up for an Après Ski Party

Head for the snow at this year’s Après Ski Party

Always a popular event around Christmas, it’s time to gather your pals, dig out your ski gear and book tickets for the annual Après Ski Party!

With a brand new venue in the Jewellery Quarter, this year’s shindig is looking bigger and better than ever before. Expect a venue filled with all things Alpine. We’re talking snow and ski complete with giant snowflakes, pine trees, ski racks, fairy lights, lanterns and bench seating – the whole lot!

With multiple bars serving up signature festive tipples alongside delicious food from the likes of Yardbirds and The Bournville Waffle Co and cheese fondue galore, you won’t want to miss this ultimate party on December 6 – 7, running from 6pm12pm. Click here for more info and to book your tickets!

Toast to Christmas at a super-cool pop-up bar

Step into a Winter Wonderland at Once Upon a Time

Remember Jamie’s Italian? Well, this holiday season a brand new pop-up experience is taking over the huge venue, bringing an incredible Christmas installation 88,000 fairy lights, glowing drinks, delicious luminous Christmas puds and so much more.

Once Upon a Time in Birmingham will be unlike any other festive experience in the city, allowing guests to step into a truly immersive space whether they’re visiting with friends, colleagues or taking a break from their Christmas shopping.

Running from November 14 – December 23, entry to Once Upon a Time is completely free but if you book a ticket (priced between £5 and £12.50) you get a guaranteed entry time on selected times only and an alcoholic or non-alcoholic Festive Punch on arrival. Click here for more information or to book your tickets.

Pick up some stocking fillers at Harvey Nichols

Treat yourself to luxury beauty staples at Harvey Nichols

Whether you’re hunting for the perfect stocking fillers or need some bits and pieces to complete you look for your work’s Christmas party, join Harvey Nichols for its latest beauty event.

Taking place on Saturday, December 7 from 2pm5pm, Let It Snow will be filled with all the essentials to create the most glamorous look as it showcases festive skincare sets and makeup essentials from leading brands.

As well as browsing the luxurious products, ticket holders can also take a break from shopping and enjoy mini treatments and gifts with purchases from the likes of Espa, Heaven Skincare, Fenty Beauty, NARS and Hourglass alongside facials from The Ordinary, makeup quick fixes by Dior, while Pixi and GHD will be revealing tricks of the trade to get party-ready.

And if all this wasn’t enough, you’ll also be able to indulge in complimentary sweet treats, Prosecco, mulled wine and enjoy Christmas music. Plus, you’ll also get your very own goody bag to take away with you.

Tickets for Let It Snow cost £10, redeemable on beauty purchases made on the day and are available to purchase in the Harvey Nichols beauty department. You can also click here to book yours.

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