8 fun days out with children in Ipswich, Colchester and Bury St Edmunds this weekend

Christmas at Landguard Felixstowe 2015

Christmas at Landguard Felixstowe 2015 - Credit: Archant

Looking for a fun family day out in Suffolk or north Essex this weekend? We could have the answer.

Wade Ablitt and Emily Leech in the Co-op Juniors The Snow Queen. Photo: Mike Kwasniak

Wade Ablitt and Emily Leech in the Co-op Juniors The Snow Queen. Photo: Mike Kwasniak - Credit: Archant

Christmas events are taking place at Kentwell Hall, Landguard Fort and Ickworth House and there

Kentwell’s Magical Christmas at Kentwell Hall - Saturday and Sunday

Enjoy a Victorian Christmas at Kentwell Hall, with the highlight set to be seeing Father Christmas in his cottage.

Santa is at Kentwell Hall this weekend

Santa is at Kentwell Hall this weekend - Credit: Archant

See how the house is set up for the festive season in Victorian style, with traditional Christmas decorations and see the ‘upstairs/downstairs’ life of a country house of the time.

Learn to make decorations which you can take home with you and enjoy a reading of an abridged version of A Christmas Carol by ‘Dickens’, ‘Scrooge’ and other characters.

There’s lots more to enjoy and you can end your day with carols by lanternlight in the courtyard of the Tudor stables.

For ticket prices, and for more information, see here.Christmas at Landguard Fort, Felixstowe - Sunday, 12noon to 6pm

Celebrate Christmas at Kentwell Hall

Celebrate Christmas at Kentwell Hall - Credit: Archant

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This festive event is aimed at the whole family and includes an opportunity to visit Father Christmas.

This year, a new timed ticket system is in place, and you must pre-book in advance to guarantee entry.

Little ones can also take part in a quiz trail ending in an icy forest to meet the Snow Queen and Olaf the snowman.

Plus there will be face-painting, Christmas storytelling, colouring in tables, a giant Thomas train set and wildlife activities with Beach Bonkers.

A special room will be set up with displays and artefacts from the neighbouring Felixstowe Museum.

And upstairs at the fort, costumed stallholders will be selling locally made crafts and gifts.

A giant Christmas tree, twinkling lights and snow machines will adorn the inner parade, where live music and entertainment will come from local groups.

Tuck into Indian dishes from Bombay Nite or a tasty burger from the Felixstowe Lions’ barbecue. Or visit the fort shop for mulled wine and mince pies.

Entry is £6 for children and £5 for adults, and includes all the entertainment and activities, including a visit to Father Christmas and a present for every child.

Book in advance online hereThe Snow Queen at Snape Maltings Concert Hall, Snape Maltings - December 9 to December 11

The award-winning Co-op Juniors Theatre Company will present The Snow Queen, which is magical story inspired by the Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale.

Set in a winter wonderland, this performance will feature vibrant music and dance on a spectacular new stage set. An audience can journey with Kai, Gerda and a fantastical snow creature to the palace of The Snow Queen! Their epic adventure will be full of surprises, as they meet the frost trolls, ice bandits and the warm-hearted villagers in a musical celebration of Christmas. For more information visit their websiteChristmas Crafts for Children at Ickworth House, Horringer, Bury St Edmunds - daily until December 23, from 10.30am to 4pm

Let the team at Ickworth House take some of the strain from the Christmas build up, with some Christmas crafts in the comfort of its gallery whilst enjoying hot chocolate and cake. No booking is required but there is a charge of £2 per child in addition to the normal park entry.

For details, visit the National Trust websiteChristmas Magic at the Mansion, Christchurch Mansion, Ipswich - Saturday and Sunday, 10am to 4.40pm

Families can find out how Father Christmas manages to deliver all those presents across the world in one night, when they meet him during a series of special sessions to be held at Christchurch Mansion.

During each session Father Christmas will tell children about his helpful Christmas elves, and this year his most forgetful elf needs their help. During the event, children can hear stories, sing songs full of joy and help with a Christmas catastrophe!

Tickets are available by visiting Ipswich Regent and cost £5.50 per child, plus booking fee. This event is for under 12s and the ticket price includes one guardian.

More details hereIpswich Christmas Market in Ipswich town centre - Saturday 10am to 6pm and Sunday 10am to 4pm

Stock up on Christmas presents and festive food and drink at this annual market.

This year, stalls will be set up from the Butter Market to Giles Circus, King Street, Queen Street and Princes Street.

Stalls will offer a wide range of goods, including handmade jewellery, homewares and locally made fudge.

Refuel at the street food market, where artisan caterers will be selling everything form crepes and churros to a hog roast and wood-fired pizzas.

For children, there are fairground rides to go on and, tomorrow and Sunday, a snow globe for them to get their photo taken in.

Grown-ups can visit the bar for festive drinks, such as mulled wine, Aspall mulled cider, winter whisky sour, berry Christmas sangria and eggnog. Beers, wines, spirits and soft drinks will also be available.

There will also be entertainment from local bands and groups over the whole weekend.

See a panto in Colchester, Ipswich or Bury St Edmunds

All of the major pantos have now started, and tickets are still available for some.

See here for full details.Take a visit Santa and share your wishlist

Santa is in town and you can still drop by with your children.

See our guide listing some of the best places to see Father Christmas here

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