Christmas at Lilidorei Alnwick review

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We visited Lilidorei for the first time and it just so happened to be on the run up to Christmas and we loved it so much I thought it warranted me writing a blog post all about Christmas at Lilidorei and why you should put it on your activity bucket list at Christmas time.

What is Lilidorei Anwick?

In case you haven’t heard about it yet, Lilidorei (pronounced Lil-ee-door-ee), is a new adventure playground with a Christmas theme that’s open all year at Alnwick Garden. It opened May 2023 and November 2023 onwards is it’s first Christmas.

Incredibly, Lilidorei has the world’s largest play structure, right here in North East England, how lucky are we.

Lilidorei is aimed at ages 11 and under but lots of adults (myself included) were going on the play structure and slides too.

Lilidorei clan houses - a little cottage that looks like a tree with a grassed roof with thatched windows
My 8 year old enjoying exploring the clan houses in the Lilidorei village

Lilidorei at the Alnwick Garden – the world’s biggest play structure

Lilidorei is a magical, mysterious village full of play and home to 9 clans who worship Christmas.

They are ruled by Lord Elfwin, King of Lilidorei who lives in Elfwin Drin, the biggest play structure in the world.

Lilidorei Elfin Drin wooden bridge
My 8 year old enjoying playing on one of the wooden bridges on the Elfin Drin play structure.

The play structure is 26m high with a 24m slide! There are bridges, ladders and swings to swing on as well as towers to climb and six different slides to descend.

During Christmas at Lilidorei you can visit the clan houses, play on the huge play structure, take part in daily activities and join in with stories with the Story Keepers!

Lilidorei Elfin Drin play structure - tall play structure with elf theming of green and red with giant toadstools

Christmas at Lilidorei: What can you do at Lilidorei at Christmas?

  • Feed 7 of Father Christmas’ Reindeer live and in person, including 3 younglings!!!
  • Help the Secret Keepers to unlock more of the mysteries of Lilidorei! Explore the clans to solve the riddles of the Elf Puzzler and you can earn a very special Christmas Secret to become a Secret Keeper yourself!
  • Earn another special Secret by finding all of the Golden Reindeer hidden throughout the Village!
  • Play with the Secret Keepers and their new and exciting toys and activities all inspired by the Christmas season and made real through the magic of light and music!
  • Marvel at the beautiful decorations and lights! The magic of Lilidorei comes to life in a fantastic and enchanting way NEVER SEEN before!
  • Hear the new sounds and songs of the invisible Lilidorians as they gather to sing their favourite Christmas Carols in the woods and Village all around you!
  • Listen to the NEWLY DISCOVERED stories that the Story Keeper has to share, all about the magical Christmas season in Lilidorei and the invisible residents that live there!
  • Father Christmas is here!! Lilidorei is his favourite place to spend the holiday season, of course! Spot Father Christmas as he travels through the village, and hear the iconic “Ho ho ho!” From the big man himself!! He may even share a treat, so be sure you’re on the nice list!
  • Enjoy seasonal treats at The Groggery and the Magic Muffin, including Christmas Cookies and Hot Chocolate.
  • Peruse the new and festive selection of toys, decorations, and sweets in the beautiful (and delightfully cheeky) Lilidorei shop, “Snots and Lollies!”.
  • And of course, run, jump, slide, and play on the Largest Play Structure in the world, Elfwin Drin! Alight like never before in celebration of the Christmas Season!
Christmas at Lilidorei pixie clan wooden sign with a play structure in the background

Is Lilidorei worth it?

One of the reasons I wanted to write this Christmas at Lilidorei blog post is I think people are missing a trick.

When Lilidorei opened, I saw some people online complaining its too expensive. Now, if you view it as just a playground I can see why some people might think that as we have some big playgrounds around that you can visit for free.

However, I’ve been a mam in North East England for 12 years now and I know a couple of things to be true. A) The most popular Christmas events book up by the summer and B) families pay a LOT of money for Christmas events.

Now because Lilidorei is open all year around I think people are overlooking it as the best option for a Christmas activity that we have in the North East at Christmas time!

And not only is it an absolute bargain compared to lots of other Christmas events, you can still get tickets now, most the time even the day before or day of visiting.

I can’t stress enough how much this should be your major Christmas activity this year. We loved it so much we are going to make it the annual start of our Christmas celebrations.

Santa's sleigh at Lilidorei - a red sleigh with gold trim with a little girl sat in it pretending to ride it
My daughter pretending to ride Santa’s sleigh at Lilidorei

Why we loved Lilidorei at Christmas…

Its one of the most Christmassy things we’ve done as a family. We actually preferred it to Kielder Winter Wonderland (and tickets for that this year are £33.50).

it looks absolutely stunning. Often you go to these Christmas experiences and because they are a pop up they are a bit cheap and rough around the edges. But because Lilidorei is a permanent attraction everything is solidly built to a high standard. It’s like being at the real North Pole or something.

It reminded me of our recent Orlando trip where Disney World and Universal theme parks had incredible world building and immersive theming.

A clan house in the clan villages. There are 9 of these to enjoy.

Aside from the play structure which on its own is awe inspiring, there is the little village where each of the 9 clans has a little area with a house where you can explore and spy through the windows to see what’s inside. You get an activity sheet when you arrive so everyone enjoys trying to find things and solve the puzzles.

There was Christmas music playing sang by the clans in the different areas – the fairies and trolls had a very different approach to your favourite carols.

Everywhere you look is a feast for the eyes. It was one of those rare places you visit where the adults had as much fun as the children.

We also took part in two Christmas storytimes, the latter of which had a big sing along to Christmas songs as the storyteller got out his guitar.

A peek inside one of the clan house windows, each had different things inside based on the clan type. I think this was fairies or pixies.

Father Christmas at Lilidorei

Their Santa experiences did mostly sell out (there are tickets left for limited dates now still in December though). If you want to do that part of it and are set on particular dates then do try and book in for that earlier. Father Christmas does wander around the site at Lilidorei at Christmas so even if you don’t do the santa experience (we didn’t) you will likely get to see him to say a quick hello to anyway.

For those interested in knowing what the gifts from Santa are then we saw some children coming out of Father Christmas visits with some snow puppy stuffed toys. For 2023 Father Christmas visits are an additional £30 (on top of the day ticket entry of £15) but adults accompanying a child only need their day ticket.

Lilidorei Founder Members and The Alnwick Garden Friends will receive priority booking and will have 48 hours to complete their purchase for Father Christmas before everyone else.

Father Christmas' cabin at Lilidorei - a wooden hut
The cabin where those who have booked the Father Christmas experience go to meet Santa.

Lilidorei Christmas gift shop

Don’t forget to visit the Lilidorei gift shop, as you might expect its Christmas themed and had loads of lovely Christmas knick knacks like toys, Christmas decorations and sweets. Be warned it is on the expensive side though!

Lilidorei Christmas gift shop - a wooden shop with lots of red and white decorations
lilidorei Christmas shop baubles priced £10
Baubles in the Christmas shop and their prices.

Lilidorei Christmas lights

Come along to our evening session, open every evening 5pm-9pm

If you want to see Lilidorei all lit up then book an evening session (5pm-9pm). There are also more opportunities to see Father Christmas as he parades throughout the Village surrounded by their specially curated Christmas lighting that illuminates the village.

Watch out for snow days too – I saw Lilidorei under the snow on social media this year and it looked stunning, one to watch out for if you can brave the snow.

A damily getting a photo under a giant mushroom at Lilidorei
There are so many great photo opportunities at Lilidorei.

Top tips for Christmas at Lilidorei

  1. To have more chances of seeing Santa wandering around the site, visit on their evening session.
  2. Watch your head on the play structure, I hit mine several times.
  3. The tallest slide isn’t the fastest, the second tallest is and it’s very fast! I should know, my daughter made me go on it many times!
  4. We preferred their sweet treats to the savoury ones – the cookies and hot chocolate were both excellent.
  5. Allow plenty of time. We happily stayed for 4 hours during our visit.
  6. If you want to book a Father Christmas slot then they do mostly sell out so don’t leave it too late if you want a particular date.
  7. You can still have a super festive Christmas at Lilidorei experience even if you don’t do the santa visit.
  8. Don’t let a cold day put you off – we worked up quite the sweat running, climbing and sliding on the play structure.
  9. Wear robust clothing. I was on my knees on the play structure a lot and climbing through small spaces. Think warm active wear. Parts of the site got a little muddy in the rain too.
  10. If you want to see the Alnwick Garden Light trail you can buy a combined ticket for that and Lilidorei at a discounted price.

Food at Lilidorei at Christmas

Lilidorei has a food section at the top of the park. It has a lot of wooden tables and benches to sit and eat at. I assume that you can eat and drink your own stuff there too as I didnt see anything there or on their website to the contrary.

Chirstmas at Lilidorei - the Groggery Grub eating area
The Groggery Grub food area where you could order an array of food and drinks and then sit eating them at the large wooden picnic tables

You could order things like mac and cheese, pilled pork buns, potato spirals and swing grill sausages. Our favourites were the Christmas sweet treats like the Christmas cookies and hot chocolates which went down a treat on a cold day.

The red Groggery Grub hut at Lilidorei with their Christmas menu
If you zoom in on this image you can see some of the foods on offer and prices
Lilidorei Magic Muffin menu
The menu for the Magic Muffin, this is on the way into Lilidorei
Lilidorei Magic Muffin - tiny hatch in the giant muffin wall for ordering
To order from the Magic Muffin there is a little tiny hatch in the muffin wall
Lilidorei Christmas cookies
The Christmas cookies were super tasty, we definitely recommend those.
Lilidorei hot chocolate was also delicious.

Christmas at Lilidorei tickets

Christmas at Lilidorei tickets are available to purchase for £15 or £16.50 with gift aid.

Lilidorei at Christmas - reindeer photo prop where you can put your face in a reindeer statue and take a photo.
My 8 year old enjoying a reindeer photo prop

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