Jacqueline from whatsonni.com shares her pick of What’s On this weekend across NI


Ride on the Lapland Express Steam Train through the County Down countryside, and visit Santa in his magical workshop. Kids get to meet Santa, tell him what they want for Christmas, and get a gift bag. You can also visit the buffet for drinks and snacks, our museum buildings, shop, and model railway.  Trains run every Saturday and Sunday until 18th December from 1:30pm-4:30pm each day – doors open about 1pm. www.downrail.co.uk/santa


Make your family’s Christmas story magical this year with a visit to Santa’s captivating Wonderland at Kinnego Marina, Oxford Island, where you’ll enjoy a festive journey that you and your little elves will never forget!   You’ll believe you’ve been transported to the North Pole as the cosy Yurts at Kinnego are transformed into a Christmas-themed world where you can spy on Santa’s elves as they lovingly craft toys, post that all-important letter to Santa and, of course, meet the jolly man in red himself to share your Christmas wishes in person!  Santa’s Wonderland is open Thursday-Sunday from 8th December until 18th December.


Make magical memories at Castle Coole when you come to visit Santa! Castle Coole will be home to Santa and Mrs Claus from 10th to 18th December as they welcome children into their magical Christmas home – the perfect way to get into the festive spirit. Start your journey through the magical tunnel with one of Santa’s elves up to the elves’ workroom where Mrs Claus will greet you. Meet Santa in the kitchen where he’ll get everyone gathered up in front of the range for a chat. Each child will receive a special gift from Santa and he will be checking with parents just exactly how good they’ve been all year! Grown-ups can enjoy a warming mulled drink and a mince pie from the kitchen range as the children meet Santa and Mrs Claus.


Christmas just wouldn’t be Christmas in the Burnavon Cookstown without Carol and Jimmy’s Christmas Cracker! Join Carol Doey and Jimmy Cowan for an unforgettable night of chat and craic, music and mischief, and plenty of fun and festivities this Friday 9th December.


Christmas will be launched in spectacular style in Maghera with the Christmas Festival on Saturday 10 December from 12-7pm.  There will be plenty of family entertainment throughout the day including a festive, fun afternoon treasure hunt around the town centre, craft workshops, face painting, balloon modelling and prize draws- there will even be a Polar Bear Dunk!  The hub of the festival will be on the Coleraine Road where the Chair of Mid Ulster District Council and Santa will turn on the lights at 5pm at the newly relocated Christmas tree.  At 6pm the Lantern Walk will take place in the Walled Garden followed by Story Telling and Hot Chocolate in the Lurach Centre.


Raceview Mill’s Indoor Food and Craft market will turn all festive on Saturday 10th December from 11am – 3pm, with a host of artisan market traders offering an array of bespoke and handcrafted Christmas items, ideal for the home or for last minute gifts. Of course no seasonal event would be complete without a visit from Santa and some carol singers to liven the spirit. Raceview tenant, The Dog Stop Spa Boutique, will also be running a very special photoshoot…for your pet dog!


Lilly’s Magical Christmas comes to the Crescent Arts Centre from 9th to 11th December.  A magical enchanted Christmas story created for children and their families full of magical sounds, dance and sensory stimulation . Join Lilly to see what she discovers along her way to a very magical Christmas, one that will make you want to jump out of your seat to dance!

For more details on these events and to add your events free go to whatsonni.com. Follow us on twitter @whatsonNI and on facebook at fb.com/www.whatsonni.com for news, competitions and what’s on near you.