Snow covered car
Charlotte Birchall

Charlotte Birchall

Charlotte is a marketing specialist and a writing genius. She has a distinct and hilarious way with words and a fine eye for the best topics to cover. In Charlotte's hands we know you'll be both entertained and informed.

Forget being top to toe in tailbacks, these festive events are the only reason to get behind the wheel this Yuletide.

Welcome to December, the month of twinkly lights, frosty mornings and Chris Rea overkill on the radio - if such a thing is possible. 

'Tis the season of festive fun and although things may be a little different this year - once again - there are still plenty of events taking place across the country that are sure to get you into the Christmas spirit.

Human beings are nothing if not adaptable and as we head into the second Yuletide under the ominous presence of COVID-19, some very clever people out there have decided to shake up the structure of the traditional Christmas pursuits and make them socially distanced and Covid compliant so you can still get your panto fix - oh, yes you can.

Our dedicated marketing team - ok, me - have been busy beavering away, gingerbread latte in hand to find the most interesting events taking place this December. Trust me there are some corkers. The best bit? You can experience them all without even having to leave the comfort of your car!

So buckle up, rev your engine, cover your car in fairy lights and hit the road - you won't be disappointed.


Laser show

1. Lap of Lights, Silverstone Racecourse.

Surely the absolute pinnacle of vehicle-based festive fun, the Lap of Lights promises to be as truly magical as it sounds - although possibly a little more sedate than the usual activities that take place at Silverstone.

For the entire month of December, budding F1 drivers can book tickets for this once-in-a-lifetime experience that allows you not only to actually drive the iconic racecourse but you get to follow the Big Man himself along his global Christmas Eve exploits. It doesn't get much more Christmassy than that, in our humble opinions.

The course is staged to resemble the various stops along Santa's route and drivers make their way on the journey, taking in all of the usual sights, enhanced by a spectacular laser and light show.  Sound good? Here's what the rest of your drive will look like...

You'll begin by entering the infamous track at Brooklands and will cruise - at a leisurely pace, I hasten to add - along the course, handling your vehicle around famous sections including Luffield, Woodcote and Copse. As you make your way towards Maggots, you'll reach your first stop on Santa's tour - Europe, complete with the Eiffel Tower and a host of other well-known landmarks.

Round into Becketts - temporarily known as the mighty Atlantic Ocean and then take the Chapel corner into the US of A before tackling the absolute legend that is Hangar Straight. Whilst it's sure to wow you and your passengers in its new guise as the Arctic, you'll have to refrain from attempting to reach the usual speeds of 250km per hour. 

Sorry about that.

Next up, fly around Stowe and discover Oceania ( I won't lie, my geography is so appalling I had to check this was actually real) then visit Asia and Africa as you motor past Vale. 

Festive journey all but complete, there's only one thing left to do - make your way down the Home Straight to the finish line. Rev your engine, grip the wheel and do your best!


2. Santa Safari, West Midlands Safari Park.

It's not every day that you get the chance to combine the thrill of a big game safari with a trip to Lapland but thanks to the resourceful lot at West Midlands Safari Park, that's exactly what you can do this festive season.

Hop in your car and head to Bewdley in Worcestershire where you can experience the power of nature from the comfort of your heated seats. 

A drive around the sprawling park takes you and your passengers on an exciting and educational cross-continental journey, in which you encounter some of the most breathtaking species on the planet, living as close to their natural state as can be expected in the middle of the UK. 

Get up close and personal with Southern White Rhinos, Congo buffalo, elephants and giraffes as you pootle gently around the park. Awe at the majesty of the mighty elephants as you watch them grazing just metres from your vehicle then keep your wits about you as you approach the big cats. African lions, tigers and cheetahs lounge tantalizingly close to your car as you cruise by, no doubt eyeing up your potential as a next meal, if only they could.

After a fascinating sighting of some of the world's most endangered beasts including Bactrian camels and Phillipine deer, you can head to the next step of your safari - in the freezing wilderness of Lapland. 

Here, anyone wishing to have an audience with the jolly fat man will need to leave their vehicles but you'll be in good hands, we promise.

A team of elves will show you to your personal sleigh and you'll be whisked away to a secret grotto to convince St Nick that you really have been as good this year as you say. Children can then visit the elves in their workshop and choose a present to take home before heading into the fragrant mecca of Mrs Claus' kitchen for seasonal snacks and drinks. 

After such a diverse day, all that's left to do is fire up the festive tunes, drive home and wait for Santa to pay you a visit on Christmas Eve.

baby figurine in a manger

3. Drive-In Nativity, Melton Mowbray.

One for anyone keen to fit a bit of traditional biblical entertainment into their festive season, the drive-in nativity does pretty much exactly what it says on the tin. Now in its second year, the event is the brainchild of members of the Leicestershire and Rutland Young Farmer's Federation and was so successful in 2020 that they're diving in for a second year.

The premise is simple - make your way to Melton Mowbray (pork pies optional) and park up next to the massive articulated lorry that is masquerading as a stage and await the action. Far from the usual tableau, a cast of actual people will act out the nativity story before your very eyes, whilst the dulcet tones of the narrator will beam into your car via the radio.

The production also features a selection of live farm animals, which is a bonus for those with animal mad children and anyone who derives a secret pleasure from the implied risk of impromptu toileting mid-play.

Organisers encourage attendees to decorate their cars to be as festive as possible and promise plenty of angels, a brilliant time and a healthy dose of Christmas spirit. Plus, because they're farmers there's a myriad of vintage tractors involved too for anyone who enjoys a bit of Massey Fergusson action.

Definitely worth a visit if you can!

Stage curtain

4. Car Park Panto, UK Tour - various locations.

Coming soon to a car park near you - the relatively new but utterly ingenious phenomena that is the car park pantomime. Created by Coalition Agency and Birmingham Stage Company, the panto is one of the most comprehensively Covid friendly events around and pretty blooming entertaining to boot.

This year's action bears the rather splendid title 'Horrible Christmas' and features the ever-popular historical stalwarts from the fabulous Horrible Histories series. When Christmas comes under threat, a small boy must join forces with some of history's greatest to save Christmas. 

Helping him are St Nick, Henry VIII, Oliver Cromwell and Charles Dickens as they venture through the history of Christmas. 

As is traditional, you can expect plenty of laughs, and audience participation is a must - so make sure your horn is at premium honking capacity. It's a heartwarming blend of pantomine fun and cosy sleepover, as viewers are encouraged to snuggle up in their cars in pyjamas with plenty of blankets and snacks. 

Horrible Christmas is a full stage production, with added big screens to ensure no-one misses out on the action. Parking is well co-ordinated with marshals directing drivers to allocated, socially distanced spaces. Attendees are encouraged to stay in their cars unless using the toilet facilities or buying food from onsite vendors and admissions tickets are scanned through your car window.

You and your family are free to enjoy all the fun of the panto in a safe and distanced environment.

Popcorn and film clapper board

5. Christmas City, Soccer Dome, Manchester.

If you think you know what to expect from a drive-through cinema, think again. Christmas City has taken the concept of festive movie screening and levelled it up to epic proportions. Returning for its second year (there's a Covid related theme going on), the event promises to be jammed packed with lashings of Christmas spirit and tidings of comfort and joy to all.

Your journey begins with the drive-through mailroom, where you'll meet Santa's elves and get the opportunity to post your letter to St Nick in the magic mailbox. From there you can either head directly to the screening area or spend some time exploring the festive scenery and candy cane forest before settling down to watch your favourite movie.

Far from the normally passive nature of a cinema trip, Christmas City promises a 'fully immersive' experience that propels viewers into the heart of the film action. Whether you choose a screening of a Christmas classic or prefer to opt for a newer movie, prepare to find one of the film's characters casually standing at your car window at opportune moments throughout the screening - courtesy of some rather talented actors of course.

The festivities don't stop there, however as Christmas City boasts a wealth of food outlets, a fully licensed bar (for the non-drivers, of course) and last but by no means least - Christmas karaoke. 

Dust off your best Noddy Holder impressions and get practicing. It's Chrisssssstttttttmmmaaaassss!