The allure of exploring winter festivals is upon us, and it is easy to see why when we can enjoy dazzling lights, spectacular events, and rich conversations while sipping on hot chocolate, warm cider or a delicious hot toddy.
The darker months of the year lend themselves well to events that can go from daytime to after dark with an increasing sense of excitement over what's to come. Winter festivals have also become significant generators of income for the cities and towns that host them.
Winter festivals really do awaken something deep within us. It rouses an ancient desire to come together with your community to drive away the cold and dark with song, dance, noise and fire. It can be pretty cathartic and good for our mental health to break many weeks of isolation after the cold, long nights has driven people indoors.
While several popular winter festivals have been going on for decades, or even hundreds of years, newer ones are well worth visiting.
The winter arts festival Winter Wild in Apollo Bay, Australia, is a new festival that is growing in popularity. Despite being held in August, a summer month in the UK, August is winter time in Australia.
Winter Wild celebrates everything beach, rainforest, live music, art, nature, wild weather and cultural history. Although it hasn't been going for long, it is creating a considerable buzz among festival-goers.
Winter festivals come in all sorts of styles and themes, so there will be a festival for everyone. From choral singing at Christmas markets to live indie bands, day-time food and drink to after dark fireworks displays, poetry readings, to cultural arts, there will be something to attract people outdoors and keep them from staying inside over the long winter months alone.
Here are some more fantastic winter festivals that really should be on your bucket list:
Cologne Carnival | Germany
The Cologne Carnival is a major winter festival in Germany that begins at 11 minutes past 11 on the 11th of the 11th month of November and lasts up to Christmas. Although the festival pauses for the Christmas and New Year period, it starts up again with gusto on January 6th with locals dressing up in masquerade and greeting everyone they meet with a hearty Kölle Alaaf!
Dating back to 1823, the winter carnival is one of the largest street festivals in Europe. Visitors can expect to enjoy many carnival events celebrated throughout the streets, clubs, bars and local communities. You can see parades, attend balls, watch live comedy and music shows.
Harbin Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival, China
The Harbin Ice and Snow Festival is a winter festival is held from the 5th of January each year until the end of the month. While the daytime is crammed full of exciting activities such as skiing, sledging, and exhibitions, there is a fantastic ice sculpture and snow sculpture expo with live carving competitions.
Even the nighttime holds many wonders with light shows and live music concerts. The festival attracts visitors from all over the world, and there are many tours and activities that families can take part in, such as a Snow Town Tour where you can see live tigers and take in the Zhaolin Park Ice Lantern Show.
Hyde Park Winter Wonderland | London
For the six weeks between the 19th November to 3rd January, Hyde Park in London is transformed into a Winter Wonderland full of attractions, activities, entertainment, food, drinks, and more.
By day, the festival is great for families to enjoy the fun. The Park is lit up with thousands of sparkling lights and live music events to enjoy mulled cider or hot chocolate by night.
We are also proud to announce that Brothers Cider is once again the Official Mulled Cider of Hyde Park Winter Wonderland 2021.
As well as Hyde Park Winter Wonderland Brothers Spiced Toffee Apple and Mulled Festival Apple ciders can be found at numerous winter festivals and markets across the country, so don't forget to drop by and enjoy one of our winter warmers.
Venice Carnival, Italy
Each winter season in February, Venice holds a winter carnival that explodes the chilliest month of the year with bursts of bright colour. The festival is particularly well known for having resplendent masked balls and extravagant street parades.
Historic Mask-makers enjoyed a unique position in society and even had their own guild that was founded on 10 April 1436. While traditional Venetian masks were made of leather, porcelain or glass, these days, you can buy an elaborate mask made from gesso and gold leaf. They are decorated with gemstones and feathers and make a great souvenir to take home with you.
During the Venice Carnival, narrow city streets are taken over with music and colour that spills into the beautiful Saint Mark's Square (Piazza San Marco) in the centre of town. Even those shy creatures who don't like to make a spectacle of themselves can release their inner diva and have some fun while shrouded in mysterious masks and dressed up in a creative outfit.
Tomorrowland Winter, Alpe d’Huez, France
A relative newcomer to the winter festival scene is the Tomorrowland Winter event in France. This is a magical fusion of everything snowy and wintery with some of the best DJ headliners in the world!
If you love snowboarding, skiing and apres-ski on a mountainside charged with positive party vibes, then this is the winter festival for you. The French ski resort of Alpe d'Huez is taken over for a week in March. It delivers an incredible party atmosphere mixed with fantastic food and drink, spectacular firework displays, and winter lighting decorations.
Brothers Cider at Home
If you are planning a winter party of your own, then why not rustle up one of our delicious winter warmers from our cocktail section.
If you really want something that will keep you warm from the tip of your nose to the end of your toes, then why not try our our Spiced Toffee Apple Winter Warmer, which combines our tasty Toffee Apple Cider with warming spiced rum, cinnamon and Star Anise. Or our Warming Wild Fruit Cider that blends our Wild Fruit Cider with plump, juicy fresh berries.