Philadelphia and the Countryside - Press Room

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Oct 20 2014

The Towns Of The Philadelphia Countryside Celebrate The Holiday Season In Style

Light Displays, Decorated Gardens & Family Activities Help Make Seasonal Memories

The Towns of the Philadelphia Countryside sparkle with seasonal events and activities—from the glittering lights at Longwood Gardens to North Pole-themed rides on the New Hope & Ivyland Railroad. Add in elegantly decorated historic houses, winter festivals and seasonal performances for a memory-filled holiday season.

Find top holiday events, a holiday lights roundup, New Year’s Eve and Day guides and more at

Lovely Lights & Dazzling Displays:

  • While holiday shopping at Peddler’s Village, visitors can check out the Annual Gingerbread House Competition and Display. Participants compete in a variety of categories, including traditional and authentic reproduction of a significant building. During the season, visitors also enjoy one million jewel-colored holiday lights, weekend visits with Santa at Giggleberry Fair and other special events. November 21-January 3. Route 263 & Street Road, Lahaska, (215) 794-4018,
  • Glowing with more than 3,000,000 lights and 3,500 props, the two-mile long Holiday Light Show at Shady Brook Farm is an eye-popping holiday fantasyland. Visitors can drive through the pathway or see the lights from tractor-pulled wagon rides. The farm adds new tableaus each year to sit alongside favorites such as the 12 Days of Christmas and the Fairytale Castle. November 22-January 4. 931 Stony Hill Road, Yardley, (215) 968-1670,
  • The holidays go red, white and green at Longwood Gardens during A Longwood Gardens Christmas, featuring 500,000 glowing lights, thousands of poinsettias, vibrantly decorated trees and dancing fountains throughout the vast grounds and conservatory. November 27-January 11. 1001 Longwood Road, Kennett Square, (610) 388-1000,
  • Celebrations last throughout the month at the Brandywine River Museum of Art. A Brandywine Christmas takes over with a display of trees, a Victorian dollhouse, rare antique dolls and one of the largest O-gauge model railroad displays in the country. Kids can also show up in their PJs for an evening of hot chocolate and a live reading of the classic The Polar Express. November 28-January 4. U.S. Route 1, Chadds Ford, (610) 388-2700,

Festive Festivals:

  • Merriment abounds when the town turns out for West Chester’s Old-Fashioned Christmas celebration, dubbed as “one of the top ten places to experience the arrival of Santa Claus during the holiday season” by USA Today. The highlight takes place Friday evening during the Old-Fashioned Christmas Parade, but downtown buzzes all weekend long with holiday events and live entertainment. December 5-7. Various locations. (610) 738-3350,
  • The Firebird Festival in Phoenixville celebrates the phoenix, of course. After music, dancing, storytelling, crafting, parades and other arts-related activities, the festival culminates in the lighting of an enormous wooden phoenix, turning it into a real firebird bonfire. December 6. Various locations.
  • When the Mercer Museum and James A. Michener Art Museum join forces, it results in Holiday Open House, an evening of free festive fun. Visitors enjoy admission to both museums, holiday music, visits with Santa and family activities. December 9. 84 S. Pine Street, (215) 345-0210,; 138 S. Pine Street, Doylestown, (215) 340-9800,

A Historic Twist:

  • Visitors to historic Pennypacker Mills enjoy free guided tours of the richly decorated mansion, Tuesdays through Sundays. On December 13, the Holiday Open House features Victorian candy making, a handbell choir, Santa, living historians in each room and a musical performance. November 25-January 4. 5 Haldeman Road, Schwenksville, (610) 287-9349,
  • At Pottsgrove Manor, visitors join guided Twelfth Night Tours to experience the historic mansion when it’s dressed in its traditional English holiday best. During Pottsgrove Manor by Candlelight on December 14, guests tour the manor by candlelight while 18th-century residents mark the Twelfth Night with music and dancing in the parlor. November 28-January 11. 100 W. King Street, Pottstown, (610) 326-4014,
  • History buffs get into the spirit of the season when they witness Washington Crossing the Delaware River, a free, annual re-enactment staged on Christmas at Washington Crossing Historic Park. A day of family-friendly activities accompanies the full dress rehearsal a few weeks prior to the real thing. Rehearsal, December 7; crossing, December 25. Routes 32 & 532, Washington Crossing, (215) 493-4076,

’Tis The Season For Shows:

  • The People’s Light & Theatre Company celebrates the holiday season with Merlyn, the Dame of the Lake and a young King Arthur, all trying to save the town in Arthur and the Tale of the Red Dragon: A Musical Panto. November 19-January 11. 39 Conestoga Road, Malvern, (610) 647-1900,
  • Count on A Very Furry Christmas when the furry denizens of Sesame Place spread holiday cheer with three live holiday shows. Also this season at Sesame: twinkling lights, holiday tunes, the Neighborhood Street Party Christmas Parade and more. November 22-December 31. 100 Sesame Road, Langhorne, (866) GO-4-ELMO,
  • The Keswick Theatre’s holiday lineup makes the season even more merry and bright. It’s CSI: Bethlehem when Sister’s Christmas Catechism: The Mystery of the Magi’s Gold takes to the stage in a rollicking production that is part mystery, part musical, part-fractured re-telling of the birth of Christ. November 30. Phil Coulter and Andy Cooney, accompanied by a 10-piece orchestra and special guest star Geraldine Branagan, appear together in a rare North American tour of a Celtic Twilight Christmas. December 9. 291 N. Keswick Avenue, Glenside, (215) 572-7650,

Other Seasonal Celebrations:

  • The German Christmas Market at Byers’ Choice boasts plenty of gifts for holiday shoppers (think gingerbread houses, advent calendars, handcrafted caroler figurines and toys). November 2-December 31. 4355 County Line Road, Chalfont, (215) 822-6700,
  • Come holiday time, the historic New Hope & Ivyland Railroad morphs into the North Pole Express, and its passenger list includes Santa and Mrs. Claus who hand out gifts and treats to their young passengers. What’s more, musicians and singers lead everyone in a chorus of holiday carols during the hour-and-a-half-long train ride. Select dates, November 23-January 5. 32 W. Bridge Street, New Hope, (215) 862-2332,
  • Linvilla Orchards looks more like the North Pole in December. The decorated farm features a Christmasland display and petting zoo, while the market section is stocked with all-things holidays. Santa makes an appearance every Saturday and Sunday, and on select afternoons, visitors can sing along during Caroling Hayrides that include marshmallow roasting and apple cider. December 1-24. 137 W. Knowlton Road, Media, (610) 876-7116,
  • Come holiday season Tyler Arboretum becomes a Woodland Winter Wonderland. Families can bundle up and snap a family photo in an old-fashioned sleigh, make crafts using natural materials gathered at Tyler, join in the Reindeer Scavenger Hunt and cuddle around the warming bonfire and enjoy snacks. Historic Latchford Hall will be decked out in holiday style and open for tours. December 6. 515 Painter Road, Media, (610) 566-9134,

VISIT PHILADELPHIA®, formerly known as Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corporation, makes Philadelphia and The Countryside® a premier destination through marketing and image building that increases the number of visitors, the number of nights they stay and the number of things they do in the five-county area.

Greater Philadelphia’s official visitor website and blog, and make up the most-visited website network out of the 10 biggest U.S. cities. Visitors can explore things to do, upcoming events, themed itineraries and hotel packages. Compelling photography and videos, interactive maps and detailed visitor information make the sites effective trip-planning tools. Along with Visit Philly social media channels, the online platforms communicate directly with consumers. Travelers can also call and stop into the Independence Visitor Center for additional information and tickets.

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