Back with a Bang, Britain’s Biggest Christmas Extravaganza Returns for its 40th Show

  • The Thursford Christmas Spectacular is the largest Christmas extravaganza in Britain
  • 5,000 visitors a day descend on Norfolk’s Tiny Village of Thursford to see the show and take a trip on Santa’s Magical Journey
  • 130 performers from London’s West End and across Europe will star in the spectacular show
  • 1,000 ostrich feathers and over 10,000 rhinestones are used in the show-stopping performance

On November 10th, the Thursford Christmas Spectacular opened its doors to the public; a traditional show for families young and old, the Christmas Spectacular is one of Britain’s hottest tickets and gives visitors the chance to watch West End performers in the picturesque setting of Thursford, Norfolk.  

This year is extra special as Thursford celebrates its 40th show: it all began when the Thursford Collection hosted a small carol concert to a crowd of around 50 people. The idea was to raise additional funds to support the upkeep of its steam engines, fairground rides and gondolas. 

During the intervening years, the small concert has developed into the largest Christmas extravaganza in Britain, which attracts around 180,000 visitors throughout the festive period, more than the 135,000 tickets sold for this year’s Glastonbury Festival.

The spectacle is a three-hour performance delivering an extravaganza of non-stop singing, dancing, music, humour and variety. The show has a cast of 130 professional singers, dancers and musicians who collaborate on 85 different routines. The result is a fast moving celebration of the festive season featuring an eclectic mix of both seasonal and year round favourites for every age.

Alongside the festive fun of the Christmas Spectacular Thursford also offers an unforgettable experience for children to visit Santa Claus on Santa’s Magical Journey.

On the magical journey, they can meet the friendly penguins, polar bears and Santa’s elves who offer a helping hand on the way to Santa’s grotto, where he is waiting with a special gift. Watch out for the Snowman family though, they are accurate at throwing snowballs!

Thursford Festive Facts and Figures 

  • The show demands a wide range of teams working extensively in the build up to the spectacular; it takes 816 hours for the Musical Arranger to print out over 30,000 pages of musical scores
  • At Christmas, Thursford attracts visitors to Norfolk from all over Britain, from Lands’ End to John O’Groats, generating around £10 million for the local economy
  • In 2015 37,000 tubs of ice cream, 3,500 litres of mulled wine and 29,000 mince pies were sold over the festive season
  • The Christmas spectacular is the only European show with kick lines long enough to compete with Moulin Rouge and Lido de Paris

The Thursford Christmas Spectacular and Santa’s Magical Journey are just two of the many family activities you can take part in at Thursford this Christmas. The venue is also home to the world-renowned Thursford Collection, founded by George Cushing MBE, who developed the collection in 1970s. George’s love of fairground rides, music and engines started when he first visited the Walsingham Fair, Norfolk, at eight years old, where he experienced sights and sounds that he simply could not forget. His passion of the fairground inspired him to create the famous Thursford Collection.

The Thursford Collection is the world’s largest assembly of steam engines and organs with the colours, lights, movement, music and majestic machines bound to blow you away.

John Cushing, Director and Producer of the Thursford Christmas Spectacular commented, “Christmas is a wonderful time for all; and the Thursford Christmas Spectacular is the perfect outing for every generation.  


“Music has formed a huge part of the Christmas season for hundreds of years and we are no exception to that rule! Our hope is to leave you with a glow in your heart and a smile on your face from a memorable experience. The production team and I have spent countless hours pondering over this year’s performance to uphold our reputation for hosting an outstanding Christmas Spectacular.”

Benjamin Ellin, Music Director and Conductor of the Thursford Christmas Spectacular commented, “It is a wonderful challenge to put together the Thursford Christmas Spectacular and I am delighted to be part of that team. The whole spectacle, across the board, is a giant team effort and everyone works incredibly hard. The breadth of musical styles we perform, the range of musical backgrounds that our company come from and the diverse demands they embrace for the show are very unique.

“But, the reward is the reception the audience gives us. The fact that we have more show visitors outside of the West End is a testament to the hard work of everyone. I know all of us are proud to be working on the largest nationally acclaimed Christmas extravaganza in Britain.”

Listings Information

Event: Thursford Christmas Spectacular

Date: 10th November – 23rd December

Price: £28.50 – £40

Tickets: Available at: Thursford Christmas Spectacular Tickets

Website: Thursford Website


About Thursford

Discover a wonderful world at Thursford. Thursford is a unique setting of fairground fun, complete with Wurlitzer organs, fairground rides, marvellous machines, countryside heritage, and a shopping village and wedding venue. Set in the beautiful Norfolk countryside Thursford is fun for all the family and attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors per year.

At Christmas the Thursford Christmas Spectacular arrives, which is the largest Christmas show in the country. Set in the magical surroundings of mechanical organs and fairground carousels, a cast of over 130 performers deliver an extravaganza of non-stop singing, dancing, music, humour and variety. The Thursford Christmas Spectacular is a show stopping sell-out year after year, as visitors from across the UK make the journey to watch the show.

The Thursford Collection itself has been established for 40 years and provides the sights, sounds and sensations of the golden age of steam. At the Thursford Collection you can:

  • Climb on-board one of Thursford’s traditional carousels and gondolas
  • Experience the size and scale of steam with the largest collection of traction engines in the world
  • Marvel at the music of original fairground sounds from Thursford’s beautiful collection of mechanical organs which play from 12.30pm daily
  • Enjoy the Mighty Wurlitzer Show where Robert Wolfe, one of the world’s leading theatre organists, provides the unique and delightful sounds of this amazing machine.

Thursford offers fabulous festive shopping, delicious food and drink and plenty of outdoor fun. The ‘olde worlde’ village of shops has everything, from the very best decorations, stunning tableware, gifts, toys as well as the very best of British jams, chutneys and biscuits. The Thursford Boutique is a stylish place to shop for fashion, accessories, crafts and unique giftware, and a traditional sweet shop. Thursford also has a host of other attractions, including an adventure playground for children who love swinging, sliding, climbing and whizzing down a zip wire. There is even a silent movie theatre where you can experience the nostalgia of the silver screen.

A trip to Santa will never be the same again with Thursford’s Magical Journey into Christmas. On the way you will meet penguins, polar bears, teddies, see the elves at work making toys in Santa’s factory and watch the giant dancing penguins. At the end of the Journey is Santa’s amazing toy filled house, where you meet Santa himself and receive a special gift. Santa’s Magical Journey begins on the 26th of November.

For more information, visit Thursford Website


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