03 Nov 2021 - 02 Jan 2022 / 10:30 - 17:00
The Postal Museum
Included in museum ticket

The Postal Museum is set to spread Christmas cheer from 3 November with a festive twist on its Mail Rail ride. Visitors can also explore new display and family activities onsite inspired by magical letters exchanged between children and Santa since 1964.

Mail Rail Christmas Ride
3 November – 2 January 2022

For a short time only, Mail Rail, the subterranean ride which takes visitors back in time to the heyday of the postal railway, will get a Christmas makeover. From wartime wives wishing husbands a Merry Christmas from afar, to the broadcast of the first King’s Speech on the BBC, the immersive projections and audio along the ride will get visitors into the festive spirit.

Mail Rail has been enhanced for the safety of visitors. It will run with a reduced capacity, with visitors seated in sections divided by Perspex screens.

Letters to Santa Display
3 November – 2 January 2022

For the first time, visitors can see highlights from a recently donated collection of over six hundred items, which previously belonged to private collector Harry Hawkes. Every year, Royal Mail sends thousands of responses to children who address their letters to Santa. This display will include official cards from Father Christmas sent to children between 1963 and 2010. Alongside the colourful cards, visitors can read letters sent from children to Santa, revealing a rich history of childhood wishes.

The first Christmas Card
3 November – 2 January 2022

The first commercial Christmas card will be back on display in the Museum’s permanent exhibition space. Henry Cole, a civil servant and inventor, commissioned the first commercial Christmas card from artist John Callcott Horsley in 1843. Horsley designed and printed 1000 cards for Cole and the rest he sold for one shilling each. This happened in the same week that Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol was first published!

Festive Family Fun Days
4, 11, 18, December, 10:00-17:00

Families can take part in arts and crafts sessions inspired by letters to Santa, with artist Susie Foster. Sessions will be drop-in throughout the day. Children of all ages can follow the Christmas Family Trail to discover Tibs the postal cat hidden across the museum’s exhibitions and find out about the unusual and sometimes dangerous jobs animals have performed to help the postal service.