From popular pantomimes to Christmas markets, our tool is here to help you Meet Inn the Middle this festive season

It’s safe to say that Christmas 2020 was a challenging one for everyone. With so many Christmas events, shows and experiences cancelled last year due to lockdown restrictions, it’s no surprise that families and couples across the UK are keen to make up for lost time this festive season. And one of the nation’s favourite festive activities is the classic pantomime. 

Oh no it isn’t! Oh yes it is! 

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Meet Inn the Middle

With Christmas 2021 just around the corner – and after 43% said they had to miss out on festive shows altogether last year – we decided to commission a poll about the UK’s love for this popular festive pastime.

For starters, our survey of 2000 UK adults voted the much-loved Cinderella as their favourite ever pantomime. The popular princess ran away with 42% of the public vote, with Jack and the Beanstalk and Aladdin coming in next, and Snow White and Dick Whittington rounding out the UK’s top five pantomimes.

Our study found that three in 10 expect to go to more UK theatre shows this Christmas than last year.

Additionally, eight in 10 agree that pantomimes bring families together during the festive season, and 54% have taken their own kids to a show they enjoyed when they were children, keeping this sweet tradition alive across generations.

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Actress and former panto dame, Hayley Sheridan, 37, based in London and Italy said:
“Panto is a unique British tradition, I’ve been going to panto since I was a child, it’s as integral to Christmas as carol singers and turkey, they only come once a year but I can’t imagine a Christmas without them. Pantos bring out the kid in all of us so it’s a great way for families to share an experience, it’s the time when adults and kids suspend reality for a couple of hours and become part of the story, singing, cheering, boo-ing – it’s just pure fun for everyone involved from the performers to the audience and even the crew. “Performing for families but especially kids at this time of year is a magical experience because everyone is in the festive spirit, it is so much about the audience participation, it’s what makes the show complete, there’s nothing else like it, it’s a real feel-good experience for everyone.”

We love the idea of bringing more people together this year, so we decided to create a handy tool to help up to four different family members or friendship groups find festive events in the UK halfway between their homes. We’re hoping this little online calculator will help loved ones ‘Meet Inn the Middle’ during Christmas 2021, and find festive favourites like pantomimes, ice skating, UK Christmas markets and popular shopping centres – as well as the nearest Premier Inn hotels, in case you’re planning on extending your trip! 

Natalie McConnon, for Premier Inn
, said:
“Christmas is a wonderful time of the year, but it can involve travelling more miles than the Pied Piper. So, if you don’t want to be a villain this year, give our tool a try – this way no one needs to travel further than anyone else. Whether it’s a classic panto or other festive activity they want to enjoy with one another, we hope our tool will enable more people to celebrate together this year.”

Our survey also revealed some of our favourite parts of panto, with the British sense of humour taking the top spot. Shouting ‘he’s behind you!’ to the hero was next on the list with 36% of the vote, closely followed of course by booing the baddies!

When it came to other highlights of the classic pantomime performance, 34% loved seeing how much the kids enjoyed the shows, while 28% voted for singing along to songs, and seeing the costumes. One in three surveyed also love the saucy jokes written into the script, just for us adults!

However, a staggering 61% said that being picked out of the audience to join the show was their ‘worst nightmare’. While 22% have appeared in a performance in the past – some as a last-minute emergency – 65% believe their response would be a firm ‘no’ if someone asked them to do the same today, according to our study via OnePoll.

Interestingly, our research also found the top celebrities that people would love to see in a pantomime – the incredible Dawn French topped the chart, followed by Paul O’Grady, Rowan Atkinson and Julian Clary. Christopher Biggins, Graham Norton and Craig Revel-Horwood also appeared in the top 10 – alongside Hollywood A-lister Tom Hardy!

Natalie also added:
“If a celebrity is in a pantomime, it shows they don’t take themselves too seriously, which we all love. A dream panto featuring Dawn French and the other names mentioned would sell out in minutes and be an absolute hoot – although we may struggle to land Tom Hardy. Until we can get that sorted, our tool will show you pantomimes as well as plenty of other festive activities that are actually happening up and down the country – so you can get your festive fix.”

Our survey also revealed some other favourite festive UK activities including Christmas markets, light trails, ice skating and shopping experiences, which can also be found on our tool – so what are you waiting for? Find a festive attraction between you and your family and Meet Inn the Middle for Christmas!

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Our survey says – top 10 UK pantomimes

  1. Cinderella
  2. Jack and the Beanstalk
  3. Aladdin
  4. Snow White
  5. Dick Whittington
  6. Sleeping Beauty
  7. Peter Pan
  8. Beauty and the Beast
  9. The Wizard of Oz
  10. Puss in Boots
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Our survey says – top 10 celebs you’d love to see in a panto

  1. Dawn French
  2. Paul O’Grady
  3. Rowan Atkinson
  4. Julian Clary
  5. Christopher Biggins
  6. Graham Norton
  7. Dame Edna
  8. Craig Revel-Horwood
  9. Stacey Solomon
  10. Tom Hardy
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