30 festive activities in Hampshire to add sparkle to your Christmas!

November 12, 2019

If you’re like us you’ll find the build-up to Christmas the most exciting time of year! With chances to meet Father Christmas, festive family fun at every turn, and jolly good entertainment to spread the Christmas cheer! There is an abundance of Christgmas activities to be enjoyed in Hampshire this holiday season, here’s 30 of them we know you will love…

  1. Visit Paultons Park from Saturday 23rd November and celebrate Christmas in a world of twinkling illumination, seasonal music and a giant musical Christmas tree. Discover magical scenes inside Santa’s Grotto as you join a reindeer on his journey to find Santa in time for Christmas Eve. Pre-booking essential.
  2. This midwinter Butser Ancient Farm will be celebrating the vigil of the Holly King, reminding us that although the nights are long now, the season will turn and the green leaves of spring will come again. There will be simple crafts, storytelling and a chance to meet the Holly King. (21/22/23 December 10:30am- 11:30am and 1pm -2pm, £10 per ticket)
  3. Head to Milestones for a magical Christmas experience where you can visit Santa in his Grotto, join him for a special festive tea or meet the reindeer! You can also enjoy the indoor seasonal market, or come between Christmas and new year and learn about traditions from days gone by, marvel at street magic and take part in our new year trail.   
  4. This Christmas, Santa Claus is setting up his toy-making workshop at Emirates Spinnaker Tower! Join Santa’s elves in the Tower’s workshop as they make the finishing touches to their latest batch of cuddly toys. Once their toy is finished, no trip to Santa’s workshop is complete without a visit to see Father Christmas in his grotto!

    Toy Makers Workshop at Emirates Spinnaker Tower
    Toy Makers Workshop at Emirates Spinnaker Tower
  5. Magical woodlands await at Mottisfont this Christmas from 23 November – 5 January, with decorations and activities inspired by Cicely Mary Barker’s Winter Flower Fairies. The original illustrations are on show in the gallery, while the house and gardens are dressed with winter foliage, festive colours, and a sprinkling of fairy magic.
  6. Tumble into a world of topsy-turvy delights at Marwell Zoo this Christmas. Enjoy a tea party with Mother Christmas as she recounts a curious tale and get creative in an elf workshop to create a ‘magical’ elf door. Children mustn’t be late to meet Father Christmas and receive a surprise gift! 
  7. Discover Christmas in Henry VIII’s court this December at The Mary Rose in Portsmouth, with dancing, magic, music and merriment, plus an audience with the king himself! Plus there’s the chance to earn an exclusive Henry VIII pop badge with the Shipwreck Explorers trail!
  8. Grab some TreeTime this winter at Moors Valley Go ApeOpen every weekend and the Christmas Holidays. The Secrets Out: officially opening February Half Term 2020,  Moors Valley’s Brand New Nets Adventure is now available to book Winter Weekends, alongside TreeTop Challenge and TreeTop Adventure / Adventure +.  Booking Recommended.
  9. Travel in a festive train carriage for a magical trip where Santa and his jolly helpers visit you in your seat with a gift. Grown-ups get treated to white wine and mince pies, whilst children enjoy a soft drink and a gingerbread man from the 30th November and throughout December at the Watercress Line.
  10. Visit Exbury’s Festive Express railway experience this December! Meet real-life elves and Father Christmas in their beautifully decorated engine shed. Ride the Steam Railway on a festive journey through the gardens. Plus take part in yuletide crafts, a log reindeer trail and carol-singing with a local choir. 
  11. Travel back in time and visit the Victorian Montagu family home this festive season at Beaulieu. Sip a glass of warming mulled punch while you soak in the festive atmosphere of Palace House, with stunning decorations, welcoming log fires and a Christmas tree in each room.
  12. Victorian Christmas Festival at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard from 29 November to 1 December. Browse over 100 stalls under the shadow of HMS Victory for the perfect hand-crafted stocking filler, sip mulled wine and tuck into traditional festive treats in this unique setting. Spread the Christmas cheer and enjoy over 100 performers in costume roaming the dockyard, with a host of beloved characters including Scrooge and Queen Victoria.
  13. Experience the true joy of Christmas at Winchester Cathedral! Explore one of Europe’s best Christmas Markets, open until 22 December, before skating around the spectacular Ice Rink, open until 5 January. Don’t forget to visit the Cathedral, with its magnificent Christmas tree and festive carol services throughout December.
  14. It is going to be a Victorian Christmas at Fort Nelson (21-23 and 27-31 December). Step back in time to 1896, as the garrison prepares for the festivities. Gather around the kitchen range for seasonal tales and warm mince pies. Tickets can be booked online. 

    Victorian Christmas at Fort Nelson
    Victorian Christmas at Fort Nelson
  15. The Woodland Café at Itchen Valley Country Park is offering a tasty Christmas Menu from 2nd December for individuals or groups up to 20. Festive activities for children: Fun Tree Decorations Saturday 7th December, Make ‘N’ Take Mondays 2nd December and 16th December and Christmas Trail 1st December to 5th January. 
  16. Experience the thrill of a Christmas dream come true this festive season at Robin Hill’s brand-new winter event, POLAR, launching on 29th November. Venture through frosty woodlands adorned with twinkling lights to join Pippa, the life-sized polar bear in the POLAR Hollow. Then take your seat in the Woodland Amphitheatre for a breath-taking finale show like no other! POLAR…where dreams really do come true! 
  17. Get into the Christmas spirit at Tudor House with a weekend of festivities – Saturday 8 and Sunday 9 December, 10am-5pm. Pre-book a visit to Father Christmas, a magical light tour or seasonal craft activity, and explore the house for free. 
  18. Peter Pan – The high flying pantomime adventure, 14 December – 5 January. The swashbuckling magic of Peter Pan swoops into Mayflower Theatre this festive season, in an unmissable, high-flying pantomime adventure starring Marti Pellow, Darren Day, Jaymi Hensley and the Grumbleweeds. 
  19. Enjoy a festive paddle along the stunning Beaulieu River with New Forest Activities this Christmas. Keep an eye out for Santa along the way who’ll be paddling in his canoe full of gifts. As part of their Christmas Canoe Paddle, you’ll enjoy a scenic 90-minute guided tour of the river before receiving a Christmas gift from jolly old St Nick himself! Great for all ages from 18+ months, all equipment provided.
  20. Visit Birdworld this Christmas to enter a magical winter wonderland full of different festive scenes complete with a very special spotting trail. Meet Santa’s reindeer and some friendly farm animals before the children are taken to Santa by the impish elves to receive their present. 
  21. See Wow! Said the Owl, the acclaimed children’s book by award-winning author Tim Hopgood, at Nuffield Southampton Theatres City Studio this Christmas 6th – 29th December! Book tickets to this enchanting tale perfect for 2-5 year olds online or call their Box Office on 023 8067 1771.
  22. You will delight at the festive atmosphere in the Longdown Farm Christmas Barn where you will meet real live animals among the fairy-lit Christmas trees. See the peaceful Nativity scene and then look for Father Christmas’ tractor sleigh outside the Farmhouse Grotto where Father Christmas is waiting to meet the children and give them a special Christmas gift. Open daily from 30th November to 23rd December 2019 along with the soft play area, crazy golf course, mini tractors, diggers, tearoom, gift shop and Farm Produce Shop for more fun and relaxation for the whole family.
    Longdown Farm Christmas Barn
    Longdown Farm Christmas Barn


  23. Riverside Bowl are hosting an amazing and unique Santa Bowl and Glow Event this Christmas! Dressing as Santa whilst enjoying a game of bowling or a round of glo-golf will definitely get you in the Christmas Spirit. Book online now.
  24. Roll up, roll up, a New Years Eve party as you have never seen before is coming to town at Portsmouth Guildhall and tickets are on sale now. Prepare to be astonished, expect to be amazed and see in the New Year in style at the Guildhall’s new Cirque Du Guildhall themed celebrations for an evening full of magical surprises.  
  25. Watch your little ones make their Christmas wishes by visiting the Island’s most authentic Santa in his beautiful ‘Star of wonder’ themed Grotto at The Needles Landmark AttractionWith stacks of festive fun in store, the Isle of Wight’s most famous Grotto, returns for December, helping spread cheer to families across the Island. So, with the fantastic price of £8.00pp which includes a ‘quality gift’, free mince pie and cream, go along and join the festivities with Mrs Clause and her super busy Elves in their newly designed workshops.
  26. Christmas comes to Manor Farm with a range of festive fun available throughout December. Every weekend there will be an Elf training school, the 12 Days of Christmas trail and plenty of Christmas crafts. Father Christmas will also be visiting on the 14th, 15th, 21st and 22nd. Normal farm admission prices apply.

    Father Christmas’s grotto at Royal Victoria Country Park
    Father Christmas’s grotto at Royal Victoria Country Park
  27. Be transported to Father Christmas’s grotto at Royal Victoria Country Park this December. During the weekends of the 14th and 21st, experience a story in a Christmas-themed setting before receiving a gift from the man himself. Children cost £12 each for a 45-minute session.
  28. A session full of festivities awaits at Queen Elizabeth Country Park. Christmas at the Park sees two-hours jammed pack with decoration making, a woodland trail and a visit to Father Christmas’s grotto! Activities are outdoors so wrap up warm! Booking is essential. Tickets cost £15.50 per child; adults go free.
  29. At Lepe Country Park create your own beautiful wreath using materials found around the park with sessions running from 10th – 12th December. Then on the 15th, take part in the Christmas jumper run which you can run, walk or even bring your dog to. Booking essential for both activities. 
  30. Receive a letter from Father Christmas in the post before visiting Christmas on the Farm at Staunton Country Park. The elf-led activities include tree decoration, biscuit decoration, a story with hot chocolate and of course a chance to meet Father Christmas himself. Tickets are £15.95 per child, booking is essential.
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