From glittering Christmas lights and ice skating to traditional markets and festive family favourites – you are in for a ‘cracker’ this Christmas across Hampshire and The Isle of Wight. Winter is the time for family days out and celebrations with friends, and to help with finalising those Christmas plans, we’ve put together a list below of all the best things taking place this Christmas…
Tudor House is the place to find Christmas magic this year! Entry is FREE on the 8th & 9th December for a very special weekend. Ring the elves for more on 023 8083 4536.
Join us for Ask the Archives at The Royal Navy Submarine Museum from 10am to 4.30pm. Come along and learn about your family history with one of our museum curators. Whether you want to learn about naval history or want to discover more about your family history. The team will help you find the answers. The event is free to attend with a valid attraction ticket.
Make your family’s Christmas magical at Marwell Zoo. Enjoy a variety of festive refreshments and listen to stories from Neverland – inspired by Peter Pan – read by Mother Christmas in the Pirate Cove. Get creative decorating your Christmas present bag before meeting Father Christmas and receiving a special gift. Pre-booking required.
Visit Paultons Park and celebrate Christmas in a world of twinkling illumination! Journey through Santa’s Grotto, watch an all-new 4D film, enjoy selected rides and attractions and discover Peppa Pig World after its festive transformation!
Be transported to a bygone era with the Dickens Christmas Festival, Portsmouth Historic Dockyard. Explore beautiful snowy streets with colourful characters and toe-tapping entertainment. This year, celebrate the works of Portsmouth-born Charles Dickens – a man influential in promoting the essence of modern Christmas.
Santa and the elves are back at Winchester Science Centre and this time they’re joined by Jack and the beanstalk! A Christmas experience like no other with live science show inspired by the classic children’s tale, an elf-led activity, Christmas planetarium show and chance to meet Santa.
Explore Winchester Cathedral’s Christmas Market, one of the best in Europe, before enjoying a skate on the fabulous real Ice Rink with a giant Christmas Tree to fill skaters with festive cheer. Don’t miss the spectacular opening ceremony on 17 November or the Cathedral’s annual Lantern Parade on 29 November. Fun for all the family!
Join Santa’s elves as they make the finishing touches to their latest batch of cuddly bears at Emirates Spinnaker Tower. Each child will name their bear, fill it with stuffing and place a magic charm inside. Entry is £15 per child which includes meeting Father Christmas, a soft toy to take home and unlimited entry to Emirates Spinnaker Tower on the day of their visit.
Scenes from the ‘The Night Before Christmas’ will be brought to life at Mottisfont from 24 November – 6 January. The house will be adorned with traditional decorations, and little mice in secret corners. You’ll find Father Christmas’s sleigh out in the grounds, which you can explore with a festive-themed trail.
Experience the new magical, after-dark, illuminated trail through the grounds and gardens of Beaulieu this Christmas. There’s something for everyone as a one mile illuminated path winds its way through the grounds in an incredible after dark experience. Greeted by the sights and sounds of Christmas, wander beneath unique tree canopies drenched in seasonal colour.
Take a step back in time and wander the rooms and corridors of The Vyne decked out for a Victorian Christmas. Beautifully decorated for the first time since The Vyne’s roof project, explore the house for the magical splendour of a Victorian Christmas. Showcasing fully decorated rooms, Wiggett Chute welcomes you into his family home.
Join Butser Ancient Farm in the great roundhouse for a festive early evening of Winter Solstice storytelling with Red Phoenix. Enjoy a hot chocolate or drinks from the bar around the roaring fire while you soak up the atmosphere of the ancient building, the good company and the anticipation of the story. There will also be music to entertain the crowd, as well as a visit from the Prize Old Mummers.
Enjoy free entry and come and do a spot of Christmas shopping in the festive atmosphere of Chawton House, packed with stalls selling local produce on the 1st December 2018.
Experience Christmas at the Bombay Sapphire Distillery when you book onto a Christmas Joiner Party on Saturday 1st December, Saturday 8th December, Friday 14th December or Friday 21st December 2018. Enjoy a cocktail on arrival and explore the glasshouses before making your way to the exquisitely decorated gallery space to enjoy your four course meal. Then sample some signature cocktails in the spacious Mill Bar before heading to the dancefloor, all for £60.oo per person including VAT.
Visit Birdworld to meet Santa’s reindeer and some of their friendly farm animals before you enter a magical world full of animated characters in winter wonderland settings. As you walk through the different scenes, you can enjoy friendly banter with the impish elves before the children meet Santa to receive their present. For those of you who are too old for a present, a mince pie and a hot fruit punch awaits!
Join one of the special festive tours of Fort Nelson this Christmas.. Visit the barrack room, decorated with oranges, cloves and greenery and learn about the life for the Victorian soldiers at Christmas. Gather round and warm yourselves by the original kitchen range and enjoy some mulled wine and one of Mrs Blenkinsopp’s delicious mince pies. (20 – 23 December / free / 11am, 12noon, 2pm & 3pm)
Kick the festive season off with a special event at the Hawk Conservancy Trust, including Christmas Carols and Owls by Moonlight. Or bring the children for breakfast or tea with Father Christmas; they’ll receive a gift in his grotto, decorate a biscuit and even meet donkeys and an owl!
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 will 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.
The Brickworks Christmas Market takes place on Sunday 25th November this year. One of their busiest events with lots of stalls, crafts, activities for children (including Father Christmas), Meccano exhibition and more.
Back by popular demand, the traditional Christmas market returns to Milestones Museum, Basingstoke on 8-9 December. Visit the undercover Victorian streets and browse stalls selling handmade and local Christmas gifts. There’s activities for children and plenty of festive food and drink.
Gilbert White & The Oates Collections are starting the Yule tide festivities with their traditional Mulled Wine Weekend. With live entertainment, carols, craft activities, and of course mulled wine this is a weekend the whole family can enjoy in the atmospheric setting of Gilbert White’s 18th Century home. Why not try the festive tradition of Wassailing too?
For a magical Christmas experience, travel in a festive carriage at the Watercress Line throughout December. No queues for Santa – he delivers gifts to the children in their seats. Visit after Christmas to soak up the atmosphere of a WWII Christmas on the railway, with civilian and military re-enactors.
Father Christmas will be returning on his tractor sleigh once again to the Longdown Barn to take up residence in the farmhouse grotto. See twinkling lights, lots of animals, and the Nativity scene during this festive annual treat.