25 things to do in Hampshire for Christmas 2016
PUBLISHED: 12:17 15 December 2016 | UPDATED: 12:17 15 December 2016
Make every moment count in the run up to Christmas with our day by day guide to all things festive across the county, compiled by Charlotte Tomlinson-White
December 1: Festive Quiz and Supper Night
Embrace your competitive side and exercise those brain cells with this fun, light-hearted quiz. Get together with colleagues, friends and family to make teams or help make up the numbers on another team. With a delicious supper including a vegetarian option, don’t forget to bring your own wine or beer!
• Lepe Country Park, Exbury Southampton SO45 1AD, 023 8089 9108, www3.hants.gov.uk/countryside/lepe
December 2: The Twelve Days of Christmas
This winter, The Twelve Days of Christmas come alive at Mottisfont, where the stage is set for a flamboyant Christmas party. Discover beautifully decorated rooms and gardens inspired by the classic song, from the glittery dresses of ‘Nine ladies dancing’ to ‘Seven swans a-swimming’ on Mottisfont’s river. Don’t forget to venture on the new activity trail which takes families through all the song’s famous verses.
• Mottisfont, near Romsey SO51 0LP, 01794 340757, www.nationaltrust.org.uk/mottisfont
December 3: Christmas Murder Mystery
Experience a Victorian Christmas in the splendour of candlelit Wymering Manor. Jacob Marley is your host for the evening but as the courses are delivered he goes missing. What happened to Jacob? Which of the six Dickensian characters are responsible for his disappearance? Do fellow diners hold the clues? Enjoy a superb meal and drinks, interrogate the characters and work together to identify the murderer, motive and method.
• Wymering Manor, Old Wymering Lane, Portsmouth PO6 3NL, 01962 435 020, www.darkencounters.co.uk
December 4: Mulled Wine Weekend
Witness Gilbert White’s residence turned into a festive Georgian house, draped in Christmas décor with costumed interpreters wandering the halls. Embrace the festive spirit and enjoy local choirs singing hymns and Christmas carols in the Great Parlour then head out into the garden and try wassailing the apple trees. Plus, savour a glass of mulled wine, made to Gilbert White’s very own recipe!
• Gilbert White & The Oates Collections, Gilbert White’s House, The Wakes, Selborne, Alton GU34 3JH, 01420 511275, www.gilbertwhiteshouse.org.uk
December 5: Christmas with The Overtones
Celebrate the most wonderful time of the year with UK’s top vocal harmony group, The Overtones. Expect a Christmas cracker of entertainment packed with uplifting music and exquisitely crafted vocal harmonies. Let Darren, Mark, Mike, Lachie and Timmy lift your spirits with good ol’ classics such as ‘White Christmas’, ‘Santa Claus Is Coming To Town’ and ‘Let It Snow’. A perfect evening of festive music.
• O2 Southampton Guildhall, West Marlands Road, Southampton SO14 7LP, 023 8063 2601, www.o2guildhallsouthampton.co.uk
December 6: Festive Fayre
Why wait until Christmas Day for your festive meal? With a menu set to make your mouth water, including game terrine with quail’s egg and celeriac remoulade to start, roast Norfolk turkey with chestnut and orange stuffing for main and Christmas pudding with rum sauce for dessert, enjoy a traditional festive three-course luncheon or dinner in the altogether more intimate environment of the Oak Room Restaurant at Tylney Hall throughout December.
• Tylney Hall Hotel & Gardens, Ridge Lane, Rotherwick, Hook RG27 9AZ, 01256 764881, www.tylneyhall.co.uk
December 7: Winchester Cathedral Christmas Market
Each year thousands flock to this market with national and international status to find the perfect gift. Peruse over 100 attractive wooden chalets boasting a wide range of Christmas goodies including British crafts, Christmas decorations and bespoke items, as well as seasonal food and drink. Don’t forget to venture inside the Cathedral itself! If you haven’t got lots of time, take the ‘highlights’ tour. See Winchester feature on pages 32-35.
• Winchester Cathedral, The Close, Winchester SO23 9LS, 01962 857 275, www.winchester-cathedral.org.uk
December 8: Christmas Afternoon Tea
This festive season, enjoy a cosy afternoon tea by candlelight in the picturesque setting of Langrish House. Indulge in a selection of Christmas sandwiches, with fresh cranberry scones with clotted cream and jam, violet and white chocolate macaroon, lemon and mincemeat meringue pie and chocolate yule log with tea or coffee. Why not add that extra Christmas sparkle with a glass of mulled wine or mulled cider? Booking is essential.
• Langrish House, Langrish, Petersfield GU32 1RN, 01730 266941, www.langrishhouse.co.uk
December 9: The Story of Christmas Traditions
Admire the rooms beautifully transformed to illustrate some of our favourite Christmas traditions, including bulging stockings, sumptuously wrapped presents, twinkling trees and the legend that is Father Christmas. Plus, Hinton’s very own Punch and Judy display, celebrating the annual entertainment that former owner Ralph Dutton hosted for the village children. The fun continues outside, where families can follow an Advent calendar-themed trail around the gardens.
• Hinton Ampner, near Alresford SO24 0LA, 01962 771305, www.nationaltrust.org.uk/hinton-ampner
December 10: Christmas Express Dinner Parties Workshop
Whip up a storm this Christmas with a little help from Newlyns Cookery School. With new and interesting skills to master, partake in this intimate 5-hour hands-on workshop and discover some quick but contemporary recipes that will leave you wanting to entertain at every opportunity! With speedy preparation time, these dinner party recipes will leave you with plenty of time to socialise with your friends.
• Newlyns Cookery School, Lodge Farm, North Warnborough, Hook RG29 1HA, 01256 704128, www.newlyns-farmshop.co.uk
December 11: A Servant’s Christmas
This winter Uppark introduces you to the world of a Victorian Christmas ‘below stairs’. Find your way to the bustling servants’ quarters through the underground tunnels, and discover how they’re preparing for the family’s festive season ‘upstairs’. There’s a Victorian-themed family trail, visits from Father Christmas, hands-on activities for kids, and a shop full of Christmas gifts including the National Trust’s brand new Monopoly game.
• Uppark House and Garden, South Harting, Petersfield GU31 5QR, 01730 825 415, www.nationaltrust.org.uk/uppark-house-and-garden
December 12: Christmas at Marwell
Head to Marwell for a magical Christmas experience. Enjoy a warm glass of blackcurrant squash and a festive treat in with the elves, be enchanted by the story of ‘The animals that saved Christmas’ read by Mrs Claus and then create your own festive candy cane tree before meeting Santa himself and receiving a special gift. Don’t forget to venture around the zoo, it is included in the price!
• Marwell Zoo, Thompsons Lane, Winchester SO21 1JH, 01962 777407, www.marwell.org.uk
December 13: Grand Pantomime Bauble Hunt
Held in conjunction with Mayflower Theatre’s Christmas Pantomime Robin Hood, bring your merry men and women to Sir Harold Hillier Gardens and seek out the festive trees on this family trail. Following the story of Robin Hood, learn how he avoids capture and defeats the Sheriff as you venture on the trail. No need to book, simply just head to the Gardens and let the hunt begin!
• Sir Harold Hillier Gardens, Jermyns Lane, Romsey SO51 0QA, 01794 369318, www3.hants.gov.uk/hilliergardens
December 14: Wreath making workshop
Take a pre-seasonal break and get creative in Field Farm’s beautiful barn. Using locally sourced willow, along with a fabulous array of different greenery, natural materials, pine cones and ribbons, make your own wreath for your door or table display. With lots of help on hand, ideas and inspiration as needed, savour a glass of mulled wine and a mince pie while you craft.
• Field Farm Lane, Colemore, Alton GU34 3PX, 07979 321369, www.fieldfarmproject.com
December 15: The Rat Pack Live Christmas Party
Expect all the patter and razzamatazz of the Rat Pack’s infamous live stage show from the UK’s number one Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jnr and Frank Sinatra impersonators. This brand-new production combines the full sound of big band swing with the charisma, panache and swagger of the original trio, authentically capturing Dean, Sammy and Frank during their fifties and sixties Vegas heyday.
• The Haymarket, Wote Street, Basingstoke RG21 7NE, 01256 844244, www.anvilarts.org.uk
December 16: Carols & Owls by Moonlight
Head to The Hawks Conservancy for an evening of Christmas carols plus a special owl flying demonstration! Welcomed by the festive sounds of The Blue Horizon Handbell Ringers, delight in both traditional and modern Christmas carols, played by Test Valley Brass and sung by the Andover Museum Loft Singers. With a glass of mulled wine and mince pie, it’s perfect for the yuletide season!
• The Hawk Conservancy Trust, Sarson Lane, Weyhill, Andover SP11 8DY, 01264 773850, www.hawk-conservancy.org
December 17: Portsmouth Beer Festival Christmas Sessions
Portsmouth Beer Festival returns for another Christmas Session, offering ales and ciders to get you into the festive spirit! With live music, special winter editions from local brewers and those from further afield, plus separate cider and bottle bars and numerous hot food stalls, there’s something for everyone.
• Portsmouth Guildhall, Guildhall Square, PO1 2AB, 023 93870 200, www.portsmouthguildhall.org.uk
December 18: Winchester Cathedral Ice Rink
This year the popular outdoor ice rink gets a brand new makeover, including the addition of a clear-span roof! Wrap up warm and grab a steady hand (if you need one!) and get set for an exhilarating (rain free) skate on the ice! A sure way to get you and your family in the festive mood, glide around the ice against the magnificent backdrop of the iconic Cathedral.
• Winchester Cathedral, The Close, Winchester SO23 9LS, 01962 857 275, www.winchester-cathedral.org.uk
December 19: Christmas Movie Marathon
The Harlington presents the ultimate Christmas Movie Marathon featuring four holiday season classics. With‘The Muppet Christmas Carol’ for the young at heart, fun for all the family ‘Home Alone’, the definitive Christmas classic ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’, all finished off with the action-packed adult fun ‘Die Hard’ (where the bar with be open all night!) there’s something for everyone.
• The Harlington, 236 Fleet Road, Fleet GU51 4BY, 01252 811009, www.theharlington.co.uk
December 20: Santa Specials
Board the festive steam train, see Santa and ride on the scenic Watercress Line - the perfect way to start Christmas! Santa and his jolly helpers will visit you in your seat with a special gift. With white wine and mince pies for the grown-ups and soft drinks for the children. Expect Christmas songs too during your one-hour round trip.
• Mid Hants Railway Ltd ‘Watercress Line’, The Railway Station, Alresford, Hampshire, SO24 9JG, 01962 733810, www.watercressline.co.uk
December 21: The Little Red Hen
Stuff and Nonsense Theatre Company and The Berry Theatre present this Christmas treat for the whole family. Making bread is hard work but it would be a lot easier if the lazy farmyard animals lent a hand. Suitable for little ones aged two and older and their families, this ingenious adaptation of the nursery school favourite features a host of animal puppets, sing-along songs and madcap comic routines.
• The Berry Theatre, Wildern Lane, Hedge End, SO30 4EJ Box Office: 023 8065 2333, www.theberrytheatre.co.uk
December 22: Last Night of the Christmas Proms
Conducted by Pete Harrison, kick off Christmas with this fun-packed concert for all the family from Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra. Featuring the vocal talents of Alison Jiear and Iain Mackenzie, delight in seasonal classics old and new, plus a selection of popular songs from the best of West End and Broadway musicals.
• Portsmouth Guildhall, Guildhall Square, Portsmouth PO1 2AB, 0844 847 2362, www.portsmouthguildhall.org.uk
December 23: Robin Hood
No Christmas would be complete without a pantomime! So grab your merry men and women, and get ready for a sheriff-busting, arrow-shooting, tights-wearing, hog-roasting pantomime extravaganza! Starring Shane Richie as the heroic outlaw and Jessie Wallace as Maid Marion, Robin Hood is staged by Qdos Entertainment, the world’s largest pantomime producer. Expect action, adventure and comedy with plenty of glitz and glamour! Ideal for theatregoers of all ages.
• Mayflower Theatre, Commercial Road, Southampton SO15 1GE, 02380 711811, www.mayflower.org.uk
December 24: Christmas Spa Break
Escape the hustle and bustle and retreat to the award winning SenSpa this Christmas. With three night’s luxury accommodation, full use of the SenSpa’s extensive spa facilities, including three treatments, and all meals catered, as well as a black-tie gala dinner on Boxing Day, you’ll leave your body glowing, your mind renewed and your soul soothed this festive season.
• Careys Manor & SenSpa Brockenhurst, New Forest SO42 7RH, 01590 623551, www.careysmanor.com
December 25: Christmas Day Lunch
Guaranteed to tickle your taste buds, enjoy your traditional Christmas Day lunch in the elegant surroundings of Rhinefield House in the New Forest. As well as the traditional turkey dinner, food offerings include potted crab to start, roast sirloin of beef for main and lemon tart with poppy seed pastry and blackberry compote for dessert. This five course extravaganza is finished with coffee and selection of mince pies.
• Rhinefield Road, Brockenhurst, SO42 7QB, Hampshire England, 01590 622922, www.handpickedhotels.co.uk/rhinefieldhouse