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25 things to do in Hampshire this Christmas

PUBLISHED: 11:32 30 November 2015 | UPDATED: 09:59 30 November 2016

See a country house as it would have been decorated at one of the county's National Trust properties

See a country house as it would have been decorated at one of the county's National Trust properties


Count down to the big day with these festive treats. Compiled by Charlotte Tomlinson-White


Feature from 2015. For the 2016 guide, click here!


Festive Cream Tea - December 1

Start the yuletide season with a special Festive Afternoon Tea. Served in Jermyn’s House Tea Rooms, indulge in an exquisite cake stand filled with delicate bites and seasonal favourites, accompanied by your choice of tea, or optional extras such as champagne, Pimms or mulled wine. Booking is essential.

Sir Harold Hillier Gardens, Jermyns Lane, Romsey, SO51 0QA, 01794 369318, www3.hants.gov.uk/hilliergardens


Get your Skates on - December 2

2015 marks the tenth anniversary of the ice rink at Winchester Cathedral. Wrap up warm and grab a steady hand (if you need one!) and have some seasonal fun on the ice! A sure way to get you and your family in the festive mood, glide around the outdoor ice rink against the magnificent backdrop of the iconic Cathedral. Suitable for children aged 4+.

Winchester Cathedral, The Close, Winchester, SO23 9LS, 01962 857 275, www.winchester-cathedral.org.uk


Father Christmas’ Story - December 3

Discover the legendary career of Santa Claus at Gosport Discovery Centre. Author and popular speaker Rupert Matthews presents this fascinating talk about the famous career of Santa, from pagan god and his encounter with a Christian saint, to his modern incarnation as the patron deity of commercialised Christmas, including his costume changes. Perfect for the season!

7.30pm at Gosport Discovery Centre, High Street, Gosport, PO12 1BT, 0300 555 1387, www3.hants.gov.uk/gdc.htm


Christmas Murder Mystery - December 4

It’s Christmas and all your favourite Dickens characters have been rolled into one extravaganza of a show, ready for a bloody and dark night of fun and murder! So hone your super sleuth skills, dust off those magnifying glasses and solve the greatest crime this festive season has to offer! Why not get into the spirit of the occasion and raid the Groundlings Wardrobe to dress the part?

8pm at Groundlings Theatre, 42 Kent Street, Portsmouth, PO1 3BS, 02392 737370, www.groundlings.co.uk 


Christmas Quiz - December 5

Embrace your competitive side and warm up those brain cells with this fun general knowledge quiz. Get together with colleagues, friends and family to make teams of up to six people or pop along on your own and help make up the numbers on another team. With a hot supper, raffle and bar available, this fundraising event is sure to be a festive hit!

6.30pm at The Hawk Conservancy Trust, Sarson Lane, Weyhill, Andover, SP11 8DY, 01264 773850, www.hawk-conservancy.org 


Victorian Christmas - December 6

Experience the spirit of a Victorian Christmas at Osborne House. Wander the snowy courtyard, hear the festive sounds of the season and drink in the smell of roasting chestnuts. Have a go at traditional games, take a ride on the carousel and delight in jovial entertainers, plus children can make their own traditional toys. Don’t forget to tour the festively dressed rooms - you might meet Father Christmas or even Queen Victoria!

10am–5pm at Osborne House, York Avenue, East Cowes, Isle of Wight, PO32 6JX, 0370 333 1181, www.english-heritage.org.uk/visit/places/osborne 


Christmas Made Easy - December 7

Get your Christmas aprons at the ready and head to Lime Wood for a festive cookery class. From the classic mince pies and canapés to the main event itself – the Roast Turkey, HH&Co Backstage will show you how a bit of preparation and some careful planning can help you enjoy your day even more! Plus, prepare a starter, alternative main, vegetarian option and tasty roast potatoes!

9am-5pm at Lime Wood, Beaulieu Road, Lyndhurst, SO43 7FZ, 02380 287177, www.limewoodhotel.co.uk 


Needle Felt Decorations - December 8

Discover your creative side and make your very own needle felted Christmas decorations to hang on your Christmas Tree! No experience is needed. Learners will need to bring Christmas pastry cutters, a small pair of scissors, a sewing kit, embroidery silks and ribbons. Booking is essential.

10am – 1pm at Eastleigh Library, 1st Floor, Swan Centre, Eastleigh, SO50 5SF, 02380 612646, www3.hants.gov.uk/library/eastleigh-library 


Christmas Wreath Workshop - December 9

Head to Lepe Country Park and try your hand at making a beautiful yuletide wreath for your front door! Venture around the park and collect materials to make the oasis based garland, and then let the Rangers guide you through the construction process. A tasty mince pie and delicious hot drink are included with the workshop.

10am at Lepe Country Park, Exbury, Southampton, SO45 1AD, 02380 899108, www3.hants.gov.uk/countryside/lepe


Christmas Market - December 10

The Cathedral’s Christmas Market celebrates its tenth birthday this year and it promises to be bigger and better! 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, decorations and bespoke items, as well as seasonal food and drink. Don’t forget to venture inside the Cathedral itself!

Winchester Cathedral, The Close, Winchester, SO23 9LS, 01962 857275, www.winchester-cathedral.org.uk 


Christmas Ceilidh - December 11

Suitable for all ages and experience levels, join Threepenny Bit for a night of English ceilidh dancing! Do-si-do, Circassian Circle, Grand Chain. Sounds like gibberish? Fear not! The bands expert caller will be on hand to guide you through the steps. Threepenny Bit play bold arrangements of traditional and original tunes combining folk, jazz and classical music, with infectious stage energy... perfect for ceilidh dancing!

7.30pm at Winchester Discovery Centre, Jewry Street, Winchester, SO23 8SB, 01962 873603, www3.hants.gov.uk/wdc 


Christmas Carols & Owls - December 12

Head to the Hawk Conservancy Trust for a special festive fundraising night! Enjoy an evening of Christmas carols, traditional and modern, played by Test Valley Brass and sung to the accompaniment of the voices of Andover Museum Loft Singers. Marvel at the special owl flying demonstration and get up close and personal in the bird holding session. Plus, savour a glass of mulled wine and a mince pie. Book early to avoid disappointment!

7pm at The Hawk Conservancy Trust, Sarson Lane, Weyhill, Andover, SP11 8DY, 01264 773850, www.hawk-conservancy.org 


Christmas Jewellery Workshop - December 13

Add an extra personal touch to your jewellery gifts by making them yourself! In this unique workshop experience, discover how to create a sterling silver snowflake or star necklace. The class is limited to an intimate six students, so you can get as much help as you need. After all your hard work, enjoy a glass of mulled wine and a mince pie while you admire your creations. Other dates available. See website for details.

10am – 3pm at Daniel Musselwhite Jewellery, Lark Hill Rise, Winchester, SO22 4LX, 01962 868875, www.danielmusselwhite.co.uk 


Aladdin - December 14

Are you ready for an enchanting experience full of eastern promise? Starring Joe Pasquale, Duncan James and Ceri Dupree, this 3D pantomime will be everything you could wish for! Expect stunning sets, amazing special effects and lots of laugh-out-loud comedy for the whole family in the glittering new production. Make sure you’ve booked your seat for a magic carpet ride you won’t want to miss!

Mayflower Theatre, Commercial Road, Southampton, SO15 1GE, 02380 711811, www.mayflower.org.uk


A Victorian Farm Christmas - December 15

Venture to the Farm for some festive fun! Suitable for children aged four years and under, little ones can help make a traditional Christmas pudding in the farmhouse, decorate the parlour with decorations and listen to a Christmas story. Plus each child will receive a Christmas stocking! Children must be accompanied by an adult. Booking is essential. Don’t forget to take advantage of 10% off lunch in the café!

10.30am – 12.30pm at Manor Farm and Country Park, Pylands Lane, Bursledon, Nr Southampton, SO31 1BH, 01489 787055, www3.hants.gov.uk/hampshire-countryside/manorfarm 


Christmas at Marwell - December 16

Head to Marwell for an enchanted Christmas experience. Join the elves in their magical woodland and enjoy a warm glass of blackcurrant squash and a festive treat, let Mrs Claus entertain you with the story of Jack Frost and then create your own festive bauble before meeting the jolly fellow 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 


Grand Bauble Hunt - December 17

With glitter galore and ten decorated trees, go fly around Sir Harold Hillier Gardens with Aladdin and his lamp to defeat a baddie or two! Held in conjunction with Mayflower Theatre’s Christmas Pantomime, this trail is suitable for all the family. Note that the last admission for the trail is at 3pm. No need to pre-book, just turn up.

10am – 4pm at Sir Harold Hillier Gardens, Jermyns Lane, Romsey, SO51 0QA, 01794 369318, www3.hants.gov.uk/hilliergardens


Holly at Christmas - December 18

Buddy Holly’s hits, contemporary classics and some Christmas crackers are all wrapped up in a fast, furious and funny feast of entertainment to make the perfect gift for all the family! Buddy Holly & the Cricketers once again herald in the Yuletide festivities with Holly at Christmas, the show that is now as traditional as mulled wine and mince pies! You’ll be rock ‘n’ rolling all the way to the big day!

7.30pm at The Haymarket, Wote Street, Basingstoke, RG21 7NE, 01256 844244, www.anvilarts.org.uk


Portsmouth Beer Festival - December 19

What better way to get stuck into the festive merriment than at Portsmouth Beer Festival’s Christmas Sessions. Celebrating its second year, this huge Christmas event will feature craft beers and cask ale alongside a selection of ciders, mulled wine and mulled cider as well as stouts, porters and seasonal specials, plus one off brews. A must for beer lovers with a vast selection from local breweries and breweries from around the UK.

Portsmouth Guildhall, Guildhall Square, Portsmouth, PO1 2AB, 0844 847 2362, www.portsmouthguildhall.org.uk


A Christmas Wedding - December 20

Join in with the celebrations for a Victorian Christmas wedding, a popular tradition in the 19th-century, and one which took place at the little church in Hinton Ampner’s gardens. Inside, witness the ground floor show rooms transformed into lavish scenes, including a sumptuous wedding breakfast, and admire the exquisite clothing as well as hundreds of flowers. Don’t forget to marvel at the huge Christmas tree in the courtyard and visit the Victorian pop-up sweet shop.

Hinton Ampner, near Alresford, SO24 0LA, 01962 771305, www.nationaltrust.org.uk/hinton-ampner 


Last Night of the Christmas Proms - December 21 

Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra presents a Christmas concert for all the family. True to the company’s style, the first part of the concert will be a selection of fantastic songs from musicals, and the second part of the concert will consist of everyone’s favourite pop Christmas songs like Jingle Bells, White Christmas and It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year amongst many others.

7.30pm at Portsmouth Guildhall, Guildhall Square, Portsmouth, PO1 2AB, 0844 847 2362, www.portsmouthguildhall.org.uk


A Country House at Christmas - December 22

Take an historic journey through Christmas past at The Vyne. The intimate former Tudor palace will be richly decorated for a country house family Christmas this yuletide season. Seven richly decorated show rooms will reveal the festive traditions and true stories of the characters that lived there in previous centuries. Don’t forget to head out into the garden with its ornamental lake, hidden picnic spots and walled garden.

The Vyne, Sherborne St John near Basingstoke, RG24 9HL, 01256 883858, www.nationaltrust.org.uk/vyne


It’s a Wonderful Life - December 23

A touching festive film that never ages. James Stewart stars as George Bailey, a man who has given up his dreams in order to help others and whose imminent suicide on Christmas Eve brings about the intervention of his guardian angel, Clarence Odbody. Clarence shows George all the lives he has touched and how different life in his community of Bedford Falls would be had he never been born.

7pm at Kings Theatre, Albert Road, Southsea, PO5 2SH, 02392 828282, www.kingsportsmouth.co.uk 


Santa and Steam - December 24

All aboard! See Santa on a steam train as you take a one hour round trip through the scenic Hampshire countryside. Santa visits every child at their seat with a special gift. Includes white wine and mince pie for the grown-ups and soft drinks for the children. The perfect way to spend Christmas Eve! Advance booking only.

Mid Hants Railway Ltd ‘Watercress Line’, The Railway Station, Alresford, SO24 9JG, 01962 733810, www.watercressline.co.uk


Christmas at Tylney Hall - December 25

There are many words which describe festivities at Tylney Hall, but three totally encapsulate the experience – traditional (in its comfort, character and service), tranquil (its setting in the rich rolling countryside commanding the longest uninterrupted view of Hampshire) and luxurious (for its decor, accommodation and leisure facilities). Escape the hustle and bustle of Christmas and treat yourself to an extravagant hotel escape. Enjoy someone else doing all the hard work and simply relax.

Tylney Hall Hotel & Gardens, Ridge Lane, Rotherwick, Hook, RG27 9AZ, 01256 764881, www.tylneyhall.co.uk


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