Things to do in Winchester this Christmas
PUBLISHED: 09:54 05 December 2017 | UPDATED: 12:25 02 January 2018
When it comes to celebrating the festive season, Winchester is alive with the sound of music. From Cathedral choirs to community singers and from family musicals to classical concerts, there’s something for everyone
Its soaring tower is a beacon for the true spirit of Christmas, and the Cathedral once again has a packed programme of music throughout December. It’s always worth arriving early to buy a few presents at the enchanting Christmas Market in the historic Close. Tickets from the Cathedral Box Office, with more details at winchester-cathedral.org.uk.
• Saturday December 9, 7.30pm: Bach’s Christmas Oratorio - The Waynflete Singers’ annual Christmas concert features Bach’s great sequence of seasonal cantatas.
• Saturday December 16, 7.30pm: Dickensian Christmas - The Sound Ensemble returns to present their dramatised interpretation of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, with ghostly tales, interspersed with music and carols. Tickets: £22 Adults, £20 seniors and £17 students (booking fee applies).
• Monday December 18, Wednesday 20 and Thursday 21, 6.30pm: Cathedral Community Carol Service - Three magical evenings filled with beautiful music sung by the Cathedral choir. The second and third service is not ticketed with all welcome. Each service is followed by a Christmas candlelit three-course supper in the Refectory.
• Friday, December 22, 1pm: Britten’s Ceremony of Carols - Performed by Winchester’s boy and girl choristers.
The Hospital of St Cross
Used daily as a private chapel, the fine Norman church, sometimes called a cathedral in miniature, is all that remains of the original 12th century hospital.
• Saturday, November 25, 7.30pm: Ashton Singers’ Advent Concert - Named after the Hampshire village where it first rehearsed almost 40 years ago, the now Winchester-based choir performs Baroque music for Advent and the Christmas season featuring period instruments. Singers, under conductor Julian Macey, return to sing at services in Winchester Cathedral on Sunday, January 8. ashtonsingers.co.uk.
Winchester Discovery Centre
This Jewry Street venue is a hidden gem with events hosted throughout the year. And during a hectic month, its café is the perfect spot in which to retreat to.
• Friday, December 8, 7.30pm: A Christmas Carol Revisited - A modern and ever so slightly irreverent adaptation of the Dickens classic includes carols and is packed with Christmas cheer for the whole family. Tickets £12. hants.gov.uk.
St Peter’s Church, Jewry Street
• Friday, December 8, 7.30pm: Winchester Fusion Choir Christmas Charity Concert - With members singing for sheer enjoyment a fun-filled evening is in store, raising money for good causes. Tickets £7.50. winchesterfusionchoir.co.uk.
• Friday December 15, 7pm: Winchester Music Club Charity Christmas Concert - One of Hampshire’s longest established choral groups present extracts from The Messiah, carols, and seasonal readings, with soprano soloist Claire Williams. A contribution from donations on the evening will be made to Winchester Churches Nightshelter and St Peter’s Church. winchestermusicclub.org.uk.
United Church, Jewry Street
• Tuesday, December 12, 8pm: Winchester Community Choir Christmas Concert - Making the short city hop from their usual home at St Lawrence in the Square, this Winchester choir sings for fun, so expect a joyous rendition of some seasonal favourites. winchestercommunitychoir.co.uk.
University of Winchester Chapel
An architectural jewel in the heart of the King Alfred campus, the late 19th century chapel was extended to mark the University’s 175th anniversary and shortlisted for a prestigious RIBA South award. Details of all events can be found at winchester.ac.uk.
• Tuesday, December 12, 6pm and Wednesday December 13, noon: Carol Service with the King Alfred Singers and the King Alfred Consort - Students, staff and members of the local community are all represented in the King Alfred Singers, some of whom also sing with the university’s acclaimed classical chamber choir. A retiring collection is in aid of Sesme School for Girls, Uganda.
With its Edwardian style auditorium and fabulous acoustics, the Theatre Royal is an enchanting venue for festive music. For forthcoming event details, visit theatreroyalwinchester.co.uk.
• Wednesday, December 13, 3.30pm: Carols by Candlelight with The Locrian Ensemble - The classical chart topping ensemble performs favourite carols, Christmas string medleys and some seasonal surprises. Featuring lavish period costumes and a magical candlelit setting, they are joined by West End soprano star Jill Washington. Tickets £25.
• Monday, December 18, 1pm and 4pm: Santa’s Christmas Wish - This festive show for two to seven-year-olds, is guaranteed have everyone singing along to Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, Jingle Bells, We Wish You a Merry Christmas and many more favourites, as Father Christmas invites the audience into his North Pole home. Family tickets £42.
Littleton Millennium Memorial Hall
• Wednesday, December 20, 8pm: Winchester City Festival Choir Christmas Concert - Ahead of its major concert in January, this 70-strong choir, led by musical director Graham Kidd, can also be heard at Winchester Christmas Market and will also be supporting other festive charity events in the area. wcfchoir.org.