Where to do your Christmas shopping in Hampshire - 2015
PUBLISHED: 10:35 07 December 2015 | UPDATED: 15:16 09 December 2015
Missed the last despatch deadlines online? Fear not, Hampshire has a host of Christmas shopping venues geared up to giving you the best gift buying experience
Looking for the perfect gift but at the best price? Then head to outlet heaven at Gunwharf Quays, overlooking Portsmouth’s harbour. Full of designer names such as Ralph Lauren, Hobbs, Ted Baker, Mint Velvet and more…you can snap up a stylish gift for a fraction of the cost. With late night shopping until 9pm leading up to the big day, it’s perfect for an after-work mooch to avoid the crowds. With over 30 different dining outlets and a cinema on site… you can spend a relaxing evening by the water after your Christmas shopping is finished.
• Getting there: Gunwharf Quays has excellent public transport links, as well as a 1532 space underground car park that gives direct access to the site. Portsmouth Harbour train station, The Hard Bus Interchange, the Gosport Ferry and Wightlink foot-passenger terminal are only five minutes walk away. Exit the M27 at Junction 12, then join the M275 motorway which brings you directly in to Portsmouth, and then follow the brown signs for the Historic Waterfront leading you straight to Gunwharf Quays.
• Don’t miss: A Very Bublé Christmas Dinner Show at Tiger Tiger. Enjoy sumptuous food, Christmas cocktails with friends and colleagues whilst getting into the festive spirit with classic Michael Bublé songs. Tickets are £35 and include a 3 course Christmas meal, half a bottle of wine per person and a glass of bubbly on arrival. December 15 and 20, call 02392 882244 to book.
For those last minute gifts, head to Whiteley shopping centre near Fareham. Small but perfectly formed…brand names such as Next, Marks and Spencer, Topshop and Beaverbrooks sprawl across this modern, open air centre – which also offers dining establishments and limited free parking. A great place to pop in if you can’t face the hustle and bustle of a larger shopping complex.
• Getting there: Whiteley is located just one mile from Junction 9 on the M27. After exiting the motorway, follow the signs for shopping centre. Swanick station is a 25 minute walk from Whiteley with First buses operating a service in the area.
• Don’t miss: Whiteley Shopping Centre is supporting Mission Christmas Cash for Kids in association with Wave 105 and are asking for new and unwrapped gifts suitable for children and young people aged 0-18 years to give to disadvantaged local children to make their Christmas morning special. Donation stations are located within Whiteley Centre Management Office, Poundland, The Meadowside, Body Shop, The Entertainer, Boots and Tiger.
Festival Place, or Festive Place as it has been renamed for the Christmas period, has over 160 big brands to shop for gifts all under one roof. With discounts and offers taking place throughout the season on shopping and dining, you can make your money go further in stores such as Hotel Chocolat, Pandora, Zara, Apple and more. To make sure your Christmas shopping experience is as easy and stress-free as possible – a Festive Services pop-up shop has opened on the upper level. Whether you need advice on the best gifts to buy, your presents wrapped or want help with your shopping bags - a team of dedicated staff will be on hand to assist.
• Getting there: Basingstoke train station is just a five minute walk away, plus there is a bus station right on the doorstep! If you prefer to drive, it’s just minutes off junction 6 of the M3 and there are over 2,500 spaces in the secure car park.
• Don’t miss: Join Santa, Elsa from Frozen and a whole host of festive friends for the annual Santa Parade. Acrobatic ice elves, human Christmas bells and a real life snowman will be among the characters marching from Porchester Square to Festival Square on December 6.
With over 100 shops to browse, West Quay shopping centre is one of the biggest and most comprehensive malls in the county. Filled with brand names and a giant John Lewis, you are sure to find gifts for the whole family, without stepping a foot outside. If you do venture out, you can warm up with an authentic Glühwein and a bratwurst at the Christmas market, which takes over the Above Bar Pedestrian Precinct area. Or why not enjoy a bite to eat at the newly refurbished dining level with restaurants such as Handmade Burger Co., Wagamamas, Café Rouge and more.
• Getting there: Southampton is easily accessible by car, follow signposts if coming from the M3, and take junction 3 (M271) on M27 to follow signs. By train, Southampton Central is just a short walk to WestQuay, follow signs from the station. Bus links managed by BLUESTAR run across the city and Hampshire, visit www.bluestarbus.co.uk for timings and pricings. WestQuay offers extensive car parking, with over 4,000 spaces, split between the Multi Storey and the Podium. Both are easily accessible for all shoppers with customer collection points located in the Podium car park. You can park all day at the Multi Storey for £5.
You don’t immediately think of the New Forest when it comes to large-scale shopping centres…and you’d be right. However, there’s much to be said about the town’s delightful Furlong Centre, a picturesque shopping haven where you can eat, shop and socialise at your leisure. With free parking for two hours, WiFi and courtyard cafés, it hosts some impressive brands such as Hobbs, Jaeger, Joules, Phase Eight and more.
• Getting there: The Furlong Centre is situated just off the A31 signposted Ringwood. Ringwood train station is within walking distance and buses serve the area.
• Don’t miss: Visit the centre during the Ringwood Light Switch on event on December 5 and 6 and discover a festive artisan market, Father Christmas and a giant interactive snow globe experience for all the family to enjoy. The event is completely free to attend and there will be surprises in store all over the town over the course of the weekend.
A great gift shopping destination at the best of times, Lyndhurst comes alive at Christmas when its boutique lined high street turns in to a Christmas light frenzy. Expect cutesy home décor gifts in Shave Green Interiors; traditional toys at Down to the Wood, and original jewellery designs at Christopher Stephens.
• Getting there: Traffic can be tricky so be sure to plan your day so that you arrive early. Pay and display parking is available just off the high street, but you could get the train to Ashurst and take a walk through the forest in to Lyndhurst, buses and taxis are also available.
• Don’t miss: Lyndhurst will be hosting a fun Christmas weekend on December 5 with a sleigh procession at 5pm, giant snowman and Christmas tree, festive stalls and more.
When it comes to Christmas markets and independent shops, nowhere does it better than Winchester in our opinion. With the breathtaking backdrop of the Cathedral, the traditional market is full of local arts and crafts, handmade gifts and artisan products. With the ice rink taking centre stage, it’s a great day out that the whole family can enjoy – a really festive way to shop for presents. If you’re sticking to a list, there isn’t much that can’t be found at The Hambledon, Winchester’s iconic department store. Full of chic ideas for the most discerning gift receiver, you’ll be sure to avoid gift face this Christmas with something from their vast range. Wander the cobbled side streets and more boutique treasures are waiting to be uncovered, and with a vast array of independent restaurants, cafes, pubs and bars, you’ll want to spend the whole weekend soaking up the festive atmosphere.
• Getting there: Winchester is easily accessible from the M3, although parking in the city can be difficult so it is advised to make use of the park and ride locations at St Catherine’s, Barfield and South Winchester.
• Don’t miss: Enjoy an evening of musical entertainment featuring the Cathedral Choirs with guest appearances by popular trio Blake at the Cathedral Christmas Carol on December 11. Tickets are priced between £15 - £40 at www.tickets.winchester-cathedral.org.uk.
Avoid the masses this year…when it comes to gift buying, hunt down local independent markets like the one taking place at The Spring Arts and Heritage Centre in Havant. On December 5 from 10am to 4pm, wander through a winter wonderland to discover a cornucopia of beautiful gifts, crafts, food, textiles, ceramics and lots of festive treats. Entry is free and the café will be open all day, serving some tasty winter warmers. Find out more at www.thespring.co.uk.
Now firmly established as one of Alton’s biggest crowd-pullers, the annual Yuletide Festival is this year taking place on December 6 from 10am. The event, featuring craft and gift stalls from far and wide that will suit all tastes and budgets, will be interspersed with food stalls brought in to help keep shoppers fed and watered. The Assembly Rooms will have a Santas Grotto as well as stalls selling a variety of goods. Free parking will also be available on the day.
Petersfield Festivals are returning for another year with their fantastic Petersfield Christmas Festival Market on December 6. To repeat the winning formula from previous years, the festival market will be combining with Hampshire Farmers’ Markets to bring a huge amount of stalls with a vast range of festive items to help you find the perfect gift. Expect a great day of live music, school bands and choirs, nativity petting zoo, family entertainment and a visit from Father Christmas himself!
• Getting there: Petersfield is located just off the A3, pay and display parking can be found throughout the town. Trains run from Petersfield to London Waterloo and Portsmouth Harbour.
With a highs treet boasting a variety of independent boutiques, Hartley Wintney is an obvious choice for Christmas shopping minus the crowds. Quirky finds at What-Not’s and Hartley Antiques Centre are guaranteed to put a smile on the face of your gift recipient. While Cashmere Goose might have you tempted to pick up a little something for yourself. If it’s full on festive cheer you’re looking for… then just down the road is West Green House - a delightful manor house and gardens hosting opera in the summer and a beautiful Christmas shopping experience in the winter. Visit from December 18 to 21 to soak up the magic with their personally selected gifts from throughout Europe, and enjoy lunch in their yuletide café. Open daily from 11am to 4pm. Admission is free. Garden entry £3.00.
Treat someone to a subscription of Hampshire Life this Christmas with this fantastic offer