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20+ magical Christmas events in Hampshire 2022

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The Christmas count down is on! In preparation for this festive season, here’s my guide to Christmas events in Hampshire this year. Read on to find out what’s on this December including where you’ll find Christmas events at attractions as well as festive shows, light trails and Santa himself!

Christmas events at Hampshire attractions

Ho ho how do you fancy a thoroughly festive day out? Here’s the Hampshire attractions laying on some sparkle and even Santa’s grottos this Christmas:

Steam Illuminations on the Watercress Line

All aboard the Watercress Line for an magical Christmas train ride.

The vintage loco and carriages are covered in thousands of fully controllable colour mixing LED lights making the the scene magical both inside and out.

Onboard you’ll be entertained by the voice of Britain’s Got Talent’s Peter Dickson and have your own LED wristband to take home.

Trains depart from either Alresford or Alton and complete a round trip, back to the starting station.

Please note: this is not a Santa train.

Steam Illuminations, Watercress Line, Alton, selected dates 18 November to 7 January 2023.

Christmas at Longdown Activity Farm

Santa will be greeting children in his festive lodge at the farm.

Longdown Activity Farm, Ashurst, selected dates from 25 November to 23 December 2022.

Cosmic Christmas at Winchester Science Centre

Father Christmas and helper at Winchester Science Centre
Image credit: Winchester Science Centre

Step inside an intergalactic wonderland this Christmas at Winchester Science Centre.

Join Santa in Cosmic Christmas, a brand-new 45-minute immersive family adventure in the iconic and totally unique Planetarium.

Listen as Santa and Aster, the intergalactic planetary elf, recreate the epic tale of their first mission to the International Space Station. And watch as the story is brought to life through immersive experiences, live science and a journey through space which is  out of this world.

Tickets include a gift from Santa and entry to the Science Centre.

Winchester Science Centre, selected dates between 3 December and 24 December 2022,

Hayling Island Winter Wonderland

The elves at Funland have been busy creating a spectacular wonderland experience.

Join them for a walk through Wonderland, stopping at the Gingerbread Factory and riding a festive train before meeting Santa Claus himself at the North Pole.

Entry into the Kidz Kingdom indoor play area as well as unlimited outdoor children’s rides is included in your ticket.

Funland, Hayling Island, 3 to 24 December 2022.

Christmas at Paultons Park and Peppa Pig World

Visitors to Paulton’s Park near Southampton will be able to see Peppa Pig World decorated for the season as well as a new Christmas show and illuminations around the park.

Paultons Park, Romsey, 3 to 23 December 2022,

Santa Experience at the Spinnaker Tower

Santa and elf at Emirates Spinnaker Tower

Join Santa’s mischievous Elves for fun & games! Write your letter to Santa, receive a special gift and enjoy the incredible views from Spinnaker Tower in this uplifting Christmas experience.

You will even meet Santa himself!

Emirates Spinnaker Tower, Portsmouth, selected dates between 3 to 24 December 2022.

Find more fun things to do in Portsmouth with kids.

Christmas at Milestones

Wander the cobbled streets decked for the season, enjoy the indoor market (3 to 4 December only) and meet Santa and his helpers in their grotto.

Milestones, Basingstoke, 6 to 23 December 2022.

Tales of Winter Magic at Buster Hill

Enter the great roundhouse at Butser Ancient Farm for a festive afternoon of family-friendly Winter Solstice storytelling with Red Phoenix.

Enjoy a hot chocolate from the shop or mead from the bar, cosy around the roaring fire with your family while you soak up the atmosphere of the ancient building, the good company and the anticipation of the story. 

Book tickets in advance.

Butser Ancient Farm, Waterlooville, 9 December 2022.

Father Christmas and crafts at Tudor House

Meet Father Christmas in the atmospheric setting of the Tudor Merchant House in Southampton. There will also be festive crafts, the Christmas Tudor House Mouse trail and festive afternoon teas.

Christmas at Tudor House, Southampton, selected dates 10 to 19 December 2022.

Paddle with Santa in the New Forest

Santa handing out gifts to families on canoes
Christmas Canoe Paddle with New Forest Activities

For something a bit different why not take a paddle down Beaulieu River to find Santa.

New Forest Activities will take you on a guided canoe trip lasting 90 minutes during which you’ll meet Father Christmas. There will be a gift for each child and a hot chocolate to keep everyone toasty.

Christmas Canoe Paddle, Bailey’s Hard, New Forest, 10 to 23 December 2022.

Star of Wonder at Winchester Cathedral

Star of Wonder illuminations inside Winchester Cathedral
Star of Wonder at Winchester Cathedral

The vast interior of Winchester Cathedral will be transformed with spectacular sound and light artwork.

The award-winning artistic collaboration, Luxmuralis, will take visitors on an uplifting journey with projections and bespoke music transforming the historical architecture of this majestic building.

Timed ticket slots need to be booked in advance.

Winchester Cathedral, 13 to 18 December 2022,

Take a look at more days out near Southampton.

Father Christmas Flying Visit at the Hawk Conservancy, Andover

Father Christmas and his magical team of owls will be stopping at the Trust for this special family event.

Find out what mischief Evergreen the Elf is up to and watch the magical owls fly.

Girls and boys will meet Mother Christmas, who will share some freshly-baked treats from her kitchen for the children to enjoy whilst she tells them about the magical owls.

Hawk Conservancy Trust, Andover, 22 December 2022.

Christmas light trails in Hampshire

Soak up the magic of winter light trails at these illuminating spots in Hampshire:

Festive light trail at Marwell Zoo

Family enjoying the Glow illuminated trail at Marwell Zoo in Hampshire

This Christmas, Marwell’s majestic grounds will become twinkling wonderland.

This immersive light extravaganza will use more than 250,000 LED bulbs to create wonderful illuminations, gently glowing displays and spots for reflection.

The after dark Glow Marwell route loops around the front half of the zoo, and all displays have been carefully designed to ensure they don’t disturb our animals.

Marwell Zoo, Winchester, 18 November – 30 December 2022,

Enlightened at Staunton Farm in Havant

Staunton Farm will be transformed into a magical illuminated light trail with mesmerising light installations around the grounds. 

There will be interactive games of light and illuminated shapes and tunnels to dance through. The trail is about 1.2 Kilometres in length and suitable for the whole family.

Staunton Farm, Havant, 1 December 2022 to 1 January 2023.

Here’s some more Christmas light trails happening around the UK.

Christmas at National Trust properties in Hampshire

National Trust properties are always a wonderful place to experience traditional decorations and winter walks.

The Percy the Park Keeper Trail is happening at Mottisfont and The Vyne this winter. Buy a trail for £2 and find activities around the gardens.

You’ll also find a later trail around the gardens at Mottisfont as well as Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe themed decorations. The mansion house at The Vyne will be decorated for a Victorian Christmas and there will be festive scenes at Hinton Ampner, Uppark and Winchester City Mill.

Find out more about what’s on at National Trust properties in Hampshire this Christmas.

Hampshire pantomimes and Christmas shows

Love pantomimes? Oh yes you do! Here’s some of the Christmas shows happening in Hampshire in 2022:

Cinderella at The Kings Theatre, Portsmouth

Starring Jack Edwards as the crazy and unpredictable Fairy Godmother and Sean Smith as the dashing Prince, this tale of Cinderella comes packed to the brim with breathtaking special effects, scenery and live music.

The Kings Theatre, Albert Road, Portsmouth, 2 to 31 December 2022.

Goldilocks and the Three Bears at the Mayflower Theatre in Southampton

Jason Donovan will lead the cast in this year’s pantomime at the Mayflower, alongside Coronation Street star Faye Brookes and Richard Cadell & Sooty. 

Goldilocks and the Three Bears will feature sets and costumes straight from The London Palladium.

The Mayflower Theatre, Southampton, 10 to 31 December 2022.

The Naughty Fox at The Arc, Winchester

The Naughty Fox Production Photo
©The Other Richard

Snuggle up in a magical den with comfy creatures – Honk, Splash and TaWit TaWoo – as they teach The Naughty Fox a very important lesson: it’s better to share.

Set in the magical forest, Fox goes on an adventure to learn from Aurora that sharing is caring.

Feel your way through the immersive, multi-sensory, fully accessible and relaxed journey of friendship and play for little ones aged up to five years and their grown-ups.

The Naughty Fox, The Arch, Winchester, 19 to 24 December 2022.

Cinderella at The Anvil in Basingstoke

Debbie McGee makes her Anvil debut as Fairy Godmother starring alongside Chris Pizzey in The Anvil’s production of Cinderella.

There will be laugh out loud jokes, stunning scenery, beautiful costumes, and two beautiful Shetland ponies joining the cast.

The Anvil, Basingstoke, 9 December 2022 to 2 January 2023.

Christmas Markets in Hampshire

Stall at Christmas market in Europe

If you fancy immersing yourselves in all the sights and smells of the winter season while doing your gift shopping here’s where to find Christmas Markets in Hampshire:

Ringwood Winter Wanderland

Ringwood is marking the start of the festive season with the return of its winter wonderland market and events. There will be gift stalls, festive food, live music and possibly an appearance by the man in red.

Ringwood Winter Wanderland, Market Place, Ringwood, 27 November 2022.

Southampton Christmas Market 2022

Traditional Delicious German grilled sausages at Christmas market

The Southampton Christmas Market features a traditional German market with alpine chalets offering traditional German fayre, from bratwurst and waffles to gingerbread hearts and candied fruit.

The market includes independent stallholders offering a range of hand-made, authentic gifts and Christmas decorations, as well as two bars and live entertainment.

Southampton Christmas Market, Above Bar, 17 November to 23 December 2022.

Winchester Christmas Market 2022

Visitors experience Winchester Cathedral's Christmas Market and Evensong takes places in the nave.
Winchester Cathedral’s Christmas Market

Winchester’s Christmas Market is recognised as one of the best in Europe – in fact it’s regularly recognised in the top 10.

What makes it so special is its unique location in the Cathedral’s Inner Close, its handpicked high quality exhibitors and bustling atmosphere.

It’s inspired by traditional German Christmas markets with pretty wooden chalets, festive lighting, the sound of Christmas carols and the aroma of mulled wine and cinnamon drifting in the air.

Winchester Christmas Market, Winchester Cathedral, Hampshire, 18 November to 22 December 2022.

Here’s some more Christmas markets around the UK.

Christmas events near Hampshire

There’s plenty of season spirit in the air in neighbouring county’s too. Here’s some things to do near Hampshire:

Santa Specials on Isle of Wight Steam Railway

Board one of the Isle of Wight Steam Railway’s historic steam trains at Havenstreet for an atmospheric ride through wintery woodland. Feel like you’re travelling in style as you and your family will have your own compartment for your exclusive use.

Back at Havenstreet follow the pathway to Santa’s North Pole station, where you’ll be warmly welcomed by a seasonal Station Master and his helpers. Next Meet Santa himself on board a traditionally festive Victorian carriage.

Tickets go on sale in September.

Isle of Wight Steam Railway, Havenstreet, selected dates between 3 to 24 December 2022

Find more suggestions for things to do in the Isle of Wight with kids.

Bournemouth Christmas Tree Wonderland in Dorset

Pay by Phone Christmas Tree at Bournemouth Christmas Tree Wonderland

Bournemouth Christmas Tree Festival is back in 2022! This seaside town in Dorset will be transformed into an open-air alpine village.

Experience the magical spectacle of more than 100 glittering trees and illuminations, and explore the Alpine market and skate in the enchanting Victorian lower gardens.

Here’s everything you need to know about visiting the Christmas Tree Wonderland in 2022.

Bournemouth Christmas Tree Wonderland, 18 November 2022 to 2 January 2023.

Christmas at Kingston Lacey

Neon Tree – its branches interwoven with multicoloured neon lights
Neon Tree. Credit: Richard Haughton, Sony Music

Visit this elegant National Trust property near Wimborne Minster to see the gardens transformed into a display of colour and sound.

For a moment of reflection pause at mesmerising flickering flames in the fire garden, gaze at the specially chosen illuminations and don’t forget to glimpse Father Christmas along the way.

Kingston Lacey, Wimborne Minster, 2 to 4 and 7 to 24 December 2022.

Longleat’s Festival of Light in Wiltshire

Deers in front of Longleat House - Longleat Festival of Light

The UK’s original, biggest and most exciting lantern festival, is returning to Longleat from November.

In 2022, The Festival of Light promises to be even more extraordinary than ever as you step into The Wondrous Worlds of Roald Dahl.

Embark on a magical journey and meet all of your favourite characters from the Roald Dahl stories. 

The Festival of Light, Longleat, from 5 November 2022 to 8 January 2023.

Christmas light trail at Stourhead in Wiltshire

White roses at Stourhead
Image credit: Richard Haughton

Watch reflections of the festive lights dance across the lake at Stourhead this winter.

The 2022 trail features the Christmas Cathedral in which more than a thousand pea lights will be woven into the forest landscape.

There will be music and street food to accompany you walk around the gardens while they are illuminated with lasers and light installations.

Stourhead, Mere, 25 November 2022 to 1 January 2023.

Christmas at Blenheim in Oxfordshire

Colourful lights projected onto the front of Blenheim Palace
Picture Credit: Sony Music

Firmly positioned as one of the highlights of the UK festive calendar, wander the Palace’s picture-perfect gardens filled with Christmas cheer as over a million lights and seasonal sounds fill the air. Expect glittering tunnels of light, dancing lakeside reflections and trees drenched in jewel-like colour.

New for 2022, explore the Palace rooms, each one exquisitely transformed and filled with hidden surprises – discover the glistening Land of Snowflakes filled with a silvery frost-covered forest and venture into the wintery Kingdom of Ice adorned with larger-than-life shimmering crystals. I

The Christmas Market will be returning in 2022, with many designer/maker craft traders who will be housed in wooden chalets in the Great Court.

Blenheim Palace, Oxfordshire, 18 November 2022 – 2 January 2023.

For more seasonal events take a look at my guide to Christmas days out across the UK.

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