FAMILY: The Magic of Christmas, Chobham Adventure Farm, Chobham, Surrey, Sat 30 Nov – Tues 24 Dec
This immersive 2.5 hour experience will transport your family to a magical place where they’ll learn how to become an official elf helper and get an official elf name, meet real live reindeer, help Mrs Claus decorate gingerbread men, make a teddy bear and finally get their hands on the golden key and meet Father Christmas himself.
CHRISTMAS: Tapeland Christmas Experience, Tapnell Farm, until Mon 23
You’ll have to be fast with this one as many sessions have already sold out. Starting off with a letter to your house from Santa, you and your family can head to Tapnell Farm for a totally immersive Christmas experience. The elves will be reading you stories and getting you involved with interactive puzzles to solve, there’s plenty of food to enjoy AND you get to meet Father Christmas himself. Also, make sure to strap on your skates and head to the one-and-only rollerskating rink on the Island this festive season.
KIDS AND FAMILY: Afternoon Tea or Breakfast with Santa, Various dates throughout December
Considering how busy the big FC should be this month we’re mighty impressed at him giving up his time to break bread with the kids of Hampshire…. though Rosebourne Garden Centre does make a mean cake, so we can’t really blame him. Throughout December the kids can get all excited for Christmas with these special afternoon tea and breakfast sessions with the big man himself, plus you can also check out their special Christmas Tree picking events as well.
EVENT: POLAR, Robin Hill Country Park, until Sat 21
Robin Hill is getting a magical Christmas makeover this season with the launch of POLAR. Head to the park to jump on Father Christmas’ tractor, meet Pippa the Polar Bear (honestly, she is SO realistic it’s amazing!), drink hot chocolate and enjoy the show and sparkly lights.
EXHIBITION: Wykeham Gallery Christmas Show, Stockbridge, until Tues 24 Dec
Need to pick a gift for someone really special. Then how about some fab art? Along with the first exhibit of new artist to the gallery, Fi Katzler, there’s also other works, bronzes and much more. Handily as well, you can take away your purchase the same day. Now, how do I go about wrapping a 6ft sculpture… hmm.
WORKSHOP: Elly and Hayley Wreath Making, St Mary Bourne Village Hall, Sun 1, Wed 4 & Sat 7
Guided by florist, Eloise Roberts and interior designer, Hayley Stuart, you can craft a fantastic wreath of winter foliage for your front door with a good side-helping of village charm. Situated in the small village of St Mary Bourne, you’ll be treated to some expert knowledge, a festive lunch and treats (and isn’t this what the season is all about?) plus a pretty fabulous creation to take home.
CULTURE: Josie Eastwood Fine Art, Christmas Exhibition, until Sat 7
I absolutely LOVE this picture by Vanessa Cooper and it really captures the eclectic nature of the Josie Eastwood Fine Art Gallery. The Christmas show is on until this Saturday so get in and have a peruse at some of the fab pieces on show.
CHRISTMAS: Wreath Workshop at The George, Yarmouth, Mon 2 & Mon 9 Dec
Pop along to the rather beautiful The George in Yarmouth for a festive wreath making workshop with Dianne Wheeler from Bonne Fleur Florist. As well as all the bits and pieces to make your garland you’ll also get a festive two-course meal at The George as well, which is worth the ticket price in itself.
EVENT: Orchid Furniture Wrapping Workshop, Stockbridge, Tues 3
I always say I’m good at many things, but wrapping presents is definitely not one of them! With that in mind, this workshop at Orchid certainly caught my eye. Led by Harrods trained Master Present Wrapper, Suzannah Jackson, you can turn the presents under the tree into beautiful works of art. Sharing tips and tricks, plus a goodie bundle of wrapping paraphernalia to take home with you, your gifts will look almost too good to unwrap.
MUSIC: The Spitfire Sisters, The Point, Eastleigh, Tues 3 Dec
If you’ve not heard of The Spitfire Sisters you’re missing out. These bombshells bring a bit of retro glamour to all proceedings and Christmas is certainly no exception. So skip dusting off the old vinyls and come and check out their brilliant Christmas performance – including all the classic Crimbo tunes – this month at The Point. You’ll be Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree in no time.
CHRISTMAS: Orchid Furniture Wreath Making, Stockbridge, Thurs 5
While they are normally associated with fantastic furniture, Orchid will be spoiling us this festive season with its awesome wreath making workshop, led by superstar florist Sophie Anderson. Sophie is known for her sumptuous displays and love of velvet and attendees can also get discounts across the shop as well for that added bit of Christmas cheer.
SHOPPING: Christmas Late Night Shopping at the Long Barn, Alresford, Thurs 5 Dec
Scents of Christmas – pine, cinnamon, Terry’s Chocolate Orange… lavender? Errr, not exactly your traditional Christmas market but definitely worth a trek to. With the most delicious smelling surroundings, Long Barn is a festively decorated barn smack bang in the middle of fields of lavender. With endless decorations to lust over, glamourous presents to might want to keep for yourself, plus delicious food and drink this is the perfect spot to grab some Christmas presents. AND, you can even pick up your Christmas tree at the same time. #multitaskingqueen
EXHIBITION: Nadia Waterfield Gallery Christmas Market, Fri 6 – Sat 7 Dec
This super luxury Christmas Market in Stockbridge brings together fantastic local crafters and artisans, with a backdrop of fine art and sculpture. Featuring Muddy faves Boho Betty and indie outfits such as Birdy & Voo, this is a great opportunity to grab some Christmas gifts and do some culture spotting as well.
FOOD & DRINK: Festive Dinner Dance, Chewton Glen, Fri 6
Get your gladdest of rags on and enjoy getting into the festive spirit with this fabulous Christmas dinner and dance at Muddy fave Chewton Glen. The Veuve Cliquot will be flowing, along with a fab four-course meal (including a Roast New Forest ‘Wrolstad’ Bronze Turkey) and you’ll be jingling all the way. Wooohoo!
EVENT: Knees Up! at the Blue Lagoon, Hilsea Lido, Fri 6
Celebrate everything kitsch and downright quirky with your sparkliest of sequins and Pat Butcher-esque garb. Local Pompey Dinlo ‘The Fabulous Josh’ and ‘Welsh Auntie BopaRhys’ will be tearing up the lido (not IN the pool, but next to it) with their super-camp, extra sparkly take on the best of te best cabaret. It’s def showbiz dahhhhling!
KIDS & FAMILY: Dear Santa, The Anvil Basingstoke and The Nuffield Southampton Theatres. Fri 6 – Sun 8 Dec & Thurs 12 – Fri 13 Dec
Santa is working very hard this year to make sure all children wake up to a magical Christmas morning. With help from his cheeky Elf, Santa delivers a truly merry production. This an ideal theatre introduction for any aspiring actors and actresses and all children get to meet Santa after the show, who is waiting with a special gift for every boy and girl (Do I get one too?)
CHRISTMAS: Festive Papercraft Workshop, Sandham Memorial Chapel, Burghclere, Sat 7
Remember making paper chains as a kid? Then how about reinvigorating that forgotten art form with this papercraft workshop at a National Trust gem. Stamping, die-cutting and embossing, all things you can do to jazz up gift boxes and cards for the festive season.
CHRISTMAS: La di da and Blooming Cow Christmas Crafting, Andover, Sat 7 & Sat 14
You had better be quick to book this one, as they always lead up to the season. Combining the gift-giving forces of La di da and Becky from Blooming Cow Flowers, you can add an extra bit of spectacle into your festive wreath here. Along with the usual foliage and florals, they’ve also got some free-range pheasant feathers to add a good slog of countryside charm. Included in your ticket is a glass of Prosecco, tea and coffee, and the promise of lots of mince pies.
FOOD & DRINK: Ginchester Christmas Market, Winchester, Sat 7 Dec
We like what they did with the name there and we LOVE what it’s about – Gin is still in! This festively boozy night offers plenty of local tipples to try, including Bombay Sapphire and Wessex Wild Plum. So, grab a group of chums, book a slot and stumble into Christmas *hic*.
CHRISTMAS: Port Solent Festival of Christmas, Port Solent, Sat 7 – Sun 8 Dec
Festive frolics by the marina sounds like something a little bit different. The Port Solent Festival of Christmas returns with over 90 stalls for Christmas shopping, balloon modelling, street theatre and my fave ukelele band the Pompey Pluckers. Free parking at this one as well.
EVENT: New Forest Christmas Fair, Exbury Gardens, Southampton, Sat 7 – Sun 8 Dec
Rod Stewart would love this one! With an opportunity to go on an old-fashioned steam train *CHOO CHOO* your little ones will love this charming Christmas market at Exbury Gardens. For those less interested in miniature locomotives, have a nosy around all the wonderfully crafted stalls and select some of the most gorgeous Christmas presents and when you all get a little sleepy from the festive fun enjoy a yummy hot chocolate in the gardens.
FOOD & DRINK: Briddlesford Lodge Farm Christmas Market, Sun 8 Dec
If you love handcrafted gifts then this is the market for you. Along with the fab food and drink the farm produces (you can stock your entire cheeseboard with its award-winning fromage) there’s also other Island food producers, local crafters and a chance to have a singsong by candlelight.
SHOPPING: Old Thorns Hotel Christmas market, Liphook, Sun 8 Dec
With over 70-stalls of pure Christmas joy, this is a great day out for anyone in need of some present inspiration. Bring the kids along too, with plenty of activities to entertain them, including, face painting and a visit to Father Christmas, this is the perfect market for all the family. It gets a bit hectic this one and the traffic can build up so make sure you get here early!
WORKSHOP: Bel and the Dragon, Kingsclere, Sun 8 & Thu 12 Dec
Calling on the skills of Susie Babington Gardens, you can join the team at the Bel and the Dragon in Kingsclere for an evening of festive wreath making (with the added bonus of a seasonal cocktail and canapés). Not only has this country inn got some major swag with their food, but its the perfect countryside setting to get in the spirit.
CHRISTMAS: New Forest Lavender Farm, Tues 10
For a fragrant and slightly unusual take on the festive adornment, the New Forest Lavender Farm are holding their own wreath making workshop where you can add a little bit of that purple foliage into the mix. Along with your materials, your costs include tea, coffee and some of their handmade lavender shortbread (oooh, yes please).
THEATRE: Aladdin, Kings Theatre, Portsmouth, Wed 11 Dec 2019 –Sun 5 Jan 2020
Aladdin is all the rage this year and I promise you that this show is worth it. With a star-studded cast including The Voice’s Lucy Kane, Phats & Small’s Ben Ofoedu and none other than (drum roll, please) Boyzone’s Shane Lynch this pantomime will be an epic festive production.
FOOD & DRINK: Fairy Lights and Fizz, Guildhall Winchester, Thurs 12
Join Hattingley Valley and seven other local vineyards for a tasting of over 18 (Oh, yes!) different types of local fizz for the festive season. *hic*
THEATRE: Aladdin, The Anvil, Basingstoke, Wed 12 Dec 2019 – Sun 5 Jan 2020
Aladdin and the gang have landed safely via a magic carpet ride. Be mesmerized this Christmas by creative scenery, gorgeous costumes and ‘a whole new world’ of panto. With CBBC’s Mark Rhodes and Chris Pizzey this is a fantastic production that the kids will adore.
WORKSHOP: National Trust Sandham Memorial Chapel, Burghclere, Fri 13, Sat 14, Sun 15
You know that the National Trust do Christmas very well and this is a brilliant opportunity to get in the Christmas spirit with some beautiful surroundings. Featuring foliage and cinnamon sticks for that perfect Yuletide scent, you also have access to the grounds for some inspo as well.
THEATRE: Peter Pan, The Mayflower, Southampton, Fri 14 Dec 2019 –Sun 5 Jan 2020
Sprinkle on some fairy dust and fly down to the Mayflower to enjoy the swashbuckling magic of Peter Pan. This panto is packed full of amazing special effects and celeb guests including the award-winning singer Marti Pellow (SWOOOON) and Darren Day. With the odd cheeky jokes for the grownups, this panto is fab for the entire family.
CHRISTMAS: Christmas Carol Concert, Royal Victoria Country Park, Sat 14
For something a bit more traditional and sombre, then head down to the chapel at Royal Victoria Country Park for a full-on festive Christmas Carol Concert. Surrounded by the gorgeous Hampshire park, you’ll need to wrap up warm for the weather but get that warm and fuzzy feeling from singing Christmas tunes.
DANCE: The Nutcracker, The Point, Eastleigh, Sun 15
Christmas shows don’t get more fabulous than The Nutcracker and performed by the Let’s All Dance company, kids and grown-ups alike will enjoy this spectacular ballet through the Land of Toys.
CHRISTMAS: Chewton Glen Christmas Flowers, Mon 16
Go full luxe with your garland making with these expert-led (and, boy do we mean expert!) workshops at Hotel of the Year Chewton is holding two masterclasses of perfect festive foliage for both beginners (afternoon session) and experts (morning session). Along with guidance from Chewton Glen hotel florists Sarah Wilkins and Nicole Rowe, you also get a two-course meal as well.
EVENT: ChilliWinter Candle Making, Various Locations across the Island, up until Sun 22 Dec
If you fancy something all the more fragrant then how about creating some candles with ChilliWinter on the Wight. With loads workshops running from now right up until the 22nd, at places such as The Garlic Farm, Caffe Isola, Cavanagh & Baker, Chessell Pottery and Brownrigg’s Farm Shop (I told you there were loads!) these 2.5 hour workshops will get you creating beautiful handmade candles to give as gifts or keep all for yourself!
FOOD & DRINK: Faulty Towers Dining Event, Off The Rails, Yarmouth, Fri 20
This is one of Off The Rails’ most popular dining events and with the suitably out-of-the-box nature of the place itself, we can see why. Join Basil and Manuel as they bumble through hospitality, loose hamsters and honestly, really truly, PLEASE don’t mention the war.
THEATRE: Heart of Winter, The Point, Eastleigh, Fri 20 Dec– Tues 24 Dec 2019
It’s Christmas Eve and Sally can’t sleep because it’s too hot – a charming Christmas tale with just a hint of global warming. This new musical show comes complete with themes of friendship and family accompanied by song and dance.
KIDS & FAMILY: The Nutcracker, New Theatre Royal, Fri 13 – Tues 31
You don’t really get a better setting for this classic ballet than Portsmouth’s New Theatre Royal. This Victorian theatre is opulent and intimate, with the perfect surroundings to really get into the Christmas spirit.
KIDS & FAMILY: Otto and the Robin, The Spring, Havant, Thurs 19 – Sat 28
Robins are synonymous with the time of year and while I wouldn’t have assumed they’d normally make great friends, this lad Otto thinks differently. Featuring a family-friendly tale about friendship and overcoming shyness, this is a wonderful production – perfect for gentler kids.
THEATRE: Christmas Carol, Royal Victoria Country Park, Fri 20 – Tues 24
We love a twist here and this amazing production of Dickens’ Christmas Carol certainly has a couple of those. While filming a Christmas Special of popular TV show ‘Dead Haunted’, a team of ghost hunters attempt to summon the spirit of Charles Dickens for a retelling of his famous ghostly tale. Instead, they find themselves wrapped up in the vibrant story itself, discovering that after 176 years the most cold-hearted, tight-fisted character to have ever been created can still teach us the true meaning of Christmas.
EVENT: New Year’s Eve at Lime Wood, Lyndhurst, Tues 31
Get the party started for the new Roaring 20s with an evening at the legendary Lime Wood. From 9pm, the corks will be popping, the jazz band Freddie & The Freeloaders will be bopping and you can see in the New Year in style. Love it!
EVENT: New Year’s Eve at Watership Down Inn, Tues 31
Muddy’s Destination Pub of the year for several years on the trot means its certainly making a move for this coming New Year’s Eve. With a fab landscape that’ll be full of wintery beauty, a cosy pub with plenty of character and a well-stocked bar, we know this will be the perfect ticket for the last hours of 2019.
EVENT: New Year’s Eve Party, HarBar, Southampton Harbour Hotel, Tues 31
For something with a hint of cosmopolitan glamour, join the bright and beautiful of Southampton as the HarBar sees in the New Year. It’s all GOLD as well from gold leaf in your drink, gold decor and all the gold sequins you can shove on one outfit. Book a VIP booth to really maximise on the party atmosphere as you see out this decade.