Mon 23 - Sun 29 Dec
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: Christmas Lights Tour, Ryde and Newport bus terminals, until Mon 23
I absolutely love going around at this time of year and checking out all the twinkly lights. If that’s your bag as well then grab your ticket to ride with the Southern Vectis Christmas Lights Tour. This three-hour bus ride (don’t worry, there’s a loo break!) takes you to some of the best examples around the Island on an open-top bus. Take blankets, a flask of hot chocolate for the kids (and one of mulled wine for yourself, obvs) and enjoy all the festive flickering lights go by.
CHRISTMAS: Tapland 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.
EVENT: Breakfast with Santa, Rosebourne Garden Centre, Weyhill, Mon 23 & Tues 24
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. This week the kids can get all excited for Christmas (while you finish that all-important panic buying) with a special breakfast with the big man himself, plus you can also check out their special Christmas Tree picking events as well.
FAMILY: Carols around the Christmas Tree, Romsey, Mon 23 Dec
Channel all those Christmases of the past with a singsong around the tree in Romsey. Grab the family and forget the fact you’ve STILL not finished the food shop, for a chance to just enjoy the community’s company and sing all the tunes from this time of year.
THEATRE: Heart of Winter, The Point, Eastleigh, until Tues 24
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.
FAMILY: The Magic of Christmas, Chobham Adventure Farm, Chobham, Surrey, until Tues 24
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.
EXHIBITION: Wykeham Gallery Christmas Show, Stockbridge, until Tues 24
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.
EVENT: Christmas Day, Wed 25
A HUGE Merry Christmas from all us at Muddy!
FAMILY: Christmas Leave, The Watercress Line, Thurs 26 & Fri 27
This annual event is one for all you history buffs, as the soldiers return from the WWII frontline for a festive break. Capturing all the nostalgia of the 1940s with music, entertainment and actors, this is a humbling but entertaining event for your post-Christmas hangover.
FAMILY: Otto and the Robin, The Spring, Havant, until 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.
KIDS & FAMILY: The Nutcracker, New Theatre Royal, until 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.
Cinderella The Musical, The Nuffield Theatres, Southampton, until Sun 5 Jan 2020
Branded as one of the top 12 musicals heading to UK stages, this retelling of the beloved fairy-tale is not one to miss. With completely new characters including the evil step nieces – Ivanka and Melania (hmmm…we wonder where that name inspiration came from), and both Cinder and Ella, this musical remix will not disappoint. nstheatres.co.uk
THEATRE: Aladdin, Kings Theatre, Portsmouth, until 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.
THEATRE: Aladdin, The Anvil, Basingstoke, until 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.
THEATRE: Peter Pan, The Mayflower, Southampton, until 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.