Mon 25 Nov - Sun 1 Dec
THEATRE: Carmen, The Mayflower, Southampton, Tues 26 – Fri 29
The Welsh National Opera is back in town for THREE performances, starting off with Bizet’s classic, Carmen. A passionate and tumultuous tale, the opera is en français, but thankfully there are Welsh subtitles with this one… oh and English too. Phew. They’ve also got Rigoletto (27-30) and The Cunning Little Vixen (28), so plenty to choose from.
MUSIC: Sophie Ellis-Bextor, The Anvil, Wed 27
It’s Murder on the Dancefloor in Basingstoke this week as Ellis-Bextor warbles her way into Wednesday. As well as being the daughter of a Blue Peter presenter (I wonder how many badges she has?) she’s had her own stellar music career that’s spanned a couple of decades. Time to tap your toes methinks.
FOOD & DRINK: Wine, Port & Champagne Tasting Evening, The Chalet, Eastleigh, Wed 27
Want a chance to sip your way through the festive season must-drinks. Don’t mind if we do! This special evening at Eastleigh watering hole/venue/foodie spot, is hosted in conjunction with The General Wine Company and will provide an entertaining evening as well as VVVVV important research for December.
TALK: Sir Trevor McDonald: An Improbable Life, The Anvil, Thurs 28
The dulcet tones of Trev have been telling us what’s been occurring around the globe since he started his TV career in 1969. He’s covered some of the biggest world events in recent history, interviewed Saddam Hussein and Nelson Mandela – safe to say, he’s had a VERY interesting life. This is a chance to hear the tales straight from the newscaster’s mouth.
CHRISTMAS: Winchester Cathedral Lantern Parade. Thurs 28
Ooooh, this will get you feeling all festive for sure. The streets of Winchester will be all lit up with paper lanterns crafted by kids and adults alike, and after they have a march through the streets of the historic capital there will be carols and plenty of mulled wine to get ready for the upcoming Christmas season.
POP UP: Bombay Sapphire Christmas Market, Whitchurch, Thurs 28
Gin and shopping – what could go wrong? This fantastic festive pop up at the Bombay Sapphire Distillery is the perfect excuse to get yourself in the mood for Christmas. Visitors can enjoy a hot gin cocktail and browse the wares of carefully selected local artisans.
FOOD & DRINK: Winchester Wine Festival, Fri 29 – Sat 30 Nov
Forget your Summer music festivals, this is MY kind of event. Susie and Peter aka the Masters of Wine, return to Winchester once again for a full-on celebration of plonk, vino, glogg, bubbly and more. For £35 you get unlimited (UNLIMITED!!!!) tasting samples, a free wine glass and special event discount to stock up your wine fridge. You can also take advantage of various masterclasses and workshops and various other events that are on. Woohoo!
EVENT: Christmas in Lymington and Pennington, Fri 29
Get ready for Christmas in the heart of the New Forest, where some of our fave local businesses will be opening their doors and a fabulous festive market will be popping up. One highlight has to be the giant snowglobe you and your family can climb into and snap a selfie. There’s also free parking for this one too, woohoo!
COMEDY: Frank Skinner: Showbiz, Portsmouth Guildhall, Fri 29
One of the Old Guard of comedy and not to mention superstar singer (well, Three Lions is technically a hit several times over….), Frank Skinner is bringing his latest show to Portsmouth this week. Expect cheeky tales of getting older and witty anecdotes to get you giggling.
TALK: Achieving Cohesive Design, Myers Touch, Winchester, 29 – 30 Nov
After a good long mooch through Pinterest, we’re often full of great ideas that we’re keen to implement straightaway. Yet, imagination and reality can often end up resembling an explosion at an ideas factory. If you’ve ever got a bit overwhelmed with how to match up various designs and details, this is the talk for you. Led by Interiors & Colour specialist, Helena Myers, you’ll be guided through how to brainstorm and filter out the ideas so you can build a cohesive and elegant space. And, even better it’s totally free to attend.
CHRISTMAS: The Victorian Christmas Festival, Portsmouth Historic Dockyard, 29 Nov – 1 Dec
Were getting all a bit Dickens in Pompey for Christmas. Complete with brass band, green Father Christmas and the smell of chestnuts and mulled wine in the air, the Victorian Christmas returns – probably one of the pinnacles of the Historic Dockyard’s calendar. I particularly love this event as it always seems to capture the real ‘feel’ of Christmas, and gets you ready for the next few weeks of tinsel/turkey chaos.
EVENT: POLAR, Robin Hill Country Park, Newport, Fri 29 Nov – Sat 21 Dec
Robin Hill is getting a magical winter wonderland makeover this week for the remainder of the year. With captivating winter forests, a festive train ride and a live show complete with a giant polar bear called Pippa, this a great way to see in the festive season whether you’re on the Island or the mainland (and you can get 20% off your car ferry too with Red Funnel)
FAMILY: Victorian Christmas at Osborne House, East Cowes, Sat 30 Nov – Sun 1 Dec
Christmas crackers, Father Christmas and the Christmas tree – the Victorian era lay the path for some of the most iconic Christmas traditions. If the outdoor activities at this decidedly 19th-century event – including carousels, toymakers, and fire shows – prove to be too much festive fun, step inside to meet Father Christmas and listen to his yuletide tales. Plenty shopping, beautiful lights, incredible surroundings and a humorous retelling of A Christmas Carol, the only thing left to say is, ‘Merry Christmas!’
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: Aldershot Christmas Festival and Ukelele Record Attempt, Aldershot Town Centre, Sat 30
Expect plenty of festive food, Christmas activities that include Christmas Wreath decorating for kids and a spot of live ice carving, at this family-friendly Christmas festival. The highlight has to be the record attempt for the most Santas playing ukelele in unison. Free to attend and full of bonkers things to see and do.
HERITAGE: Lady Sarah’s Masked Ball, Uppark Park, Petersfield, Sat 30 Nov 2019 – Sun 5 Jan 2020
All dressed up and nowhere to go? Not on my watch. Ok, so this may not technically be a full masked ball but you can get into the festive spirit and grab a snapshot of the season back in the Georgian-era. With incredible paper creations by artist Denise Watson and the beautiful grounds, you won’t mind so much that it’s not you wearing the ballgown.
FAMILY: Gingerbread Family Trail, Winchester City Mill, Sat 30 Nov – Tues 24 Dec
This one probably won’t do much good for my waistline (I’m a sucker for gingerbread), but the Winchester City Mill launches its family-friendly Christmas activities this week with this fantastic trail. Hunt around the old city mill to find the gingerbread people and solve the clues.
EVENT: Santa Run, Thruxton Race Circuit, Sun 1 Dec
Normally more used to cars throwing themselves around its bends, this weekend sees a horde of Santas ploughing around the famed Thruxton on foot. Raising money for good causes this is a festive folly worth watching and you might even get to see a few motorsport celebs dressed as St Nick too.