Fri 6 - Sun 8 Dec
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.
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.