Christmas in Hampshire is a wonderful reason for a day out. From Peppa Pig World to Winchester Cathedral there are plenty of activities to get you feeling festive.
If you’re looking for great things to do for Christmas in Hampshire look no further. We’ve rounded up some of the best Christmassy activities so you can plan your weekends and Christmas holidays.
Whether you’re a Hampshire local, or visiting on a festive staycation, here are our Christmassy highlights in the ancient county of Hants.
Days Out for Christmas in Hampshire
All times, dates and confirmations correct at date of publishing (September 2021). Please double check and pre book before you leave the house!
1. Christmas with Peppa Pig
CONFIRMED FOR 2021: 4th to 23rd December
Paulton’s Park is one of the most popular theme parks in the UK, and a definite winner with the kids. Running from the 4th to 23rd December, the entire Peppa Pig World will be decorated for Christmas, right down to characters sporting their favourite holiday outfits. There’s even Santa’s Christmas Wish Show, starring the main man himself!
The best part is, all of the special Christmas extras are included in the price of a standard Paulton’s ticket. If you’re looking for Christmas events for kids near you, this is the one!
2. Christmas Canoe with Santa
CONFIRMED FOR 2021: 11th to 23rd December
Venture into the New Forest and experience a Christmas Canoe Paddle with Santa Claus. This active outdoor activity is thrilling (and chilling – dress warm) for the whole family.
Hot chocolate is on tap to keep you nice and warm as you enjoy the trip out on the Beaulieu River searching for Santa.
- Meet and greet with your super instructors
- 90 minutes of festive fun
- Paddle our canoes with your qualified river guide to meet Santa
- All children receive a Christmas gift
- Hot drinks and mince pies to enjoy on arrival
- Dress warmly!
3. Go deer spotting in the New Forest National Park
CONFIRMED FOR 2021: Whenever you please!
Also in the New Forest, how about a romantic wintery walk amidst the gathered deer and crisply chilled trees. There are many beautiful winter walks to enjoy in Hampshire with your significant other.
The Bolderwood Deer Spotting Walk is a nice brisk walk that will take less than an hour and can end in a toasty New Forest pub, with a couple of seats by the crackling fire.
Here’s the Deer Spotting Walk Routes Map from the Forestry Commission, England.
4. Christmas at Marwell Zoo
A visit to Marwell Zoo in Winchester deserves a spot on your Christmas List. They usually host a massive Christmas event, but they weren’t able to go ahead with their plans for it last year, due to the pandemic. Keep your eyes peeled on their website for more information about this year’s event now that the zoo is back open again.
We’re looking forward to a really special return of this annual highlight.
5. Steam Illuminations returns to the Watercress Line
CONFIRMED FOR 2021: 26th NOVEMBER to 2nd JANUARY
There’s something intrinsically Christmassy about steam trains. Who remembers Tom Hanks’ Polar Express?
Get the family together and choo-choo down to the Steam Illuminations on the Watercress Line at either Alresford or Alton. You’ll marvel at an incredible LED light show whilst chugging along in a steam train on a roundtrip journey.
This year there’s a brand-new magical snow experience within the trip too. This train is absolutely mesmerising, inside and out, so bring your camera for 10 miles of pure Christmas magic.
6. Mark the Winter Solstice as the ancients did
CONFIRMED FOR 2021: Friday 10th DECEMBER
Winter isn’t all about Christmas – shocking, we know.
Back in the day, Anglo Saxon communities would mark the Winter Solstice, and this tradition continues at Butser Ancient Farm on Friday 10th December with two special performances of their Tales of Winter Magic event with Red Phoenix.
With mead for the adults and hot chocolate for all, you’ll soak up the ancient festive atmosphere around a roaring fire in the great roundhouse.
Arrive early for an exclusive look around Butser Ancient Farm in Chalton in the South Downs before the storytelling begins.
7. Breakfast with Santa… and a view
CONFIRMED FOR 2021: 4th to 24th DECEMBER
Santa is returning to his favourite breakfast spot at the top of the Spinnaker Tower in Portsmouth this Christmas. Join Santa and his elves in the Spinnaker Kitchen and Bar, at the top of this Portsmouth landmark.
Children can write their letters to Santa and pop it in the post box, before actually meeting the man in red for a photo, which can be purchased afterwards. All children who visit Santa receive a special gift too.
Breakfast with Santa includes access to the incredible Sky Walk, with mind-blowing 360° panoramic views of Pompey (Portsmouth).
Two breakfast sessions are available: 9am and 10:30am. Both sessions include 45 minutes for breakfast with Santa, followed by unlimited time to enjoy the views.
Note that if you’re booking for the 9am breakfast, you’ll need to hang around until the viewing platform opens at 10:30am. Otherwise, you can pop back anytime on the day of your booking until 4:30pm.
8. Revel in Christmas tradition at Winchester Cathedral
CONFIRMED FOR 2021: 19th NOVEMBER to 22nd DECEMBER (market)
What better way to immerse yourself in the Christmas spirit than at Winchester Cathedral?
The monumental Gothic cathedral, in the centre of Britain’s former capital city, towers imposingly over the quaint English Christmas Market, which promises tidings of joy. Winchester has one of the best Christmas Markets in Hampshire, if not England.
Follow your nose to stalls touting fine food and drink. Mulled wine in hand, then follow your ears to join the gathered crowd singing along with the carolling choir. And, full of golden festive spirit, mooch around the stalls and support local craftspeople and traders whilst you do your Christmas shopping.
Also, on the 4th December, there’s going to be a live orchestral version of The Snowman at Winchester Cathedral that promises to be magical. Get your tickets early!
9. Cinderella at the Mayflower Theatre
CONFIRMED FOR 2021: 10th DECEMBER to 2nd JANUARY
Boo and hiss at Strictly Come Dancing’s Craig Revel Horwood as he takes to the Mayflower Theatre stage as the Wicked Stepmother in this year’s pantomime production of Cinderella.
Debbie McGee brings her magic to the role of the Fairy Godmother in this all-singing, all-dancing extravaganza that will have the whole family laughing and joining in.
If you get involved early enough, there’s a colouring-in competition for children on the theatre’s social media accounts to win a family ticket to the show. Colouring-in sheets are available to download from the booking page on the Mayflower Theatre website.
The show’s runtime is approximately 2 hours 15 minutes. Ticket prices range from £15 to £47.50.
10. Celebrate Christmas with the National Trust at Mottisfont
CONFIRMED FOR 2021: from the 4th DECEMBER
Hampshire is one of the most beautiful counties in the UK, and the National Trust plays an important part in maintaining some of our most stunning historical buildings and natural landscapes.
This Christmas, they’ll be sprinkling some fairy dust across their Hampshire estates with trails and activities for the whole family to enjoy.
A particular highlight is the winter wander trail at Mottisfont Stately Home, with Percy the Park Keeper and his animal friends. Explore the tranquil winter garden, strolling through paths thoughtfully planted with winter-flowering shrubs to brighten the winter months.
Once you’ve explored the stunning grounds, head into the warmth of the main house and experience the glow of Christmas that will set your Instagram a-frenzy. A Mottisfont Christmas is always a good one!
Christmas in Hampshire
There are loads of great things to do for Christmas in Hampshire. Whether you want a Christmassy Hampshire day out with the kids, or just with the adults, as you can see there’s plenty to festive fun to choose from. Portsmouth at Christmas is always fun – no word on whether the Historic Dockyard is running its annual Victorian Christmas this year though. And Southampton at Christmas means ice rinks and festive markets – go!
Do let us know if you know of any more fun ways to spend Christmas in Hampshire below…