21+ awesome Christmas events in Hampshire 2023

by Jan

Are you looking for some magical activities to get you in the festive spirit?  Or wondering where to find the best Christmas events in Hampshire for families in 2023?  Well, we’ve got it sorted for you.

There’s an abundance of awesome things to do with kids this Christmas in Hampshire.  Whether you’re looking for Christmas markets, illuminated trails, train rides, or festive shows, we’ve got an event for you.

Here’s our round up of over 20 awesome Christmas events in Hampshire for families. Plus, we’ve added the best Christmas illuminations in Hampshire and some fun festive activities happening further afield.

Christmas events in Hampshire 2023

A Celebration of Christmas at Paultons Park

peppa pig in snow

Paultons Park, Ower, Romsey, Hampshire, SO51 6AL

One of the best Christmas events in Hampshire for younger kids is a visit to Paultons Park.

Little children will love seeing Peppa Pig World decorated for Christmas.  Then they can enjoy a selection of rides, meet Frosty the Snowman, hear the Musical Christmas Tree and watch Santa’s Christmas Wish Show.

Stuck for ideas for Christmas presents?  Click here for some stocking filler ideas

Christmas Tower Toymakers' Workshop at Spinnaker Tower

Father Christmas in his grotto

Spinnaker Tower, Portsmouth, PO1 3TZ

  • Dates:  25th November – 24th December 2023
  • Tickets:  Spinnaker Tower
  • Cost:  £25 per child + £13.50 per adult

Join Santa’s elves in the Tower’s workshop as they make the finishing touches to their latest batch of toys. Each child will name their cuddly toy, fill it with stuffing and place a magic charm inside before carefully sealing it up. Once they’re finished, no trip to Santa’s workshop is complete without a visit to see Santa himself in his grotto! Then follow the trail around the tower to find those mischievous elves.

Cosmic Christmas at Winchester Science Centre

Christmas Illuminations

Winchester Science Centre, Winchester, SO21 1HZ

  • Dates:  16th – 23rd December 2023
  • Tickets:  Cosmic Christmas
  • Cost:  £13.75 with general admission

An immersive theatrical performance filled with live science, magical effects and a Planetarium adventure (there will be audience participation which may be loud and the show will use immersive elements)

A meet and greet with Santa and a chance to take photos

A Christmas gift (for all children who have a regular or annual membership ticket – babes in arms are free but will not receive a gift unless a ticket is purchased for them)

Christmas Canoe Paddle at New Forest Activities

Christmas lights

New Forest Activities, Baileys Hard Lane, Beaulieu, Hampshire, SO42 7YF

  • Dates:     9 + 10th December and 16-23rd December 2023
  • Tickets:  Christmas Canoe Paddle
  • Cost:        £126.00 (family of four)

If you are looking for a unique Christmas activity, what about joining New Forest Activities for a festive paddle on the Beaulieu River to find Santa? Enjoy a 90 minute guided tour of the river’s beautiful nature reserve, with the river offering up some of its more stunning sights on a fresh winter’s day.

Father Christmas's Flying Visit at the Hawk Conservancy Trust

christmas baubles in winter trees

Hawk Conservancy Trust, Weyhill, Andover, Hampshire, SP11 8DY

Father Christmas and more of his magical team of owls will be stopping at the Trust for this special family event. Find out what mischief Evergreen the Elf is up to and watch the magical owls fly. Girls and boys will meet Mother Christmas, who will share some freshly-baked treats from her kitchen for the children to enjoy whilst she tells them about the magical owls.
Father Christmas’ elves will have a special present to give out to every good girl and boy!

Christmas ice-skating at Westquay, Southampton

Santa ice skating

West Quay Shopping Centre, Southampton, Hampshire, SP15 1QE

  • Dates:   From 9th November 2023
  • Tickets: Westquay on Ice
  • Cost:  £12.00 pp (pre-launch)

We’re excited to announce that West Quay Shopping Centre will be home to Southampton Ice Rink this year. Southampton’s premium ice skating experience returns for the 2022/2023 winter season.

We are providing the perfect atmospheric experience for both beginners & skating aficionados. 
Step inside our alpine winter wonderland and see all we have to offer. 

Breakfast with Santa at the Clarence Pier Pub, Southsea

Father Christmas sitting next to a Christmas tree and waving.

Clarence Pier Brewers Fayre, Long Curtain Road, Southsea, Hampshire, PO5 3XX

  • Dates: Every weekend in December and every day from 18 – 24th December
  • Info:    Brewers Fayre Pubs
  • Cost:     £9.99

Join Santa for breakfast and receive a Christmas Cadbury® selection box. Plus 30 minutes of play in the indoor play area

Winter Wonderland at Hayling Island

Hayling Wonderland at Funland, Hampshire

The elves at Funland have been busy creating a spectacular wonderland experience and we invite you to come along. To start your journey you will be met by Santa’s elves, who will take you on your visit to Santa, with a breath-taking walk through Wonderland, where you will meet Santa Claus himself and the children will receive an early Christmas present!

Following your visit with Santa you will board the Funland Express, an indoor train journey through a stunning elf village. You can then enjoy the festivities of the day and may even meet Rudolph, Santa’s favourite reindeer! 

Christmas Markets in Hampshire 2023

Winchester Cathedral Christmas Market

Wooden Christmas lodge shop in front of Winchester Cathedral, Hampshire.

Winchester Cathedral, Winchester, 

Winchester Cathedral Christmas Market is recognised as one of the best in Europe.  It is renowned for its bustling atmosphere, stunning location and handpicked high quality exhibitors, which attracts visitors from around the world each year who come to shop at the pretty wooden chalets, situated within the historic grounds.

The wooden chalets are inspired by traditional German Christmas Markets, and combined with the festive lighting, the sound of Christmas carols and the aroma of mulled wine and cinnamon drifting in the air, visitors will be transported into a festive setting to purchase their Christmas gifts and take in the atmosphere.

Christmas Festival at the Brickworks Museum

The Brickworks, Lower Swanwick, SO31 7HB

The Museum’s Christmas steam event  – see the site shining in the glow of Christmas lights and decorations to begin the festive period; shop at the craft market and find out about Christmas’ past in our Victorian cottage display. Father Christmas will also be taking time out of his busy schedule to visit the Museum.

Milestones Christmas Market

Christmas Chocolates

Milestones Museum, Churchill Way West, Basingstoke, RG22 6PG

There will be over 40 stalls selling seasonal gifts and treats throughout the museum and the award-winning Milestones shop to visit, too. With children’s entertainment, including a change to meet Father Christmas in his grotto*, there’s fun for all the family, from live music and enjoy festive refreshments. 

Christmas Market at the Hawk Conservancy Trust

Hawk Conservancy Trust, Weyhill, Andover, Hampshire, SP11 8DY

Enjoy the run up to Christmas with our delightful, festive shopping experience. Discover beautiful gifts for your loved ones while supporting local craftspeople and the Trust.

With over 60 local businesses attending, you can find personalised presents, Christmas decorations, handcrafted treats, beautiful homeware and much more.

Christmas Light Trails in Hampshire 2023

Stylized Christmas tree with dark blue background

Glow: A magical Light Experience at Marwell Zoo

Marwell Zoo, Colden Common, Winchester, SO21 1JH

  • Dates: 24th November – 30th December 2023 (selected dates)
  • Info:    Glow Marwell
  • Cost:     £19 adult/£15 child (3-16) (This includes admission to the zoo in the afternoon).

Join us this winter as our magical Christmas lights experience Glow Marwell returns with double the sparkle! This year’s theme is an enchanted nature trail featuring brand new illuminations and immersive displays using more than 500,000 lights in a rainbow of colours.

Enlightened Moments at Staunton Farm

Staunton Farm, Middle Park Way, Havant, Hampshire, PO9 5HB

Enlightened are a series of magical outdoor light trails hosted at multiple venues throughout the UK each winter. Our 2023 season brings new installations and interactive elements across all of our trails to make Enlightened 2023 the biggest and brightest season of winter events to date.

Polar at Robin Hill, Isle of Wight

Robin Hill, Downend Road, Newport, Isle of Wight, PO30 2NU

Pippa the polar bear invites you back into her world of Polar as it returns to Robin Hill in the Isle of Wight this Christmas.  Immerse yourself in the spectacular scenery of this wintery wonderland and alluring illuminations that will dazzle all ages.

It is an unforgettable festive experience that is the island’s must-do Christmas event.  

Steam Illuminations at the Watercress Line

Station Road, Alresford SO24 9JG or Station Road, Alton, GU34 2PZ

Steam Illuminations is an incredible light show on and in a steam train, consisting of thousands of coloured LED lights and LED wristbands, creating a kaleidoscope of different colours and flashing patterns. This makes the steam train look magical both inside and out!

Join the festive action on board with our Christmas Chart Crackers DJ mix up until Christmas Day then after Christmas continue the on board family fun and celebrate the new year with our Pop Anthems Journey.

Christmas Shows and Pantomimes in Hampshire 2023

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs at the Mayflower Theatre, Southampton

Mayflower Theatre, Southampton, Hampshire, SO15 1GE

  • Dates: 9th – 31st December 2023
  • Tickets:  Snow White
  • Cost:  From £19.50 pp

Mirror, Mirror, on the wall, don’t miss the fairest pantomime of them all!

Leading the cast of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs will be Britain’s Got Talent winners and Street Dance sensations Ashley Banjo & Diversity as Prince Ashley and The Palace Guards. They will be joined by pantomime legend, the one-and-only, Christopher Biggins as the Man in the Mirror.

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs will be spectacularly brought to life with an abundance of comedy, sensational song and dance numbers, fabulous costumes, and stunning scenery. 

Christmas santa sack stuffed with presents

Cinderella at Theatre Royal, Winchester

Theatre Royal Winchester, 21-23 Jewry Street, Winchester, SO23 8SB

  • Dates: Thursday 30th November 2023 to Monday 1st January 2024
  • Tickets:  Cinderella
  • Cost:  From £10.50 pp

This year’s panto is a magical retelling of the greatest fairy tale of them all.  With original songs, loads of corny gags, audience participation and some surprising twists to the tale, the whole family is bound to have a ball!

The Further Adventures of Peter Pan at Anvil Arts Centre, Basingstoke

The Anvil, Churchill Way, Basingstoke, RG21 7QR

Join Peter, Smee, Tinker Bell, and Ethyl Mermaid on a brand-new swashbuckling adventure full of fun, laughter… and crocodiles!

After defeating the evil Captain Hook and his crew of prancing pirates, life has been pretty perfect for Peter Pan. But when a stranger arrives in Neverland, he is forced to question his past and face his future. Will Peter ever grow up?

And then there are the rumours…

That a certain someone survived the stormy seas and is seeking revenge! Have you heard them too? People are saying… that Hook is back!  So watch out, he might be behind you!

A Christmas Carol

Various locations – Medstead, Micheldever, Totton, Winchester & Farnham

  • Dates: 25 November – 10th December 2023
  • Tickets:  A Christmas Carol
  • Cost:   £12.00 pp

Entertainment Events return with a new production of Dickens’ classic A Christmas Carol. Join Marley, Tiny Tim and the Ghosts of Christmas Past Present and Future as they teach Scrooge the true meaning of Christmas.

Suitable for all ages.

The Further Adventures of Peter Pan at Kings Theatre, Portsmouth

King’s Theatre, Albert Road, Southsea, PO5 2SJ

  • Dates: Friday 1st – Sunday 31st December 2023
  • Tickets:  Peter Pan
  • Cost:   From £23.50 pp

Starring as the infamous Captain Hook is Shaun Williamson, best known for his stint as the loveable “Barry” from BBC’s Eastenders and Extras alongside James “Arg” Argent as Peter Pan, who is swapping Essex for the south coast once again having appeared in panto at the Kings back in 2015.

Shaun and James will be joined (and terrorised!) by Pompey Panto legend Jack Edwards as Mrs Smee who is sure to have the audience in fits of laughter.

Christmas events near Hampshire and in London

Finally, if you can travel further afield, here are some of the best Christmas things to do in Berkshire, Surrey and London.

Christmas Tree of Lights, Wembley, UK

What are your favourite things to do in Hampshire at Christmas?  We’d love to hear your comments below.

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