Let's Get Festive

With Christmas fast approaching, the Isle of Wight enters into a glorious magical season, where it’s all about finding your inner Christmas spirit. To help you on your way check out our guide to this year's top Christmas activities.

Victorian Splendour

Christmas at Osborne is back with their time capsule of Victorian loveliness complete with snow and an original carousel with prancing horses on December 1st and 2nd. The courtyard has stalls with Victorian wares such as figgy pudding and roasted chestnuts, and you could listen to an amusing retelling of A Christmas Carol and grab a song sheet and sing carols as snowflakes drift in the breeze.

Kids can learn how to make Victorian toys, have a go at traditional games such as the coconut shy and polish their manners at the school for butlers. The Victorian falconer tells tales of how festive fare was caught, and amusing jesters will be putting on fire-breathing shows. Plus Father Christmas is moving into the ground floor rooms of Queen Victoria’s former palace and he’ll be telling yuletide tales amongst the sumptuous decorations.

Steaming up to Christmas

For another enchanting day out full of surprises (and excellent value for money) visit the award winning Steam Railway Santa’s Specials (1st and 2nd, 8th and 9th, 15th and 16th and 21st to 24th December). There’s always such a lovely festive atmosphere at Havenstreet Station with live Christmas music, a bustling Christmas market, and lots of entertainment and magic shows just for children and reduced entry to the Haven Falconry Bird of Prey Centre. 

Make sure you enjoy a stroll through Santa’s sparkling Winter Wonderland before going to see him … and getting your gift of course. Then relax with a cosy 10-mile round trip through the Island’s winter countryside, aboard a majestic steam train Plus you can experience the magic of steam at night and enjoy a festive carvery dinner on Saturday 22nd December. 

Fun on the Farm

Rob da Bank will be headlining this year’s Tap N Ale Christmas Party on Saturday December 8th down at The Cow at Tapnell Farm with a very special DJ set, so get your Christmas gear on and be prepared to PARTY.

And for the kids Santa will be turning on the Christmas lights at Tapnell Farm Park on Saturday December 1st where they have two real reindeer for you to meet. On the 8th and 9th his elves will be running free Christmas crafts sessions and on Saturday 15th and Sunday 16th December The Grinch is joining Santa to open his Christmas grotto for the first time –and Santa will return from Friday 21st to Sunday 23rd.


Ventnorville is celebrating its 5th anniversary this year in style, and have added an ice rink at Ventnor Winter Gardens to the festivities and another day – this year it’s from November 30th to December 2nd. Presided over by the Grinch himself, in all his greenness, the spirit of Dr Seuss comes to town with a festive market with traditional wooden chalets, music, mulled wine, roast chestnuts and kids’ rides and the winter carnival lantern parade.

Ventnorville spreads across the town with carol singing in the park, an arts and crafts market and the country market, dog fancy dress, and the Santa Dash on the beach plus, of course, Santa’s Grotto.The Ventnor Bay-ke Off, will offer all keen Island bakers an opportunity to bring their best Christmas bakes for judging. And the fantastic 12m x 12m synthetic ice rink will be in the auditorium in the Winter Gardens, which will be open for business on the Friday afternoon and all day on Saturday and Sunday.

Brighstone Christmas Tree Festival

This quirky Island event is now in its 22nd year and sees over 200 ‘theme decorated’ Christmas Trees on display from December 6th to 9th in seven locations: Brighstone Church, the Methodist Church, the Wilberforce Hall, the Reading Rooms/Social Club, the ‘Three Bishops’ Pub and also in neighbouring Mottistone Church and at the Isle of Wight Pearl. Trees decorated by children are in the library and Santa is in the Winter Wonderland Snow Grotto at the Exchange in New Rd on Saturday and Sunday.

Entertainments in the village include carol singing, handbell ringing, craft fairs, a mini market at the weekend, lace making demonstrations, cake and biscuit raffles and food is on offer in the scout hall. A  Free Park and Ride will operate from the Isle of Wight Pearl. And the Christmas trees in Brighstone Church and IW Pearl stay until the December 31st.

Christmas Garden

The Old Battery in Sandown is filled with Christmas cheer for the evening of Sunday December 16th and you’re invited to help decorate the huge tree, a brass band accompanies the choir singing carols, and there are seasonal workshops and activities such as roasting marshmallows over the fire.

A free community event organised by Ventnor Exchange and The Common Ground, this is a magical evening of Christmas fun – and if you’re lucky it might even snow. At Sandown Battery Gardens (opposite The Heights Leisure Centre), December 16th from 4pm till 7pm.

Jo Macaulay

21 November 2018

By Jo Macaulay in Articles