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

Osborne House hosts Enchanted Osborne from Friday December 15th until Saturday December 23rd. For this magical experience the grounds of Osborne are transformed into a winter fairy-tale of light, colour and sound from 4.30pm to 8.30pm daily.

Strings of enchanted lamplight laced through the boughs of trees, and fairy lights twinkling behind leaves will lead you along a garden trail into a wonderland of exploration and imagination.

The enchanting route around Queen Victoria and Prince Albert’s family home will be divided into nine sections, each representing one of their children and inspired by fairy tales.

Emerging into the scene of a traditional fairground, you'll find a myriad of entertainment to carry you back to times gone by. There will be plenty to enjoy besides - from mince pies, mulled wine and toasting marshmallows to Christmas shopping and heritage inspired gifts.

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 (2nd 3rd, 9th, 10th, 16th, 17th, 21st to 24th December).

Santa is making Havenstreet his special Christmas home again this year and is really looking forward to meeting you.

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. 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.  And included in your ticket price is entry to the Haven Falconry Bird of Prey Centre.

Plus you can experience the magic of steam at night and enjoy a festive carvery dinner on Saturday 16th December. Upon arrival you get a glass of mulled wine before boarding the 'Festive Flyer' for a relaxing trip through the night time countryside; followed by a special three course candlelit Christmas carvery supper, accompanied by seasonal music and carols, in the Calbourne Room.

And you could take a Boxing Day Special or a New Year’s Day Hangover Special too.


Back by popular demand is Ventnorville – organised by the Ventnor Business Association. Ventnor is enchanting at all times of the year – but at Christmas, it’s magical. So on Friday 8th and Saturday 9th December Ventnor will be turning into Ventnorville for the day and celebrating Christmas by bringing the spirit of Dr Seuss to the town.

Visitors will be able to meet the Grinch who, despite his grumpy anti-holiday spirit, will be getting into the seasonal spirit at a range of festive events taking place in the town throughout the two days, including a sparkly lantern parade on Saturday, a Winter Carnival, and a Carol service at the town’s park.

Brighstone Christmas Tree Festival

This quirky Island event is now in its 21st year and sees over 200 ‘theme decorated’ Christmas Trees on display from December 6th to 10th in 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. 

In addition there are children’s trees in the library and on the Saturday and Sunday you can see Santa in the Winter Wonderland at the Exchange in New Rd, halfway between the Parish Church and the Methodist Church.

There’s a whole host of entertainment in the village during the festival, but then the Christmas trees in Brighstone Church and IW Pearl stay until the December 31st, if you can’t make it to the actual event.

Red Funnel Cowes Christmas Festival

The Red Funnel Cowes Christmas Festival returns with the very best food, drink and gifts just in time for Christmas. With a host of great quality exhibitors and festive entertainment, it’s an event
you don’t want to miss this great shopping event at Cowes Yacht Haven on Saturday 16th and Sunday 17th December.

There will be live demonstrations from talented local chefs at the interactive Cookery Theatre, where you can sample some of our fantastic dishes. A great choice of Isle of Wight Arts and Crafts stalls so you can get some truly unique Christmas gifts (over 60 stalls). A fantastic range of live music, samplings and tastings, Santa’s Grotto and lots more...

Most of the festival is undercover in the Yacht Haven and admission is free so come along and enjoy the Christmas spirit!Top of Form

Boxing Day Swim

And for something completely different, come to Ventnor on Boxing Day for the fantastic fancy dress swim, in aid of a local charity, when over 100 people in various guises run into the water on the stroke of noon – and then most of them run straight back out again!

Jo Macaulay

8 December 2017

By Jo Macaulay in Articles