Sail Over For... Festive Fun on the Mainland
Gather your loved ones and head to Southampton to make some magical memories on the mainland this winter.. From panto to light shows, we've found plenty of ways to get in the festive spirit!
Southampton Christmas Market
The city centre has once again been transformed into a winter wonderland, bringing Alpine chalet bars and shops, Bavarian bratwurst, the UK’s largest travelling Ferris wheel, a Christmas Fun House, and new for 2023 – 80ft tall ride Atmosfear! Take a well-earned break from your Christmas shopping to cosy up with a hot chocolate, mulled cider, or pint of pilsner as you take in a magical light display projected on the famous Bargate.
Experience Marwell Zoo after dark between 24 November and 30 December, with a series of immersive illuminations providing the perfect backdrop for all your seasonal snaps. Their dazzling displays will adopt a nature theme for 2023, using over 500,000 lights in an array of colours to create awe-inspiring walk-through installations. Winter warmers such as mulled wine will also be on offer to get you in the festive spirit, as well as marshmallow-toasting on an open fire.
From 1 – 31 December, this incredible interactive trail will take you all around Southampton searching for clues to track down Father Christmas’ naughty missing reindeer! It’s free to participate, and little ones will even be rewarded with a prize for their efforts. Grab a map from our Southampton Red Jet terminal to begin the adventure!
Snow White & the Seven Dwarfs
Head to Mayflower Theatre as Britain’s Got Talent winning dance troupe Diversity lend themselves to the role of the dwarfs in this year’s panto production between 9 and 31 December. Also starring stage legend Christopher Biggins as the Man in the Mirror, and Kirsty Ingram as Snow White, the show promises an enchanting experience for all ages to enjoy. Add on an afternoon tea with Santa to make your visit extra special!
When you head over to Southampton this winter, keep an eye out for Christmas cuddle benches dotted around the city centre courtesy of Visit Southampton and IKEA UK. Until 19 December, IKEA will donate a gift to the Southampton Toy Appeal for every selfie posted on Instagram using the hashtag #1000Kisses. It’s the perfect excuse to pucker up for a feel-good festive pic!
Westquay on Ice
Better get your skates on! Southampton’s popular annual ice rink returns, set amongst the beautiful backdrop of the Old Town walls. This year the rink is fully under cover, you so can enjoy your skate session come rain, shine, or snow! The neighbouring Après Bar will be waiting to warm you up afterwards with mulled drinks served to your very own cosy chalet.
Winchester Cathedral Christmas Market
Just a short drive or train ride away from Southampton you’ll find Winchester, and its beautiful cathedral market. Wander rows of wooden chalets offering traditional treats like sweet roasted chestnuts, as well as beautifully created one-off arts and crafts - ideal unique gifts for loved ones. The market is free to enter and open daily from 17 November to 21 December. Take some time to explore the former capital city of England, with fascinating old buildings and a bustling high street.
Hyde Park Winter Wonderland
Pull out all the stops with a visit to the UK’s foremost festive attraction this Christmas, with the infamous Bar Ice, thrilling rides, Magical Ice Kingdom, circus performances, and much, much more! Foodies will also be delighted by over 40 stalls and bars serving delicious drinks and street food. Train travel is made easy when you purchase through-tickets from our West Cowes ticket office, getting you across the Solent and up to London in a breeze.
Watercress Line Steam Illuminations
Book your seats aboard the Watercress Line in Alton for an awe-inspiring adventure through the South Downs on an illuminated steam train! Marvel at the locomotives adorned in thousands of vibrant lights for Christmas, setting the night sky ablaze with a mesmerising display of colour and steam. Enjoy festive music and entertainment hosted by Britain’s Got Talent’s incredible Voiceover Man!