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What’s on this Christmas in Hampshire, Wiltshire and Dorset?

In households everywhere, corners of the Smyth’s catalogues are frantically being turned, the age old family debate of where to spend the big day is in full force and parents across the land are wondering where they can book to get into the spirit of Christmas and keep the magic alive on what is a pretty gloomy year!

Here’s my round up of the best places to visit this Christmas in Hampshire, Wiltshire and Dorset…

Christmas in Wiltshire Events

  • Walk through the air with everyone’s favourite Christmas Classic, The Snowman. I was lucky enough to visit the show last year and can highly recommend! Set in the stunning scene of the Salisbury Cathedral, accompanied by a live orchestral set, this is a not to miss for all the family. This year also features a short film ‘Shaun the Sheep: The Flight before Christmas’. Carrot Productions put this event on all over the UK, you can check out dates and details here.
  • The Longleat Festival of Light is back this year. Hailed as ‘the UK’s original, biggest and most exciting lantern festival’, 2022 see’s all of your favourite Roald Dahl characters – and rumour is, there’s a 5 metre tall BGF waiting to welcome you!
  • Sunday Festive Markets are held every Sunday from 18th November – 31 December in Salisbury City Centre. Pop up bars, food stalls and a grotto as well as a family festive trail await…
  • Swindon’s Enchanted Gardens Light Trail arrives in the city on 2nd December and stays until 31st. Running at various times throughout the evening, with bookable 15 minute time slots, you can wander through the Victorian Gardens with a backdrop of illuminated trees and light sculptures. The trail is just under 2km and you are free to take your time to enjoy the lights at your leisure!
  • Santa flies into the Army Flying Museum at Middle Wallop on Saturday 3rd December. You’ll be greeted by the museum’s happy elf, be snapped in the Scout helicopter with Santa and make a christmas decoration before enjoying a drink and biscuit in the cafe.

Christmas in Dorset Events

  • Enjoy the magic of Christmas at National Trust’s Kingston Lacey from 2-24 December, where you will enjoy twinkling lights and illuminations choreograohed to all of the Christmas classics.
  • Bournemouth Christmas Tree Wonderland is back for another year of razzle dazzle. This free event runs from 18th December and you can enjoy a multitude of festive-themed illuminations with the trail leading to the 60ft walk-through Bournemouth Wonderland Tree situated in the centre of the Lower Gardens. After your stroll around the wonderland you can visit the traditional Christmas market, Alpine bar and Ice Rink.
  • From 3rd December you can hop aboard the Swanage Railway for a ‘Steam and Lights’ ride on the steam locomotive for an hour around Corfe Castle, where the route lit up with festive synchronised lighting.
  • Step aboard the Moors Valley Santa Special steam train, board your own carriage on a magical journey to meet Santa in his grotto.

Christmas in Hampshire Events

  • Everyone’s favourite pig land goes fully festive again this year from 3rd – 23rd December. Paultons Park promise Santa’s Christmas wish show, illuminations around the park and the marvellous magic tree!
  • Fancy a seasonal stroll around Gunwharf Quays without the kids moaning? Book in to visit Santa at the Spinnaker Tower where the little ones will write a letter to Father Christmas, enjoy the views and receive a little gift.
  • If you fancy something totally unique to get you into the Christmas spirit then The Watercress Line won’t let you down with a ride on their pixel mappable digital LED train! You will enjoy popular Christmas music which plays along in sync to the onboard LED light show. For that extra special touch, book a private carriage for your whole family to enjoy!
  • I say it every year but for me, it’s not Christmas until I’ve taken a trip to the Winchester Christmas Market. A beautiful traditional market set in the heart of the Cathedral grounds where wooden stalls surround the main attraction of the iceskating rink.
  • Fancy getting on to the water this season? New Forest Activities has just the thing – enjoy a 90 minute guided tour along the Beaulieu river where your final destination will lead you to the big man himself!
  • I’m a huge fan of The Hawk Conservancy and have been to a number of their seasonal events. This year they are hosting an ‘Evening Owls at Christmas’ on 2nd & 3rd December from 7pm, where an array of owls will be flying under the festive moonlight.
  • Be prepared to gasp in wonder of the Keydell Nurseries Woodland Winter Walk in Havant. A beautiful family day out, choose to amble through the Woodland Walk (meeting Santa is an optional add on) or opt for a Christmas tea with St Nick! If you’re lucky you may get a glimpse of Santa’s reindeers outside too…
  • It’s a Cosmic Christmas this year at Winchester Science Centre. Enter the Planetarium for a 45 minute immersive viewing for your out-of-this-world journey through Space!
  • Santa saves Christmas comes to the Theatre Royal Winchester on 19th December for one day only.
  • Oh no he didn’t! He’s behind you! See Debbie McGhee as Cinderella at The Anvil Arts theatre from the 9th December.
  • Classic cars at Christmas? Head to Beaulieu for stunning decorations, crackling log fires and a fun Christmas family trail to enjoy!

All that magic seeking worn you out? Take a read of my ‘Must Watch Christmas movies‘ and cosy up on the couch!