With the weather starting to get chilly, we know it’s tempting to stay inside with a hot cuppa in front of the fire. But Christmas comes only once a year…
Enjoy everything this season has to offer from Christmas Markets to pop up ice rinks and pantomimes to harbour swims – there’s something for everyone. Here’s a taster of some of 2017’s best Christmas events.
You can’t help getting that festive feeling at a Christmas market. These bustling seasonal scenes of rows of log cabins lined with fairy lights are an enticing sight. Take a well-earned break from Christmas present shopping lists, and treat yourself to one of the many of the tasty delights on offer. All to soundtrack of carol singers and Jingle Bells!
In the shadow of Bath Cathedral and winding down through the Georgian streets of Bath, the award winning Bath Christmas Market of over 200 chalets is sure to get you in the festive spirit with many handmade and local gifts on offer. Hurry, the market runs from 23rd November – 10th December.
Winchester, Salisbury and Exeter all have their very own Christmas Markets set in historic settings. Salisbury Cathedral is offering candle lit services twilight tower tours to give you twinkling views of the whole city.
Closer to home we have Bournemouth Christmas market from 17th November - 4th January, this year with an Alpine theme. Smaller markets offering a unique range of local produce and artisan gifts include Dorchester and Sturminster Newton on 2nd December, RNLI College in Poole and the Frome Independent on 3rd December, Swanage on 9th December.
So take to the streets, grab a cup of mulled wine and pick up some unique presents for your loved ones.
Get your skates on!
The seaside town of Bournemouth has it’s charming seasonal outdoor Lower Gardens Ice Rink open 16th November – 2nd January. Complete with Alpine Bar for the adults and Rinky Dinks separate child friendly rink, this is the biggest outdoor rink on the South Coast. In the evening the kids rink turns into 'Gliders' - the UK's first curling-esque game with LED under ice which looks rather special!
Bournemouth also has the Cool Coast Ice Rink at the Bournemouth International Centre is the biggest seasonal indoor ice rink on the south coast. Open from 15th November – 17th February it is a great all-weather activity for all the family.
For the third year running, Weymouth's real ice rink can be found in the centre of town from 1st December – 1st January. Enjoy some shopping by the sea and pop into Santa’s Grotto to celebrate Weymouth’s BIG Christmas. Nearby Dorchester’s Skating in the Square runs from 25th November – 31st December in Brewery Square.
This time of the year, ice rinks pop up all over the country. For truly enchanting backdrops head to the Natural History Museum, Hampton Court Palace or Brighton’s Royal Pavilion. Or to combine your skating experience with some serious retail therapy on the side head to West Quay in Southampton.
Looking for Something Special?
One of our most loved Dorset icons, Corfe Castle, has some exciting festive offerings. On selected dates throughout December the castle will be lit with lanterns, braziers and beacons for their Winter Lights event. Step back in time to the Tudor period with Tudor feast and story telling dates for all the family.
Find every festive experience you would expect at Winter Wonderland – fairground rides, ice bar, Bavarian Christmas market, ice skating, an Ice Kingdom, shows and Santa Land.
With sunrise happening just after 8am on 22nd December, visitors will be welcomed to celebrate this historic ritual at Stonehenge.
Take a wonderful walk through magical trees at the national arboretum. Follow the specially illuminated trail.
Fancy a dip?
For those willing to brave our chilly British waters at this time of year there are a few dates for the diary:
- Christmas Day – Weymouth Harbour Swim
- 3rd December - Santa Run though Dorchester and Poundbury
- 17th December – Chase the Pudding Santa Run
- Boxing Day – The West Bay Wallow
- New Years Day – Lyme Lunge and Duck Race
Track Down Father Christmas…
He’s a busy man this time of year – lots of places to be and people to see. Catch Father Christmas as he darts around the country. You can find him at London Zoo, National Showcaves Cantre in Wales, Bluewater in Kent, Legoland, and the Gardens of Heligan in Cornwall. In Dorset he is reported to be visiting Upton Country Park, Moors Valley or even cruising around our very own Poole Harbour!
Some Light Entertainment
Locally - Jack will be climbing his beanstalk in Bournemouth, Sleeping Beauty is taking a nap in Weymouth… will Cinderella make it the ball in Poole? The Royal Ballet are preforming the festive favourite, The Nutcracker in Christchurch. Check with your local venue for more details on their Christmas pantomimes and special shows.