Christmas is a special time for families, and an especially magical time for children. It can be the perfect time to do plenty of family activities that will be fun for the whole family, form great memories, and strengthen family relationships. Here are some fantastic family activities in Hampshire, England, that you can enjoy with children and relatives of any age.
Winchester Christmas Market
My family has made it a tradition to visit the Winchester Christmas Market each year, and it’s one of our favorite Christmas activities. The market is held on the Winchester Cathedral grounds, and so the Cathedral provides shelter for the market as well as providing a fantastic backdrop. It has the look of a continental market, with vendors housed in little wooden chalets. There’s a wide range of stalls that are perfect for shopping or just browsing. I particularly like the section with local craftsmen and artists. There are also vendors selling delicious treats, like nice hot crepes. If you’re feeling adventurous, there’s also an ice rink at the center of market (they rent out skates). There’s always a nativity scene as well, which gives a great opportunity to talk to children about the reason for Christmas. I’m excited for this year’s Christmas as they will have a regular life nativity! This is a really fun family day out (and the perfect chance to buy last minute Christmas presents, decorations, or food).
A Victorian Festival of Christmas in Portsmouth
The historic dockyard in Portsmouth is worth a family outing by itself. It is home to many historic ships, including the HMS Victory and the Mary Rose. Every year, a Victorian Christmas Festival is held at the historic dockyard. In addition to seeing the usual attractions, the whole area is transformed into a Christmas wonderland based on the Victorian era. Although they pay attention to historical accuracy, you also have the chance to interact from your favorite fictional characters from this period (including Peter Pan and Mary Poppins). I particularly like that they bring in snow machines so that it is always snowy and Christmasy on the Victorian street, and you can wonder along buying delicious treats to eat and enjoying the incredibly festive atmosphere. For the first time this year, your ticket to the Victorian Festival of Christmas also includes a boat tour around the Harbour!
Christmas at Marwell Zoo
Marwell Zoo and educational center is a great place to visit at any time of year. It’s especially fun at Christmas though. You can visit the zoo and let your children enjoy seeing all of the animals. You can also go to Marwell’s Christmas events. They have a Father Christmas, story time and puppet shows, and other fun activities for families (especially with younger children). This is a great chance to combine a trip to the zoo with some festive cheer. Just make sure to bundle up.
Other Christmas Activities for Families in Hampshire include: visiting Santa’s Christmas Wonderland at Paulton’s Park; going to one of the Pantomines held at the many theaters in Hampshire; and going to the Christmas lights celebration/switching on in your town.