The festive season is upon us, it’s time to don your Santa hats and embrace all that’s Christmas here in Southampton! We have some fantastic festive things for you to do as a family. Take your pick from some of our Christmassy ideas below…
Take on our Family Christmas Trail and spot the polar bears and penguins along the North and South Poles. Find all the clues to unscramble the codes and unlock your two free Christmas prizes. Running until Christmas Eve, each trail should take approximately 45 minutes. A great thing to do as a whole family, plus it’s free to take part!
Meet the big man, Father Christmas, ahead of the busiest day of his year! Father Christmas will be popping along to the Children’s Christmas Special event at Burseldon Brickworks Industrial Museum on 12 December.
Father Christmas will also be making an appearance with the Snow Sisters at Stakks Pancake House in the Marlands Shopping Centre on 15th and 22nd December. Each child booked will receive a gift from Santa and an autographed certificate. Pre-booking is essential.
Santa and his little helpers are adding the finishing touches to their Christmas plan, and will be joining Mile High Southampton for “flights to Lapland” from the 16th-23rd December. The Santa Flight Experience is suitable for ages 2-10.
Santa will also be opening his Grotto up at Sea Life Play Centre on various dates – book early though as these slots are filling up fast.
Grab the perfect festive family selfie and visit the topiary reindeer at Westquay.
From 1st - 24th December, on the Upper Terrace, snow will fall every 15 minutes from 12pm – 8pm. There'll also be a herd of 19 topiary reindeer for you to 'meet'.
Get creative at various workshops at Southampton City Art Gallery including a Christmas Cards workshop on 11th December (suitable for accompanied children aged 5+), a Christmas Present Sack workshop on 18th December (where you can join a session to decorate and personalise a hessian sack ready to leave out on Christmas Eve) and Crafty Christmas Decorations workshops on 21st December (suitable for ages 4+).
On 20th December, at SeaCity Museum, Southampton Culture Club for Kids: Crafty Christmas will be taking place. This event includes a day of investigation, imagination and discovery for children aged 6-11 years who love being creative and learning through fun activities. Pre-booking is required.
Pop along to Tudor House & Garden Café for one of their Festive Afternoon Tea events. Their Children’s Afternoon Tea is £7.50 and includes a selection of sandwiches, a variety of mini cakes with milk or juice and a letter from Santa. For adults, there’s a classic selection of sandwiches, scones with jam and clotted cream and a selection of mini cakes with a festive drink. Please note: if you wish to explore the Tudor House and Gardens, an entry fee applies. You can visit for afternoon tea in the café for free.
Southampton has always had a rich connection with Christmas, and this year on Saturdays and Sundays in the run-up to Christmas, tales of Christmas past will be recounted on 90 min guided tours by SEE Southampton tour guides, departing The Bargate at 10.30am.
There will be references to some of the Christmas celebrations of past years at the Churches of St. Michael’s, Holyrood, All Saints’, St. John’s, St. Lawrence and Southampton’s mother church, St. Mary’s. The walk will also feature the history of some well-known hymns and festive songs, royal connections, WW2 links and information on the time author, Jane Austen spent living in our city.
For an amazing family time, book seats for The Mayflower Theatre’s pantomime this year; Cinderella. Running from 10th December – 5th January, you can see a strictly magical cast with Craig Revel Horwood as The Wicked Stepmother and Debbie McGee as The Fairy Godmother. Tickets are selling quickly so book as soon as possible to avoid disappointment.
MAST Mayflower Studios is staging an event geared at very young audiences, called Second Star to the Right. Running from 10th-24th December, this show is an enchanting adventure for little ones and their grown-ups. Snuggle up and get ready to travel through the stars, and discover the way to the Neverland this Christmas.
Join MAST Mayflower Studios also for their very first Christmas Youth production which promises to take you on a magical journey with Peter Pan: An Awfully Big Musical Adventure. This event runs from 18th-31st December.
Why not stay in Southampton with your family and do some day trips to nearby family-friendly attractions?
Marwell Zoo will be staging their Festive Fun events from 1st December – 3rd January. With Father Christmas making some special appearances at the zoo on selected dates in December (4-5, 11-12, 18-23). Join in with the Nordic Gnomes Hide and Seek competition to be in with a chance of winning a special goodie bag and discover the magical decorations dotted around the grounds.
A short drive from Southampton City Centre will take you to Paultons Park, home of Peppa Pig World. A Celebration of Christmas is the theme of this year’s festive activities with Santa’s Christmas Wish Show, magical illuminations around the park, a musical Christmas tree and lots more. Christmas at Paultons takes place on selected dates between 4th-23rd December.
Keep an eye on our events listings for other events taking place in and around the city in the lead up to Christmas. You’ll also find lots of information on other festive things to do such as where to enjoy a festive family brunch or places you can refuel whilst doing a spot of Christmas shopping. Above all, make it a Christmas to remember in Southampton! 🎄