Southampton's free family walking trail: Reindeer Roundup
Southampton's free family walking trail: Reindeer Roundup

We love seeing Southampton filled with Christmas cheer again this year. From late-night shopping and delicious dining to sensational shows and family-friendly events, we're here to help you plan your Christmas here in Southampton. 

Be sure to check back here soon for all the latest festive happenings!

Southampton Christmas Guide

For everything festive this holiday season, take a look through our digital Christmas guide. Free copies of our guide will be available at various locations throughout the city centre including hotels, shopping centres, and attractions.

The Countdown to Christmas is ON!

Countdown to Christmas Landscape image 2023

Thank you to everyone who joined us for our four day lights switch on event. Take a look below for some fantastic highlights throughout the event.

Check back here soon for our Countdown albums to see some exciting highlights from each day.

We'd love to see your photos and videos from the evening so share them on social media using #OurSouthampton

Video by FEP Media.

Southampton Christmas Market

Southampton Christmas Market 2023

16th November - 2nd January
Above Bar Precinct, Bargate and Guildhall Square

See the Above Bar Street Precinct transform into an unmissable festive wonderland of fun and entertainment, complete with glittering lights, hot and refreshing drinks, delicious food, and alpine chalets with over 30 independent vendors offering unique hand-made gifts for a spot of Christmas shopping.

The market will also feature the UK's tallest Ferris wheel and a fantastic selection of exhilarating rides for the whole family to enjoy. Rumour has it that Santa himself will be making special weekend appearances to celebrate the holiday cheer.

Over at the Bargate, a spectacular light projection show will illuminate its historic walls every 30 minutes from 5pm to 9:30pm from 17th November - 24th December. It's an unforgettable Christmas experience not to be missed! Stay up to date with all things market here.

Photo by Ryan Stanikk.

Southampton's free family walking trail: Reindeer Roundup

VS Christmas Trail Facebook Post 1200x630px

1st - 31st December
City Centre

We are thrilled to announce the return of our free family walking trail this year, complete with an exciting new storyline. We have two fresh routes for you to explore the city while hunting for clues. Can you unravel our Christmas mystery? Visit our Christmas trail page here.


1000 Kisses Campaign person taking photo of woman sitting on festive bench

19th November - 19th December
Westquay, Carlton Place, and IKEA Southampton

Visit Southampton is partnering up with IKEA to support the Southampton Christmas Toy Appeal and we need you to get involved! Visit the IKEA mistletoe or one of the festive kissing benches in Westquay or Carlton Place and pucker up for a seasonal selfie. Upload your photos to Instagram, using #1000kisses and tagging Visit Southampton. For every photo uploaded IKEA will donate a gift to the appeal. Help us spread the love to those that need it most this Christmas. Find out more at here.

Want to win big this year? Use #IKEASouthampton on your mistletoe photos and be entered into a prize draw to win a £200 IKEA gift card.

Photo by KLC photography.

Christmas events in Southampton

Westquay Ice Rink covered 2023

Westquay On Ice
10th November - 7th January

Westquay’s ice rink is the perfect outing for all ages! Lace up some skates and glide across the covered rink, set against the backdrop of the city’s historic town walls - a truly magical experience for the whole family. To book your skate session click here.

Apres bar Southampton Westquay

Après Bar- Westquay Esplanade
10th November - 2nd January

Southampton’s Après Bar is the perfect place to relax and unwind from all the festive hustle and bustle. Enjoy a delicious range of festive drinks including warming hot-chocolates, winter cocktails, and classic mulled wine in one of their bookable mini alpine chalets. Space is available for groups up to 10 people. To book your two-hour time slot, click here.

Christmas Makers Market IG V4 Copy landscape

Christmas Makers Market - God's House Tower
2nd & 3rd, 9th & 10th, 16th & 17th December

Across three festive weekends in December, God's House Tower (GHT) will play host to a gathering of talented independent makers and artists across the region. Stall holders will be showcasing their finest artisan crafts and unique gifts, ranging from ceramics and homeware to handcrafted jewellery and prints. The Christmas Makers Market is your go-to spot for a one-of-a-kind Christmas shopping experience that not only supports local artists but also ensures your loved ones receive truly exceptional gifts. Learn more here.

Blue Christmas Lights on Marlands Shopping Centre

'Snow' Much Fun this Christmas at the Marlands

Christmas Snow Globes

9th December, 10am - 4pm

Join the Marlands on Saturday 9th December and get grabbing! Their Christmas Snowball Grab machine will give you the chance to win some pre-Christmas cash so come head to The Marlands to do some Christmas Shopping and have some fun competing against your friends and family. Spot prizes available throughout the day. Plus, bring the family along and step inside their giant Christmas Snow Globe and take a festive group selfie.

The Postal Express
16th December, 10am - 4pm

Experience the magic of The Postal Express! From 16th November, children can write a letter to Santa and drop it in The Marlands' Postal Express Post Box. Then, bring them to meet Postmaster Stamp and his colleague Postmaster Bell on 16th December to check that their Christmas present requests have been logged with Santa and his team of busy elves. The postmasters will check the list and if they are on Santa's ‘good list’. Each child will receive a little memento of their visit to The Postal Express.

All Christmas events

Christmas Entertainment

MAST mayflower studios at Christmas

Southampton's theaters come alive with the magic of Christmas, offering a delightful array of holiday shows to enchant audiences of all ages. From heartwarming classics to dazzling, contemporary productions, this year's lineup of performances will be sure to make your Christmas season extra special.

See the much-anticipated panto of the year, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs at Mayflower Theatre, or Counting Down to Christmas in MAST Mayflower Studios which is made especially for little ones. For our over 18s, if you are feeling extra saucy, why not watch Mother Loose at The Stage Door theatre?

For history lovers near and far, take a step back in time and immerse yourself in Southampton's rich history at Tudor House or take in the masterpieces and latest exhibitions at Southampton City Art Gallery and John Hansard Gallery.

Showcase Cinema De Lux Cinema Westquay

Showcase Cinema de Lux is the place to see the latest blockbusters and Christmas classics this festive season. With recliner seating in every screen, get into the Christmas spirit in ultimate comfort. For all the latest showing times and to book tickets click here.

The independent-run Harbour Lights Picturehouse Cinema in Ocean Village will also be holding festive showings throughout December. Film screenings will include The Polar Express, The Nightmare before Christmas, and a special dementia-friendly screening of It's A Wonderful Life. For a full list of films and screening times, click here.

Where to see Santa in Southampton

John Lewis Interactive Grotto 2023

Santa is making some very special visits to Southampton over the Christmas season from John Lewis and IKEA to Sea Life Play Centre and Tudor House and Garden. Click here to find out where he'll be over the holidays.

Christmas Walks & Workshops

Joy to the World See Southampton walk

Joy to the World!
Saturdays & Sundays 2nd – 23rd December

Join the See Southampton heritage guides on a walk through the Christmas past of Southampton. Explore the Western Walls and Vaults, recounting tales of yesteryear referencing historical characters, events and songs. Tours last approx. 90 mins which will depart from the Bargate at 1.30pm. Tickets are £7 and can be booked by visiting their website here.

Mental Elf 2022

Mental Elf Festive Fun Run
10th December

Gather your squad – be it family, friends, co-workers, or even your furry friend – for this year's 5k charity fun run in Southampton Common. Whether you opt for elf attire or deck yourself out in festive gear, you're in for an outdoor blast, all in the name of a great cause. Funds are raised for Hampshire’s mental health support champion, Solent Mind. To join in on the action, click here to sign up.

Southampton City Art Gallery

Festive Workshops
Various dates throughout the holidays

Southampton has a stocking-full of Christmas workshops and activities for all ages to enjoy. From willow decoration making and winter scene painting, to Christmas cracker creating and wreath decorating, you'll have a holly-jolly time! For tickets for workshops in venues like Southampton City Art Gallery, SeaCity Museum, and Tudor House click here.

Festive Food & Drink in Southampton

Indulge, celebrate, and spread the cheer - Southampton is all set to unwrap the fun, and you're invited to the party! Whether it’s the finale to an evening on the town or a swift pick-me-up during your Christmas shopping spree, Southampton's brimming with delectable options from around the world. From mouthwatering curries at Bayleaf Kitchen, Padharo, and Coriander Lounge to delectable sushi at Sakura, Kokoro, and Co-Sushi - there is something for everyone. 

For a comprehensive list of delectable destinations to dine and toast the season click here.
Somewhere to Eat this Christmas in Southampton

Something to eat

This Christmas, unwrap all the delightful trimmings with a festive feast to create lasting memories. Duke of Wellington, Carnicero, The Scholar's Arms, and The White Star Tavern are just a few of the fantastic venues where you can relish in scrumptious Christmas roast that will make your holiday season truly special.

Something to drink in Southampton this Christmas

Something to drink

Southampton is the ultimate destination for a delightful date night or rendezvous with friends. You can sleigh your taste buds at Privé, Revolutions, One 0 FourSlug & Lettuce, Revolucion de Cuba, All Bar One, or Crib, all serving up handcrafted cocktails that will have you feeling like a Christmas cocktail connoisseur. If you're in the mood for a pint or two, hop over to Stein Garten, Oasis Bar, Red Dog Saloon, Giddy Bridge or Shenanigans for some holly-jolly brews. Or for something nice and cosy, stop by Mettricks, Poppins, Muse, Brunch and Barista, or Nest Coffee House to warm your spirits.

Somewhere to Party V4

Somewhere to party

Ready to jingle and mingle this holiday season? Southampton has plenty of places for you to plan a festive soirée no matter if your guest list is shorter than Santa's Nice List or as long as his Naughty List. You can bust a merry move at Switch, Tokyo Bar, Orange Rooms, Medbar, Popworld, and Grumpy Monkey, or enjoy live music at The Firehouse, The 1865Heartbreakers, Whiskey Blue, The Joiners, and Ruby's at The Grand.

Shopping in Southampton this Christmas

Late night shopping in Southampton 2023

Searching for that perfect gift? The city centre has hundreds of shops waiting for you from your favourite national brands like John Lewis, H&M, and Fatface to local independents like W.J. French and Son, Perrys Art SuppliersCool! Merch, and Shoe Boutique. Plus, many stay open later in the lead-up to Christmas, perfect for an evening stroll around the shops.

Check out our shopping directory here or late-night shopping hours here.

Amazing Discounts This Christmas in Southampton


This Christmas, get offers, discounts and more from your favourite Southampton businesses with the SO card.

The SO card is free to use with no sign-up required and features different deals and discounts. From independent stores to national brands in retail, hospitality, leisure, beauty and everything in between there is something for everyone to enjoy.

To view the latest offers and to get your free digital card, click here.

SO card offers

Travelling to Southampton

Blue Star Bus Outside the Bargate Southampton

Whether you wish to travel by bus, train or ferry, there are plenty of options to plan a hassle-free journey to Southampton, leaving you to focus on the festive fun. The city centre is just a 10-minute walk from Southampton Central train station and the Red Funnel ferry terminal, and we are well served by bus routes for taking advantage of the national £2 single bus fare cap.

Southampton is a strong advocate of sustainable travel and it’s easy to get around in the city by bus, cycling, walking or hiring a bike, e-bike or e-scooter.

You can leave the car at home and find the quickest, cheapest, and most eco-friendly options for journeys around the city by downloading the Breeze Travel Planner from the app and play stores.

Bus offers during the Christmas season

With the 5 for £5 group fare offer for groups of up to 5 people, you can travel in Southampton on Bluestar, Unilink or First Solent services and pay just £5 for the whole day with no time restrictions. This offer is available from 18 November 2023 to 1 January 2024 and each ticket is valid for bus journeys within the Southampton Zone with the operator it was purchased from.

Traveling after 6pm? All Bluestar journeys in Southampton are just £1 per person.

Temporary Changes to city centre bus routes during the Christmas Market

Between 13 November and 4 January, during the Christmas Market, Bargate Street and part of Hanover Buildings are to be closed to traffic, providing a safe space for residents and visitors to enjoy the market. Some bus routes in the city centre will be diverted away from the pedestrianised Bargate area and some bus stops will not be available. Please refer to the Bluestar website for detailed information about the bus routes affected, along with a map showing where to catch your bus during this period.

Head to our Your Visit page for more details on all the options available, which will help you plan your trip.

You can view a map of the city's car parks here.

Christmas inspiration

If you are in need of some Christmas inspiration explore some of the #OurSouthampton blog posts to discover all things festive in Southampton.

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