Countdown to Christmas

Countdown to Christmas campaign asset

Southampton's Countdown to Christmas is ON!

Join us from 16th - 19th November, across the city centre, for not one but four days of free family fun and entertainment as we celebrate the start of the Christmas season in Southampton. From street theatre acts to toe-tapping performances by local musicians, there is something for everyone to catch that festive feeling. And, no Countdown would be complete without the city's official Christmas lights switch on. Join us by our main stage over by the Bargate to cheer on the big moment.

City Centre - Bargate, Westquay, Marlands, Oxford Street, Carlton Place, Guildhall Square

Who will be switching on the lights this year?

Countdown to Christmas Christopher Biggins and Alex Lockhart

Mayflower Theatre, MAST Mayflower Studios and Visit Southampton are extremely excited to announce that this year, ahead of appearing as Man in the Mirror in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Christopher Biggins will be switching on the Christmas lights in Southampton. Biggins will be joined by Alex Lockhart, who will be starring as Scrooge in this year’s Christmas Youth Project,A Christmas Carol at MAST Mayflower Studios.

Countdown to Christmas event schedule

We have a packed line up of activities and entertainment across the weekend. Take a look below to see what's happening where and when so you don't miss out on any of the festive fun. This page will be updated daily so make sure you check back. 

Please note, times, locations and acts are subject to change due to circumstances beyond our control. For the latest updates, please check our Facebook event page here.

Thursday 16th November, 4pm - 7pm

MASSAOKE Christmas Live Thumb 1920x1920 v1

Bargate mainstage

5.35pm - 6.05pm - The Keytar Man 
6.10pm - 6.50pm - Massaoke Christmas Live - Southampton's Biggest Seasonal Singalong!
6.50pm - 7pm - Official Lights Switch On with Christopher Biggins and Alex Lockhart (approx times)

Host for the evening Christopher Biggins & Zoe Hanson

Below Bar/Bargate area

Roaming characters (4pm - 5:30pm): Victorian Policeman, Christmas Gargoyles, and Willy Wonka

Above Bar Precinct

Roaming characters (4pm - 5:30pm): Jacks of Frost, Calvos, The Frost Dragon, Christmas Gargoyles, Spruce Cantatus, and The Christmas Carriage

Roaming Acts Countdown to Christmas 2023


4pm - 5.30pm - Big Mob Slinkies (Westquay South)
5pm - 7pm - City of Albion Brass Band (Westquay South)
5pm - 6pm -  Singing Living Statue (Westquay Above Bar Street entrance)

Roaming characters (4pm - 5:30pm): Man in Xmas present and Willy Wonka stilt act


4pm - 5pm - Singing Living Statue (Above Bar entrance)
6pm - 7pm - Southampton Ukelele Jam

Roaming characters (4pm - 5.30pm): Humanoid Robots and The Christmas Carriage

Guildhall Square

Roaming character: The Christmas Carriage

Friday 17th November, 4pm - 7pm

Kieran Cox Countdown to Christmas 2023

Bargate Mainstage

4pm - 4.45pm - Kieron Cox  - Internationally recognised acoustic guitarist/vocalists
5pm - 5.45pm - Sophie Edge and Rhys Tonks
6pm - 7pm - Hannah Williams - The Voice Finalist 

Below Bar/Bargate area

Roaming character (4pm - 7pm): Professor Strange

Above Bar Precinct

Roaming character (4pm - 7pm): Supersize Elf


5pm - 5.30pm - Sound Pop Academy (Level 2)
6pm - 6.30pm - The Rock Choir (Level 2)


6.15pm - 7pm - Sophie Edge and Rhys Tonks

Countdown to Christmas acts 2023

Carlton Place

Roaming acts:
4pm - 7pm - The Bell Boyz
5pm - 5.50pm - Fiddling About
6pm - Christmas Mariachi

Oxford Street

Roaming acts:
4pm - 6pm - The Upper Crusties
5pm - Christmas Mariachi
6pm - Fiddling About

Saturday 18th November, 10.30am - 7pm


Bargate main stage

12pm - 12.45pm - Company B
1pm - 1.15pm - Hey Duggee Activity
1.30pm - 2.15pm - Isla Croll
2.30pm - 2.45pm - Hey Duggee Activity
3pm - 3.45pm - Tuba Libres
4pm - 4.15pm - Hey Duggee Activity
4.20pm - 5.05pm - The Henrys
5.45pm - 7pm - Charley Stride (backing vocalist for Sam Ryders)

Above Bar Precinct

Roaming character (3pm - 6pm): Supersize Snowman


12pm - 12.45pm - Saints Brass Band (Westquay South)
3pm - Sophie Edge and Rhys Tonks (Westquay Entrance Above Bar)
6pm - Fuzzylogic: Attention (Westquay South)


Character meet and greets:
10.30am - 11am - Hey Duggee Meet & Greet*
11.30am - 12pm - Hey Duggee Meet & Greet* - SOLD OUT
12.30pm - 5pm - Bluey & Bingo Meet & Greet* - SOLD OUT

(See below for more details*)

2pm - Company B

Countdown acts and performers 2023

Guildhall Square

1.30pm - 2.15pm - Saints Brass Band
Roaming act (12pm - 6pm): Shademakers Parade (parade will travel from Guildhall Square to the Westquay Esplanade)

Carlton Place

Roaming acts:
4pm - 7pm - B-Boyz Street Theatre
5pm - 5.45pm - Tuba Libres

Oxford Street

4pm - 7pm - The Bell Boyz
5pm - Lucy Rachel
6pm - Isla Croll

Special Countdown Events

From 10am - The Big GHT Christmas Bake off!*
10.30am - 3pm - Gonks at the Gallery – a free Christmas family craft activity*
2pm - 3pm - How to Stay Zen During The Holidays at Gaia Health Store*

(See below for more details*)

Sunday 19th November, 10.30am - 5pm

Polar Bear Show Image Countdown to Christmas 2023

Bargate main stage

12pm - 12.45pm - Charley Stride (backing vocalist for Sam Ryders)
1pm - 1.15pm - Hey Duggee Activity
1.30pm - 2.15pm - Lucy Rachel
2.30pm - 2.45pm - Hey Duggee Activity
3pm - 3.45pm - Hannah Williams (The Voice Finalist)
4pm - 4.15pm - Hey Duggee Activity
4.20pm - 5pm - The Henrys


1pm - Singing Living Statue (Above Bar Street Entrance)
2pm - Kieron Cox - Internationally recognised acoustic guitarist/vocalist (Above Bar Street Entrance)
1.15pm - 1.35pm - The Polar Bear Show (Level 2)
2.15pm - 2.35pm - The Polar Bear Show (Level 2)
3.15pm - 3.35pm - The Polar Bear Show (Level 2)


10.30am - 11am - Hey Duggee (Meet & Greet)*
11.30am - 12pm Hey Duggee (Meet & Greet) - SOLD OUT 
12.30pm - 4pm - PAW Patrol Chase (Meet & Greet)*
4.30pm - 5pm - PAW Patrol Chase (Meet & Greet - SEN Session Only) - SOLD OUT 

(See below for more details*)

Roaming character (from 3pm): Singing Living Statue

Guildhall Square

Roaming act (1pm & 3pm): Fiddling About

Special Countdown events

Countdown Meet and Greet 2023 generic

Meet Hey Duggee, Bluey & Bingo, and Chase from PAW Patrol!
18th - 19th November

Hey Duggee, Bluey & Bingo, and Chase from PAW Patrol are coming to Southampton! As part of our Countdown to Christmas weekend, head over to The Marlands Shopping Centre on Saturday 18th and Sunday 19th November for a fantastic opportunity to meet these beloved characters and a chance to snap a memorable picture with them.

Saturday 18th November
Hey Duggee (10.30am / 11.30am)
Bluey & Bingo - SOLD OUT 

Saturday 18th November
Hey Duggee (10.30am/ 11.30am)
Chase from PAW Patrol (12.30pm / 1.30pm / 2.30pm / 3.30pm / 4.30pm)

Tickets are free but must be booked in advance to secure your space. For ticket registration, please see below.


Meet and Greet Registration

Registration is now open for our Countdown to Christmas character Meet and Greets!

Tickets for these opportunities are FREE of charge but are limited and you must have a ticket to attend. Without one, you will not get to meet them.

Before booking, please read the following T&C's:

  • 1 family ticket admits up to 4 people to meet your chosen character. If your family has more than 4 people in it, you should book an additional ticket. Each family ticket needs to have at least one adult in the group.
  • Meet and greets sessions will take place within time slots of 30 or 40 minutes. So if your booking is shown as 12.30pm for instance, then you will get to meet you character between 12.30pm and 13.10pm
  • The meet and greet experience will last around half a minute per family group.
  • This experience is recommended for families with children up to a maximum of 8 years old
  • Queuing for each session will only commence once the previous session has finished. Therefore you should arrive no earlier than 20 minutes prior to your session.
  • This attraction is held inside at The Marlands Shopping Centre and is therefore an all weather opportunity.
  • What happens if you are late for your pre-booked slot? - Whilst we will endeavour to admit you, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to, if we are running at capacity.
  • We reserve the right to refuse admission for any families that are proving disruptive to the experience.
  • For T&C's and booking policies can be found on the ticketing website below
Book now button

The Big GHT Christmas Bake off!
18th November

Calling all bakers! We need you to put your best fork forward and bring your tried and tested recipes to God's House Tower (GHT) for the first ever GHT Christmas Bake off!

This event is open to all, from budding young bakers to kitchen aficionados - bring along your bake from 10am to get set up and enter for the following categories:

  • Masters of Mince Pie
  • Best Christmas Bake
  • Best in show
  • Best mess

Don't forget to bring lots of tasters to be in with a chance of winning with tasting and voting taking place from 12pm - 2pm.

Then from 3pm, the count and the winner of each category is revealed by a special surprise guest.

The winner of each category will be awarded a £100 John Lewis Voucher!

Entry is £2 and all proceeds will be donated to the Society of St James, Hampshire's leading homelessness charity. Register here.

Christmas Gonks at Southampton City Art Gallery

Gonks at the Gallery – a free Christmas family craft activity
18th November

Join the art gallery learning team in the main hall of Southampton City Art Gallery to make a Christmas Gonk, perfect for decorating your home. Drop-in anytime between 10.30am and 3pm. Please allow about 45mins for the activity. Suitable for all the family but children under 7yrs will need an adult to help them.

Gaia Health Store

How to Stay Zen During The Holidays at Gaia Health Store
18th November

Join Gaia Health Store on Saturday 18th November for their zen Christmas workshop. Here they will look at techniques to help you manage the busy holiday season in the run up to Christmas to take the pressure off yourself. Tickets are just £5. Get your tickets here.

In store over the weekend they will also be launching their Christmas Seasonal Products for you to try, sample and purchase such as their free Christmas Tea Sampling. Plus, don't miss their monthly Crystal Wellbeing Workshop on 19th November. Learn more here.

Highlights from last year's Countdown to Christmas

From snow lions and runaway presents to walking lampposts and cheeky penguins, last year's Christmas Countdown was a blast! Watch this video to see all the fun to be had at last year's event.

Thank you to our media partner

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Thanks to our media partner Wave 105 for supporting our event. For the South's best variety of hits, click here to listen live or tune in to 105.2FM.

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