Ho, ho, how did it get to a month before Christmas? Time flies in our fair city, but thankfully Winchester has a fantastic range of festive offerings to banish the bah humbugs and ring in the season.
The Winchester Cathedral Christmas markets and ice rink are already open and looking splendid. Inspired by traditional German Christmas markets, the range of exhibitors offer a great opportunity to purchase a unique gift for friends and loved ones. You can also enjoy mulled wine, mince pies or perhaps a bratwurst as you shop. The markets will be open until 22nd December and the ice rink until 5 January 2020.
Whilst we are talking about shopping, don’t forget to take a short stroll from the Cathedral Christmas markets through to Kingsgate Village where you can visit the charming range of independent shops: Cornflowers Gift Shop, Kingsgate Wines & Provisions, Kingsgate Books & Prints and P&G Wells Booksellers. And to work off the mince pies, a walk up the hill to the top of the high street will lead you to Stardust Years for some vintage fashion gifts or perhaps some unique festive party wear.
The Christmas Lantern Parade is back on 28th November. If you want to join in, you will need to make your own lantern with Bella Crafts. To book a Lantern Workshop, please contact Bella Crafts, 02380517054 or visit www.bellacrafts.co.uk. Participants in the Lantern Parade should arrive at Winchester Cathedral between 5.30pm and 6.00pm. Enjoy festive Christmas Carols for all the family in the Nave, before the Lantern Parade begins at 6.30pm. Visit the Cathedral website for more details. You can also access a list of Christmas service times and details here.
Panto season is upon us, oh yes it is, so get ready for some light-hearted belly laughs. Dick Whittington opens at the Theatre Royal on 30th November and runs until 5 January 2020. Join Dick and his cat on their madcap adventures, as Dick seeks his fame and fortune in a London bedevilled by the sinister King Rat and his rabble of Revolting Rodents. Tickets are available to book online here.
Father Christmas has managed to make some time for visits at the Great Hall between 21 & 23 December. Ticket fees includes the opportunity to meet Father Christmas, a festive gift and some craft activities. For more details and ticket prices, visit the website here. He’ll also be making his usual appearance on the Watercress Line Santa Express between 30 November and 23 December. Details and booking is available here.
For some fresh air and exercise, take a trip to Hilliers Gardens and join in The Snowman and the Snowdog Winter Trail. Guides cost £5 and come with a special The Snowman™ and the Snowdog gift. Usual garden admission fees apply. The trail opens on 30 November and will be available until 5 January 2020. The Winchester City Mill also has a Christmas trail. Find all of the gingerbread people and solve the puzzle to help Santa Claus make his journey on Christmas Eve.
We’ll be bringing you more seasonal hints and tips throughout December on Twitter @Win_Guide. Meanwhile, wrap up warm and enjoy, one and all!