It’s beginning to feel a lot like December, and you can’t fail to notice the lights in the city or the selection boxes and crackers that are lining the supermarket aisles. ‘Tis certainly the season, so let’s see what our fine city has to offer in the lead up to Christmas:
Start off the month with a ho, ho, ho! at the Pin Drop Comedy ‘Christmas Special’ standup comedy night, 1 December 8pm at the Wintonian Bar, Winchester Guildhall. It is hosted by James Ross & Andrew Johnston. Entry is free and you can enjoy your christmassy chuckles with some food and drink from the bar.
We’re getting excited about the Woolly Hat Fair Twelve Days of Christmas. Throughout December, in all sorts of surprising places, 12 free events will take place inspired by the cherished carol. Events will be free to attend and will take place at 5pm every Saturday, Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday between 3 – 22 December. Keep an eye on the Hat Fair website for details of locations. Day 1 is A Partridge in a Pear Tree at the Winchester School of Art Gallery, with work from Live Canon, a collaboration between fashion and textiles students from Winchester School of Art and with budding poets from Winchester’s local community.
The Theatre Royal panto will be Cinderella this year and it’s opening 6 December until 2 January. Oh no it isn’t, oh yes it is! There are relaxed performances, family performances and this year the Theatre Royal is offering a Touch Tour at 10am on Sunday 11 December, one hour prior to the 11am performance offering an opportunity for those who are visually impaired to experience the stage, and feel the set and costumes to enhance their enjoyment of the show. For more details and to book tickets, visit the theatre website here.
Christmas is a time for giving and there are some worthwhile charitable events taking place this month. The annual Naomi House and Jacksplace Santa Run will be held on 3 December. Starting at the Winchester Guildhall, the 5k will run through the city from 9.30am with details available here. There’s a Charity Christmas Concert at the Discovery Centre, 9 December at 7.30pm. Winchester Fusion Choir will be singing in aid of Winchester Fusion Choir presents a concert in aid of Winchester Homestart , Winchester Youth Counselling and Winchester Friends of the Family. Tickets are available to book online here.
Winchester Cathedral will be offering their Twilight Tower Tours from 3.30pm lasting 90 minutes on various dates until 17 December. There will be mulled wine and mince pies after the tour and it’s a fantastic way to see views across the city, Christmas market and ice-rink. It is a climb, so the Cathedral advise sensible clothing and footwear and the event is not suitable for young children or those with walking or breathing difficulties. For dates and booking details, visit the website here. Details of the Christmas services at the Cathedral are available here including the Carol services and Midnight Eucharist.
Winchester City Museum will be hosting a festive family quiz for super sleuths. Entry is free and there will be a tasty prize at the end (donations are welcome). Why not follow this up with a trip to Santa’s Grotto at the Tourist Information Centre. As this is his busy period, he’ll only be in on Saturday’s and booking is recommended. For more details, visit the website here.
There are some fabulous opportunities for Christmas shopping in Winchester. The Cathedral Christmas Market cabins and ice-rink are celebrating their 10th anniversary this year, a seasonal staple for a sensory trip into the spirit. Don’t forget to stroll to Kingsgate Village for Kingsgate Books & Prints, Cornflowers Gift Shop, P&G Wells Booksellers or Kingsgate Wine and Provisions. And there are many more hidden boutiques or purveyors of luxury items so get some walking boots and knitwear on. The Square has been described by the Telegraph as “the beating heart of chic Winchester”. Cadogan & Co has certainly earned this reputation. Featured in Vogue’s 100 best shopping destinations outside London, it’s a treasure trove of couture, sumptuous service and the perfect spot for those wanting to enjoy the act of trying and buying clothes. If you linger in the Square you could find some specialist kitchenware at Dinghams. Chococo is a must for edible gifts, and we urge you to stop off for a hot chocolate whilst there. If you want pure vintage, climb up the hill to Stardust Years for authentic ladies fashion and accessories.
Remember, Winchester is so good at Christmas it has a website dedicated to it and you can download a handy guide here. We’ll be bringing you more seasonal tips throughout the month @Win_Guide. Enjoy, city folk, and we’ll see you next month for some new year’s resolutions!