7 Days of Christmas Activities in Winchester for the family.
Christmas in Winchester kicks off around 17th November when the Christmas Market opens. Most places follow suit and get there Christmas activities all geared up until around 23rd December. If you can’t make Winchester this year, book your Christmas holiday accommodation for 2019 today to secure your best dates.
Day 1 – Settle In
Arrive into Winchester in the early afternoon and head to your property. After travelling and settling the children in to their new bedrooms tiredness will overcome and a chilled evening will be on the cards. After a cup of tea and unpacking your bags head into Winchester city centre for some dinner. Here are our top recommended chain restaurants that are great for kids and easy on the bank balance. This evening is great to start getting your bearings then an early night.
Day 2 – Cathedral & Christmas Market
Enjoy a lie and start a later day. You may want to schedule in a trip to the supermarket to stock up on breakfast items and snacks. Sainsburys, Tesco Express and Iceland are all in close vicinity of Winchester Cathedral. By this time you should have basic knowledge of the city centre and you may have come across the Christmas Market at the Cathedral. This is the perfect first day activity balancing some history, architecture and a fun Christmas activity.
Winchester Cathedral is open 9.30am to 5pm and costs £8.50 per adult, free for under 16’s. Be sure to take the Twilight Tower Tour that takes you to the top of the tower where the views over the Christmas Market and Ice rink are spectacular.
After your Cathedral tour head down to the Christmas market for a mince pie and some hot chocolates as the children may be getting peckish. A lovely family activity to do is the Christmas Ice Rink with skating penguin friends for those who struggle on two blades. This activity will certainly get the whole family laughing and hopefully no injuries from Dad showing off.
Day 3 – Christmas at Marwell Zoo
This is a full days activity and a great one for the children. Start with a big breakfast and pack some snacks and drinks for the day. Marwell Zoo holds an enchanted world of Christmas magic with elves, story tellers and of course Father Christmas!
The Christmas experience lasts 60 – 80 minutes, start by enjoying some festive refreshments and then visit Mother Christmas in Pirate Cove and listen to stories from Neverland – inspired by Peter Pan. Next, create your own Christmas present bag in the elves workshop and finally meet Father Christmas and receive a special gift before posing for a professionally taken family photo.
The cost of the ticket to the Christmas experience includes access to the zoo, which has giraffes, penguins, tigers, meerkats, rhinos, hippos, cheetahs, snow leopards, tropical animals and lots of fun adventure playgrounds. Read our Marwell Zoo article here for our top tips when visiting.
When you get back to your cosy accommodation you may not feel like heading out again so perhaps a takeaway will be a popular choice with family. Deliveroo operates in Winchester so you can order anything from a pizza in Zizzis to noodles from Wagamamas.
Day 4 – Christmas Shopping
After a long day at Marwell zoo it may be time to focus on something for Mum. Winchester has an abundance of high street shops and quirky boutiques meaning it is an ideal city to get some Christmas shopping done. Send Dad and the children to Winchester Science Park where there are plenty of exciting engaging activities and a Christmas Jack and The Bean Stalk Show. It is also only a short walk from the city centre.
For Mum, it’s some relaxation time and also an opportunity to fit in some Christmas shopping for friends, family and the children. The Brookes Shopping Centre has lots of high street retailers who have a great selection of gift ideas for friends and colleagues. For someone closer such as your mother or sister head to Parchment Street to see the local independent artists and pick up something completely unique. For a gin lover head to Blend Academy to see their array of local gins or even blend your own!
Once the children and Dad have caught up and returned very excited from a day at the discovery centre catch up over a mouth-watering coffee at Coffee Lab.
If you still have energy head back to the Christmas Market at the Cathedral for a German Bratwurst and a hot chocolate.
Day 5 – Christmas at Paultons Park
Another activity filled day ahead at Paultons Park for the children. Along with all the fantastic rides and themed worlds, Paultons Park is putting on one amazing Christmas show! Meet Father Christmas in his magical grotto and many of his adorable animals surrounded by twinkling lights and Christmas music. All children receive a gift, a festive treat and hot punch for the parents.
Peppa Pig World will be transformed with twinkling illuminations, festive music and giant Christmas trees. Santa in his sleigh with the reindeer from the series can also be seen and you can also meet Peppa Pig and George in their winter coats. A spectacular musical Christmas tree stands in the entrance plaza and performs a festive song & light show every 15 minutes. Top tip, head to Peppa Pig World towards the end of the day to see the lights in full glow.
And if that wasn’t enough Christmas, meet Frosty, Rudolph and two cheeky elves in a Festive Family Show at the Show Stage. Festive performances with live singing, dancing and a sprinkle of snow!
It may be another Deliveroo evening after a day at Paultons Park!
Day 6 – Santa Special at The Watercress Line
Steam trains have such an enchanting, fantasy feel to them so when the Watercress Line is dressed up and putting on their Christmas show you will feel like you are in another world.
This activity is great for mid morning so you won’t feel rushed to get up and out the door quick. Head to the Watercress Line for their Santa Special train rides. Travel in a festive train carriage for a magical trip where Santa and his jolly helpers visit you in your seat with a gift. Grown-ups get treated to white wine and mince pies, whilst children enjoy a soft drink and a gingerbread man. Each child will also receive an activity pack to keep them entertained on this enchanting one hour journey. Don’t forget to bring your very best singing voice to join in with your favourite Christmas songs too!
On your last day treat yourself to a lovely Christmas evening meal at The Old Vine in the centre of Winchester. Just a moments stroll from the Cathedral you can then get your final Christmas market fix.
Day 7 – Home time
On your final day pack your bags with all your exciting new gifts and have a hearty breakfast ready for home time. Depart your property in the morning by the specified time. If you are deciding to travel later and have an afternoon in Winchester then head into the city centre for a final coffee and slice of cake from an independent cafe, soaking up the last of the Christmas vibes. Unfortunately there is nowhere in Winchester to store luggage so we strongly advise keeping your bags on you until you are ready to depart.
No. 18 Culver Road is in the heart of Winchester and goes beyond the holiday necessities. This property boasts characteristics that come with luxury; an open fire place for cosy evenings, a garden room for afternoon tea and even a cloak room so you can truly feel at home kicking off your shoes and hanging up your jacket as you step through the entrance. With 3 bedrooms this property can comfortably sleep 5 guests plus an extra 2 on the sofa beds. It’s the perfect family home and just a 6 minute walk to the Cathedral and Christmas market.