Winter in Hampshire

Winter Breaks and Festive Events in Hampshire


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Winter in Hampshire is a magical time of year. From Christmas celebrations and festive ice rinks to the best indoor attractions and the cosiest of pubs and hotels: there’s so much waiting for you to discover. 

Throughout the winter we will share with you the very best things you can do in Hampshire.  Don’t let the dark nights and weary weather stop you from escaping for a day out or a short break in Hampshire. 

Read on to discover our ultimate guide to your trip to Hampshire  

Winchester Cathedral Christmas Market

Christmas Events in Hampshire 

Christmas in Southampton  
Experience Southampton's ice rink at West Quay with skating sessions daily throughout the festive season and follow-up with a drink in the Après Bar.

Pop into West Quay shopping centre for any last-minute presents. It enjoys extended opening hours around Christmas time.

Christmas in Portsmouth  
Portsmouth On Ice pops-up outside Portsmouth Guildhall from the end of November to the beginning of January. This covered ice rink is perfect for a festive skate with family and friends whatever the weather. For Christmas shopping head down to Gunwharf Quays home to over 90 premium retail outlet stores, you can find gifts for the whole family and friends!  

Christmas in Winchester  
Winchester is known as 'England's Christmas Capital' and the city comes alive from November with an exciting array of events taking place in the city centre. From the stunning lantern parade, to the famous Christmas Market at Winchester Cathedral, there is lots to entertain the family. Other highlights include special festive walks around the city, Christmas shopping in a number of boutique and independent shops and soaking up the pretty decorations and Christmas tree which run down the High Street.   

Visit the Watercress Line this Christmas on the outskirts of Winchester, near the town of Alresford, for the Steam Illuminations. Or visit nearby Glow Christmas at Marwell Zoo for an immersive light extravaganza that will see the zoo's majestic grounds turned into a twinkling wonderland full of fairy lights, magic, and delight.

Take a look at all Christmas events in Hampshire here 

Glow Marwell

Winter illumination displays in Hampshire

Discover light-up magic in Hampshire this winter with after-dark illumination trails and light show extravaganzas. See millions of twinkling lights and hear seasonal sounds fill the air with full immersive festive fun.

Read our guide to light shows happening in Hampshire this winter

Winchester Science Centre Christmas

The best places to see Father Christmas in Hampshire

Santa Claus is coming to towns across Hampshire with so many festive days out to look forward to and plenty of merry opportunities to meet the man himself.

Take your little ones on a magical day out to see Father Christmas in Hampshire. Help Santa deliver Christmas presents to astronauts in space, spot him on the Beaulieu River, see his enchanting owls flying in the winter skies, or become an honorary elf in his toy workshop.

See our ultimate guide to the top places to see Santa in Hampshire this Christmas

Chawton House in Winter

Winter Walks in Hampshire

Gather the family, wrap up warm and don your walking boots for a Christmas walk. We have put our own fun little twist on the 'The Twelve Days of Christmas' song to bring you 'The Twelve Walks of Christmas'. 

See our guide to Christmas walks in Hampshire - 'The Twelve Walks of Chritsmas' 

See our guide to Walking and Hiking in Hampshire

Paultons Park at Christmas

Hampshire’s best attractions to visit in Winter

Hampshire's top family attractions have a great range of Christmas activities for all the family over the holiday period. From festive activities at Paultons Park and the Steam Illumination at the Watercress Line - you'll certainly not be short of things to do!  

See our guide to the top family attractions in Hampshire 

Winchester Christmas Market

Christmas Markets 

For Christmas shopping, Hampshire has you covered with Christmas markets taking place across the county.  The perfect place to pick up unique presents from independent artisans and sellers and to feel festive with a mulled wine and some delicious local food.

Hampshire Farmers' Markets give you the perfect chance to buy fresh, local, seasonal produce in time for Christmas Day. From delicious meat to mature cheese, fruity wine and homemade gifts, there's lots to whet the appetite. 

Search for markets in Hampshire

Dog in the New Forest

Dog-friendly parks, pubs and places to visit  

Did you know that Hampshire is home to a bowl full of dog-friendly parks, pubs and places to stay!  

Find out more about dog friendly places in Hampshire 

See all dog friendly accommodation in Hampshire 

Hotels in Hampshire

Cosy Accommodation

Make your visit to Hampshire a little longer over the festive season and stay at one of Hampshire's hotels. Book a weekend for Christmas shopping, a few days away with friends and family to enjoy some of Hampshire's festive events or a pre Christmas spa break to unwind before the festive season fully kicks in.  

If you are looking to getaway over the Christmas period and not have to cook, a number of Hampshire's hotels are offering Christmas Day and Boxing Day packages. 

See guide to Hotels in Hampshire 

Hampshire's self-catering properties and holiday cottages are perfect for those who are looking to spend Christmas away from home. Whether thats alone or with the whole family Hampshire has accommodation to cater for all group sizes.   

See guide to self-catering properties in Hampshire 

See guide to holiday cottages in Hampshire 

See guide to places to stay over the Christmas and New Year holidays in Hampshire

Spa Break in Hampshire

Spa Breaks

Take a moment for yourself with your family and friends in the lead up to the festive season and head to Hampshire for a luxury spa break. With spas scattered across the county in both city, coast and countryside locations you will be sure to unwind from everyday life and Christmas shopping!  

See all Spa Breaks and Luxury Retreats here 

Getting to Hampshire this Winter

Hampshire is very accessible, below are a sample average journey times by car:

Travel times by car to Hampshire

Getting Around Hampshire

By Road 
Hampshire is the perfect place for an autumn break, plus its easy to get here by road with quick access to the M3, M27 and A3. 

New Forest: 1hr 45 from London 
South Downs: 1hr from London 

By Rail 
With an extensive rail network across Hampshire getting here by train couldn't be easier.  

Best trains stations for New Forest 
Brockenhurst: 1hr 30 from London Waterloo 
New Milton: 1hr 40 from London Waterloo 
Beaulieu Road: 1hr 40 from London Waterloo 

Best train stations for South Downs 
Winchester: 1hr from London Waterloo 
Alton: 1hr 10 from London Waterloo 
Petersfield: 1 hr from London 

Hampshire has an excellent road network linking our villages, towns, cities, attractions and places to stay. Why not upgrade your driving experience and choose to hire a car with Sixt. Sixt car hire offers premium and luxury rentals to suit all requirements and budgets. Click here to find out more and how you can save up to 15% on your booking.

Map of Hampshire showing key roads, towns and cities

Below is an example of journey times by car betweet our cities and towns. 

Table showing travel times in the county

For more information on getting to and travelling around Hampshire please see our travel information page.  

Don’t forget to tag us in your wonderful winter photos of Hampshire on Instagram by using #VisitHampshire for a chance to be featured on our feed!