Considered England’s Christmas Capital, Winchester is a lively city that turns into a magical Christmas Winterland worth visiting. It owes its fame to the numerous festive activities taking place since mid-November when the Lights are switched on. On the grounds of a stunning Cathedral, one of the best Christmas markets of Europe is hosted, that attracts thousands of visitors and brings endless festive joy. Several other venues of the city, like the Marwell Zoo and The Science Center, also transform into enchanting places and promise to bring smiles in our little guests’ faces. Follow us to discover what the best markets and events are during this Christmas season in charming Winchester, UK.
1. Winchester Cathedral Christmas Market
With over 100 wooden chalet stalls selling top-quality one-off products, a stunning location between the majestic cathedral and the large ice rink, and a unique festive atmosphere, Winchester Christmas Market deserves to be called one of the best Christmas markets in Europe.
Stallholders are thoroughly selected to ensure high quality, while new traders are invited each year to keep the market fresh. A number of British craftsmen and independent traders make sure you will find the finest gifts and decorations, among them pretty jewelry, fabrics, and paintings. Naturally, food stalls are also in abundance here, so don`t forget to try sourdough toasties, mulled wine, mince pies, and stollen as well. Wheelchair accessibility is feasible in some parts of the market, and harder during busy weekends.
Winchester Cathedral Christmas Market
Address: Winchester Cathedral Inner Close Hampshire SO23 9LS
Dates: November 19 - December 22, 2021
Opening hours: Sun - Wed: 10am - 6:30pm; Thu - Sat: 10am - 8pm
2. Christmas at Marwell
An enchanting experience awaits kids with their families that will pay a visit to the lovely Marwell Zoo. For this Christmas, they have prepared a magical experience where the kids join some of Santa’s elves and have the time of their lives. Among the things they participate in, are Nordic Gnomes Hide and Seek, and of course, meeting Father Christmas in person. A social media competition will also take place, so be prepared to take many selfies with the cute little elves. The ticket for this Christmas experience also includes zoo entry.
Christmas at Marwell
Address: Marwell Wildlife, Thompsons Lane, Winchester, Hampshire SO21 1JH
Website: Christmas at Marwell
3. Christmas Ice Rink
Suitable for all ages, the Christmas Ice Rink is here one more year, ready to provide endless hours of entertainment to its guests. Located right in the heart of the Cathedral’s historic Inner Close (and also in the center of the Christmas market), the ice rink comes with two new features this year. Firstly, a Christmas tree right in the middle of the rink will make the skaters feel more cheerful, but also the Silent Disco facility, which basically provides skaters with headphones so they can dance to popular songs while skating. Different ticket prices apply.
Disclaimer: The Ice Rink is removed for the 2021 Holiday Season to provide space for the Winchester Christmas market, for social distancing.
Christmas Ice Rink
Address: Winchester Cathedral, The Close, Winchester, SO23 9LS
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4. Watercress Line - Santa Special
Take your little ones for the most magical ride of their life! The train journey lasts for an hour and is full of surprises for kids and adults alike. Children receive a gift from Santa himself and his happy helpers, and an activity pack to keep them entertained during the train ride, while they are offered a soft drink and a gingerbread man. Adults are offered white wine and mince pies. Traveling on the scenic Watercress Line is perhaps one of the best ways to celebrate Christmas.
Watercress Line - Santa Special
Website: Watercress Line
5. Christmas at Winchester Science Center
Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing
Visit the Winchester Science Center and Planetarium during Christmas time to experience an unforgettable fun-filled day out. A number of exciting events including films, tours, live shows, and other special events await its young visitors. Among the events are projections of favorite Christmas films, like Elf or Arthur Christmas, fascinating storytime with Santa for our little guests, a live show featuring Reindeer Round-up in Space, and last but not least, the much loved Santa and the Elves Christmas Experience, where a live science show and elf-led activities will spread happiness among the young audience.
Christmas at Winchester Science Center
Address: Winchester Science Centre & Planetarium, Telegraph Way, off Alresford Road, Winchester, SO21 1HZ
Opening hours: 9:20am - 5pm (on weekends and school holidays; closed on December 24 - 27)
Website: Winchester Science Center
Magical Christmas in Winchester
Feel the Christmas joy in every corner of the Christmas capital of England and create your very memorable holidays here in Winchester. Concerts, train rides, Santa meetups, elf workshops, Christmas movies, pretty ornaments, local delicacies, and many more are there for you to experience them this Christmas. There is still time to book a trip, so, Winchester for Christmas?
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