The Christmas lights are twinkling and the festive season has officially begun in Winchester! Here at 43 High Street, we’re serving up all sorts of festive treats, from seasonal hot chocolates and lattes to baked goodies full of Christmas flavours. From cinnamon buns to savoury pigs in blanket bakes, sage and onion sourdough and of course, mince pies, there is something to delight everyone on our counter over the coming weeks.
There’s also plenty to keep you entertained in the city this Christmas, so here’s our roundup of the best festive things to do in Winchester…
1. Winchester Cathedral Christmas Market
It’s not Christmas until you’ve wandered around the beautiful wooden chalets with a warming cup of hot chocolate or mulled wine in hand. Enjoy live performances from a variety of acts throughout the season whilst supporting small local businesses. Purchase unique gifts for loved ones or treat yourself to something special, and soak up the atmosphere of the festive season with the picturesque cathedral as the backdrop. A few of our favourite stalls this year include Laura Fisher, The Noble Bee, Marmalade Skies, Lord of the Bath, and From the Olive Tree, to name just a few!
The Christmas Market begins on Friday 17th November-Thursday 21st December 2023, and will be open 10am-6pm from Sunday-Thursday & 10am-8pm from Friday-Saturday.
2. Panto at The Theatre Royal
Get into the “he’s behind you!” spirit at The Theatre Royal this Christmas for a magical performance of Cinderella, starring Millicent Blair, Julian Eardley and Max Mirza. Suitable for the whole family and with relaxed performances, audio-described performances and touch tours, and British Sign Language interpreted performances, this year’s panto is a treat for all!
Performances take place from Thursday 30th November 2023-Monday 1st January 2024, and tickets start at £10.50.
3. Fairy Lights & Fizz at The Guildhall
Vineyards of Hampshire are once again joining forces for a festive evening of fizz tasting at Winchester’s Guildhall. Discover new wines, choose your preferred Hampshire fizz, mingle with the winemakers and place your order for the season’s celebrations! Sample wines from the Hampshire vineyards of Black Chalk, Danebury Vineyards, Exton Park, The Grange, Hambledon, Hattingley, Louis Pommery England and Raimes.
Fairy Lights & Fizz takes place on Thursday 23rd November 2023 from 6pm-9pm in the beautiful Bapsy Hall.
4. Winchester Cathedral Lantern Parade
The annual lantern parade is back this November, and this year’s theme is angels. Come together to celebrate Christmas with music, lanterns, and the Christmas Market. The parade begins at Winchester Cathedral and winds its way through Winchester, lighting the way back to the cathedral where the Dean of Winchester, Catherine Ogle, will judge all the lanterns and pick her three favourites to win a prize!
Attendees are encourages to create their own lantern, reusing and recycling items which would otherwise have gone in the bin. Please only use battery operated candles inside your lanterns! The lantern parade is a lovely, colourful and magical event for the whole family to enjoy, whether you’re bringing a homemade lantern or simply joining for the spectacle.
Proceedings begin at 5pm on Friday 24th November, with parade participants gathering in the cathedral.
If you are planning to participate, you can register your interest here.
5. Cosmic Christmas at Winchester Science Centre & Planetarium
The North Pole has come to Winchester this Christmas! Experience an immersive theatrical show, full of science, magical effects and an out-of-this-world journey through space as Santa tells a tale of cosmic adventure. Expect audience participation and be wowed by magical immersive effects. Following the performance, the opportunity to meet Santa, receive a special Christmas gift and take photos with him.
Make memories this Christmas that will propel you to the stars and back!
6. Glow at Marwell
Experience a sparkling nature trail at Marwell Zoo this winter at Glow, featuring brand new illuminations and immersive displays full of rainbow colours and over 500,000 lights. Venture through a 36 metre multicoloured light tunnel, gaze in wonder at a towering Enchanted Tree with fluttering butterflies, wander through colourful clouds projected overhead and meet some new creatures brought to life in a magical Glow Forest.
The event takes place on selected dates between Friday 24th November to Saturday 30th December, from 4pm-8pm, and includes free access to the zoo on the day of your visit from 1pm. Tickets must be booked in advance.
7. Steam Illuminations at The Watercress Line
Tis year, The Watercress Line will be putting on a memorable light show on and in a steam train. Embark on a round-trip journey from either Arlesford or Alton train station, sing along to Christmas hits from the 60s to now and get into the festive spirit as thousands of LED lights and wristbands create a kaleidoscope of colours and flashing patterns! The journey lasts approximately 1 hour 45 minutes, and takes place on selected dates from 24th November 2023-6th January 2024.
Of course, Winchester High Street has plenty to offer for all your Christmas shopping needs, and when you’re all shopped out, come and find us by the Buttercross! The Winchester Bakery team will be ready to welcome you with tasty seasonal hot drinks and festive baked treats. Head upstairs to our cosy and relaxing first floor seating area to enjoy… If you’re lucky you’ll get the seat overlooking the high street’s Christmas tree!