Ahh Autumn! Some love it, some hate it, some love to hate it, but I think that we can all agree that autumn definitely brings lots of lovely things with it. Knitwear, pumpkin spice lattes, pretty coloured leaves and also a whole new season-load of fun things to do. As much as I love a summer’s day out to the beach, there’s always something really special about an autumn festival, bonfire night and the arrival of the Christmas Markets. I know some of you will be cringing at the mention of Christmas, however every year I wish I had been more organised with planning days out so that’s why I wanted to put this list together now! So that we can all be super organised autumn/winter queens and sail through these next few months gracefully. Who am I kidding? Graceful and organised are really not words I would use to describe myself – but like every year – I shall try my best!
So here it is – the definitive guide of what to do in Hampshire this autumn and winter. Wherever possible I have included a little blurb about the event from the event website or if not I have just given a brief overview of what to expect.
Pumpkin Picking at Pickwell Farm September & October
Open between 9am and 4.30pm, you can pick your own pumpkins at Pickwell Farm throughout September and October. Pumpkins are £2/£3 depending on size. They tend to run out before Halloween so don’t leave it too late! Here is my post about our time pumpkin picking at Pickwell Farm in 2017 (when I had a tiny Ernie pumpkin growing in my tummy!)
Sunnyfields Pumpkin Festival 5th, 6th, 12th, 13th & 19th – 31st October
Sunnyfields will be going pumpkin orange again! We have grown thousands of pumpkins for you to choose from: big ones, warty ones, white ones, blue ones, little munchkins and of course, lots of orange ones… So come down to the farm where you can pick your own pumpkin from The Pumpkin Patch (just like a farmer) or choose from a ready harvested display of 1,000s. You can then: Carve your pumpkin in our special carving area (£2.50 to carve) – Enjoy some great food from ‘The Pumpkin Café’ – Face painting – Tractor & trailer rides… & more. This is a family friendly event; with fancy dress costumes welcome as are friendly dogs on leads.
Winchester Harvest Festival Weekend 5th-6th October
A fun-packed weekend celebrating Harvest and exploring the current environmental issues facing farmers, Hampshire and the country as a whole. Enjoy farm animals, falconry displays, tractors, a Hampshire Fare market, and a Big Top marquee full of topical displays, speakers and organisations who are working towards a more sustainable future. Plenty of local food and drink will be available for all to enjoy.
Happy Halloween at Paultons Park 5th October – 4th November
Paultons will be festooned with thousands of pumpkins and straw hay bales to complete the eerie autumnal scene and there will be plenty of opportunities to meet and greet our spooky, but ever-so-friendly, characters, including Pickles the Pumpkin, at intervals around the park. Peppa Pig World will be transformed for this year’s fang-tastic festivities! Meet Peppa and George in their spooky outfits and enjoy lots of fun Peppa themed Halloween decorations. The Legend of Paultons Manor returns to the Show Stage this year and follows the exploits of the intrepid Spirit Squad as they track down the Creepy Gatekeeper so Pickles can throw the best Halloween party ever! With over 10,000 pumpkins, ghostly scenes, spooky meet and greets, a Freaky Fancy Dress competition, the thrilling Little Monsters Ball finale to finish each day and Paultons fun rides and attractions all included in the price! As the sun begins to set, the creepy themed fun continues with extra special late night opening until 7.30pm on Tuesday 29th and Thursday 31st October 2019.
Autumn Pumpkin Festival and Scarecrow Avenue at Royal Victoria Country Park 12th October
A charity festival to celebrate the very best of Autumnal treasures with the spotlight on Pumpkins and Scarecrows at Royal Victoria Country Park. Fun for all the family with Autumnal food, drink, music, dance, Big Draw art and flower arranging workshops, crafts, gardening advice and produce, storytelling, Pumpkin games, stalls and much much more.Bring your own Scarecrow for our Scarecrow Avenue. The biggest pumpkins in UK will be paraded, celebrated and serenaded trying to beat last year’s winning giant pumpkin. Small pumpkins are welcome too! Arrive early and stay all afternoon.The event will also see children’s activities, sports and games, circus skills and puppets, crafts, gifts, real ale and cider, local food and produce and much more.
Out Of This World Fireworks at Beaulieu 26th October
In association with Wave 105, be wowed by a spectacular fireworks display set to a top-secret playlist based on the theme, Out of this World, celebrating the 50th anniversary of the moon landing. Arrive early to enjoy the attractions of Beaulieu, enjoy live entertainment and have fun on old time fairground rides (extra charge applies). We’re all set to make this a firework party to remember! Explosive 25 minute firework display set to music based on the theme, Out of this World, traditional fairground rides and live entertainment.
Longdown Activity Farm – Frightful Fun on the Farm 26th – 31st October
Go to Longdown Activity Farm for some frightfully fun activities on the run up to Halloween; there’ll be lots of spooky stuff to see and do. Enter the Haunted Barn at your peril and have a go at carving your own pumpkin into a grimacing ghoul*. Any children that arrive in spooky fancy dress on Saturday 26th and Sunday 27th October (only) will be given entry at the reduced cost of £5.50 each (cannot be used in conjunction with any other offer). On Sunday 27th October (only) meet lots of creepy creatures like giant millipedes, snakes and lizards, and hold a barn with the brrrrilliant Creature Teachers! Don’t forget to visit our frightful face-painter* who will turn any angelic child into a fearsome creature. The usual schedule of farm activities will take place throughout each day.
Winchester Fireworks 9th November
Starting at 6pm on The Broadway by King Alfred’s Statue, the torchlit procession meanders its way through the historical streets of Winchester to the fields behind River Park. At 7.15pm, we light the huge Bonfire, and at 7.45pm there is our legendary Fireworks Spectacular. The event is not run for profit, all profits to go to the Winchester Round Table Charitable Trust Fund to help local people who really need it. Last year we raised over £50,000.
We go to the Winchester Fireworks every year, they’re amazing! We didn’t go last year as Ernie was so young but this year I want to try and take the kids.
Keydell’s Woodland Walk & Visit Santa 10th November – 24th December
You can see Santa arrive at Keydell Nurseries on 10th November in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang at 12pm, he will then be there until Christmas Eve. Children’s tickets to see Santa are £14.50 and accompanying adults are £3 which includes entrance to the Woodland Walk which is usually £3.50.
We went last year and loved it, you can read my review here. Even if you don’t think your little one would enjoy the Santa experience, the woodland walk is worth a visit alone!
Southampton German Market 15th November – 23rd December
Southampton Christmas Festival, on Above Bar pedestrian precinct, features a traditional German market with unique, individually designed alpine chalets with traditional German fayre, from bratwurst and waffles to gingerbread hearts and candied fruit. The market includes over 40 independent stallholders offering a range of hand-made, authentic gifts including wooden toys, clothing, jewellery as well as Christmas decorations. Don’t miss a huge highlight of the festival – the ‘Flying Santa’ who will take to the sky over the city centre each day. There are two Flying Santa shows Monday – Saturday at 5pm and 7pm, Sundays 4pm and 6pm (subject to weather conditions). After each of his performances Santa will visit the market and give sweets to all children at the huge Advent Calendar (provided they have been good!). The 2018 Southampton Christmas Festival will open with the ‘Countdown to Christmas’ outside the Marlands on Thursday 15 November with live entertainment (from 4pm) including music, show performances and stars from the Mayflower pantomime. The countdown happens at 6:30pm with the first flight of Santa at 7pm.
Bournemouth Christmas Tree Wonderland 15th November – 2nd January
The free trail is still being created for this years festival but here are the details for last years to give you and idea of what to expect.
Starting from Bournemouth Seafront a Christmas adventure full of delight awaits as Bournemouth’s Big Wheel becomes a spectacular illuminated beacon at the start of your captivating journey. Next to the Big Wheel, the grandeur of the Moscow Tree conjures up mesmerising visions of the cityscapes and forests. As you make your way towards Bournemouth’s stunning Lower Gardens, step into a fairy tale and watch the entrancing Tree of Light, with its story book quality, light up the night sky inspiring a Christmas wish or two. Let the captivating sight of the St Petersburg Tree shimmering with a blue glacial glow lead you into an enchanting walk through the Victorian gardens. Past Pavilion Dance and the Pavilion Theatre, follow the cluster of trees wrapped in glimmering lights that lead you to the Bethlehem Tree complete with its own nativity scene.Catch if you can the illuminated gingerbread people amongst the trees as they take you to one of Bournemouth’s earliest garden features, the Grade II listed Rockery, transformed into a luminous midwinter spectacle with 40 miniature trees and a waterfall of light. Up ahead you will see the replica of the spectacular Seattle Tree with its delicate bauble shapes which has delighted crowds across the world. Keeping to the right-hand path you can lose yourself in the Pine Tree Walk, as a canopy of cascading lights and the scent of Christmases past create a captivating walkway. As you emerge from the Pine Tree Walk and bear left in the distance you will see the blushing pink of the Warsaw Tree and the chance to get a closer look at the iconic Seattle Tree.
Winchester Cathedral Christmas Market 21st November – 22nd December
Winchester Cathedral’s Christmas Market is recognised as one of the best Christmas Markets in Europe because of its unique location, high quality exhibitors and bustling atmosphere. Wonderful Christmas gifts, decorations and festive foods can be found in abundance, with a delightful Food Court, British Crafts Village, and over 100 chalets to explore.
An Enchanted Christmas with the Flower Fairies at Mottisfont 23rd November – 5th January
Enjoy a magical Christmas at Mottisfont, with beautifully decorated rooms inspired by the Winter Flower Fairies. The exquisite original artwork by Cicely Mark Barker will be on show in the gallery, and families can enjoy a festive, fairy-themed trail out in the grounds. Normal admission charges apply and the trail is £1.
CinderELLA The Musical at The Nuffield City 23rd November – 5th January
A CinderELLA story… Cinders feels old before her time and Ella feels like she’s running out of time. Throw in the reopening of the Midnight Ballroom, a not so charming Prince and two nasty step-nieces and you’ve got yourself A CinderELLA story: The musical remix. Join Cinders and Ella this Christmas as they explore what it means to feel a little lost and find yourself again. CinderELLA is a magical fairytale extravaganza featuring step-nieces Ivanka and Melania, that even Love Island would reject, the hapless and hopelessly in love Daniel Deeni and the nice (but dim) Prince Tim. (Charming!) Recommended age 5+
Portsmouth Victorian Christmas Festival 29th November – 1st December
Travel back in time to a bygone era, where classic characters welcome you to a world of festive cheer, as you enjoy one of the south’s finest Christmas festivals. The Victorian Christmas Festival returns in 2019 from 29 November – 1 December 2019 from 10am – 6pm. Celebrate our 20th anniversary as you treat yourself to some well-earned retail therapy in our Christmas markets, meet Victorian street performers, a traditional green Father Christmas and so much more!
Finkley Down Farm Magical Christmas 1st December – 24th December
There is lots of magical fun to be had this Christmas at Finkley! Join us this December and the elves will take you on an adventure including yummy festive treats, creating magic reindeer food and of course meeting Father Christmas himself!
Santa at The Watercress Line 3rd, 4th, 10th, 11th, 17th-24th December
See Santa on a magical steam train ride on the scenic Watercress Line – the perfect way to start Christmas!
As you travel in a festive traditional train carriage Santa and his jolly helpers visit you in your seat with a special gift! There is white wine and mince pies for the grown-ups and soft drinks for the children. Don’t forget to bring your very best singing voice to join in with your favourite Christmas songs too!
Departing from either Alresford or Alton, Santa Specials are a one hour round trip back to your start point.
Victorian Christmas at Beaulieu 7th December – 1st January (weekends only)
Travel back in time and visit the Victorian Montagu family home this festive season. Visit us on 7 &8 December, 14 & 15 December and 21 December – 1 January to see what the Montagu family members would have been doing during the festive season of 1889. Sip a glass of warming mulled punch while you soak in the festive atmosphere of Palace House, with stunning decorations, welcoming log fires and a Christmas tree in each room – including a 22ft tree at the foot of the main staircase! There will be christmas crafts, Victorian cooking, carol singing, dressing up, mulled punch, ‘Find The Christmas Mice’ and Christmas gift shopping.
Breakfast with Santa at Harvester 7th – 24th December
Our Harvester elves have been busy pulling some strings and we’re pleased to announce that Santa will be joining us at Harvester for Christmas 2019! He’ll be taking a break from his Christmas preparations to visit you and your little ones for a delicious Kids cooked breakfast and a choice of Fruit Shoot or a fruit juice drink for just £5.99. Santa will be visiting our Harvester restaurants on the 7th, 8th, 14th, 15th, 21st, 22nd & 24th December. Check to see if Santa is coming to your local Harvester, and find out when, so you can and book your table today.
Staunton Country Park Christmas on the Farm 14th December
Receive a letter from Father Christmas in the post before your visit. On the day enjoy Elf led activities starting with decorating your own Christmas tree decoration, before heading down to our kitchens to decorate a Christmas biscuit. Then head to the Gothic Library to enjoy a story and hot chocolate. Finally walking down to see Father Christmas in his house to receive a wrapped gift. Each session will last between 90 and 120 minutes.
Peter Pan at The Mayflower 14th December – 5th January
The swashbuckling magic of Peter Pan swoops into Mayflower Theatre this festive season, in an unmissable, high-flying pantomime adventure that you and your Darlings will love.Peter Pan will be packed full of sensational flying effects, a boat-load of laughter and all the entertainment Mayflower audiences expect from the south coast’s biggest pantomime. Jump aboard the Jolly Roger and set sail for Neverland this Christmas, but be quick, with tickets selling fast the Croc is ticking… All ages welcome and is is a ‘relaxed performance’ with an interval.
Christmas at Paultons 23rd November – 23rd December
Christmas is a special time of the year at Paultons. There is a magical world of ice and illuminations – meet Santa in his magical Grotto and many of his animal friends along the way as they all get ready for Christmas Eve. Experience Peppa Pig World in a magical festive setting, enjoy selected rides and attractions across the Park and hear the amazing musical Christmas tree at the main entrance.
I hope this list gives you some inspiration for things to do over the coming months, if you do try out any of the events I’d love for you to tag me on Instagram so I can see! I’ll also almost certainly be adding to this list as more details for events become available so do keep checking back for more ideas.
I’d also love to hear what your favourite events are this season!