So, you’re stuffed full of turkey and mince pies, you’ve watched every Christmas film worth watching and now you’re wondering what to do in those funny few days between Christmas and New Year. Am I right? Well here’s my list of things to do around Southampton once Christmas Day has been and gone.
Watch a family pantomime or festive theatre show in Southampton
There are plenty of theatres to visit in Southampton and surrounding areas, with loads of festive family theatre shows to choose from. If you fancy a traditional panto, Dick Whittington is this year’s Mayflower Theatre pantomime, starring soap legend Steve McFadden! Elsewhere around Hampshire, there’s Beauty and the Beast at Theatre Royal Winchester, Peter Pan at New Theatre Royal Portsmouth, while Cinderella is this year’s pantomime in Fareham.
If you have really young kids who might not appreciate watching Phil Mitchell as the evil King Rat quite as much as you do, then perhaps a show aimed at younger audiences would be ideal. Dumbshow and Nuffield Southampton Theatres will be telling the story of Humbug the Hedgehog this Christmas at NST City, which is perfect for 2-5 year olds. Over in Hedge End, Stuff and Nonsense are returning to The Berry Theatre with their exciting new Christmas show, Puppet Panto. For something fun but not too festive, try Billionaire Boy at NST City.
Go ice skating in Southampton
What could be more fun than whizzing across the ice at a festive outdoor ice rink? (Actually, I can think of plenty of things, but that’s probably because I’m a terrible skater!)
I’m what they call a Klingon ice skater, clinging on to the sides of the rink for dear life. If only they let adults have a go on those penguin skate aids, I’d be well away! If you’re braver than me, take the family along to Southampton Ice Rink, located outside WestQuay, or head over to Winchester for a more picturesque skating experience right by the Cathedral.
Enjoy a festive family trail in Southampton
I don’t know about you, but I can’t stand being stuck indoors over the holidays. Soft play? No thanks! I’d much prefer to get out and about in the fresh air (and walk off some of those Christmas chocs!)
The local country parks in Hampshire, as well as National Trust properties and gardens, always have some lovely family trails to enjoy in the school holidays. Itchen Valley Country Park is one of our favourites, along with Lepe Country Park and Hillier Gardens. Mottisfont have a festive trail and the house will bring the poem of ‘The Night Before Christmas’ to life, while The Vyne also have a festive trail around the grounds; both are definitely worth a visit, especially if you’re already a National Trust member.
Try something a little bit educational this Christmas
See what Christmas was like in days gone by! Discover what the Montagu family members would have been doing during the festive season of 1889, at Beaulieu, or learn about the life of a soldier at Christmas, over at Fort Nelson in Fareham. Just north of Winchester, you can experience the atmosphere of a WWII Christmas on the Watercress Line. If you’re all Christmassed-out, how about a trip to Winchester Science Centre where they’ll be exploring the effects of Fantastic Forces.
If the little ones are (somehow) already bored of their Christmas presents and complaining they have absolutely nothing to do during those last (long) few days of the Christmas hols, get them to sign up for the Winter Reading Challenge. To join in, all they need to do is read three books of their choice during the holidays, then leave a short review on the Reading Challenge site. If they take part at a participating library they can even collect stickers and earn a certificate.
Finally, if you’re trying to save the pennies and the weather is sh..ocking, there’s always the cheap and cheery cinema mornings; ODEON Kids screenings in Southampton, Harbour Lights Kids Club in Southampton, or VUE Mini Mornings in Eastleigh.