Charles Dickens’ Birthplace Museum in the waterfront city of Portsmouth will be celebrating the 175th anniversary of the publication of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol with a one-day special opening on 19 December. Normally closed through the winter months, the museum will be giving out a limited number of free copies of the iconic book on a first come, first served basis. When Charles Dickens was born in this modest house in Portsmouth, on 7 February 1812, Britain’s Navy was still at war with Napoleonic France and Charles’s father was a clerk in the Navy Pay Office, renting the house as the first home of the young couple’s married life in the summer of 1809. www.charlesdickensbirthplace.co.uk
Visitors will be able to travel back in time to a bygone era of snowy Dickensian streets at the Dickens Christmas Festival at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard. Browse the Christmas markets, including the Hampshire Makers market offering a celebration of local handmade talent. The festival will feature Dickensian street performers, a traditional green Father Christmas and more. Entry to the event includes admission to the historic ships and museums within the dockyard. 30 November to 2 December, daily from 10am – 6pm. From £15 children to £17 adults www.historicdockyard.co.uk
Ice Skate Portsmouth will be a huge 646 square metre, real ice, rink big enough for 215 skaters per session. The rink is set in the heart of Portsmouth in front of the beautiful Guildhall. The cosy Moguls Alpine Cafe Bar will be open to skaters and non skaters and offering warming mulled wine, themed steins of beer and shot flights. Open daily. 17 November – 6 January. From £8.50 children to £10 adults www.iceskateportsmouth.co.uk
Visitors will be able to travel to the North Pole with the Gunwharf Express, a premium indoor immersive walkthrough (and ride on) Christmas experience for the whole family, featuring entertaining characters, stunning sets, professionally designed effects, and classic puppetry. A magical simulated ride through snow-capped mountains and stunning icy scenery will arrive at the North Pole to meet Santa’s cheeky talking reindeer. There will also be festive stories and songs at the Elves Workshop, a Christmas decoration workshop and, of course, Father Christmas with a gift for each child. Selected days and times, pre-booking required. 24 November to 24 December. From adults £11.99 to Children £14.99 – includes a quality gift. www.gunwharf-Quayss.com
This Christmas, Santa Claus will be setting up his Toymakers Workshop at Emirates Spinnaker Tower. Santa’s elves will be adding the finishing touches to their latest batch of cuddly bears. Each child will name a bear, fill it with stuffing and place a magic charm inside before carefully sealing it up to take home. Once their bear is finished, children will be able to visit Father Christmas in his grotto. 1 and 2, 8 and 9, 15 and 16, 21, 22, 23 and 24 December. From £10 – £15 per child. Advanced booking is highly recommended. www.spinnakertower.co.uk
King Henry’s Christmas Court at The Mary Rose invites visitors to experience Christmas traditions from the Royal Tudor Court where there will be dancing, merrymaking, magic, music and an audience with the King. Characters from Henry’s court, jesters, courtiers, musicians and ladies-in-waiting, will be in attendance throughout the museum. 8 and 9, 15 and 16, 29 and 30 December. For prices visit https://maryrose.org
The fifth annual Portsmouth Beer Festival at the Guildhall offers Christmas Sessions bringing together dozens and dozens of cask and craft beers plus many other drinks to indulge in over the holidays in a celebration of great beers and entertainment. 21 and 22 December. Tickets £12.25 www.portsmouthbeerfestival.wordpress.com
LIVE SEASONAL ENTERTAINMENT
Cinderella, Kings Theatre, 11 December to 6 January: www.kingsportsmouth.co.uk.
Peter Pan, New Theatre Royal 13 to 31 December: www.newtheatreroyal.com.
Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra Last Night of the Christmas Proms
Portsmouth Guildhall 20 December: www.portsmouthguildhall.org.uk
Sleeping Beauty, Portsmouth Guildhall 27 to 28 December. Portsmouth Guildhall, 20 December: www.portsmouthguildhall.org.uk
Cinderella, Groundlings Theatre 1 December to 6 January: www.groundlings.co.uk.
Robin Hood and The Babes in the Woods, Pyramids 26 to 31 December: www.pyramids-live.co.uk.
Christmas Shopping at over 90 brands at outlet prices at Gunwharf Quays. Late night shopping will be available until 8pm Monday to Saturday and until 9pm on Thursday, 6, 13 and 20 December.
For more inspiration visit www.visitportsmouth.co.uk.