Have your Christmas decorations been up for weeks all ready? Or do you prefer to wait until the last minute to embrace the festive feel? Well, whether you’re raring to go and ready to embrace all the twinkling lights and tinsel, or just mulling over a few festive things to do closer to the time, here are some special things happening in Dorset this year.
Bournemouth's Christmas Tree Wonderland
This free festive trail is absolutely glorious but it’s not just about the illuminations! With an ice rink, alpine bar, outdoor market and street entertainment you could make this into a full festive day out! The light trail starts at the seafront and carries on all the way through Bournemouth’s famous Square, Triangle, Horseshoe Common and up to Lansdowne roundabout! With themed replica trees from around the world, a giant bauble and cuddly polar bears there is tonnes to see, but the centre piece is the 60ft walk-through tree in the lower gardens.
Nutley Farm's Lights and Reindeer Experience
Nutley farm, located in the Dorset Purbecks offers gorgeous accommodation for those seeking a South Coast getaway year-round. And at Christmas time they put on the most magical lights and reindeer experience. With a 600m illuminated walkway, glittering archways, twinkling trees and light installations this is the perfect place to kick start the festive spirit into action. You’ll be able to meet Santa and his reindeer, and see if you can spot the elves! Keep warm with mulled wine, cider and hot chocolate in the festive barn and you can even toast marshmallows on the firepit! What’s more, all funds go to the Somerset and Dorset Air Ambulance.
Kingston Lacey's Light Trail
Located just a 15 minute drive from Dorset Tea HQ is the fabulous Kingston Lacey – an impressive house and estate owned by the National Trust. Every year at Christmas time this 17th century property and its stunning formal gardens are transformed to create the most magical after-dark illuminated trail. With sparkling tunnels of light, flickering flames in the fire garden and maybe even a visit from the big man himself, a visit to Kingston lacey is sure to amaze all visitors whatever your age. With spiced winter warmers on offer and decadent cups of hot chocolate you’ll be able to keep the chill at bay as your explore.
Poole Harbour Christmas Cruises
Whether you are looking for a Father Christmas visit with a twist for little ones, or a grown-up party then take a look at Poole’s City Cruise experiences. Throughout December you can hop abord the boat moored at Poole Quay and enjoy an hour cruise around Brownsea Island, Poole Harbour and the Sandbanks Peninsula. Children will be excited to see Santa walking around and handing out gifts, while adults can sit back and relax with a glass of mulled wine.
Or, to get into the party spirit, book you and your friends a place on the Christmas Party Cruise! During your three-hour cruise you will enjoy mulled wine, a 2-course meal and disco with dancing! All while enjoy a twilight tour of some of Dorset’s prettiest coastline!
Stewart’s Garden Centre, Christchurch
Real life reindeer – tick. Giant singing snowman – tick. Tonnes of Christmas decs – tick! All of this is found under one roof at Stewart’s! If you have little ones in tow, they will love exploring the Christmas area and you don’t even need to buy tickets to go and see the reindeer (although there is the option if you want to see Santa). Simply head to the back of the store (past all the Christmas trees) and you’ll reach them! The great thing is that you can also get some CHrotmas shopping doen and it’s not just about plants – they have loads of local products, including a great selection of Dorset Tea. So if you want to feel festive and buy some Dorset gifts, this is the place for you!
Walford Mill Christmas Market, Wimborne
Walford Mill is a wonderful mecca for local Dorset arts and crafts. With year-round exhibitions and workshops it’s the perfect place to go and see some truly talented people in their own creative space. The Mill has a Christmas selling exhibition on for the whole month featuring works by designers and artists from around the region. And on the 17th December, they are holding a special twilight Christmas market with live music, twinkling lights and lots of Christmas gifts from local independent makers. Santa will even be there, so it’s perfect if you’re after a festive family outing! Happyccino, a family run coffee and brunch bar located at the Mill will be open and serving festive hot drinks and food (including a selection of Dorset Tea).
Christchurch Living Advent Calendar
For something a bit different this year, take a look at the Christchurch Living Advent Calendar! Festive surprise performances are being held at different locations every evening in December at 6.15pm. Organised by the Christchurch Rotary Club the event aims to showcase local talent and great work being undertaken by charities and businesses locally. Entertainment may include dance troupes, choirs, bands, singers and theatrical performances! They’re all are free but organisers would love it if donations were made on the night (each day a different charity is being supported – you can view the list here).
Swanage Railway Steam & Lights
While on the pricier side, this Christmas experience will be a real treat for all ages. Setting off from Swanage railway, the steam train journeys through the Isle of Purbeck countryside for an hour, passing stations and key sites along the way that are all specially lit as the train passes by in the dark! The historic ruins of Corfe Castle are a highlight as is the official ‘switch on’ of the locomotive lights before passengers board!
We’d love to see your Christmassy photos if you are out and about in Dorset getting into the festive spirit. Tag us on Instagram (@dorsetteauk) or Twitter (@dorset-tea) and let us know what you are up to. Follow us on Instagram too and keep an eye out for our Christmas giveaway, coming soon!