Things to do this Christmas in Bournemouth
PUBLISHED: 16:32 16 November 2017 | UPDATED: 14:53 02 January 2018
Bournemouth and its 'coastal villages' of Boscombe, Southbourne and Westbourne are really getting in to the festive vibe, as Andy Greeves discovers
There’s ice-skating in Bournemouth’s Lower Gardens and seasonal fare at the Alpine Market and Lodge until 4 January, and indoor ice skating is at Bournemouth International Centre (BIC) from 15 December to 17 February. Look out for the steam punk style Alternative Christmas Fayre at Metropole Street Market on 26 November at Lansdowne.
Bournemouth Pavilion’s Christmas pantomime is Jack and The Beanstalk (2 December - 1 January) and Bournemouth University Orchestra, Big Band and Musical Theatre Choir are hosting their Christmas Carol Concert in the ballroom of the Royal Bath Hotel on 3 December. Elsewhere, Arena Theatre performs Dickens’ A Christmas Carol against the Victorian backdrop of Russell-Cotes Art Gallery and Museum on 9 December, and the museum hosts its Christmas Fair on 9 – 10 December when the house is decked out in its full Victorian Christmas glory.
With a vast array of independent shops and boutiques, Southbourne is a top spot for Christmas shopping. Southbourne Grove is the main shopping area where you will find Nellie Mimosa which has its own branded candles and jewellery, and nearby Coastal Creatives stocks seaside-inspired gifts, jewellery and art work. Take a break from shopping by grabbing lunch at The Larder House where you can try one of James Fowler’s excellent cocktails. If a pint is more your style local Southbourne Ale is served at The Grove Tavern.
Christmas gets underway on 25 November, with the Southbourne Lights Switch On at 4.30pm. Festivities include traditional carols, mulled wine and a fundraising raffle as part of Christmas on the Green. The event also marks the opening of Santa’s Post Box where you can post your wish letters right up to Christmas Eve. Santa is in his Grotto on the Green on 2 & 16 December (10am - 3.30pm).
The build up to the big day continues with ‘Amazing Elves’ at Fisherman’s Walk between 11am and 3.30pm on 9 December, with giant elves, arts and crafts, storytelling, music and stalls. There’s also a Nativity Parade along Southbourne Grove on 23 December.
The Christmas Parade on 2 December includes the switching on of Boscombe’s lights and the launch of both the Traditional Festive Market and Santa’s Grotto. The Festive Market takes place every Thursday and Saturday until 1 January, and Santa will be in his Grotto until 23 December at the Sovereign Shopping Centre.
Situated on Beechwood Avenue, the 19th century Shelley Theatre is one of Bournemouth’s hidden gems. The venue’s programme of festive events includes Christmas Concerts featuring the Manor Singers (3 & 13 December) and the Dream Academy (3 December, and Scrooge from 15–24 December.
Westbourne is renowned for its excellent range of independent shops, and along with the Westbourne Arcade, its a great place to find that special Christmas gift.
In the charming Victorian arcade you’ll find Attico with its timeless and eclectic range of gifts, all so different to what you find on the High Street. And Fab Frocks on Seamoor Road is a one-stop party dress shop with over 400 evening, party and cocktail dresses to choose from.
There’s Friday Late-Night Shopping at all these stores and more across Westbourne on 1 December as the coastal village launches its Christmas festivities. Enjoy food and drink offers, free Christmas gift wrapping service, Victorian-themed entertainment and a window dressing competition. Organisers are also promising snow that evening!
Hattie Miles is leading Victorian-themed festive walks in Westbourne on 6 & 13 December, starting at 11am from Westbourne Arcade. Along the way, Hattie tells you about the famous people connected to the area and their Christmas stories. More at walkingtalks.wordpress.com. Visit facebook.com/westbourne for more local information.
Click here to see our full Dorset Christmas guide.