Christmas lights, festivals, shows and Santa-attended events happening in Bournemouth Christchurch and Poole.

Great British Life: Giant reindeer on the Christmas Tree Wonderland trail in Bournemouth. (Photo: BCP)Giant reindeer on the Christmas Tree Wonderland trail in Bournemouth. (Photo: BCP)

Christmas 2023 in Bournemouth

Christmas Tree Wonderland

Visitors to the Lower Gardens will be greeted with a new light tunnel. Other new additions to this free festive trail include projections around the Gardens, a lantern archway, flashing light stems, and a new walk-through Christmas present. These will be joined by old favourites such as the Seattle and Kyiv trees, the Bethlehem scene, ceiling of light, giant reindeer and Santa. Runs November 17 – January 1.

Skate under the Stars

The Alpine Market and Alpine Bar are at Bournemouth Square from November 17 with quaint chalets serving Christmas treats, stocking fillers, handmade gifts and local produce, the market is a great place for a spot of Christmas shopping or a hot chocolate or glühwein. SKATE ice-rink (Nov 16 - Jan 3/pre-book at offers a real ice-skating experience in the Lower Gardens.

Christmas on Bournemouth Pier

Key West on Bournemouth Pier is transformed into a Winter Wonderland with lots of festive fun activities includes Letters to Santa which you can post into a special post box, festive food and drink, Drop N Go at Rock Reef, so parents can do the Christmas shopping while their children play and Breakfast with Santa on December 9, 16, 17 & 23.

Christmas Market

The Littledown Centre, Chaseside is one of Dorset’s largest indoor Christmas markets. Browse stalls of handmade artisan gifts made by talented crafters, jewellery, fused glass, local preserves, award-winning fudge, seasonal cakes and cheeses as well as Christmas decorations, Christmas cards, wrapping paper, wreaths, and hampers. Sing People Sing provide the carols, Giggles and Dizzy the cheeky elves the entertainment. November 23 11am –4pm

Panto at the Pavilion

After the Band of the Royal Marines have got toes tapping with their Christmas Spectacular on November 23, heigh-ho, heigh-ho it’s off to Bournemouth Pavilion's panto we go which is Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (December 2 – 31) starring Su Pollard as the Wicked Queen, with comedian Noel Brodie as Muddles the jester and panto Dame extraordinaire Jamie Steen as Nursie.

Great British Life: That'll Be The Day channel Christmas songs at the BIC. (Photo: BIC)That'll Be The Day channel Christmas songs at the BIC. (Photo: BIC)

Festive Showtime at the BIC 

Leona Lewis sings Christmas classics in Christmas with Love (Dec 8). Elf, the hit Hollywood blockbuster movie has been supersized into a live arena Christmas spectacular and features a mobile stage that travels the auditorium (Dec15-16). That’ll Be The Day: Christmas Show (Dec 17), takes you on a nostalgic sleigh ride through the golden age of rock ‘n’ roll and pop.

Cool Coast Ice Rink 

Enjoy the largest indoor ice-skating rink on the South Coast, which is seasonally located at the Bournemouth International Centre in the Purbeck Hall. (Dec 9 - Feb 18). A great option when the weather isn’t so good, sessions run from 9am to 8.45pm (times vary) seven days a week, skate hire available. Each session, which must be pre-booked, is an hour long.

A Victorian Christmas

Russell-Cotes Art Gallery & Museum’s Victorian-themed Christmas decorations are up from November 21, with Christmas afternoon teas available to book from then. Victorian Christmas Weekend is held over December 2- 3. Father Christmas is in residence on December 6, 9 and 10 (bookable). And there’s Candlelight Night (December 14 & 21/5pm – 8 pm) when you can enjoy the decorations by candlelight.

Dance into Christmas

Pavilion Dance South West has a Frozen Dance Workshop (Dec 2 at 9.30am), suitable for aged 5+, dress as your favourite character, learn some dance moves, then stay for the Frozen Sing-A-Long at 10.30am. Claire Benson and Olivia Quayle invite you on their groovy Advent Adventure (December 16 – 18/ 11am & 2pm) suitable aged 3yrs+ and their families.

Great British Life: Martime themed Christmas lights in Poole. (Photo: Andy Beeson-Brackstone)Martime themed Christmas lights in Poole. (Photo: Andy Beeson-Brackstone)

Christmas 2023 in Poole

Poole Christmas Maritime Light Trail 

This free festive light show (Nov 25 – Jan 2) features an array of maritime themed decorations in a nod to the town's heritage. New this year is the two-metre gold Poole lettering shining brightly on the Quay, and one of the illuminated trees on the High Street, which is decorated with icicles, enables bystanders to control the colours and animations by downloading an app. Enjoy favourites like the five-metre-tall ship, recycling whale, giant illuminated anchor and gold walk through bauble.

Christmas at Upton Park

Get started on your Christmas shopping and explore the ground floor of the 200-year-old Upton House at their Christmas Craft Fair (Nov 25-26) where you can browse local artisans and craft stalls as well as soak up the festive atmosphere with performances from local choirs throughout the day. There are also the very popular Christmas Wreath Making Workshops with Wild Roots on December 1 and 2 book now at

Fairytales in the Woods

A Fairytale Christmas is the theme of this year’s family-friendly Woodland Trail at Upton Country Park (various dates from Dec 9 – Jan 1), purchase your Woodland Trail sheet at the Welcome Centre and search for magical fairytale characters, then head to the Christmas Tree Finale near the Tea Rooms to claim your Christmas present prize.

Meet Santa Paws

A Santa experience with a difference, this one is for dogs! Bring your furry friend to meet Santa Paws who will be in the Upton Country Park kennels, located near the Tea Rooms (Dec 13-14). This is your chance to have a photo with Santa Paws and for your dog to receive a festive Bonio. Pre-booking required

Set Sail with Santa

City Cruises offer festive sailings from Poole. Christmas Lights Cruise (Thurs, Fri Sat from Nov 30, boats every half-hour from 5-8pm) is a great way to see the Poole Christmas Maritime Light Festival from the water. Set Sail with Santa, with the big man himself as you cruise around Poole Harbour (various dates in December at 11am, 1pm and 3pm).

Festive Shows at Lighthouse 

Enjoy a Baroque Christmas by Candlelight with In Dulce Jubilo! (Dec 2), and a mesmerising performance of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol (Dec 19-20), the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra get festive with Handel's Messiah (Dec 13), Last Night of the Christmas Proms (Dec 16), and the singalong Carols Celebration (Dec 23). The panto is Aladdin starring Chris Jarvis as Window Twanky (Dec 7 –31).

Great British Life: The Sodapops performing in last year's Living Advent Calendar. (Photo: CLAC)The Sodapops performing in last year's Living Advent Calendar. (Photo: CLAC)

Christmas 2023 in Christchurch

Christmas Market & Lights

Saturday November 25 is when the Christchurch launches into Christmas with events held throughout the High Street and Saxon Square. A full day of entertainment has been lined up between 11am and 7pm with performances from singers and groups including Soul To Soul Choir, The Choir Engine Christchurch and Charlie Greenwood. All ages are catered for with Minky Moo's bringing songs and games to the stage for youngster and Hush Club playing music and shaking up seasonal cocktails. There will be street food and stalls selling Christmas gifts, fairground rides and more. The Mayor turns on the Christmas lights at 5.30pm and will be joined by Santa and members of the Highcliffe Charity players. Headlining party band 6 to the Bar will play straight after the snowflake-themed lights are turned on.

Christchurch Living Advent Calendar

Back for a third year (Dec 1-24) the idea for this Living Advent Calendar originated in Stockholm and features a different live performance behind each ‘window’. Organised by Christchurch Rotary Club to raise money for local charities, each evening at 6pm, there’s a surprise performance by a talented local performer or group at different venues, and due to popular demand, the performance will run until 7pm, finishing on December 24 in Saxon Square at 2pm.

Yuletide Fun at the Red House Museum

Carols in the Courtyard at 3pm features two wonderful local choirs The Choir Engine Christchurch (Dec 9) and St Peter's Community Choir (Dec 16) enjoy mulled wine, hot chocolate and mince pies as you listen. There’s a Christmas Gnome Hunt around the museum (Dec 9 –31) see if you can spot the Gnome Homes. Yuletide Family Fun Day (Dec 9 & 16) features festive crafting, gnome hunting, and storytelling of trolls, treasures and snow.

Festive Theatre

The Regent Centre is screening André Rieu’s White Christmas (Dec 3) from a Christmas palace and the Royal Ballet's The Nutcracker (Dec 12 & 18). The Glad Rag Production Company’s Christmas Spectacular: In the St. Nick of Time (Dec 16 –24), reveals that Santa uses a time machine to deliver his presents. When it goes wrong Squash the Christmas Elf and Santa’s only daughter Joy must save Christmas!


NOTE TO DESIGNER: You can run the events within each section in whatever order you wish...have attached last year's layout to help, this is what I am aiming for}