10 festive treats

With Christmas just around the corner, here are some wonderful and unusual events, activities and celebrations to help you get into the festive mood.

Make a stunning Christmas wreath

December 4, 1.30pm – 4.30pmHave a Nautical No�l. Discover how to make beautiful wreaths, with a nautical twist, while learning the tricks of the trade from a professional florist. Stunning handcrafted wreaths will be a perfect festive gift or decoration to hang on your front door. With a range of wreaths to make, all ages are welcome to try their hand at something new. Cost �15 – including all materials and afternoon refreshments.National Museum of the Royal Navy, Portsmouth Historic Dockyard, HM Naval Base, Portsmouth, PO1 3LJBooking essential, tel. 023 9272 7584  royalnavalmuseum.org

Away in a Manger – the Manor Farm Nativity

December 15-16, 6.15pm or 7.30pmThis is a very special presentation of the Christmas story that includes live characters and animals from the farm. After a mince pie with mulled wine or squash, guests are taken on a tour of the farm and the Christmas story is re-enacted by costumed guides culminating in the revealing of the Nativity scene itself. Then, sing some favourite carols round the Christmas tree and meet some of the animals in a hands-on session. Adults �7.50; Children �5Manor Farm Country Park, Bursledon SO31 1BHBooking essential, tel. 01489 787055  hants.gov.uk/manorfarm

 sparkle & spice at bath house spa 

December 27-30The sensuous Recharger Package at the stunning Bath House Spa is a fabulous antidote to any festive lethargy. A Rasul Mud Therapy treatment for two then follows in the Bath House Spa, where a sequence of gentle heat, steam and a combination of muds are applied to cleanse, leaving you truly relaxed. A three-course Dinner in the 2AA Rosettes Restaurant and a traditional New Forest breakfast is also included. One night package for two adults sharing starts at �350 per room including three-course dinner, a bottle of Champagne, a Rasul Mud Treatment and breakfast.New Park Manor, Lyndhurst Road, New Forest, SO42 7QH Tel. 01590 623467 newparkmanorhotel.co.uk

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carols and owls by moonlight

December 17, 7pmJoin The Hawk Conservancy for an evening of traditional Christmas carols sung around the Christmas tree. Enjoy a glass (or two) of mulled wine and marvel at the beautiful owls - see them at their best, in the dark and wide awake.Tickets cost �15The Hawk Conservancy Trust, Sarson Lane, Weyhill, Andover SP11 8DY Tel. 01264 773850 hawk-conservancy.org

Get Ready For Christmas at Winchester City Mill   

December 5 & 6, 10.30am – 4.30pmMake festive cards and Christmassy decorations during this special weekend event for families. There are seasonal baking demonstrations and talks about local seasonal produce and a chance to discover the story of Christmas past with a special family quiz trail.  Cost: Adults �3.60; children �1.80 plus a small fee for the events.Winchester City Mill, Bridge Street, Winchester, SO23 0EJTel. 01962 870057  nationaltrust.org.uk

Mulled Wine Day

December 5, 10.30am -5pmA chance to enjoy the warmth of Gilbert White’s House decorated for the festive season. Adorned with traditional evergreen trinkets and demonstrating traditions from across the centuries, even the staff will be kitted out in 18th century costumes. During your visit, sip a glass of mulled wine or sample the delicious fare served in the Tea Parlour. There will also be garden tours and apple wassailing by Head Gardener David Standing. Free admission – Gilbert White’s House, High Street, Selborne, Alton GU34 3JH. Tel. 01420 511275  gilbertwhiteshouse.org.uk

Christmas Cupcakes with Cook Academy

December 19, 2-4.30pm.Learn how to decorate funky, little home-baked cupcakes in this special festive cookery workshop. The expert teacher will demonstrate how to make lovely, light sponge cakes and will present creative ideas and tips on imaginative toppings. At the end of the session, you will be presented with your own gift box complete with the unique little cakes safely tucked up inside. Course fee: �45The Station Mill, Station Road, Alresford SO24 9JQTel. 01962 734850  cookacademy.co.uk

Exbury Santa Steam Specials

December 11-21All aboard for the festive steam train ride to see Santa. Children and adults are invited to enjoy a musical train ride through wintery gardens at Exbury where seasonal characters might even be hiding in the shrubbery along the way. The children then get to visit Santa’s Magical Grotto for a personal family meeting with the big man himself and each child gets a Christmas present. Entry to the gardens is included in the price and there’s a Christmas Trail to follow too. Cost: Adults and children 3 and over �12; children under 3 to see Santa �6.Exbury Gardens, Exbury, SO45 1AZ exbury.co.uk  Tel. 023 8024 5750

Christmas culinary skills   

The chefs at Newlyns Cookery School are renowned for inspiring and teaching both the complete novice and experienced cook. They take students through fundamental techniques and give them the chance to try out their skills under a watchful eye of an expert.  Butcher It, Cook It, Carve It – December 4This course shows you how to bone out meat and demonstrates a variety of day-to-day butchery skills.  Christmas Dinner Parties – December 11A course tailormade to help produce Christmas dinner party delights that will seriously impress your family and friends. This course will also offer ideas for celebrations throughout the festive period including New Years Eve. Course fee: �125 for five-hour courseNewlyns Cookery School, Lodge Farm, North Warnborough, Hook, RG29 1HA  Tel. 01256 704128newlyns-farmshop.co.uk

Fabric Christmas Crafts

Stocking makingNovember 27, 10.30am-4.30pm Craft a handmade, lined festive Christmas stocking from recycled fabrics. This workshop will focus on design, choosing fabrics, construction, appliqu�, hand embroidery and finishing. Basic sewing experience is required. 

Crazy Patchwork Star BuntingDecember 4, 10.30am-4.30pm Crazy patchwork is great fun and looks so pretty. Learn how to create funky patchwork stars: make a few, string them together and for wonderful bunting to decorate your home this festive season.Day courses cost �45/�40.West End Centre, 48 Queens Rd, Aldershot, GU11 3JDTel. 01252 330040hants.gov.uk/westendcentre