Winchester holds onto title of ‘England’s Christmas Capital’
31 July 2012
Escape to Winchester this Christmas season as the seasonal lights are switched on midway through November and this medieval citadel becomes England’s Christmas Capital for the third year running.
Visitors travel from far and wide to experience Christmas in Winchester and the surrounding district with its internationally renowned Christmas Market, ice rink in the Winchester Cathedral inner close, spectacular lantern parade, bustling independent shops and festive fine dining experiences offered by award-winning eateries, Winchester defies anyone to find a more festive city in England.
Winchester Cathedral Christmas Market, now in its seventh year and attracting more than 300 000 visitors, was inspired by the original European Christmas markets. Decorative wooden chalets brimming with gifts, decorations and festive foods, are beautifully situated at the foot of the Cathedral in its historic Close. All exhibitors are hand-picked so it’s easy to find something a little bit different. In the food court there’s plenty to whet the appetite - mulled wine, mince pies, crepes, Belgian waffles and bratwurst. The Christmas Market will be open Thursday 22 Nov – Sun 23 December 2012, from 10am – 6pm Sunday to Wednesday and 10am - 7.30pm Thursday to Saturday.
The Cathedral also hosts the open-air Ice Rink, where visitorscan enjoy an exhilarating skate under the stars with the Cathedral as a stunning backdrop for people of all ages and abilities. Ice skating sessions last for one hour and ticket includes free skate hire. The ice rink isopen from 10am- 7:30pm every day from Thursday 22 November to Sunday 6 January 2013.
To mark the opening of the Christmas Market and ice-rink, a spectacular lantern procession is led from Winchester’s Great Hall to the Cathedral. The colourful paper lanterns, made from willow and coloured tissue paper, are lovingly made by families at supervised workshops in the preceding weeks. This Lantern Procession will be held on Thursday 22 November 2012.
The Cathedral also hosts the following dates for carol services and concerts throughout December, sung by the Winchester Cathedral Choir:Sat 1 Dec at 6.30pm: Advent Carol ServiceFri 14 Dec at 7.00pm: The Lord Lieutenant’s Carol ConcertWed 19, Thu 20 & Sat 22 Dec at 6.30pm: Public Carol Services
Fri 21 Dec at 1.00pm: A Ceremony of Carols by Benjamin Britten
This year’s Theatre Royal pantomime will grant all the family wishes in the form of Aladdin. The Theatre Royal Winchester has built a reputation for outstanding pantomimes full of traditional family fun, audience participation and original music. Aladdin will include all the story’s favourite characters, Widow Twankey, Aladdin, Wishee Washee and the Genie, along with a flying carpet. With spectacular costumes, sets and a cast full of brilliant performers, this will be one Christmas date for the whole family to enjoy. The pantomime will be showing from 12 December 2012 to 6 January 2013.
Marwell Wildlife will provide a christmassy day out out like no other. Starting with a glass of mulled wine or hot blackcurrant, and a mince pie, guests can join the elves in their toy factory at Marwell Hall. Mrs Claus welcomes visitors through to her parlour to view the puppet show of Pinocchio, followed by Christmas cookie decorating with Santa in his sparkling grotto. Finally, guests can meet Pickle the Penguin and enjoy time with Santa’s elves in what promises to be an enchanting Christmas experience. The visit will last approximately one hour and includes all of the above as well as entry into Marwell Wildlife park. Guests can meet Santa Claus on selected dates in November and December. Prices start from £16.35 for adults and £12.72 for children.
The Holiday Inn Winchester will provide an array of festive offerings for lunch and dinner throughout the Christmas period in their award-winning Morn Hill Brasserie. The Sunday Lunch with Santa includes a three course lunch with Santa Claus making a special appearance to provide gifts for children less than 12 years old. Lunch is £15.95 per adult, with children less than 12 at 50 per cent off this price.
Alternatively, guests can enjoy a delicious three-course menu along with entertainment from the in-house DJ until midnight at a Christmas Party Night. Tickets cost £24.95 per person (over 16’s only).
Issued by Flagship Consulting
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