Christmas comes to Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole!

Kids of all ages (even the big ones!) can officially indulge their love of Christmas as the festive season kicks off across Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole from today.

Residents and visitors to Bournemouth can marvel in delight at the twinkling lights of over 100 festive-themed illuminations lighting up the night sky, as Christmas Tree Wonderland opens today, bigger and better than ever before.

Follow the illuminating trail as it weaves through the town from the Triangle to the Square, through the Lower Gardens to the Seafront, Beale Place, Horseshoe Common and the Lansdowne Roundabout.

Visitors can showcase their skills on the SKATE ice-rink in the Lower Gardens or peruse the Christmas Markets in the Square and enjoy a tipple in the Alpine Bar. And the big man in red will be hanging out in Bobby’s over the weekends from 27 November and every day during the week leading up to Christmas. There’s also a giant snow globe that transports you to a winter wonderland travelling around Bournemouth town centre from 29 November to 12 December thanks to the Town Centre BID and local businesses, or visitors can enjoy an enchanted open topped bus around Bournemouth and the surrounding areas provided by Golden Tours in partnership with Yellow Coaches, and relax while visiting the illuminating sights!

Step back in time and discover the magic of a traditional Victorian Christmas at the Russell-Cotes Art Gallery and Museum. The museum will be beautifully decorated and is hosting family festive crafts and offering afternoon tea. Check the website for event dates and to book tickets.

In Christchurch, the festivities include a unique Christchurch Living Advent Calendar where you can open a calendar window daily to discover pop up entertainment being held at a different venue every night through December, ending on Christmas Eve.

The popular Christmas Spectacular is returning to the Regent Centre from 18-24 December and on Thursday 23 December you can enjoy an orchestral production of The Snowman at Christchurch Priory.

At Highcliffe Castle, you can take part in range of Christmas events including a Creative Christmas at the Castle event on Sunday 12 December, or go and watch the Bournemouth Musical Theatre Production of ‘It Feels Like Christmas’ on Monday 13 December amongst other Christmas events taking place.

In Poole, Christmas kicks off in style tomorrow, on Saturday 20 November from 12-4pm with family-friendly celebrations organised by Poole BID, including Santa on the Quay making several guest appearances throughout the afternoon along with his elves and reindeer too.

There will be entertainment, street music, dancing and face-painting to ensure everyone gets into the festive mood and Santa’s sleigh will park up on the Quay offering photo opportunities for all!

In Falkland Square there are entertainment acts, snow and bubble machines, more face painting and as dusk falls Christmas lights throughout the town will begin the season of goodwill.

Other Christmas activities taking place in Poole include Poole’s Marvellous Market – Christmas Special in Falkland Square on 4 December accompanied by superb music from the Bournemouth Brass Band, and The Mellor Sisters Christmas Show while at Upton Country Park you can visit Santa in his Woodland Grotto.

With three Pantomimes across the conurbation including Peter Pan the family Pantomine at Bournemouth Pavilion Theatre, Sleeping Beautyat the Regent Centre Christchurch, and Beauty and the Beast at Lighthouse, Poole, you’ll be spoiled for choice.

The coastal villages are also beginning to look a lot like Christmas, lighting up in readiness for the festivities thanks to some help from theCoastal BID and the marvellous local shops.

Freddy the giant friendly teddy has arrived bringing festive cheer to Westbourne, sitting at the entrance to the arcade. The arcade also provides the perfect backdrop for entertainment with Hot radio spinning their tunes on 27 November and three Saturdays packed with music and singing on 4,11 and 18 December.

Over in Southbourne say “Eeeee-Awwww!” as Ronnie and Reggie the donkeys return to have their big Christmas day out on 18 December. Southbourne and Westbourne are also a feast for the eyes with shops running window display competitions with details of how to vote in participating shop windows.

Santa is getting busy in Boscombe with selected dates in his grotto at the Sovereign Centre which commences with family entertainment and a visit by some happy reindeer friends on 27 November. And don’t miss the 4-metre high giant Santa in Tuckton, in the carpark at the Riverside – ho ho ho!

Councillor Beverley Dunlop, Portfolio Holder for Culture and Vibrant Places commented:

“We’ve really pushed the boat out this year to help our towns bounce back from the pandemic and Christmas will be bigger and better than ever before with events and festivities right across the conurbation. There is so much to choose from, I’m not sure it’s possible to see it all but I would like to thank all those who have made this wonderful Christmas possible, and wish all our residents and visitors a very Merry Christmas.”

It is a magical time of the year, so put on your Christmas jumper and join in all the festive fun across Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole.

Check out our ‘whats on‘ page for full details of all the festive events.