Christmas is looking bright across Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole this winter when the UK’s largest light festival illuminates our three coastal towns.
From mid-November, the area will come alive with a dazzling display of light installations, trees, illuminations and projections.
In Bournemouth town centre from 18 November 2022 until 2 January 2023 residents are in for a magical Christmas adventure as they walk through the iconic Christmas Tree Wonderland, where over 100 glittering trees and illuminations light up the path from the Market all the way down to the seafront where the brand new Kyiv Tree will be taking pride of place.
There will be other surprises to see around the town in Horseshoe Common and Lansdowne Roundabout and new features in the Triangle namely the Grand Vega tree and Romance Arch and Swirl. Santa will be larger than life in Beales place, and regular visitors to the event will spot new for 2022 the Liberty tree, Lucerne Tree and the captivating Teddy Tree.
Merrymakers can then get their skates on, wander through the famous Bournemouth Christmas Market or enjoy a mulled wine in the two-storey Alpine Lodge.
Poole Christmas Maritime Light Festival is the brand-new free attraction which celebrates Poole’s rich nautical heritage and features a spectacular trail of maritime-themed lights that will see the gateways to Poole including The Twin Sails Bridge and The Lighthouse, lit up.
Open throughout the season from 19 November 2022 – 2 January 2023, highlights of the new enchanting trail feature a number of impressive light installations, including a five-metre tall ship, a giant anchor, an impressive 120-metre maritime curtain of lights to give you a bespoke ‘under the sea’ experience, several lit-up Christmas trees ranging in size between eight and 11 metres, a couple of walk-through structures, light projections and glistening overhangs, taking visitors on a spellbinding journey from Falkland Square, through the High Street and onto Poole Quay culminating in the glistening lit-up harbour.
New this year to Christchurch is the Yuletide Festival, starting Friday 25 November- 24 December in Saxon Square where there will be Christmas Alpine style chalets selling a range of arts, crafts, artisan food and drink gifts. A wrought iron effect marquee with a clear roof will fill the central area of Saxon Square to provide cover from the weather and will be a great place to enjoy music, entertainment, and the Rotary Living Advent Calendar, throughout the lead up to Christmas.
In Westbourne, Southbourne and Boscombe festive lighting has been created to reflect the area’s individual personalities. Promising to be refreshing and creative with an uplifting theme there will be a festive installation in Westbourne, a Christmas projection made especially for Boscombe and a Christmas tree in both Boscombe and Westbourne. Southbourne will be launching their new bespoke, sparkly lights with entertainment involving the independent traders on Friday 18, 19 and 20 November.
Traditional events, such as pantomimes, and themed grottoes where you can meet Santa, are also on offer. With the addition of Festive cruises, Christmas trails and even a Living Advent Calendar in Christchurch, there are plenty of events and activities to please everyone across the region this Christmas time.
Pantomimes this year include Beauty and the Beast at Bournemouth Pavilion Family Friendly Panto | Bournemouth Pavilion Theatre, Cinderella at the Lighthouse, Poole Cinderella · Lighthouse (lighthousepoole.co.uk) and the Regents Centre has their Christmas Spectacular running again this year: Events | Regent Christchurch (theregent.co.uk)
For a warm welcome, and a chance to step back in time to a more traditional Christmas, then Christmas at the Russell-Cotes is the perfect place to visit. The halls of the historic house are decked with boughs of holly and other truly Victorian decorative delights.
At Highcliffe Castle there are many Christmas events happening including the much anticipated craft market at the end of November. A Creative Christmas at the Castle is perfectly timed to enable a plentiful Christmas gift shopping expedition!
At Upton Country Park, a Christmas Woodland Trail takes place on 17 December – 24 December and 27 December – 1 Jan 2023. This immersive trail will take you on a winter wander along an accessible route, whilst searching for the winter woodland animals to earn a Christmas present. Discover festive scenes and listen for musical moments amongst the trees.
Paul Kinvig, Chief Operating Officer, Bournemouth Town Centre BID, said against a challenging national backdrop, people would be thrilled to be cheered up with some free beautiful light displays.
He said: “We live in a fantastic area of the country, and we want to celebrate that.
“Bournemouth’s Christmas Tree Winter Wonderland has been an incredible success over a number of years and this year is set to be just as spectacular – I encourage everyone to visit and have a good time.”
As main sponsor and support for the Maritime Festival, Jacqui Rock, Lead, Poole BID said:
“With the opportunity to visit our fabulous retail offering, why not also extend your stay by making a day of it and eat, drink and be merry at one of the many restaurants and bars throughout Poole high street and Quay and also try out the pop-up Christmas bar in Falkland Square where you can enjoy delicious Pretzels as well as a must-have seasonal mulled wine or hot chocolate!
Fiona McArthur, Operations Manager for Bournemouth Coastal BID added,
“We are proud to be one of the main sponsors for Christmas Tree Wonderland and all the other wonderful events taking place across our area in the lead up to Christmas. By supporting these events we provide vital support to our local businesses and help provide visitors and locals a magical Christmas experience”
Councillor Beverley Dunlop, Portfolio Holder for Tourism, Culture and Vibrant Places said:
“I can’t think of anywhere better to celebrate the lead up to Christmas than Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole, as all our towns are offering the most magical Christmas events and attractions this year.
“I hope everyone can spend some time away from life’s worries and experience a little Christmas cheer this festive season. So, let’s be merry and bright, gather your friends and family and decide which events you don’t want to miss out on!”