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Christmas in Basingstoke

You’ll find plenty to get you in the Christmas spirit including, local markets, free children’s activities and walkabouts, lots of entertainment and festive things to do all the way up to Christmas. We’ve pulled together the ultimate guide to what’s on in Basingstoke town centre this Christmas.

Love Basingstoke Presents Christmas events

Love Basingstoke Presents Christmas activities
To keep young ones entertained on the lead up to the big day, Love Basingstoke will host free festive activities from Monday 18 to Friday 22 December 2023 within the Top of the Town businesses including arts and crafts, storytelling, Lego building and an elf trail.

Schools and community groups across Basingstoke and Deane have been decorating Christmas trees made by local artist Junk Jodie. Head out to see the display on the top floor of The Willis Museum throughout December and the beginning of January.

Festive Friday
Love Basingstoke kicked off Christmas in the Top of the Town on Friday 17 November 2023. The Festive Friday event was the perfect way to start the festive season with music, singing, a local market, festive walkabouts, free childrens activities and an appearance from Peter Pan and Captain Hook (from this year's Anvil Arts pantomine) who helped turn on the Christmas tree lights.


List in hand, find all the shops you need in Festival PlaceThe Malls and at the Top of the Town to buy your loved ones' presents. If you need a break then there are plenty of refreshment options from coffee shops to tapas, sushi to burgers and not forgetting mince pies!

As part of Festive Friday on Friday 17 November, there will be a pop-up market. This is a great opportunity to support local stallholders whilst shopping for loved ones.

Shop for crafty and unusual gifts at The Malls' traditional Christmas Market which runs from Saturday 15 November to Saturday 24 December.

 Find foodie treats and great gifts at Festival Place this Christmas. Shop festive stalls around the centre including the Cheese Hut, Polyfield, The Waffle Hut and German Bratwurst Hut.

You’ll find an indoor Christmas Market with a range of vendors, mince pies, mulled wine and music from ‘Noteworthy Choir’ at Gabardine Bar on Gabardine Bar on Sunday 3 December from 11am to 3pm.

Christmas in The Malls

Head to The Malls this Christmas to enjoy the lights and shop for gifts and treats at the traditional Christmas market and enjoy free festive entertainment. The festivities begin with two giant Christmas stocking walkabouts on Saturday 18 November at 11.30am, 1.15pm, and 3pm. As the sun goes down, illuminated butterfly stilt walkers ‘Mariposa’ light up the evening at 3.30pm, 4.45pm and 6pm.

Father Christmas and Mother Christmas are making their way from the North Pole to The Malls on Saturday 25 November from 11am to 4pm.  The elegant Royal Argenta stilt walkers will also be making appearances throughout the day. On Sunday 26 November, head to the Christmas hut free arts and crafts workshops and make your own Christmas cards and decorations from 11am to 4pm.

Throughout December see festive walkabouts, The Mirror Men on Saturday 2 December at 11.30am 1.15pm and 3pm. Hodman & Sally Walkabout on Saturday 9 December at 11.30, 1.30pm and 3pm and Skating Christmas Presents and Starlight Stilt Walkers on Saturday 23 December between 3pm and 6.30pm.

A classic Christmas kick off at Festival Place

Join Festival Place on Saturday 18 November from 10am to 6pm as they dance, sing and leap their way into a joy-filled Christmas with a host of characters from the classic festive ‘Twelve Days of Christmas’ song. Expect musical merriment with a marching band and dancing ladies, turtle doves and swans-a-swimming. The Christmas craft room will be open too!

Santa’s Grotto will be open in Festival Place from Saturday 4 November to 24 December, book your ticket for a suitable time slot. Please note the Grotto is closed from 1pm to 1.40pm each day and quiet hour runs every Sunday from 9am to 10am.

You can also enjoy a ride on the Festive Express, arrive at the station on the Upper Level of Festival Place between 10am to 4pm for a train ride around the centre!

Take in a show

Anvil Arts has a packed programme with a variety of shows to suit all ages including Dear Santa, the Tennessee Country Christmas Show and Philharmonia Brass at Christmas at The Haymarket, located at The Top of the Town. A Christmas Carol, The Nutcracker and Christmas at the movies comes to The Anvil.

A staple at Christmas is a panto, ‘oh no it isn’t….oh yes it is’.  This year’s spectacular family pantomime at The Anvil is ‘The further adventures of Peter Pan – The return of Captain Hook’ Join Peter, Smee, Tinker Bell, and Ethyl Mermaid on a brand-new swashbuckling adventure full of fun, laughter… and crocodiles!

Help! There’s an elf in my house, is this year’s show from Scratchbuilt Productions and Proteus. An immersive theatre experience where you are at the heart of the story. Audiences travel around the Creation Space arts centre with the story, each room transformed into an enchanting Christmassy scene, full of wonder.

Other events

There’s lots on at the Willis Museum. The Basingstoke Gallery will be dedicated to Christmas crafts, makes and takes and stories…you can even to draw on some walls in The Christmas Doodle Room from Saturday 16 December to Saturday 13 January from 10am to 4pm (check Christmas opening times online). Find the animal buddies hidden in the snow and help Santa make his deliveries in the Snow Buddies Trail from Saturday 16 December to Saturday 23 December.

A fantastic event for those who have four legged friends in the family. Take your dog to Meet Santa Paws at Willows Coffee House in association with Helping Dogs and Cats UK on Sunday 17 December from 12noon to 3pm. Book your fur baby in to meet Santa, have their photo taken and receive a present from Santa. Willows will also be offering a small tea which will include a puppaccino, pupcake and slice of cake and iced lollies to make your little ones visit even more special. £5 per pet which includes a festive gift.

Basingstoke Discovery Centre has a range of free activities to entertain the kids in the run up to Christmas including crafts, festive rhyme time and storytime.

See our guide to Christmas in Basingstoke town centre for more ideas.

November 2023

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