50 great ideas for the perfect Christmas

Thieves smash into vehicles parked at leisure centres

This Christmas, do more than just unwrap presents and over-indulge in festive food. There's plenty of family fun to be had in and around Portsmouth. KATIE TAYLOR brings you 50 festive ideas for the family.

1 Join the fun with the cast of Jack and the Beanstalk at the Kings Theatre in Southsea. Starring Steven Arnold from Coronation Street and Britt Ekland from I'm A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here!, the panto runs until Sunday, January 2. Tickets cost 13 to 20 from (023) 9282 8282 and a family discount is also available.

2 Step into a Victorian Christmas this Saturday at the Mountbatten Centre in Alexandra Park. The Christmas Spectacular, held by the Family Church, will feature choirs, brass bands and favourite carols as entertainment. Free admission, doors open at 6pm.

3 Glide along the ice rink at Gunwharf Quays, where you can also enjoy mulled wine, hot drinks and food. Skating lessons are available and Penguin ice scooters are provided for little ones. The rink is open every day apart from Christmas Day, until Monday, January 3. Skating costs 4 for adults, 2 for children.

4 Visit Santa in his Christmas grotto at Cascades Shopping Centre, Portsmouth. The visit costs 4 and includes a wrapped gift. The grotto is open until Christmas Eve and opening times are available on Cascades-shopping.co.uk.

5 Enjoy the festive entertainment at Fort Nelson on Portsdown Hill including a Punch and Judy show and Christmas craft activities on Wednesday, December 22. Admission is free and crafts cost 2.

6 Discover the magic at the Historic Dockyard in a Family Christmas Trail at the Mary Rose Museum from Saturday until Monday, January 3. Admission costs 14-19.50 and the museum is open from 10am to 4pm.

7 Make a wish at the Wishing Tree in Staunton Country Park, Havant, and get up close to the animals in the Nativity Scene until Thursday, December 23. Children can also help the elves and visit Santa's Grotto. Tickets must be booked in advance on (023) 9245 3405 and cost 12 for children and 8.95 for accompanying adults.

8 Go back in time at the Historic Dockyard with the Tudor Games and Pastimes event at the Mary Rose Museum. It is open daily from Saturday until Monday, January 3, and will involve hands-on activities for all the family. Admission costs 14-19.50.

9 Observe the beauty of the star of Bethlehem at the South Downs Planetarium, Chichester, and see how the famous star guided the Wise Men to the birth of Christ. Shows are being held from Tuesday, December 21, up until Christmas Eve at 7.30pm and 3.30pm. Tickets cost 6 for adults and 4 for children from 01243 774400.

10 Walk the plank to discover the watery world of this year's panto at the New Theatre Royal. Everyone can enjoy Robert Louis Stevenson's classic family adventure Treasure Island with an added Christmas twist. On until Saturday, January 1 and tickets cost 10-16 from (023) 9264 9000.

11 Escape the Christmas shopping frenzy by visiting Queen Elizabeth Country Park, which has been transformed into a Winter Wonderland in Horndean until Sunday, January 2. Includes an ice rink and Christmas tree market.

12 Meet Santa in his grotto at Funland Amusement Park, Hayling Island this weekend. You can also join Santa's train at Eastoke Corner. From 11am-3pm and tickets cost 12 for children and 5 for adults.

13 Sing along to the Christmas chorus at Gunwharf Quays, as local bands and choirs will be performing every Thursday from 6pm and weekends at midday, up until Christmas.

14 Imagine yourself in Germany as Commercial Road in Portsmouth takes on the theme of the German Christmas market every day up until Christmas Eve. Includes typical German-style food, as well as festive gifts and crafts. Open 10am-7pm, 10am-5pm Sunday.

15 Watch the story of the Nativity being told by children at St Mary's Church, Fratton. The Nativity service will be held on Christmas Eve at 5pm.

16 Watch Emotions, the annual show at the Gosport Ice Rink. Running from tomorrow until Sunday (December 19), tickets cost 8-10 from (023) 9251 1217.

17 Sit back, relax and enjoy a Christmas movie, as Vue Cinema in Gunwharf Quays is offering everyone the chance to see a film for just 95p at the weekends. For listings and times see The News, visit myvue.com or call 0871 224 0240.

18 Listen to dramatised readings of Charles Dickens' work at Gosport Discovery Centre, on Wednesday, December 22, from 7.30pm until 9pm. Tickets cost 4 and include mulled wine and mince pies. For more information log on to chesterhouse.net.

19 Head into the magic of Santa's Wonderland at Paultons Park, just off junction 2 of the M27, until Thursday December 23. Tickets cost 18.50 for children and adults and that includes entrance to all park attractions, a gift for the kids and mince pies for the adults. For more information (023) 8081 4442.

20 Jump on to a magic carpet with Aladdin at Ferneham Hall in Fareham this Christmas. The panto stars Peter Duncan (Blue Peter) and CITV favourite Chris Edgerley. Running until Sunday, January 2, tickets cost 11-17 from 01329 231942.

21 Visit Portsmouth Cathedral in Old Portsmouth for a carol service sung by the Cathedral Choir on Wednesday, December 22, or Thursday 23 at 7.30pm.

22 See the classic tale of a man in a world of very little people retold with Jack Black in the starring role as Gulliver's Travels is released in cinemas on Boxing Day.

23 Watch a new stage version of Cinderella at The Spring in Havant until Sunday (December 19). Tickets cost 8.95, 6.50 for concessions or 22 for a family of four from (023) 9247 2700.

24 Buy those last-minute gifts at Gunwharf Quays late night shopping. On Thursday nights the centre will be open until 9pm for shoppers – and the kids can go ice skating.

25 Treat yourself to some of the finest produce in Hampshire on Sunday at the farmers' market being held in Palmerston Road, Southsea, from 10am-2pm.

26 Dance and sing along to the sound of The Silver Beatles and The Bog Rolling Stones. This ultimate tribute double-bill is being held at the Wedgewood Rooms, Southsea, on New Year's Eve from 8pm. Tickets cost 12 from (023) 9286 3911.

27 Join in the festive fun with the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra at Portsmouth Guildhall for a concert of Christmas carols on Tuesday, December 21. The concert starts at 7.30pm and admission costs 10-19 from (023) 9282 4355.

28 Take the kids to a Christmas party being held from 3pm until 5pm at the Royal Maritime Club in Queen Street, Portsmouth on Sunday. For 10, the party includes face painting, games, food as well as a disco and a chance to meet Santa. For tickets and more information, call 07729 294 137.

29 Escape the dreary dismal depths of winter at Blue Reef Aquarium on Southsea seafront. It's open from 10am every day except Christmas Day and admission costs 7.40-9.40.

30 Get creative this Christmas at Westbury Manor Museum, Fareham, with events and activities to get you into the festive mood. Join in with the Christmas trails around the museum too. The events run until Thursday, December 23 and admission is free.

31 Wander through Southsea Model Village to find Santa in his grotto. Kids get to search for mini Santas to win a prize before meeting the real Father Christmas. Open 4pm-6.30pm up to Christmas Eve. Admission costs 5 for children and 1 for adults,

32 Drop the teenagers off for a fun night at the Snap disco tomorrow night in the Glass House at the Pyramids. Tickets cost 6 each and can be purchased from Asda, Fratton Police Station or on the door.

33 Walk in the steps of Dickens on Sunday on a guided tour of where he and his family lived and worked. Hear readings of his famous novels and enjoy seasonal refreshments. Starting at 2.30pm at The Hard Visitor Information Centre, tickets cost 3 or 1 for leisure card-holders.

34 Venture into the world of aliens with Portsmouth City Museum's Alien Invasion, where you can come face-to-face with famous film aliens. The exhibition runs until Sunday, January 23 and admission is free.

35 Check out The Groundlings Theatre Company production of A Christmas Carol, performed in its very own haunted theatre in Portsea. A two-course Christmas dinner will also be served. Showing until Sunday, January 2, tickets cost 18 for adults and 7.50 for children. For more information, call (023) 9273 7370.

36 Grab your pick'n'mix ready for the third instalment of the Narnia series. Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader sees the Pevensie children return for another magical journey, in cinemas now.

37 Make original and personal decorations for your Christmas tree at a Christmas Stars workshop at the Ashcroft Arts Centre in Fareham tonight from 7pm-9pm. Session places cost 10 and can be booked on 01329 223100.

38 Make a Christmas craft on Saturday at the Aspex Festive Family Fun Day. Between 11am and 3pm families can go along to the Gunwharf Quays gallery for free drop-in arts and crafts workshops.

39 Experience the traditions of Christmas past in A Sussex Christmas at Weald & Downland Open Air Museum, near Chichester from Boxing Day until New Year's Day from 10.30am until 4pm. Admission costs 9 for adults and 4.80 for children.

40 For 1 per person, you can make your own decorative Christingle on Monday, December 20 at Westbury Manor Museum, Fareham. Drop in any time from 10am until 4pm with the session lasting an hour and all materials will be provided.

41 Visit the famous Portchester Castle – the best-preserved of the Roman 'Saxon Shore' forts with an on-site exhibition about the castle, open from 10am to 4pm. Admission costs 4.50 for adults and 2.30 for children.

42 Hunt the Slipper on board HMS Warrior 1860 at the Historic dockyard. This family event is running from Saturday (December 18) until Monday, January 3, from 10am until 4pm. Admission costs 14-19.50.

43 Take a walk on Southsea common any time throughout the winter break. Wrap up warm to enjoy the view of the seaside and admire the Spinnaker in the distance.

44 Splash about after Christmas at the Pyramids Centre on Southsea seafront. Open from Monday, December 27 as usual but closed for New Year's Day. Admission for adults is 5, or a family pass for 15.

45 Disappear down the rabbit hole with Chichester Festival Theatre's adaptation of Alice in Wonderland. The production will run from this Saturday until Saturday, January 1. Tickets cost 9-23.50 from 01243 781312.

46 Become a pirate in the special family exhibition Skull & Crossbones at the Submarine Museum in Gosport. Learn how to speak pirate, command your boat, discover treasure, hoist your Jolly Roger and set sail for a pirate tour of the museum. The museum is open up until Thursday, December 23, and then again from Tuesday December 28 onwards. Admission costs 7-10.

47 Get painting at Artypotz in Castle Road, Southsea this festive season. Take the kids along to paint a piece of ceramic art for just 3. Open 11am-5pm Tuesday-Friday and 10am-5pm Saturday.

48 Visit Beaulieu National Motor Museum in the New Forest from Saturday until Wednesday, January 5, as it enters the magic of Christmas. Kids can dress up in Victorian costumes and visitors can talk to characters from Victorian times to discover what life was really like. Admission costs 16.85 for adults and 8.65 for children.

49 Head to Butser Ancient Farm near Petersfield for The Festival of Saturnalia on Saturday or Sunday. Find out how the Romans celebrated Christmas, make decorations, decorate a huge tree and take part in the Saturnalia procession. Admission costs 10 for children, with one accompanying adult free. Additional adults pay 6 is free for. Call (023) 39259 8838 to book.

50 See 2011 in from the top of the Spinnaker Tower. For 42.50 per person you can enjoy cocktails on arrival, drinks and canapes, a DJ in the Waterfront bar, as well as midnight celebrations with a glass of Champagne. For more information call (023) 9285 7520.