Picture slideshow: Portsmouth Historic Dockyard’s Victorian Festival of Christmas

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IT’s the biggest spectacle in Portsmouth Historic Dockyard’s calendar – and once again the Victorian Festival of Christmas proved a massive hit with thousands of families.

The annual showcase boasted a huge programme of family-fun activities inspired by the Victorian period to get everyone in the festive mood.

The Wavy Navy Trio stride through The Historic Dockyard ''Picture:  Malcolm Wells (151128-1902)

The Wavy Navy Trio stride through The Historic Dockyard ''Picture: Malcolm Wells (151128-1902)

Artificial snow was sprayed about the historic setting as visitors drank mulled wine and strolled around scores of stalls and watched live performers.

A Fagin’s Real Ale Tavern, Dickensian-style snow covered streets and a traditional Father Christmas dressed in green delighted guests.

There was music, song and dance from the 1800s as well as people dressed in Victorian costume.

Clare Pascoe, and her two children, Oscar, eight, and Olive, five, of Chichester, had a great time with Clare’s mum Tricia Howard and other family friends.

It’s great fun - it’s nice to bring the children along, and for us it kicks off the festive season.

Chichester mum Clare Pascoe

Clare said: ‘We are all here in the spirit of Christmas and have been trying to find Santa. It’s great fun – it’s nice to bring the children along, and for us it kicks off the festive season.’

Samantha Sutton, 44, travelled down from Essex with her husband Paul, 47, and their children Marian, 10, and James, 15.

Samantha said: ‘We’ve been before, it’s our sixth year. It’s something different. It’s nice to see people dressing up and adding to the atmosphere.

‘It’s something different to just Christmas shopping.’

From left,  Steph Miller, 18, with James Waterfield, 48, and his dog 'George', along with Charlotte Wileman, 28 ''Picture: Malcolm Wells (151128-1957)

From left, Steph Miller, 18, with James Waterfield, 48, and his dog 'George', along with Charlotte Wileman, 28 ''Picture: Malcolm Wells (151128-1957)

And John Hamp, 23, of York, was getting in the Christmas mood with mum Heather, 56, and dad Brian, 62.

John said: ‘It’s been really great.

‘We’ve enjoyed walking around the dockyard, it’s nice to see everyone enjoying themselves.’

Heather added: ‘The snow has made our day.’

Gemma Shields, 31, from Gosport with her daughter Emilia Shields, three, on a roundabout ''Picture: Malcolm Wells (151128-1814)

Gemma Shields, 31, from Gosport with her daughter Emilia Shields, three, on a roundabout ''Picture: Malcolm Wells (151128-1814)

Organisers estimate about 35,000 families came through the doors over the weekend.

The event has run for 16 years and pulled in more than 400,000 visitors in total.

Co-organiser Jacquie Shaw said: ‘It’s the biggest event for us of the year. We feel, and so do our visitors, that this kicks off Christmas.’