Best places to see Santa in Portsmouth and Hampshire for Christmas 2019

Father Christmas has taken time out of his busy schedule to visit the Portsmouth area this festive season.

By Matthew Mohan-Hickson
Wednesday, 6th November 2019, 4:13 pm
Here are all the places to meet Father Christmas this year
Here are all the places to meet Father Christmas this year

We have no idea how he has found all the time between preparing Rudolph and all the other reindeer, as well as making all the toys. 

So if your little one is eager to meet Santa this year, and perhaps make sure they are on the nice list this year, here are all the places that can happen this year. 


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Father Christmas on board HMS Warrior 1860 at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard's Festival of Christmas. Picture: Chris Stephens.

Cascades Shopping Centre 

There will be a Santa’s Grotto in the shopping centre in the centre of Portsmouth this year. 

It will be open from November 15 until December 24 – so plenty of time to visit before Santa sets off on his journey around the world on Christmas. 

Cascades Shopping Centre is on Commercial Road. 

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Victorian Festival of Christmas 2019

The annual Christmas market is returning to the Historic Dockyard in Portsmouth this festive season. 

And one of the main attractions is the chance to meet Santa – who will be dressed in his traditional green outfit. 

The festival will take from Friday November 29 to Sunday December 1. For more information go the Historic Dockyard website.

Spinnaker Tower

Portsmouth’s Spinnaker Tower, in the Gunwharf Quays area of the city, will be hosting a Toymaker’s Workshop this Christmas. 

Visitors will be able to see Santa’s elves in action as they put the finishing touches on their llatest batch of cuddly reindeer.

But no trip to Santa’s workshop would be complete without a visit to see Father Christmas in his grotto – yet another place you can see Santa. 

The Toymaker’s Workshop is open from Saturday November 30 to Tuesday December 24. To book your ticket go to the Spinnaker Tower website – advanced booking is highly recommended.

Hayling Island

Winter Wonderland

Hayling Funland will be transformed into a Winter Wonderland this Christmas. 

You will be met by Santa’s elves who will then take you on your visit to see Father Christmas. 

From November 23 to December 24, excluding weekdays until December 16. Book your tickets here.


Queen Elizabeth Country Park

Santa will be making a trip to Queen Elizabeth Country Park this December. 

Children will be able to make Christmas crafts, take a ride on a tractor and trailer, follow the Christmas trail and then finally meet Father Christmas in his grotto. 

The dates are December 7, 8, 14, 15, 21 and 22. For more information visit the website.

Keydell Nurseries

Santa is returning to the popular Keydell Nurseries, in Havant Road, Horndean this Christmas. 

Father Christmas will be in his grotto in the centre every day from November 10 until Christmas Eve.  


Staunton Country Park

Children will receive a letter from Father Christmas in advance and be given a wrapped gift at Christmas on the Farm at Staunton Country Park, Havant. 

There will also be elf-led activities including decorating a Christmas tree decoration. 

Christmas on the Farm will be open on selected days in December. Click here to book tickets.


Christmas light switch on

Lee-on-the-Solent’s lights switch-on will be in High Street on Friday 29 November.

A French market will run from 9am until late, with reindeer, petting zoo, Santa’s grotto and fun rides for children. 


Stewarts Garden Centre

This garden centre has once again built a Santa’s grotto, where children can meet the big man himself. 

It will be open at Stewarts Garden Centre from Saturday November 30 to December 24. 


Winchester Science Centre

Santa and the elves are back at Winchester Science Centre. 

Children will have the chance to meet Father Christmas as well as watch a live science show. 

Dates are December 7, 8, 14, 15 and between December 19 and 24. Find out more here.

Marwell Zoo

Marwell Zoo has been transformed into a Winter Wonderland – you can head into the elves workshop and create your own Christmas present bag before meeting Father Christmas and receive a special gift. 

You can also have a professionally-taken photo at the end of your trip! 


Tudor House Museum and Gardens 

Meet Father Christmas in the beautiful historic setting of the Southampton Tudor House and Gardens.

Santa visits should be booked in advance if possible. 

Father Christmas will be at the Tudor House on December 8 and December 9. 


Watercress Line

See Santa on a magical steam train ride along the scenic Watercress Line.

As you travel in a festive traditional train carriage Santa and his jolly helpers will visit you in your seat with a special gift!

The magical ride will be available on November 30 and December 1, 7, 8, 14, 15, 21-24. 

New Forest 

New Forest National Park

Take a visit to Santa with a twist this year – with the New Forest Activities' Christmas Canoe Paddle. 

Explore the stunning river and keep an eye out for Father Christmas along the way.

All children will receive a gift from Father Christmas on the water.

Available on December 14, 21, 22 and 23.

Exbury Gardens

You can visit Exbury Gardens in the New Forest for free this Christmas. 

There will be a special ‘Postal Express’ train service running throughout the day.

Along the route visitors will see some beautiful sights and favourite Christmas characters as they head through the woodland and if you’re lucky you may even see Father Christmas. 

On December 7, 8, 14 and 15. Go to the Exbury website for more information.


Finkley Down Farm

Head to Finkley Down Farm and join elves on a Christmas adventure. 

From November 30 to December 24.


Festival Place shopping centre

The centre will be hosting a magical Christmas grotto on the upper level this year.

It will be open from November 16 to December 24 – walk-ins are welcome and you can book slots online here.

Are you hosting a Santa’s grotto this Christmas? If you would like to be added to our list email details to k[email protected]