08 November 2023
The Countdown to Christmas with GO! Southampton begins in just one week’s time. Kicking off on Thursday, November 16th, the four-day long programme of festivities starts with the big Christmas lights switch on and continues into the weekend with a host of festive activities, and the best part? It's all free!
To officially mark the start of the Christmas celebrations in the city, the legendary Christopher Biggins, who is this year’s star of Mayflower Theatre’s panto, ‘Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs’, will be switching on the Christmas lights. Christopher Biggins will be joined by Scrooge himself, from MAST Mayflower Studios production of ‘A Christmas Carol’, but he’s promised there won’t be a ‘bah humbug’ in sight.
Next Thursday, November 16th expect to see Christmas characters such as the Frost Dragon, Singing Living Statue and the Christmas Carriage. The mass-karaoke sensation Massaoke will also be in full swing from 6pm on the mainstage, so get ready to belt out those Christmas classics.
It will also see the opening of the much-loved Christmas market which will be open from 16th November – 2nd January, organised by S&D Leisure.
Across the four days there will be a host of entertainment and performances from Oxford Street to Carlton Place, catering to families and children of all ages, as well as the adult, ‘big kids’ too. On Friday, November 17th back on the Bargate mainstage catch live music or head on down to Oxford Street for the Christmas Mariachi experience from 5pm.
Stephen Manion, the Executive Director at GO! Southampton, said: “These events and Southampton’s Christmas offering are always so popular, we wanted to do even more. We’re hoping that by doing four days of events, it means everyone will get the chance to get involved in some festive fun.
“We’re really proud to offer these events for free too, some events are still ticketed so please do head to the visit Southampton website for all the latest information. We have something for everyone and we just want the city to celebrate Christmas with GO! Southampton.”
On into the weekend, there’s family-friendly fun on Saturday, November 18th, where little ones can have the chance to meet Hey Duggee and Blue & Bingo in the Marlands Shopping Centre. On Sunday 19th Hey Duggee returns as well as Chase from PAW Patrol. The meet & greets are free but tickets need to be secured in advance. Be quick though because the tickets are going quickly! Missed out on tickets? Hey Duggee will also be appearing on the Bargate Mainstage over the weekend so watch out for that too – no tickets needed.
Cllr Satvir Kaur, leader of Southampton City Council said: “It’s great to have everyone coming together to gear up for the festive season! Southampton has been voted as one of the most christmassy places in the past, and this year we’re doing even more. Whether you’re a local resident or visitor, young or old, there is something for you, with many free activities too. Come along and get involved.”
There’s more fun to be had at Westquay Shopping Centre on Sunday, November 19th, there will be three incredible shows from 1pm featuring Bjorn, the amazing life-sized animatronic Polar Bear from the Arctic. This interactive and educational performance is suitable for all ages and Bjorn has wowed audiences worldwide with this unmissable, magical experience.
Live and local music will be filling the streets across the weekend. Enjoy performances from, The Henrys, Hannah Williams (The Voice Finalist), Saints Brass Band, Charley Stride, Kieron Cox, Company B and many more.
In case that isn’t enough, don’t forget to stop by Southampton City Art Gallery on the 18th of November for ‘Gonks at the Gallery’, a free Christmas family craft activity. Create your own Christmas Gonk to add some festive flair to your home. Drop in anytime between 10.30am – 3.30pm.
Throughout the four days, various attractions and businesses in the city will also be hosting activities, including God’s House Tower and Gaia Health Store.
For the full event programme go to www.visitsouthampton.co.uk/christmas-countdown
For more information and for the latest updates on events in the city head to the Visit Southampton Facebook page and www.visitsouthampton.co.uk/christmas