Southampton is set for a Christmas spectacular

Back to News

09 October 2023

It’s only 77 days to Christmas and Southampton starts celebrating with the return of the Christmas market from Thursday 16 November 2023 to Tuesday 2 January 2024. S&D Leisure is running the Christmas market again this year and it promises to be bigger and better than last year when, by putting on the market with very little notice, they saved Christmas!

The traditional market features individually designed alpine chalets. There are more than 30 independent stallholders offering a range of hand-made, authentic gifts including candles, clothing and jewellery as well as handcrafted Christmas decorations.

S&D Leisure is planning more Christmas magic with a light projection show, high-octane rides and a Christmas Fun House. And if all the excitement makes you hungry, there is a mouthwatering menu of international dishes to enjoy, from delicious Dutch pancakes and doughnuts to Yorkshire pudding wraps and German sausages (including vegetarian and vegan options).

The spectacular light projection show will light up the historic Bargate and will run every 30 minutes, between 5pm and 9.30pm each night from 17 November until 24 December.

The Christmas market will also feature the UK’s tallest Ferris wheel and the ride AtmosFear, which swings riders up to 80ft into the sky, whilst spinning them around 360 degrees. The Christmas Fun House will offer smaller children’s rides and there will be a Santa’s Workshop on the southern side of the Bargate.

Southampton will also have its traditional festive Christmas lights – using energy-saving light bulbs. The free Countdown to Christmas event, organised by GO! Southampton, in November will include the official switch-on of the lights, more details to be announced.

Christmas wouldn’t be the same without Santa, and he’s going to be busy! As well as being at the Christmas market at weekends, he’ll also be making an appearance at Tudor House book your visit and find out more about all that’s going on at Tudor House & Garden this Christmas at

You can also get festive at Southampton City Art Gallery and SeaCity Museum with Christmas activities for all the family, from wreath making to fun history talks – book at WeGotTickets | Simple, honest ticketing.

Explore the city at Christmas with GO! Southampton’s free family walking trail plus take advantage of the offers and discounts available through the SO card, free for residents to use.

And there are shows and performances by cultural partners with many discounted tickets to ensure that families can enjoy the show together.

The Christmas shopping in Southampton will be as spectacular as ever, with many brand favourites staying open later in the shopping centres and along the high street. Westquay will be bringing back its popular ice-skating rink too for everyone to enjoy.

Leader of the Council, Councillor Satvir Kaur said:

“It’s that time of year again, and we’re excited to announce all the exciting plans being prepared for Christmas this year. We know that Southampton is a top destination for both local residents and visitors alike, attracting tens of thousands to our city during the festive period, contributing considerably to our local economy.

Last year, we were successful in our Operation Save Christmas, and this year we’re working hard with partners to ensure its bigger and better, and there is something for everyone; of all ages and backgrounds, but also with more free activities, so no one misses out.”

S&D Leisure Managing Director, Stanley Reeves, commented:

“We are pleased to be running the Christmas market in Southampton again this year. After the short notice of last year, this year we have been able to plan lots of extra attractions and entertainment to bring even more sparkle to Southampton. There will be lots to see and celebrate this season.

We are looking forward to welcoming residents and visitors to our spectacular market this year.”

Stephen Manion, Executive Director at GO! Southampton said:

“There is a lot of excitement for Christmas this year and GO! Southampton is very pleased to be working with many of our businesses to provide and promote exciting activities, entertainment and fun trails from Bedford Place through the centre to Oxford Street. Attracting families and visitors during the Countdown to Christmas will bring the city centre alive, launching the festive season and the market.”

Back to News