A Victorian Festival of Christmas @ Portsmouth Historic Dockyard (27 – 29 Nov; 10am – 6pm)

November 27, 2009toNovember 29, 2009

Victorian XmasPortsmouth Historic Dockyard brings history and its sumptuous setting closer to life this Christmas, when it steps back in time to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the hugely popular Victorian Festival of Christmas. Delightful dreams of Christmases past can now become an extra special Christmas present!

  • The Victorian Festival of Christmas, is a three day event, taking place on Friday 27th to Sunday 29th November.
  • Visitors will be magically transported into a Dickensian-style bygone era of snowy white streets with a festive fairground and seasonal carols.
  • The popular undercover Christmas Market offers a truly unique shopping experience with over 150 stalls offering gift ideas and seasonal fare.
  • Hearty food and drink is high up on the menu with much-loved roasted chestnuts and mulled wine and a splendid continental market.
  • A variety of entertainment can be found throughout the dockyard with parlour games, Punch & Judy, bawdy Music Hall, a nativity farm and a traditional ‘green’ Santa, who ensures this hugely popular event is fun for all the family!
  • Visitors will be met by a host of colourful characters including the familiar faces of Queen Victoria, Isambard Kingdom Brunel, Scrooge, Tiny Tim, Sherlock Holmes and Sweeney Todd.
  • Keeping order amongst the Victorian vagabonds is the Fort Cumberland Guard who will demonstrate their musket firing on the Warrior Jetty.

The organisers would also like to advise revellers to be wary of pickpockets… Fagin, Oliver and his gang are out in force in the tavern to celebrate 100 years of being in film, along with plenty of others who will bring back the enjoyment of singing and dancing in public. For those Christmas traditionalists there are plenty of opportunities throughout the day for carols with the band.

Children are invited to take their place alongside some cheeky urchins in the school room in the Royal Naval Museum, to ensure they are on best behaviour for Mr Bumbury. The strict schoolmaster will determine who’s naughty and nice for a visit to Father Christmas in his grotto onboard HMS Warrior 1860, where all the good boys and girls will receive a traditional Christmas treat!Victorian Xmas 2

For those who would rather spectate than participate, there are traditional theatrical stories being told in the Mary Rose Museum and the cinema in Action Stations has been transformed into Theatre Victoriana. ‘The Adventurous Victorians’ will take the audience back time; a short version of ‘Peter Pan’ will delight all ages and a special performance of ‘Oliver’ will be a dazzling Dickens of a dance.

Gifts are a-plenty when the grand buildings of the Historic Dockyard are transformed into a glorious bazaar of arts, crafts, food, drink and gifts, a Continental Market and Georgian Colonnades – making the Festival of Christmas the largest Christmas market on the South Coast!

If that all sounds too much then visitors can scale it down and visit the miniature model Victorian market or Doc Dean’s Flea Circus, featuring the ‘Greatest Little Show on Earth’ including strongman flea Hercufleas and little Freddy on the high dive, all at the Royal Naval Museum.

The day draws to a close with a twilight parade through the Historic Dockyard of all the festival characters, led by Queen Victoria in a beautiful horse-drawn carriage, and set against the backdrop of the ships in their illuminated glory.

Opening Times

Adults: £12.50
Seniors (60+): £10.50
Children (5-15 years): £10.50 Under 5s Free
Family (Up to 5 people, max 2 adults/seniors): £37.50

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