Christmas can be the most magical time of year wherever you are, whatever the weather. And despite Bournemouth being one of the country’s premier beach resorts, Bournemouth can do winter too! Bournemouth and many of its neighbouring towns still perform the traditional Christmas light switch-on ceremony, with local celebrities and pantomime stars lining up (oh yes they do!) to officially welcome the winter festivities.
Bournemouth Square really goes to town with its decorations, including a tight-roping Father Christmas on a unicycle high above Richmond Hill, a fellow Santa scaling a chimney pot bedecked with presents right in the town centre and an interactive nativity scene too. If you’re looking for an original gift, there are tens of charming sheds lining the town’s two main high streets (Commercial Road and Old Christchurch Road) selling Christmassy wares including handmade and imported items, winter-warming food and the ever-popular pop-up mulled wine winter bar.
Through the Lower Gardens is the fascinating Gardens of Light exhibition, which casts bewitching and attractive pictures as you trudge through to the seafront taking in lungfuls of crisp winter air. This trail of light projections and illuminations and popular ‘light pod’ studios is completely free for all to interact with and enjoy and opens in November.
The icing on the cake is the outdoors ice rink which pops up to bring this fun winter sport to locals and visitors still lamenting the closure of the town’s only permanent ice rink. Glide on fresh ice under the trees or watch the action from the cosy rink-side apres-skate chalets over a warming snack or a hot chocolate. The Bournemouth International Centre also opens its own enchanting Cool Coast temporary ice rink over the winter in its beautiful Purbeck Hall.