Kick-start the festive season at the Victorian Festival of Christmas

The largest Christmas festival on the south coast is set to return this December when Portsmouth Historic Dockyard welcomes back the ever-popular Victorian Festival of Christmas. Open 10am to 6pm between 1 – 3rd December, the festival is the perfect way to kick off seasonal celebrations.

The Victorian Festival of Christmas transports visitors to a bygone era where a cast of colourful characters roam the snow-covered cobbled streets, rub shoulders with a medley of street entertainers, enjoy seasonal refreshments and over 150 stalls for perfect gift ideas.

Taking centre stage this year, will be a new, soon-to-be unveiled regiment of 12 life-size naval-inspired figures. Currently still in Santa’s workshop, these specially created artistic installations by selected artists will bring an entirely new look to the famous 12 Days of Christmas' ditty.

Visitors can encounter the ever-popular traditional Father Christmas dressed in green, see Scrooge in his hand-drawn carriage, bump into young chimney sweeps, and enjoy street performances from Victorian magicians and musicians. To top off proceedings, there will be a 35-foot Christmas tree alongside HMS Victory.

Historic parts of the dockyard will be transformed into a Victorian-style street, complete with coffin measurers, ladies of the night, street urchins, market sellers and many more. This year there is a brand new family trail with Vice Admiral Lord Nelson’s favourite jewel at the centre of an intriguing Sherlock Holmes-inspired whodunnit.

The lively real-ale Fagin’s Tavern returns with plenty of merriment this year as performances by The Edelweiss Bavarian Oompah Band, Old Sea Dogs, and Shep Woolley & the Ansome Sea Buoys, light up the stage.

Those planning ahead can take advantage of special online Earlybird rates that offer cracking discounts on all ticket prices: adult tickets (16-59) £14.50; child tickets (5-15, under 5s free) £12.50; senior and student tickets £14.00; family tickets (2 adults and up to 3 children) £46.00; disabled and carer tickets £12.50.

What’s more, event tickets include entry to all the attractions within the Historic Dockyard, including the new-look Mary Rose, HMS Victory, HMS Warrior 1860, HMS M.33, The National Museum of the Royal Navy, Boathouse 4 and Action Stations.