Portsmouth Event Advent

December is finally here - which can only mean one thing: it's time to get started on the advent calendar.  You won't find chocolate or sweet treats here, though. Instead, there's 24 of the best events taking place throughout December, so you'll have something to do every day between now and Christmas.

1 December - Christmas Murder Mystery
A great many people have thought: 'Christmas is murder' - and this year it really is! A festive, Dickens-themed plot unfolds at Groundlings Theatre. Will you be able to solve the mystery? To do so you'll need to quiz some of the characters from local hero Charles Dickens' iconic 'A Christmas Carol'.

2 December - Victorian Festival of Christmas
The Victorian Festival of Christmas at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard is becoming as much a festive tradition as mince pies and fairy lights. The streets come alive with snow, trees and character actors - not to mention plenty of stalls and all the great Dockyard attractions.

3 December - Hotwalls Festive Pop-Up
Get down to the Hotwalls for some Christmas gifts and cheer you're certain to not find anywhere else. The designer-makers will be on hand to talk about their process, showcase their items and even take commissions. There's also a fully lit Christmas Tree and The Canteen serving hot food and drink to keep you toasty warm.

4 December - Commercial Road Christmas Market
Another Christmas market comes in the form of the Bavarian fayre at Commercial Road. Alongside the traditional gifts you can get a cup of Gluhwein, authentic wurst or even some chestnuts (roasted on an open fire, of course).

5 December - John Bishop: Winging It
Festive events needn't be overly… festive. If you're looking to get away from the chintz and the glitz of Christmas for an evening, why not see Scouse comic John Bishop, as he brings his latest tour Winging It to Portsmouth Guildhall. Expect stories of marital strife delivered in his unmistakeable delivery.

6 December - Fort Nelson Talks
Another non-festive event to take your mind off Christmas is the 'Department of Artillery' talk at Fort Nelson. Delivered by guest speaker Nicholas Hall, former Keeper of Artillery at the Royal Armouries, this session will cover the changing technology of gunpowder artillery down the centuries, using examples from the world-class collection for illustration. It's not to be missed.

7 December - Elf Trail
Mischievous elves have stolen Santa's 'naughty or nice' list and have hidden it in various locations around the Emirates Spinnaker Tower. They've also squirrelled themselves away into hiding places. Can you find all the hidden treasures? Anyone who completes the trail to help Santa find his rogue elves will be entered into a prize draw.

8 December - Enchanted Narnia
There's a winter wonderland to explore at Gunwharf Quays this Christmas, thanks to its Enchanted Narnia attraction, created in association with Wave 105. Children can walk through the snowy woodlands of the C. S. Lewis classic, then meet Santa at the end for a gift to remember the day.

9 December - Santa's Christmas Party
Santa makes another appearance, this time at the Pyramids Christmas Party. Black Hat Theatrical will be on hand for themed entertainment throughout the day, plus there will be a disco, party games and Santa's grotto to explore. Lunch is provided too.

10 December - Milton Glee Choir Christmas Concert
The Milton Glee Choir will descend upon Portsmouth Guildhall for its Christmas Concert. This afternoon show is certain to get you in the festive mood.

11 December - Robert Plant
If you prefer more (blues) rocking around the Christmas tree, Robert Plant's gig at the Guildhall may be more appealing. The music legend and ex-Led Zeppelin frontman tours this winter in support of new album, Carry Fire.

12 December - Snow White
The Kings Theatre pantomime is the pinnacle of many people's festive celebrations. After all, it wouldn't be Christmas without a chorus or two of: "He's behind you!" This year's show is Snow White, which features Melinda Messenger and doyenne of the Kings panto, Anita Dobson.

13 December - LOL Comedy Club
We all need a laugh as the nights draw in, so there's no better time to head along to the LOL Comedy Club at the Guildhall. This show features TV's Al Barrie, alongside Phil Jerrod, Chris Kent and Tom Houghton.

14 December - Late Night at the Hotwalls
It's halfway through advent, so you'll want to make sure that Christmas list is getting ticked off. What better time, then, to take a trip to the Hotwalls Studios, which will be open until 7pm for browsing and buying.

15 December - Portsmouth Beer Festival Christmas Sessions
Cheers! For a festive tipple or two (or three), look no further than the Portsmouth Beer Festival Christmas Sessions. In addition to the seasonal rubies, porters and stouts, there will be ciders, wine and gins aplenty, plus some hearty food from the best local sellers.

16 December - Portsmouth Chorus Christmas Concert
The Portsmouth Chorus will ring in Christmas with a fun-filled and family-friendly concert within the beautiful surrounds of St John's Cathedral. The group will perform a variety of seasonal songs, including some Christmas classics where singing along isn't just welcome but positively encouraged!

17 December - Crafts in the Tower
December 17 is a great day for markets. In addition to the Hotwalls Open Studios and Hampshire Farmers' Markets on Palmerston Road you have Crafts in the Tower at Old Portsmouth's Square Tower. Local makers unite to showcase their crafts and trinkets, which will make for unique gifts you're certain not to find replicated on high streets up and down the land.

18 December - Aladdin
This year's pantomime at the Groundlings Theatre's will be Aladdin. Take a magic carpet trip through Arabian streets with Aladdin and the Genie of the Lamp in this hilarious panto romp.

19 December - Beauty and the Beast
Festive trips to the theatre needn't be exclusively pantomime, of course. The New Theatre Royal hosts a Christmassy re-telling of Beauty and the Beast, which takes in the bustling streets of Portsmouth and the magical forests of Hampshire. It's the wondrous tale that everyone knows, mixed in with a few new twists and turns.

20 December - Camp as Christmas
The critically acclaimed vocal ensemble All That Malarkey return to the Groundlings Theatre this December for another festive extravaganza - Camp as Christmas! Featuring sketches, songs and carols, there will be much fun to be had at this brilliant, bonkers show.

21 December - Christmas at the Fort
Take an authentic peek into a Victorian Christmas at Fort Nelson. Not only will you be able to see how Head Cook Sergeant Dobson prepares a festive feast for the garrison, you can also take a tour of the site's Redan and Officer's Mess - which aren't normally open to the public.

22 December - The Snowman
No Christmas would be complete without a screening of The Snowman. No gifts can be opened or turkey carved until you've heard the soaring 'Walking in the Air' - it just wouldn't be right. This year, why not really take it in at Portsmouth Guildhall, where the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra will be performing Howard Blake's stunning score alongside a screening of the 1982 classic.

23 December - Love Southsea Christmas Market
If you've got last minute gifts to buy, why not take a trip down to the Love Southsea Christmas Market on Albert Road, where you're sure to find the final few items you need. Even if everything is done, wrapped and ready to go, it's the ideal place to go for a wander, to get right into the spirit of everything to come.

24 December - Ice Skate Portsmouth
Round off the advent build-up by getting your skates on and heading out onto the ice. With the sound of sleigh bells faint in the distance, what could be a better way to spend the afternoon than ice skating under the imposing Portsmouth Guildhall, then finishing off with a warming drink by the fire at Moguls Bar. Bliss.


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