I love visiting Basingstoke.  It’s one of the UK’s oldest market towns and I love getting some Christmas shopping done in Festival Place.  But there are plenty of things to do in Basingstoke this Christmas to get you feeling festive.

things to do in Basingstoke at Christmas


1 Tire The Kids Out at Flipout

I’m not sure my post child birth pelvic floor is up to the job of trampolining, but I know my small people, and to be fair the husband, would love it.  Flipout Basingstoke is opening soon in Festival Place.  What better bribe to get the kids through Christmas shopping!

As well as the trampolines, Flip Out Basingstoke will have:

  • Large 3-zone indoor Ninja Assault Course with cutting edge RFID technology (first of it’s kind in England)  Big would absolutely love this.
  • 10 interactive climbing walls
  • 2 cyber tower courses
  • Total wipeout machine
  • Stunt boxes and trick park (including a full size Lamborghini)
  • Battle beams
  • Foam pit
  • A 28ft drop super slide
  • Basketball dunk zone
  • Soft play area


2 Watch Santa’s Parade

Don’t miss the hugely entertaining Santa’s parade on Sunday 3rd December.  Starting in Porchester Square and heading to Festival Square, the parade is lead by Father Christmas himself along with some of his friends.  A street theatre event not to be missed.


3 Visit Santa’s Grotto 

Experience magical talking trees and Rudolfs naughty-or-nice-o-metre as you go on an enchanting woodland walk before meeting the big man in red.  There’s even an augmented reality that you can access via your smart phone for a really interactive experience.  The grotto is open from 18th November until the 24th December. It costs £4 per child and they get a little gift.

things to do in Basingstoke this Christmas


One of Santa’s cheekier elves!


4 Explore the Christmas Market’s

There’s nothing like a festive market to get you in the Christmas spirit.  With a gorgeous selection of food, drinks and gifts you’ll find the perfect gift you’ve been looking for.  This year the Basingstoke Christmas market is open from the 22nd November until the New Year.


5 Head for an Exciting Escape 

Exciting Escapes is a really fun night out, especially with a group of friends.  It’s an escape room that you have 60 minutes to solve the mystery.  A bit like the Crystal maze.  There are a few different rooms to choose from, each offering a different experience.  You can even look at booking the venue for your Christmas party.  They also offer gift vouchers if you wanted to give it as a Christmas present.  Find out more at excitingescapes.co.uk


6 Go Back in Time at Milestones Museum

Sep back in time at Milestones toy museum.  Walk around historic streets, visit the 1940’s sweet shop.  On the 9th and 10th of December there is a traditional Victorian market with a Santa’s grotto and the Basingstoke Male choir creating that festive feeling.  Big visited Milestones last year and loved it.  A family ticket for up to two adults and three children is £35.  What makes this great value is that you pay once and can return as many times as you like for a whole year.  Visit Hampshire Cultural Trust for more information and upcoming events.


7 Enjoy a Night Away

We enjoyed a complimentary stay at the Apollo Hotel.  It’s everything you need for a relaxing night away complete with gym, pool and spa.  We had a studio room which had a lounge are and bedroom.  I always think rooms with separate ares are fantastic when you are staying with kids as it means you have somewhere to vacate to when they go to sleep.  The lounge area had a sofa bed.  The bathroom also had a massive shower which always adds a luxury feel for me.  A studio room like ours was £119 for the night including breakfast.  Double bedrooms are available from £70.  And overseas visitors can ship their luggage ahead of time.


8 Taste a Festive Menu

You are spoilt for choice with places to eat in Festival place, but it’s hard to walk past the Festival Street kitchen and resist the smell.

Seriously, if this picture had smelovision you would be salivating right now.  We had the Caribbean curry and it was honestly the best curry I have ever had.  Just thinking about makes me want to go back to the Street Kitchen and get some.  The only problem was the hugely generous portions, and that was only a problem because I fancied a lie down after rather than continue Christmas shopping!  If you are in the area check out the Festival Street kitchen.  


We had our evening meal at Pizza Express.  I love this restaurant for casual dinning.  It always has a family friendly feel, fantastic service and great food.  And I can never resist the polenta chips.  They normally offer a festive menu too, although I think we were a bit too early for that.  We were still spoilt for choice though!


9 Take in a Show

There is so much to see this festive season.  From Pantomimes, to classics, to something for the little ones. 

The Anvil has the classic Peter Pan with stars such as Andrew Agnew, better known as PC Plum  from Cbeebies Balamory and Gary Turner from Emmerdale and Hollyoaks.

The Haymarket Theatre has a production of The Night Before Christmas from the 8th until the 10th December.  Followed by The Charles Dickens classic A Christmas Carol from the 12th until the 13th December.

The Proteus theatre has an interactive show aimed at pre-school children called How Many Sleeps until Christmas from the 14th until the 24th December.


10 Get The Job Done 

Festival Place and the malls is the place to go for all of your Christmas shopping.  With high street brands and pop up stores you will be sure to find the perfect gift for even the hardest person to buy for.  Personally I think late night shopping feels more festive with the twinkling lights.

chocolates that are too good to eat!

Smiggle, the shop where it’s ok to go round sniffing stuff! 


One of the unexpected highlights of our trip to Basingstoke was a tasting session in Whittards.  Taylor our host was brilliantly enthusiastic and knowledgeable.  We tried everything from apple infused teas, festive hot chocolate and chai.  It was all amazing, apart from the chai.  I know it’s all the rage at the moment, but it tasted like porridge!  Then again I have never been one to like things that are en vogue.  Olives being a prime example.  However I cannot recommend their mint hot chocolate enough.  I love a mint hot choc and this was the best one I have tasted by far.    


We shopped until we dropped, although sadly I couldn’t convince the husband to purchase these guys from TK Maxx


If you get a little carried away with your Christmas shopping and find you are running out of arms to carry it all Festival Place have lockers where you can store all your shopping, which saves you time wandering around the car park looking for your car which you seem to have lost.  True story!


There’s so much to do in Basingstoke this Christmas.  We had a great weekend there.

We were working with In Basingstoke on this post and received complimentarty meals and accomodation.  All views are my own.


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things to do in Basingstoke this Christmas


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Claire Kirby

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