Southampton is a vibrant port city known for its maritime history and modern shopping facilities. During Christmas, the city centre hosts the Southampton Christmas Market, which adds to the local attractions.
In this article, I’ll provide all the essential details, including confirmed 2023 dates, opening times, and locations, and highlight some local specialties.
Southampton takes on a festive atmosphere with lights, decorations and special events around Christmas time.
Southampton Christmas Market 2023
The Christmas market in Southampton is known for its wide range of artisanal goods and international cuisine.
You’ll find unique handmade crafts and gifts, making it an ideal place for holiday shopping. The food stalls serve a variety of global flavours, from German sausages to French pastries.
Live music performances add to the festive atmosphere, making it a lively place to visit during Christmas.
Dates and Location
Southampton Christmas Market dates: 16th November 2023 to 2nd January 2024.
Location: Above Bar pedestrian area.
Opening times: 10am to 10pm.
Christmas Day: Closed.
Admission: Free, no tickets required.
Christmas lights: Switch on date: 16th November 2023.
Light Up Trails: 30th November to 31st December 2023 at Sir Harold Hillier Gardens from 4:30pm. Book online.
Santa: Yes, at Santa’s Grotto until 24th December.
Christmas bar: Apres Bar at Westquay Esplanade.
Ice skating: Yes, at Westquay on Ice at The Esplanade, Medieval Walls, Westquay South.
Vegetarian: Yes, plenty of options.
Vegan: Yes, plenty of options.
Gluten free: Yes, but limited.
Pet-friendly: Yes, but not recommended during busy periods.
Parking: Please take public transport to help limit congestion.
Reason to visit: Unique mix of local, global stalls; Alpine-themed bar; heart of historic, vibrant Southampton.
Recommended tour: Secrets of the Titanic tour.
Specialities: Artisan mince pies, mulled wine, locally-made fudge; diverse international cuisine, warm chestnuts.
Where to stay: No.4 Carlton is a highly-rated hotel, 9 minutes from the Christmas market.
Hotels near Southampton Christmas Market
For proximity to the Christmas market, the Cultural Quarter is a great area to consider for your stay in Southampton.
This vibrant district puts you close to the market and key cultural attractions such as the O2 Guildhall and the City Art Gallery.
A particularly well-rated hotel in this vicinity is No.4 Carlton, a popular choice due to its excellent location and consistently high reviews.
Location of Southampton Christmas Market
Christmas in Southampton
The video provided gives an overview of what the Southampton Christmas Market is like. It showcases the bustling market stalls, the city’s festive atmosphere, and the diverse offerings available.
To help you plan your festive travels further, I recommend you explore my guide to the UK Christmas markets 2023. It’s useful for building an itinerary or simply getting some holiday inspiration.
Christmas Specialties in Southampton
Mince Pies: A British Christmas staple, mince pies at the Southampton market are made using a mixture of dried fruits and spices encased in a flaky pastry crust. You can often find them warm, right out of the oven, perfect for a chilly evening. They pair exceptionally well with mulled wine.
Mulled Wine: Mulled wine’s aroma fills the market air. It combines red wine with various mulling spices and is served hot. It’s a traditional drink enjoyed by many during the winter months.
Roast Chestnuts: A classic winter snack, these are often sold from street carts. Roast chestnuts are simple yet satisfying, with their naturally sweet and nutty flavour enhanced by the roasting process.
Bratwurst: Originating from Germany, Bratwurst sausages are common at many Christmas markets. Typically served in a bun with sauerkraut and mustard, they provide a hearty snack.
Stollen: This German fruit bread contains dried fruit and nuts and is often dusted with icing sugar. It’s a rich, dense treat that’s ideal for those with a sweet tooth.
Churros with Chocolate: These Spanish doughnuts are deep-fried and served with a cup of thick hot chocolate for dipping. The combination of the crispy churro and the rich chocolate makes for a comforting snack.
Poffertjes: These are small, fluffy Dutch pancakes. Usually served with a generous dusting of powdered sugar and a knob of butter, poffertjes are a sweet delight that’s hard to resist.
Crepes: A French specialty, crepes are thin pancakes filled with an assortment of ingredients like Nutella, strawberries, or cheese. They’re cooked on a large, flat griddle and folded over, making them easy to eat while you walk.
Hot Apple Cider: This warm beverage is made from apple juice and spices. It’s a non-alcoholic option that provides a sense of warmth and comfort on cold days.
Fudge: Available in various flavours like chocolate and vanilla and seasonal specials like gingerbread, fudge is a sugary treat that’s popular among both children and adults.
Pretzels: These twisted breads are a filling snack, often found in both sweet and savoury varieties. Whether you prefer them sprinkled with salt or cinnamon sugar, there’s a pretzel for every palate.
Gingerbread Cookies: Shaped like stars, hearts, or even intricate snowflakes, these cookies are more than just a sweet snack. They also make thoughtful gifts, often adorned with colourful icing and sometimes even messages.
Fish and Chips: For a local touch, you’ll find stalls selling this classic British dish. Battered fish is served alongside chips, often with a side of mushy peas or tartar sauce.
Craft Beer: Numerous stalls focus on local craft beers. This gives you an opportunity to sample regional brews, some of which might even have seasonal flavours suited for the winter.
Tea: It wouldn’t be a British market without a tea stall. From traditional English Breakfast to herbal options, you’ll find a range of teas to sip and enjoy or to take home as gifts.
Christmas Gifts and Stocking Fillers
Maritime Crafts: Reflecting Southampton’s maritime history, you can find intricate ship models and sea-themed decorations. These crafts make for intriguing decorative pieces and serve as a nod to the city’s heritage.
Wooden Toys: Traditional wooden toys like rocking horses, puzzles, and spinning tops can be found at several stalls. These toys are durable and often handcrafted, presenting an alternative to plastic toys.
Christmas Ornaments: Glass baubles, intricately designed tree toppers, and other ornaments are available to add a festive touch to your Christmas tree. Some stalls even allow for personalisation, adding a name or date to commemorate the year.
Local Gin: Several vendors specialize in locally produced gin, which often incorporates botanicals sourced from the region. The bottles frequently come in gift sets that include mixers and garnishes, providing a complete experience.
British Sweets: Think beyond the usual supermarket fare with a selection of traditional British sweets like toffee, hard candies, and liquorice. These treats are often sold in decorative tins or jars, suitable for gifting.
Woollens: Given the chilly weather, woollen items like scarves, hats, and gloves are popular. Made from quality materials, these products are both warm and stylish.
Tea Sets: In keeping with British tradition, you’ll find fine china tea sets that include cups, saucers, and teapots. These sets often feature classic British designs and make for elegant gifts.
Books: Some stalls focus on literature, offering a range of books from classic novels to local history. It’s an excellent opportunity to pick up something to read during the winter months or to gift to a book lover.
Pet Treats: Even pets are catered to with stalls offering homemade dog biscuits, catnip toys, and other animal-friendly gifts. These pet treats often use natural ingredients and come in gift-ready packaging.
By focusing on a mix of traditional and locally-inspired products, the Southampton Christmas Market provides an array of gifting options suitable for all.
For further information and visitor tips, I suggest you check out the official website Visit Southampton, which is dedicated to assisting travellers in exploring the city.
Sustainable Christmas Tips
Here are a few tips on how we can travel more responsibly in Southampton at Christmas.
Use Renewable Energy: Southampton has various accommodation options that run on renewable energy sources. When booking your stay, opt for such environmentally-conscious options.
Reduce Food Waste: Only buy food you’re sure you’ll eat at the Christmas market in Southampton. Many vendors, like The Pig on the Street, serve size-appropriate portions that help reduce the chance of leftovers.
Ethical Consumption: When shopping for gifts, consider the origins of the products. Many Christmas stalls, like those selling handcrafted jewellery or locally-made candles, support local artisans and businesses. Making conscious choices like these can have a positive impact.
Sustainable Diets: Opt for Christmas food stalls that offer vegetarian or vegan options. For example, food stalls in the market serve vegetable pastries and vegan-friendly desserts. This can be a more sustainable choice as plant-based diets typically require fewer resources to produce.
Sustainable Transport: Southampton has an excellent network of cycle paths and pedestrian-friendly routes. Renting a bike or simply walking can reduce your carbon footprint. The city also has an efficient public transport system, so consider using buses or trains for longer journeys.
The Southampton Christmas Market dates are 16th November 2023 to 2nd January 2024.
The Christmas market in Southampton is primarily located in the city’s Cultural Quarter, a vibrant and dynamic part of the city known for its arts venues and historic architecture. The markets are located on Above Bar Street pedestrianised area.
The Southampton Christmas Market opening hours are 10am to 10pm.
Southampton experiences mild winters compared to other parts of the UK. Temperatures usually range from 3°C to 8°C, and there is a chance of rain, so it’s advisable to pack an umbrella or raincoat.
Aside from the Christmas market, the city hosts various festive events such as carol services, festive shows at the Mayflower Theatre, and ice skating at the Guildhall Square.
If you would like to leave a review of Southampton Xmas Market, comment below.
Recommendations are independently chosen based on personal travel experiences and extensive research. This post contains affiliate links to hotels and tours in Southampton, United Kingdom. This means I get a small commission from any bookings at no extra cost to you.