Recently we were invited into Southampton for a festive family day out thanks to the team at Visit Southampton. We couldn’t wait to head into town and kick off the festive season.
We drove into Southampton and there is good bus, rail and ferry links from around Hampshire and beyond. Parking was surprisingly easy with lots of multi-storey car parks and on-road parking available.
Our first stop was the Elf Making workshop at Southampton City Art Gallery which was a ticketed event. Situated inside the art gallery it was a fun event. The art gallery is free to enter and have a walk around the exhibits too, which is good.
The elf workshop was very well organised, with long tables full of craft materials for us to use. Staff were on hand with guidance to get us started and help if needed.
Thankfully I had my mummy on hand to help with the fiddly bits as I covered my wire elf in pipe cleaners, added an outfit made out of felt with a polystyrene ball for a head. I used feathers for my elves hair.
I loved making my elf and taking it home! It now takes pride of place next to my Christmas tree.
Check out all the upcoming events at Southampton City Art Gallery here
Afterwards we headed to the Marlands Shopping Center, which was full of independent shops and the most amazing pancake house called Stakks!
A real hotspot, it was very popular with speedy service and an amazing menu! We also loved that it was decorated for Christmas and the staff were super friendly.
We indulged in American pancakes with bacon, egg and maple syrup. The thick milkshakes looked amazing and the food was delicious. We can’t wait to go back and slowly eat our way through the rest of the menu!
Afterwards we needed to burn those delicious calories off and a brisk walk onto the main high street took us to the Southampton Christmas Market, situated just outside West Quay Shopping Centre.
It had a great selection of food stalls, bars and gift stalls. With mouth-watering treats including crêpes, German sausages, beer, cheeses, festive Glühwein and mulled cider. I loved all the twinkly lights and the atmosphere, it even had a traditional carousel!
We then popped into West Quay for a bit of Christmas shopping and caught the last of the Black Friday deals, however I’m sure the Christmas Sales will be starting early this year.
There’s also some brilliant restaurants in Westquay, along with Showcase Cinema and Hollywood Bowl at Westquay Watermark next door, for those trying to dodge the crowds.
In the evening we went to West Quay on Ice and it was lovely seeing Southampton Walls all lit up.
We swapped our shoes for skates, and took to the ice! There were seal-shaped skate aids available for kids and the atmosphere was fun, but it was busy so make sure you book in advance if skating. Find out more about West Quay on Ice and book tickets here.
At the end of our skate session we had a chalet booked for drinks at Apres Bar, right outside West Quay on Ice. I toasted marshmallows on the open fire and my mummy warmed up with mulled wine.
Hidden away in our own little cosy chalet at Apres Bar Southampton it was nice to chill out after shopping. It came complete with heaters, cushions and blankets and a great view to people watch.
You can find out more about Apres Bar Southampton here. I was the perfect way to end our busy day in Southampton.
We’re lucky to live on the South Coast with so much on our doorstep and we’d definitely recommend Southampton as a destination for a festive family day out.
There’s so many bars and restaurants to explore and we can’t wait to discover them in 2023.
One of our favourite so far is Blues Smokehouse, near Guildhall Square. Serving amazing authentic American BBQ food, check out our review on our socials @dear_mummy. It was a delicious meal and we throughly enjoyed it.
Check out the Visit Southampton website for more activities and events in Southampton this December and beyond. We’ve been super impressed that Southampton has so much on offer for all the family!
Love Bella x
Disclosure: We were gifted a trip into Southampton by Visit Southampton in order to review some of the festive activities. All photos, videos and thoughts are our own.