Victorian Festival of Christmas returns to Portsmouth Historic Dockyard

The Victorian Festival of Christmas returns to Portsmouth Historic Dockyard for its 17th year between Friday 25th and Sunday 27th November, welcoming 35,000 visitors over a three-day period.

The festival will see the return of all the family favourites, transporting visitors to a bygone era where colourful characters roam the snow-covered cobbled streets.

You’ll encounter an ever-popular traditional Father Christmas dressed in green, Scrooge in his carry carriage, chimney sweeps, and Victorian magicians and musicians.

Fagin’s Tavern in the Spiegeltent, a bustling Christmas market, and street performers along the snowy lanes — it’ll all be there.

New to this year’s event is a spectacular illuminations show which will see HMS Victory, HMS Warrior, and the Mary Rose projected onto the front of the Action Stations building. The show, titled I Saw Three Ships, is interactive, and can be controlled by visitors.

In a race to raise one of the famous three ships from the Mast Pond and onto the front of Action Stations, three wheels opposite the building have to be turned. This activates projections of sailors and dockyard workers, who will be there to help pull and hoist each ship.

Those who turn their wheel the fastest will get to see a special one-minute light show and the story of the ship they raised.

John Rawlinson, Director of Visitor Experience at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard, said: “This is one of the biggest events in the run up to Christmas on the south coast and every year just gets better.

“It’s always such a popular event and every year it’s wonderful to see hundreds of people lining the streets getting into the festive spirit.”

Historic parts of the dockyards will be completely transformed into Victorian-style streets, complete with coffin measurers, ladies of the night, street urchins, market sellers, and plenty more.

Fagin’s Tavern, a lively ale pub, will return alongside HMS Victory, overflowing with merriment and live entertainment from The Edelweiss Bavarian Oompah Band, Old Sea Dogs, and Shep Woolley and the Ansome Sea Buoys.

Event tickets include entry to all the Portsmouth Historic Dockyard attractions, including the new-look Mary Rose Museum, HMS Victory, HMS Warrior, HMS M.33, the National Museum of the Royal Navy, Boathouse 4, and Action Stations.

The festival is open from 10:00am through 6:00pm across all three days.

Book your tickets online through the Victorian Festival of Christmas website »