It’s official. The lights have been turned on in town, the square is full of people enjoying several performances and drinking mulled wine at the outdoors festive pub, the Christmas market is already open and the Ice Rink is ready for you to show off your skating skills. It can only mean one thing: Christmas is nearly upon us.
And there’s a lot more to look forward to that I almost can’t get my head around the excitement: carols, obligatory Love Actually watching, the smell of Christmas trees, mulled wine, cards, office parties, reindeer jumpers, ice skating, decorations, too much food, and fun times with friends and family.
And to get us well and truly in the festive spirit, I am bringing you a top 8 things to do in Bournemouth this Christmas.
- ALPINE-STYLE CHRISTMAS MARKET
The Bournemouth Alpine Market runs from 12th November 2015 to 3rd January 2016 and is open daily from 10.00am except for Christmas Day.
Situated in the heart of Bournemouth town centre the market features a range of Alpine style stalls selling a range of festive treats, handmade crafts and a lot more! This could be the perfect opportunity to buy a special and unique gift for someone this Christmas.
- ICE SKATING
Time to get your skates on for Christmas! If you are a true ice skating lover you can’t miss out on the fantastic outdoor ice skating rink in Bournemouth’s Lower Gardens, which is a popular attraction at Christmas and will be open from 19th November until 3rd January. The ice rink is a feature of the ‘Gardens of Light‘ festival and will be open daily throughout the festive period, except Christmas Day. The rink also features rink side après-skate chalets where you will be able to enjoy some festive treats and warming food and drink including luxury hot chocolate with artisan, mulled wine, mulled cider, beers, pastries, cheese fondues and hearty soups!
If you are one of those who prefer to skate indoors, don’t worry because there’s something for you too! From 12 December to 21 February, you can feel all festive on the Bournemouth BIC ice rink and show off your finest Dancing on Ice moves. Moreover, Fire on Ice DJ nights are the perfect plan for you this Christmas. You will have the amazing opportunity to enjoy an extended skate session with a live DJ hosted by Fire Radio from 7:15pm to 10:15pm.
The rink, which has operated during the Christmas season for the past four years, is an inexpensive activity that families can enjoy together during holiday periods. You can buy advance tickets online from £8.00.
- GARDENS OF LIGHT’S FESTIVAL
The ‘Gardens of Light’ is set to return once again this Christmas to Bournemouth from 19th November 2015 until 3rd January 2016 (open daily, except Christmas Day, from 4.00pm until 10.00pm ) bringing with it wonderful illuminations, a fabulous ice rink and some new attractions!
The event was first launched in 2013 and has been growing ever since. Along with the popular ice rink, the gardens are illuminated with festive lights and decorations giving a special festive feel to the gardens.
New for 2015 will be a brand new light installation from the award-winning lighting design team at Michael Grubb Studio. Follow a trail of hanging lights and projections through the Lower Gardens and explore some of the fabulous light pods!
And if your feet get a little weary you can always hop on the Santa Express which is a special land train service that will be running through the gardens and to various stops around the town!
- SANTA EXPRESS
One of the most awesome decisions by Bournemouth Council this Christmas is the addition of the Santa Express. It’s a similar land train to the one that runs from Bournemouth to Boscombe pier, with a bit of festive bling of course to make it Christmas ready. And it costs just £1 per person (That’s cheaper than a bus!). More money for your Christmas shopping!
This hop-on hop-off service has stops in the Lower Gardens, Westover Road, Old Christchurch Road, the Town Square and the Triangle – ideal for anyone carrying heavy bags! Your ticket will be valid all day so if you want to get off to do some shopping or see the sights and then hop back on later, you can!. A £1 day travel is truly a bargain in today’s world so why not make the most of it and get into town for less and save more for your shopping.
- COCACOLA TRUCK
The iconic Coca-Cola Christmas Truck Tour will be rolling into town on Wednesday 16th December 2015. Spreading lots of Coca-Cola magic the vehicle will be parked up in a snowy winter wonderland at The Waterfront, Pier Approach, from 12 noon until 8.00pm. Visitors will be able to have their photo taken with the big famous truck while Christmas helpers serve chilled Coca-Cola drinks and a choir sings festive Christmas carols. I personally can’t wait for this because everyone knows that it’s officially Christmas as soon as this famous truck graces our TV screens. Coca-Cola has made this truck the modern sleigh.
- RUNTON ROAD CHRISTMAS LIGHTS
The residents of Runton Road in Branksome are set to switch on their famous illuminations for charity between 5 and 6pm on Saturday. The popular annual event, now in its 27th year, attracts hundreds of people and in 2012 five million people witnessed the big switch on when the street was featured on BBC’s The One Show. The dazzling display can be seen from half-a-mile away and attracts a steady stream of visitors, particularly on Christmas Eve, who generously put money in collection boxes outside the houses to give it to charity.
- STAGE AT THE SQUARE
Situated in the centre of Bournemouth Square, the large mobile stage provides a variety of entertainment for all the family from bands to solo artists, choirs to brass bands, fire shows to magicians, and much more! The entertainment continues throughout the Christmas Festival period and is a great opportunity for local artists to showcase their talent. Also, a traditional static Nativity Scene will be on display throughout the Christmas period with narration and piped music reminding the people of the true reason behind the festival. Whilst the Victorian style carousel will provide the whole family with some traditional festival fun.
Christmas is all about having fun and feeling the joy and buzz from all the festivities going on around you so why not make the most of some of the above if you’re spending your first Christmas holidays in the UK? Happy holidays to all!!! HO HO HO *sleigh bell rings*
Great Britain is pretty famous for its barmy weather among other things but did you know that being barmy about the weather is also considered a very British trait? That’s right, according to an article published by The Telegraph in 2008, 58% of the 5000 adults questioned admitted that they like talking about nothing but the weather. The aim of the questionnaire was to find out what the British thought they were most commonly known for or what their traits were that set them apart from other nations. Talking about the weather obviously bagged first place and our innate talent for queuing took second place. The weather in the UK is quite a marvellous thing though, isn’t it? I mean nothing compares to the hot sunny beaches of Marbella but where’s the excitement in consistent weather?
Here, the weather constantly keeps you on your toes and figuring out what to wear becomes a chore but many of you have probably learnt that it’s probably a good idea to have an umbrella at hand – even on the sunniest of days. The weather forecast isn’t always helpful and you often find yourself confused because the weather app on your phone said it would be the driest day of the year but it turned out to be the wettest and you find yourself under a bus shelter so that you don’t get more drenched. Being unprepared for the infamously erratic British weather is quite normal, even among the British. Did you know that approximately 70% of Brits check the weather forecast once a day? This tendency varies with age according to The Telegraph again, with older people being more likely to tune in to the weather forecast. Personally, I consult various weather apps to work out what the weather is going to be like the following day. You can’t rely on just one and besides you’ve probably realised the weather forecast changes quite rapidly here… a week of sunshine could easily turn to a week obscured by dense clouds.
For some reason we also like to over-dramatise about the weather. Ever noticed that? July 2015 was quite a wet month not to mention windy. A typical British summer. But to stir hope up in people and get them excited the meteorological office started boasting that we were set for a heat wave in the following month that would make us see temperatures like the one we saw on the 1st of July , which saw ‘thermometers hit 36.7 degrees Celsius, roads melt not to mention railways resulting in a series of train cancellations.’ I’d like to ask what happens in countries that experience this kind of heat on a daily basis? Are commuters constantly stranded at train stations due to cancellations? When the slightest ray of sunshine peeks out of the perpetual clouds, it leads us to do things that would be deemed quite peculiar among those who haven’t been in Britain long enough to see the kind of banal weather we put up with most of the year and therefore wouldn’t understand the excitement. At the slightest rise in temperatures, we whip out our summer wardrobe and walk around as if 14 degrees Celsius was actually 28 degrees Celsius. But the nicest thing about the summer is that the better weather combats our SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) and we become far more sociable and chill with our mates at the park or beach. This happens every where so you won’t be too surprised there but what probably doesn’t happen anywhere else, is someone deciding to sunbathe on a busy motorway instead of the pool side. Yup, this actually happened this year in August and resulted in the closure of the m27 for a couple of hours.
The same dramatisation of things happens in the winter. I remember how the country was bashed by “heavy” snowfall in the winter of 2010. Life literally came to a halt – flights and trains were cancelled, schools were closed. Unfortunately, people were stranded at airports just before Christmas. Funnily, I was held up in the chaos that the snowfall caused by having my flight to London cancelled and severe delays on a replacement flight to another airport in the country. Upon arrival I expected to be welcomed by mounds of snow but I wasn’t and it was a little annoying because we had seen snow the year before. Cold winters and possible snow fall is something that we should be ready for. Again, countries like Canada have massive amounts of snow but somehow they still cope.
So with all of the above, our obsession with the weather is pretty justified and its unpredictability certainly keeps us talking – be it as an conversation ice breaker or vocalising frustration, the weather is an extremely hot topic because there simply is nothing like it… you see, we don’t really have set seasons or weather but instead we have British seasons and British weather.