The clocks might have gone back and the nights are drawing in, but it also means something very special – Christmas is on its way.

The Island is never short of things to do for all the family around Christmas time, and this year promises to be better than ever!

People can jump on board for the Santa Special at Havenstreet Steam Railway. Running on selected dates – November 30, December1, 7, 8, 14, 15, and 20 up to Christmas Eve – visitors can wander through a sparkling Winter Wonderland before boarding the North Pole Express and meeting Santa and his Elves, where children will receive a gift. The Steam Railway experience is fun for people of all ages, and this year will be no different.

From turkey and crackers to figgy pudding and Father Christmas, the festive season as we know it today has its roots in the Victorian era. Step back in time at beautiful Osborne House, the former home of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, to celebrate the perfect Victorian Christmas. Surround yourself with good cheer as the sound of music and the smell of roasting chestnuts fills the air, while having a go at traditional games, taking a ride on the carousel and marvelling at daring jesters and their breath-taking fire show. Warm up with a tipple from the Christmas courtyard and choose the perfect gift from the stallholders. Grab a song sheet and sing carols as snowflakes drift in the breeze. A fast paced and humorous retelling of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol will have you laughing out loud, or you can huddle round to enjoy the Victorian tradition of Christmas ghost stories.

Victorian Christmas continues after dark as the festivities carry on into the evening. Gather to watch Father Christmas throw the switch on the festive lights, then gain a new perspective on the beauty of Osborne as you sip mulled wine and wander among the softly lit grounds. The sparkling Victorian Christmas takes place over the weekend of November 30 and December.

Make sure you wrap up warm for Polar Express, Robin Hill’s exciting new Festive event. It’s an enchanting Christmas journey with a spectacular show finale. Visitors can take a woodland walk through the sparkling ancient forest, hop on the Big Red Express, where Father Christmas takes the wheel, and tip-toe into the POLAR Hollow to meet Pippa, the life-sized cuddly polar bear.

If you’re looking to add a medieval theme to your Christmas, then look no further than Carisbrooke Castle’s Christmas Market. Enjoy a little festive cheer and pick up some unique gifts as traders from across the Isle of Wight join together to offer a unique variety of ranges. Between browsing, visitors can take the children to meet Father Christmas and Mrs Claus, who have made a home-away-from-home in the Castle’s drum towers.

Colin Clarke
Author: Colin Clarke