Plan your Christmas in Winchester – City Council launches a new website

Winchester City Council has launched a new-look Christmas in Winchester website at  to help residents and visitors plan for the festive period in the district.

The site includes details of events, seasonal shopping, festive food, the Christmas market, Winchester Cathedral ice rink, carol concerts, theatrical delights and winter breaks.

Despite having just been launched, the site has already attracted thousands of hits as local people and visitors look for inspiring ideas for the festive season.

The new look site offers details of festive events happening across the district this Christmas. There’s an exciting programme of activities at Winchester Discovery Centre to keep children amused over the school holidays, and links through to the traditional cathedral events staged at the heart of the community.

One of the new highlights of the site is a selection of downloadable menus from some of the district’s most celebrated eateries; designed to take the hard work out of choosing the perfect place to eat. Whether you’re planning the annual office celebration or a seasonal family gathering, there’s bound to be a delicious menu to match the occasion.

Visitors to the site can also browse through a selection of tempting ‘theatrical delights’ this year. Highlights include the ever-popular Winchester Theatre Royal panto – The Wizard of Oz - and an exciting December line-up of music and comedy at The Tower.

The website also has ideas to solve the annual dilemma of what to buy for Christmas present, with details on Making Merry Open Studios, the bigger-than-ever Bavarian-style Christmas Market, information on shop opening hours, opportunities for free parking, and details of the extended Park & Ride service.

Rachel Gander, Tourism Marketing and Development Officer at Winchester City Council, commented: “The Christmas in Winchester website brings together everything that makes Winchester the perfect place to spend the festive period.  The site is designed to help customers and visitors – but also to support local businesses. We’re hoping that retailers and restaurateurs will ask customers where they heard of their special offers so that we’ll be able to track the effectiveness of the site and ensure we’re providing the best possible help in a challenging economic climate.”

Cllr George Beckett, Leader of Winchester City Council and Portfolio Holder for Economy and Tourism, said: “Christmas in Winchester is becoming a nationally important event, and this year we’re hoping that even more businesses will benefit from the extra visitors. As a Council, we are focussing on delivering real results for our businesses, whether that’s bookings for hotel beds or sales through the till: early indications are looking positive, as we have recorded a huge surge in traffic to the site following the delivery of the linked cathedral publication, Christmas in Winchester 2009.”

The cathedral’s printed Christmas in Winchester 200 guide was grant-aided by Winchester City Council in view of its significant contribution to the economy and vitality of the town centre. Cllr Beckett added: “Christmas is always a team effort, but I would particularly like to applaud the initiative and energy of Winchester Cathedral and the Business Improvement District in turning our city into a veritable Winter Wonderland.”

Copies of the free Christmas in Winchester brochure that complements the site are available from the newly refurbished Tourist Information Centre or via the tourism website at