Christmas launches in Bournemouth

Thousands of lights will illuminate the Lower Gardens in Bournemouth to mark the launch of Christmas Tree Wonderland on Friday 17 November.

New for this year is a tunnel of light at the start of the trail, which is organised by Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole (BCP) Council with main sponsor Coastal Business Improvement District (BID).

Bournemouth’s Santa Express is another welcome addition that will delight families, who can enjoy a train ride around the giant Santa illumination in front of the bandstand.

The centrepiece walk-through tree will be warmly lit and decorated with Christmas tree decorations this year, with laser lights creating a beacon from the top. A new walk-through Christmas present completes the trail on the seafront.

The Christmas Markets are opening the day before, on 16 November. Featuring a range of festive wares alongside some tempting food and drinks, visitors can grab an indulgent hot chocolate to warm up as they wander through the trail, or a festive tipple from the Alpine Bar.

Skate Ice Rink is also making a welcome return this year. Visitors can glide across the ice surrounded by the twinkling illuminations, with younger visitors enjoying a seat as they’re pushed around the open-air ice rink.

Councillor Andy Martin, Portfolio Holder for Customer, Communications and Culture said: “Christmas Tree Wonderland is so important to our residents who enjoy the free festive cheer of the light trail, as well as visitors from further afield who can come and enjoy all that Bournemouth has to offer.

“Events like this help support our local hospitality and retail businesses with people making a day of it, or even coming for a short break, so it’s great that these lights are continuing for a sixth year.”

The main sponsors of Christmas Tree Wonderland this year are Bournemouth Coastal BID, with further support from South Western Railway.

Fiona McArthur, Coastal BID Manager said: “Our Coastal BID hoteliers have identified this as a key event for the hospitality calendar and for that reason we are very pleased to be able to support Christmas Tree Wonderland in 2023.

“It is essential that events such as this continue not only because of the income and footfall generated, but also as this further helps secure Bournemouth’s place amongst the top destinations to visit in the UK.”

In addition to the festive light trail, visitors can try their hand at Smugglers Cove Adventure Golf or the Lower Gardens Mini Golf, trying to get a hole-in-one amidst the festive atmosphere.

On Bournemouth Pier, little ones can post their letters to Santa, and the whole family can enjoy the Christmas lights from high up on the Big Wheel at Pier Approach.

For that real apres-ski feeling, Picnic on the Piste, located in the Westover Gardens area of the Lower Gardens, has live music, festive food and drink, and a glowing stepping stones trail.

With a traditional Victorian Christmas at the Russell Cotes and a Wicked Queen to boo in the pantomime at the Pavilion, there’s a lot to enjoy in Bournemouth this Christmas!

Visit Christmas Tree Wonderland to find out more.