We love Christmas in Southport! There are many reasons our town has such a festive feel.
Christmas shoppers and visitors can enjoy a range of superb shops, cafes, restaurants and hotels.
They will also find a sparkling Christmas tree, festive decorations and Nutcrackers through Southport, thanks to Southport BID, while Southport Pleasureland and The Atkinson are among places which make Southport such a magical place for families at this time of year.
Here are some of the many reasons why we love Southport at Christmas:
1 – Southport Nutcrackers
The iconic Nutcrackers have returned to Southport this Christmas with people urged to support local businesses over the festive season.
The 6ft tall decorative figures, which resemble giant toy soldiers, have been placed at strategic points throughout the town centre to recreate the popular Nutcracker Trail.
There will be more to find this year too with 12 figures instead of last season’s 10.
The Nutcrackers, based on the traditional German symbols of good luck, brought real magic to Christmas shopping in Southport town centre last year, with families from across the North West enjoying finding all the figures in between trips to local shops and restaurants.
The 6ft tall decorative figures, which resemble giant toy soldiers, have been placed at strategic points throughout the town centre to recreate the popular Nutcracker Trail, which you can download here:
2 – Christmas experience at Southport Pleasureland
Southport Pleasureland launched its first ever Winter season last Saturday with rides glittering with lights, visits to see Santa and Christmas trees around the park.
The attraction is open every single day until 3 January 2021, with the exception of Christmas Day and Boxing Day.
The region’s ‘Happy HQ’ says its Winter experience will ‘bring home Christmas’ and deliver a feast of festivity for families, surrounded by Covid-19 protection best practice.
Southport Pleasureland CEO Norman Wallis said: “We have packaged a big helping of
The green-fingered among Santa’s little helpers have planted Christmas trees which, along with the established trees, will be decorated with beautiful lights.
All the rides will be shimmering too with gates will open at 11am, with all the rides and fun starting from 12 o’clock midday. Book online https://www.southportpleasureland.com/winter-opening/.
3 – Wizard Of Oz
The Wizard Of Oz pantomime taking place in Southport this December has sold out!
The fun festive pantomime will take place at The Atkinson on Lord Street between December 18 and December 31.
Multi-talented musician, Dancing on Ice and Hollyoaks star Ray Quinn plays the magical Wizard of Oz.
The cast includes the voice of the airwaves, Southport’s own Claire Simmo from BBC Radio Merseyside & Sandgrounder Radio as Glinda The Good Witch, West End star Chris Barton as the Cowardly Lion, the hilarious Lewis Pryor as Scarecrow, the loveable Mia Molloy as Dorothy, Southport’s Tom Burroughs as Tinman and Michael Chapman as The Wicked Witch. It is being staged by LHK Productions.
Panto star Claire Simmo said: “Thanks to each and every person who has bought a ticket and supported not only this incredible cast but also The Atkinson Theatre and my wonderful friend Lee Kelly in LHK’s first year in Southport. You won’t be disappointed with your journey along the yellow brick road!”
4 – Southport Christmas Tree
Southport is sparkling this year with the return of the dazzling 60-ft Christmas tree installation.
The stunning tree’s beautiful LED light shows have drawn families into town for the last two years, proving a hugely popular attraction for all generations.
And Southport BID, with thanks to funding from local businesses, will continue to install Christmas lights across the town centre this year with the aim of making Southport sparkle throughout the season.
5 – Our Christmas Spirit
What a community spirit we have seen in Southport this Christmas!
Christmas can be a very difficult time for many families, and this year in particular, there will be more families that will have to cut back, or will unfortunately go without.
Southport Football Club and Southport Football Club Charity Foundation have partnered with Express Performing Arts Academy and open their doors, along with many other businesses in the area, and act as a collection centre for the recently launched Southport Community Christmas – Fill A Family Stocking Appeal.
Danielle Clark from Express Performing Arts Academy said: “After launching the idea to other local businesses, they were more than eager to jump on board and within 24 hours we had 18 local businesses to help to promote the campaign and to donate to this fantastic cause.”
Tezlom on Hoghton Street has held a Christmas Appeal to raise money for Home-Start Southport and Formby and Freshfields Animal Rescue Centre.
Sean Connolly and his fiancee Fiona Aldred launched a Gifts For Kids At Christmas Appeal.
Mayor of Sefton Cllr June Burns organised a Christmas Toy Appeal.
Queenscourt Hospice led a Lights of Love service.
Christine Cody has provided repurposed bikes for children in Southport through Southport Bike Bank.
Soputhport’s Freemasons have collected a tremendous amount of food and gifts for local foodbanks.
There have been amazing acts of kindness in Southport this year.
6 – Southport Santa Sleigh
It has been difficult for children to see Santa this year with many grottos cancelled and many families anxious to venture too far out.
So a huge thank you to the volunteers from Southport Hesketh Round Table and their famous dancing Santa, who have been taking their sleigh around the streets of Southport bringing festive cheer to thousands of people while raising money for local good causes at the same time.
7 – Christmas Shopping
Shop Local is this year’s mantra. Supporting our local businesses has never been so important with so many impacted hard by the Coronavirus pandemic.
We have so many to choose from, from the shops in the town centre to those in picturesque villages such as Churchtown, Birkdale and Ainsdale.
Southport BID has launched a new Southport Gift Card, which is accepted by more than 70 local businesses, which encourages people to shop local. It makes a great Christmas present.
Still looking for those last minute gifts?
8 – Christmas Services
Thanks to Covid restrictions being eased a few weeks ago, Christmas services can now take place, although caution is still being urged.
Christ Church and other places of worship have held successful carol services outside.
Faith is an essential part of Christmas for so many and local churches have being working hard to ensure their facilities are safe and secure for guests over the festive season.
9 – Southport Hotel Nutcrackers
Southport’s hoteliers have created their own trail of Nutcrackers to bring some festive cheer to visitors this Christmas.
People staying in small hotels, guest houses and B&Bs this December will be given a warm welcome by the magical festive figures.
The colourful creations were inspired by the Southport Nutcracker Trail which has been installed by Southport BID, with 12 six feet high figurines located at spots around the seaside resort.
Members of Southport Hoteliers Association loved the figures so much, and the beaming reaction of families to them, that they decided to join in the fun.
Southport Hoteliers Association spokesperson Anthony Duffey said: “Our members loved the Nutcracker campaign from Southport BID and wanted to get involved!”
10 – Christmas movies
Movie lovers have been enjoying some classic Christmas films at the Bijou Cinema in Southport town centre, with social distancing measures in place.
Southport Bijou Cinema Manager Andy Harrison said: “We’re so happy that we’ve been allowed to open, and have done all we can to make the Bijou a safe environment for people to feel comfortable visiting in these strange times.
“Those who visited throughout October will know that our seating is comfortably distanced and drinks and snacks are delivered simply to your seats – but we’re excited to welcome new Among films on the bill is Love Actually on Christmas Eve, while Home Along, the Polar Express and Elf have also been on the bill.
11 – Elf On The Shelf
We have seen some brilliant Elf On the Shelf scenes in Southport this year!
Many of our elves have taken sensible precautions by spending some time in Elf Isolation.
Some have even arrived wearing face masks.
It’s important to think of Elf and Safety…
12 – Southport Christmas Trail
Southport Christmas Trail has taken over where Southport Halloween trail left off!
Join the Southport Christmas Trail Facebook group here and look out for beautifully decorated festive house across town
13 – Christmas Signwriting
A talented Southport signwriter is cheering families up this Christmas by creating fantastic festive window designs.
If you’ve walked through Southport recently and spotted funny paintings of The Grinch, or snowmen, or Santa in people’s windows, then Lauren Galley is probably the artist behind them.
Lauren, the founder of Lauren Ashleigh Art, has become inundated with requests to paint Christmas scenes outside people’s homes and businesses in recent weeks. She is fast becoming a big hit on social media.
Her works have brought lots of smiles to people’s faces during a year when families have faced months of lockdown restrictions.
A former elf with children’s entertainment company Starkidz, she is used to bringing a touch of mischief to the festive season.
The 25-year-old shares her talents with her Grandad, well-known traditional signwriter Dennis Galley.
14 – Christmas Chocolates
We have some sensational chocolate shops in Southport (they are still open for those last minute gifts).
Would you choose Christmas Pudding Truffles? Or Classic Liverpool Gin Chocolate? Perhaps White Chocolate Christmas Shards? Or even Chocolate Sprouts…?
RS Fine Chocolate has a shop in Ainsdale and a new shop in Churchtown Village, while Chocolate Whirled is situated on Manchester Road.
You can discover a remarkable selection of unique, home-made chocolates here.
15 – Christmas at Wayfarers Arcade
While we can enjoy sparkling LED light displays from the tree in the Town Hall Gardens, people who prefer a traditional Christmas tree will be wowed by the incredible one they have inside the historic Wayfarers Arcade on Lord Street in Southport town centre.
The Victorian arcade is also bedecked in some beautiful festive decorations which make this landmark a lovely place to be each Christmas.
16 – Southport Christmas Charity Parade
This spectacular annual event is the biggest vehicle light parade in the North West, donating toys to children’s organisations.
This year the event was postponed at the last minute due to rising Covid cases in Lancashire, but everyone is looking forward to its return in 2021.
The Parade organisers donated toys to be given out to local families via Playtown in Southport.
17 – Lights Along Lord Street
Beautiful decorative lights along Lord Street are among reasons why Southport is a lovely place to shop at Christmas time.
Southport BID, with funding support from Southport Town deal, is providing lighting along both sides of the mile-long boulevard.
Work on this huge project was begun by local firm Illumidex Uk Ltd in November and is expected to be completed next Spring.
Look out for beautiful lights returning to Lord Street ready for 2021.