Festive Things to Do in Chichester

| November 2023

Chichester is an enchanting city, where the magic of Christmas comes alive in the most delightful ways. From twinkling lights to delicious feasts and cultural experiences, Chichester offers a variety of festive activities that will make your Christmas season truly special. In this guide, we’ll take you through the top 10 things to do this Christmas in Chichester.

1) Christmas Lights and Windows

Immerse yourself in the festive spirit by taking a leisurely stroll through Chichester’s beautifully lit streets. The Christmas lights and window displays add a touch of enchantment to the city, creating a warm and inviting atmosphere that’s perfect for an evening outing with loved ones. Don’t forget your camera to capture the magic!

Led by Rotary of Chichester and supported by Henry Adams, Chichester’s Christmas Light Switch-On takes place at 6.30pm on Saturday 25 November. Also, look out for wonderful window displays in our Christmas Window Display Competition, which is this year being judged by The Teddy Bear Ladies from BBC’s The Repair Shop.

2) Indulge in Festive Food and Drink

Christmas is a time for indulgence, and Chichester has you covered. Treat your taste buds to the tastiest festive food and drink in town. Explore local markets and eateries to sample seasonal delights, from warm mulled wine to mouthwatering mince pies. There’s nothing quite like the warmth of a cosy pub, where you can raise a toast to family, friends, and colleagues. If you’re in the mood for a touch of sophistication, explore the glitz and glamour of Chichester’s bars.

If you’re saving yourself for the traditional turkey and all the trimmings until Christmas Day, the city boasts a wonderful array of independent restaurants featuring international cuisines that will satisfy any palette. Remember to book early for Christmas and Boxing Day dining out to secure your spot for a delicious Christmas meal.

3) Rock Around the Christmas Tree

Chichester comes alive with the sounds of the season, offering an exciting array of live music during the Christmas festivities. One highly anticipated event is the return of the City Sounds Live Music Festival, taking place from 12 noon on Saturday 25 November. With the promise of a musical extravaganza, with performances at venues across the city, this festival is the perfect opportunity to embrace the spirit of the season with friends and family.

4) Christmas Markets

Chichester hosts a variety of magical markets, both indoors and outdoors, each featuring locally sourced and made products. These markets offer unique gifts and seasonal treats that will add a special touch to your holiday celebrations. Read our magical markets guide for all the details and dates. 

5) Gift Local

Shopping for gifts in person not only adds a personal and thoughtful touch to your Christmas but also helps you stay on budget. Chichester features big-name stores like Mint Velvet, Oliver Bonas, White Company, Flannels, and Jigsaw, but more importantly, it boasts a wealth of independent shops that will make your Christmas truly personal for your loved ones. From exquisite jewellery to gifts tailored for art and music enthusiasts, as well as engaging, screen-free games and toys courtesy of Whirligig, you’re bound to discover the perfect present for every individual on your list.

Explore our Have Yourself a Very Indie Christmas Gift Guide for more inspiration.

6) Experience a Culture-Filled Christmas

Chichester offers more than just festive cheer; it’s a city steeped in culture. With an award-winning Museum, a nationally acclaimed art gallery, a world-renowned theatre, and an ancient Cathedral, Chichester provides a myriad of cultural experiences for visitors of all ages. This Christmas, immerse yourself in the arts, history, and architectural wonders that make Chichester a cultural gem in the heart of West Sussex.  Visit our Family Festive Things to Do page for more.

7) Christmas Experiences

From crafting Christmas garlands and festive table arrangements with Bunch Florist to immersing yourself in the art of Essential Oil Blending and Modern Calligraphy at Winter’s Moon, there’s a cornucopia of Christmas experiences awaiting you in Chichester in the countdown to the big day.

Why not explore your creative side with Crochet, Knitting and Christmas Cracker making workshops at ClothKits or delve into Christmas Pottery at Biscuit Pottery?  Chichester’s proud independent businesses offer a myriad of delightful experiences to infuse you with the festive spirit.

Visit our Christmas Events page for a comprehensive list of these enchanting opportunities and make this Christmas season truly memorable.

8) Christmas Performances

Get into the spirit of Christmas with a delightful array of Christmas performances in Chichester. From the Festival Theatre’s Christmas Concerts in early December to the cherished Cathedral Carol Services later in the month, there’s something for everyone. For the ultimate festive experience, consider a Christmas trip to Chichester’s beloved indie Cinema at New Park. With a cosy atmosphere and special seasonal screenings, it’s a wonderful way to enjoy the magic of Christmas on the big screen.

9) Craft Your Own Christmas

This Christmas, add a personal and sustainable touch to your Christmas by visiting local businesses like ClothKits, where materials and patterns await your creativity from crafting Santa Sacks to making reusable Christmas Crackers. At Biscuit Pottery, let your imagination flow onto Christmas pottery, painting one-of-a-kind decorations. And for a special touch, visit Refilled to assemble a sustainable Christmas hamper filled with local, artisan treats. Click here for more inspiration on having a Sustainable Christmas in Chichester.

10) Family Fun

There’s no shortage of family fun in Chichester during the Christmas season. Whether you’re exploring the local markets, taking part in Christmas Trails, or attending family-friendly Christmas events and  performances, Chichester has something to offer for everyone. Read more here.

Chichester really is the perfect destination to celebrate the magic of Christmas. With its festive lights, delicious food, live music, cultural experiences, and a plethora of unique activities, you’ll create lasting memories and traditions in this charming city. Make the most of your Christmas in Chichester and enjoy the Christmas holidays to the fullest.