Southampton’s annual Christmas Market has returned to the city with a bang.

The festive season is well and truly underway following the arrival of the market at Above Bar Street on Thursday.

Wooden stalls boasting festive treats line the high street, with thrills and spills on offer thanks to this year’s addition of fairground rides.

READ MORE: Southampton Christmas market 2023: Full list of prices

I paid a visit to this year’s highly anticipated market organised by S&D Leisure to find out the three best things about it.


Daily Echo:

Unsurprisingly, the new rides are one of the best things about the market.

In previous years, Southampton’s market has welcomed a carousel and sometimes smaller rides for children.

But this year two thrilling rides and the UK’s tallest Ferris wheel are available to enjoy.

Located a five-minute walk from the market, the rides tower above the city in Guildhall Square.

The Snowball Launcher is ‘the highest bungee ride in England’, according to Debbie Reeves, one half of S&D Leisure.

READ MORE: Christopher Biggins switches on Southampton's Christmas lights

For £15 per person, riders can be propelled upwards into the air at high speed, before spinning multiple times.

For a slower pace, the Ferris wheel offers fantastic views across Southampton and the city centre.

Meanwhile, Atmos Fear is described as an ‘adrenalin-pumping, world-famous’ attraction.

The ride features 16 outward-facing spinning and free looping seats as well as swinging 80 feet over the top in a 360-degree action.

Food and drink

Daily Echo:

This goes without saying due to the vast variety of food and drink on offer.

From luxurious hot chocolates and doughnuts to Yorkshire pudding wraps and Greek delicacies, there is plenty to try and taste.

Unsurprisingly, many of the treats are not cheap and notably, prices on several of the returning stalls have increased this year.

But the market provides a wonderful festive atmosphere and if spending is out of your budget, there is nothing wrong with window shopping.

Ice rink

Westquay On Ice is back for another year and is an integral part of the Christmas market.

Occupying the space by the Old Walls, it is the perfect place for beginners or ice-skating pros.

And just next door is the Après Bar where guests can enjoy winter cocktails, frosty biers (or beers, if we're not going with the German spelling), mulled wine and much more in a cosy ski lodge bar.

Overlooking the rink is an exciting new selfie spot – which benefits a good cause.

Found opposite the Bubble Drop van outside Westquay, the #1000kisses bench is an initiative created by Visit Southampton and IKEA.

Every selfie on the bench posted on Instagram under the hashtag will see IKEA donate a toy to the city’s toy appeal.

A worthy cause to take part in after a bout of ice skating.