As the academic term ends, many students decide to stay in Dorset over the festive period, where there are a host of activities on offer to keep both minds and bodies active into the New Year.
From illuminated night walks at Kingston Lacey to Corfe Castle’s ‘Lord of Misrule’, and from festive markets to ice skating in Bournemouth’s Lower Gardens, there’s a huge range of activities to explore – and a wide range of external support and wellbeing services operating in Dorset over the Festive Period.
Bournemouth town centre will host its Christmas Tree Wonderland until 2 January, with a festive lights trail and a 60ft walk through Christmas Tree illuminating the town’s main Gardens. A variety of lighting installations feature all the way from the Seafront through to the Triangle, Horseshoe Common and Lansdowne Roundabout.
Venturing further afield, Corfe Castle will be hosting its 17th Century Christmas event with the Lord of Misrule Story Telling. The Lord of Misrule was a medieval banquet master, tasked with overseeing the many frivolous and fun parties of the middle ages.
This interactive journey takes visitors through the ruins of the castle, teaching games, dances, stories and Christmas traditions that took place throughout the castle’s thousand-year history. National Trust ticket fee applies.
Last year, the Samaritans responded to more than 250,000 calls for help, and will launch their Brew Monday campaign in January, which aims to bring people together over a cup of tea. On Monday 17 January, AUB Community will host its first Brew Monday event for halls residents. Brew Monday packs can be collected by halls residents from Halls Reception.
Local mental health charity Dorset Mind will also be hosting its annual Christmas Countdown on social media, as well as launching new initiative Move Your Mind in January. Move Your Mind is a month-long campaign to encourage people to get active and support better mental health.
Meanwhile, the town’s iconic Russell-Cotes museum, once home to Sir Merton Russell-Cotes, fifth Mayor of Bournemouth, invites visitors to step back in time to discover the magic of traditional Victorian Christmas in the historic seafront property, with a Christmas Trail and Christmas-themed Afternoon Tea.
For the traditional Advent celebration of Christingle, a Christian celebration famed for richly-decorated oranges and Christmas Hymns, a number of churches across the Bournemouth area are welcoming visitors on and around Christmas Eve. Find out where your nearest Christingle is taking place here.
While the university and campus will close from Thursday 23 December through to Monday 4 January, a number of support services remain open across the local area over the festive period.
Mental health support:
- Dorset HealthCare 24/7 Connection helpline: 0800 652 0190
- Dorset HealthCare other services (including drop-ins): https://www.dorsethealthcare.nhs.uk/access-mental-health
- Samaritans 24/7 helpline: 116 123
- Shout 24/7 text service: 85258
- Student Minds’ Student Space website site also offers 1-1 support via phone, text or email: https://studentspace.org.uk/
- COVID-19 helpline (for support with food or other household items if you’re self-isolating): 0300 123 7052
- Call 111 for non-emergency advice
- NHS website (to search for services): https://www.nhs.uk/nhs-services/services-near-you/
- Stay Well in Dorset website: https://staywelldorset.nhs.uk for advice and links to choose and access services.