10 Festive Things To Do in Portsmouth with your Flatmates

Check out what you can get up to in Portsmouth this winter break!

  • Posted Thu, Dec 15, 2022 4:35 PM

With Christmas right around the corner, it’s a very exciting time for many students. In particular, it’s the perfect opportunity to unwind after a busy term of lectures and deadlines.

This time of year can also be nerve wracking though, especially for those who have recently moved to Portsmouth for the first time, are still getting to know their flatmates, or aren’t spending winter break with loved ones. Even if you don’t celebrate Christmas, it's important to not spend this festive period alone, and sometimes exploring your surroundings with flatmates goes a long way! From traditional flat Christmas dinners, to sparkling pop-up winter markets, here are ten things you can enjoy in Portsmouth with your flatmates.

Res Life Events

If you're staying in Portsmouth this festive season, why not check out all the events that Res Life are hosting? From Fifa Tournaments to Gingerbread decorating, there is lots to get involved with at the different halls throughout the city. You can also attend their drop-in sessions, which provide peer support and advice. 

Find out more here or visit their social pages.

Cook a Flat/House Christmas Dinner

A classic way to celebrate Christmas with the whole flat involved is through a Christmas Dinner. You can all organise a festive meal and work out who’s in charge of what. Maybe several people cook the dinner and the rest produce the dessert? Splitting the workload and costs will make the experience a lot easier and ensure everyone contributes. You could even go food shopping together - a bonus flat bonding moment! Beforehand, make sure to check the dietary needs of all of your flatmates so anyone who is vegetarian, vegan, allergic or has certain food preferences isn’t left out!

With the cost of living increasing, it can be easy to worry over the financial side of organising a Christmas Dinner. Possible suggestions to keep the costs down include buying chicken instead of turkey, and trying frozen vegetables rather than fresh ones.

Gunwharf Quays Christmas Village

A 10 minute stroll from campus, explore the cosy market stalls down at Gunwharf Quays, perfect if you’re on the lookout for one-of-a-kind gifts for loved ones. Why not also enjoy the festive food on offer, ranging from traditional German bratwurst to mulled wine. The Gunwharf Quays Christmas Villages provides plenty of aesthetic selfie opportunities, including the stunning Observation Wheel, which offers beautiful views of Portsmouth’s skyline and harbour.

Every day from 10 am to 8 pm, the entire Christmas Village is accessible at the Gunwharf Quays Plaza. Attractions will be open later on Thursday through Saturday, until 9.45 pm. No need to book as admission is free!

Buy matching Christmas Jumpers from The Union Shop

Another simple but brilliant way to get into the festive spirit, is to purchase one of The Union’s Christmas printed sweatshirts. A season favourite loved by many students, the jumpers are back for another year in two new festive designs! Nothing is cuter than flat matching outfits to bond over, or wear while doing other Christmas activities together! It’s a great extra layer too to keep you cosy and warm!

Better yet, you can get 20% off Christmas Jumpers for the whole of December, so be sure to make the most of this fantastic offer! Previously, £20, now £16! Sizes range from S-XL and can be bought in store or online at shop.upsu.net.

Ice Skating in Portsmouth

Get your skates on this winter! Check out local places where you can lace up and hit the ice! This would be a fun activity to book after a busy day of studying and lectures! Plus if one member’s coordination is like Bambi on ice, this will provide lots of laughs and fond memories to bond over as a group. Once the session is over, why not head out for some hot food and drinks to warm up and nurse the bruises!

It might be best to book beforehand to avoid disappointment, especially during busy times to get your slot!

Decorate your shared accommodation with Christmas decorations

Another easy way to celebrate Christmas with your flatmates is to decorate the communal areas with a Christmas tree and decorations. Charity shops and variety good stores are amazing locations to find unique yet affordable decorations - from aesthetic baubles to small faux Christmas trees. Speaking of trees, there are lots of options - especially if your student accommodation won’t let you have a real tree - you can get a fake one in lots of different sizes, a fabric one, a wall hanging or even a mini one in a pot! Once your decorations have been bought, put on some classic feel-good Christmas tunes and decorate away!

Visit Portsmouth’s various Christmas Markets

If you’ve had the chance to visit Gunwharf Quays’ Christmas Village and would like to explore more, you’ll be happy to know Portsmouth boasts many additional Christmas Markets. At these Christmas markets, you’ll have additional opportunities to source handmade gifts and treats, and dig into delicious street cuisine. It’s an ideal group activity for the flat to get some fresh air and spend an afternoon or evening celebrating some Christmas cheer!

Festive Pottery Painting

A unique yet often overlooked activity to do with your flatmates is pottery painting. What’s even better is that you can do this any time of the year, not just Christmas! Choose between a variety of pottery, from plates to cute animal figurines. You don’t have to be ‘good at art’ or naturally creative either to take part in pottery painting. Sometimes, a pottery piece ‘going wrong’ provides more joy as it can be something your flatmates and yourself can joke and reminisce about for many months and years to come! Painting is also very therapeutic so this pottery painting with your flatmates would be a wonderful way to relax after a busy day of university. There are several pottery and ceramic studios situated around and near Portsmouth.

Berry Christmas: A guided Portsdown walk

Enjoy a relaxing, winter walk on Portsdown Hill to see seasonal wildlife and scenery. You’ll spot a variety of birds, insects, berries and even maybe a glimpse of a mouse or fox too! Wrap up warm and be prepared for walking in whatever weather. The walk is free of change and you are welcome to bring food and drink to enjoy during the walk.

Have a Flat Secret Santa

It can sometimes be difficult to buy presents for several people without spending a fortune, especially with the recent rise in cost of living. Enter Secret Santa - a classic but perfect solution! Set a realistic budget for the group to stick to (perhaps around the £5-£10 mark) and a deadline to exchange presents. Next randomly allocate names using an online Secret Santa tool or the traditional ‘pull names out of a hat’ method.

Are you going for a practical, funny or sentimental present? If you're having trouble coming up with gift ideas, think about your flatmate’s university course, hobbies and special interests. Maybe a science themed stationary set if they’re a STEM student, or a set of mugs if they’re a coffee addict? Personalised gifts like initial jewellery or photo cushions make cute and humorous presents too.

As you can see, there are many activities to get involved with this Christmas period with your flatmates. Have a safe and healthy winter break!

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