Victorian London is brought back to life every year in the event, Dickens on the Strand. Held on Galveston Island, this fun and unique celebration of the holidays will have you feeling like you walked right in a Dickens story.
Come see for yourself. Dress in Victorian garb and jump into character. Ladies, don your bonnet, petticoats, and long, flowing dress. Men, a top hat is a dapper choice, matched with a white shirt and tapered slacks. Kids can play the part in frocks with frills for the girls, and trousers with a smart-looking shirt for boys.
Sing along with strolling carolers. Watch and cheer on the holiday parade. Move from stage to stage and be entertained. Jugglers and bagpipers walk the streets performing for the crowds. Several other activities take place in the historic district that hosts the affair. Consider attending the Dickens Soiree at the Bishop’s Palace, or plan on a cup of tea on the 1877 Tall Ship, ELISSA.
It is a fully packed weekend, and one not to be missed. Set the coordinates for Galveston, and join the revelry. While in the area, visit Ice Land at Moody Gardens, an annual display of ice carving extraordinaire made from two million pounds of ice. Plan for an evening at the Grand 1894 Opera House, where holiday-themed shows delight audiences of all ages.
Start your experience on opening night, and you can get in for free. Tickets for the daytime fun on the weekend range between $5 and $20. If you are dressed in your Victorian-styled costume, your entrance fee to Dickens on the Strand will be half price. The cost for happenings like the Dickens Champagne Reception, where you can meet descendants of the author, will vary from event to event.
The historic Strand Street and surroundings are located near the Port of Galveston. I-45, also seen as the Gulf Freeway, takes you along and across several waterways and onto the island. From there, signage will direct you to the busy waterfront where the Victorian era comes to life at Christmas.
DriveTexas gives updated information on road closures due to construction or damage and also alerts you to conditions based on the weather. As you make your way through the region, consider stops like Brazos Bend State Park as an option for wildlife observation, or Sheldon Lake State Park which hosts environmental activities for the kids.
Paid parking is available throughout the town and includes the Seawall area near Dickens on the Strand. It is suggested to arrive early to secure a spot for your RV. Find the place that suits you best and be prepared to walk to the events. With so much to see in this outstanding area, walking will be a breeze.
Along with the walking option is the opportunity to take the Galveston Island Trolley. Hop on the colorful and welcoming trolley to see both the island and downtown. It’s a convenient and frugal way to get from place to place. Pickups at each stop are about every 30 minutes.
Dickens on the Strand does not offer a place for overnight camping or parking of RVs. The island of Galveston has so much to do, though, that you will want to stay in the vicinity. Picture a walk at Seawolf Park on Pelican Island, after a night under the stars in Galveston.
Galveston Island offers several fabulous places to stay in your motorhome, such as RV resorts with amenities and beachfront sites. Galveston Island State Park is popular with travelers to the area. Make it your best state park to visit in Texas, and enjoy the ocean at its best. Scour the sand for seashells, marvel at the birds in flight, or take a hike on one of the park’s many trails.
Walking will be the mode of travel for visitors to Dickens on the Strand. Scooters, Segways, skateboards, and rollerblades are not permitted in this Victorian atmosphere due to the safety of all. Although wheelchairs can be easily maneuvered through the venue, not all shops and buildings are accessible.
A winter holiday trip to Galveston Island may not be warm enough for swimwear, but it still calls for beach-worthy clothing. Temperatures are usually mild in December. Your apparel will depend on the day to day forecast, but pack light clothing and bring along layers to add over top in the event of a cool day. Don’t forget your Victorian-era costume to wear to the holiday celebrations on the Strand. Toss a few blankets in your Sprinter for nighttime.
Bring a camera as photo ops will be plentiful. A water bottle for your family members will keep everyone hydrated throughout the festivities. Stock your camper with necessities like extra batteries, hose clamps, rubber gloves, and tools required for hooking up water and sewer hoses. A flashlight and battery-powered radio will come in handy, too.
Follow basic safety rules to ensure a hazard-free campsite. Keep your fire contained within the fire ring and always extinguish the flames before turning in for the night. Maintain a clean campsite so that curious critters are not rummaging around the site while you sleep. Remember, camping near a water source means the kids must be under a watchful eye at all times.
Take precautions when using your propane stove. Turn the propane on just before lighting and off again as soon as the meal is prepared. Purchase charcoal briquets for delicious barbecued meals while on the road. Take inventory of the kitchen supplies in your Airstream, and make sure you have everything you need for easy cleanup after cooking.
Seafood is the dish of the day in Galveston. Take the opportunity to dine inland or in a restaurant with views of the Gulf or bay. No matter where you choose to sate your appetite, this historic town will provide an unforgettable meal. Steaks, burgers, and wings are choices, as well. Make your selection and pair it with a delectable mixed drink.
“Authentic Victorian ambiance” is what you will see as you meander among the vendor’s booths at Dickens on the Strand. Do some Christmas shopping while here and choose from items like pottery, stained glass, goods made from Alpaca wool, and more. Buy the kids a treat of kettle korn or a funnel cake before allowing them to indulge in a face painting experience. Have a cup of mead and then choose a new ornament for your Christmas tree.
Lock your RV and stow valuables before leaving it at camp or parked on the street. Close the curtains to deter the curious and at the same time, keep your Class A cozy inside. Many RV enthusiasts invest in motion-detecting lights to discourage both people and animals from taking a look around your site.
Dickens on the Strand goes on rain or shine, and tickets are non-refundable no matter the weather. Enjoy the festivities despite the wet conditions by keeping several umbrellas in your camper for a rainy day. Buy hooks for over the shower pole to easily hang wet clothing if needed.
Whenever you enter a new town, make a note of the local hospital or medical center, just in case. For the RV, a first-aid kit should include gauze, tape, scissors, pain reliever, antibiotic cream, peroxide, and after-sun lotion. Make a mini-kit for hiking excursions and make sure that bug spray is part of the inventory.