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A Christmas Guide to The Cotswolds

This year we have created the indispensable guide to Christmas in The Cotswolds - from carolling to Christmas markets, pantos to where you can meet the main man himself... Merry Christmas!

Christmas Markets in The Cotswolds

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Throughout December, Christmas markets will be popping up across The Cotswolds, here are six not to be missed - great for gift buying, foodies and soaking up the Christmas atmosphere:

  • The Suffolks Christmas market in Cheltenham - Sunday 24November.
  • Cheltenham Promenade market - from now until 14December.

  • Cirencester's festive market - from 2-8 December.

  • Winchmore Christmas Market - 3 December. Visit nearby Sudley Castle's magical light trail and make a festive day out of it.

  • Broadway's Christmas market between 29 November - 6 December is one of the area's most popular as it is so picturesque, the perfect backdrop to festivities.

  • Bleinheim Palace's Light Spectacular and Christmas Market is on until 5 January - a truly breaktaking display that children will be enthralled by.
  • Gloucester Cathedral’s Christmas Market, opens at 10am on Saturday 14 December and is held in the atmospheric cloisters.
Carol Concerts in Gloucestershire

carol concerts in the cotswolds

Gloucestershire Cathedral will be holding a series of carol concerts and choral recitals throughout December - taking place on Saturday 14 and 21 December, 'Carols on the Hour' will feature performances from Caring Chorus, Cathedral Choir, Stuart Singers, Cathedral Junior Choir and Saint Cecilia Singers with half-hour performances of Christmas classics, suitable for the whole family.

If you're looking to combine carolling and a festive feast, Barnsley House are hosting a carol concert and 3 course meal on 14 December - details can be found here. A great way to celebrate with friends or family before the big day itself.

Cara Dillon will be performing her Christmas-themed concert on 14 December in Cheltenham at the Pittville Pump Room, Irish folk singer Cara will fill the beautiful grade 1 listed building with modern and ancient song, accompanied by her Celtic band. Atmospheric and spell-binding - details and tickets can be found here.

Pantomimes in The Cotswolds

pantomimes in gloucestershire

Chipping Norton Pantomime is an annual family favourite for the Sharvells - this year's performance is Puss in Boots. Make a day of it and visit Wild At Heart in Chipping Norton to pick up a few gifts, or if you're a member, check out the festive activities at Soho Farmhouse nearby.

Cheltenham's Everyman Theatre are performing Cinderella this year; a family-friendly performance featuring Tweedy the clown from Gifford Circus.

Festive craft workshops in Gloucestershire

christmas craft workshops gloucestershire

Barnsley House are running a Willow Weaving workshop with Nora Kennedy a professional willow weaver, who will be teaching how to create your own willow christmas decorations - including a Christmas wreath, large willow star and a reindeer. Including a cosy lunch in The Potager afterwards for your hard-work.

Bespoke Florists, Fiorella will be running luxury wreath making workshops on 29 and 30 November and 11 December at Saxon Barn. Choose your colour scheme and start building, with luxury ornaments and adornments to add for some extra festive sparkle. Ticket details can be found here.

If you've got craft-loving littlies, Daylesford are running a children's Christmas craft morning for ages 3 and above on Sunday 1 December. Their Cookery School tutors will help them make delicious Christmas treats, while in the crafting corner they can decorate baubles, do glass jar painting and birdseed ornament making. Find out more here.

Where to buy your Christmas tree in Gloucestershire

where to buy christmas tree cotswolds

Here are our 5 suggestions on where to buy your Nordic Fir this year - why not pick up a few decorations, gifts and stop off for a hot chocolate while you're there?

  • The Nursery at Miserden, Stroud have been supplying Christmas trees to Cotswolds' homes for 20 years.
  • Daylesford Organic Farmshop – there are all sorts of magical goodies there too, from foodie hampers to decorations and lifestyle gifts.
  • Jolly Nice is very popular in the run to Christmas for trees and sweet treats in their cosy café.
  • Burford Garden Company has a great toy shop, food section and lifestyle store - a fantastic one-stop-shop for Christmas goodies.
  • Buy direct from the growers at Dowdeswell Forestry, since 1985.
Santa’s Grottos in The Cotswolds

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Keep little ones believing in the magic of Christmas for another year and visit Santa's Grotto - he'll be popping in to a few locations across Gloucestershire before the big day to meet and greet with children and let them know if they're on his naughty or nice list...

Father Christmas and his elves will be at Cotswold Farm Park on various dates between 23 November - 23 December. Children will be invited into Santa's wonderland grotto to meet him and choose a gift from the toy room.

The festive magic continues at Slimbridge Wetland Centre where Santa’s grotto will be open for little visitors on selected weekends during December. Children can also write a letter to the North Pole and send if off at the festive post office. Why not add in a breakfast or festive afternoon tea to the package price for a fun family day out.

Santa will be taking a different mode of transport when he hops on board a steam train to spread festive cheer across the county on selected dates from Saturday 30 November 2019 to Tuesday 24 December 2019. Travelling from Cheltenham Racecourse Station to Winchcombe, the Santa Steam Special will take families to Santa’s grotto, along with complimentary mince pies, hot drinks and activity sheets too.

A magical grotto will be popping up at Batsford Arboretum this Christmas where children can meet Father Christmas and his elf. Santa's grotto at Batsford will be open on Saturday 30 November Sunday 1 December.

For a chance to meet Santa somewhere completely different this year, families can visit Clearwell Caves this Christmas for the Archie and the Unicorn event from Friday 29 November to 24 December. There are festive displays throughout the cave system and a chance to meet Santa and his elves in their underground grotto.

Christmas lights switch ons in The Cotswolds

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Every year, Cirencester’s Christmas celebrations begin with its Advent Festival on Saturday 30 November, from 11am. The market sells lovely arts and crafts to pick up for friends and family, there is plenty of street food to go around, fairground rides and even live performances. The lights will be switched on at 7pm, with fireworks from the top of the Parish Church.

In Cheltenham on Saturday 23 November the Christmas lights will be switched on as the culmination of a festive tour around the town. Starting at The Brewery, Cambray Place and Montpellier, meet the ghosts of Christmas past as their tell their stories from Charles Dickens classic in a street entertainment show - ending near The Queen's Hotel for the big switch-on, with Santa Claus himself.

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