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Christmas markets in the Cotswolds

PUBLISHED: 13:20 22 November 2017 | UPDATED: 13:48 07 December 2017

Gloucester Quays Victorian Market

Gloucester Quays Victorian Market


From festive light switch-ons and Santa’s Grottos, to Victorian Christmas Fayres and late-night shopping, we’ve covered what’s on in and around the Cotswolds this season


From Thursday November 23 the Christmas lights of Bath will be twinkling once again. Enjoy a host of entertainment, including carol singers, children’s entertainers and musicians, while you peruse the Christmas market stalls.

Bath’s Christmas market will be open November 23 to Sunday December 10 and offer over 200 traditional stalls, Santa’s Grotto, an ice rink and an Après Ski Bar.


Bourton-on-the-Water’s lights-on extravaganza will take place on Friday December 1 with many shops staying open until late.

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Broadway will be open for late night shopping Friday November 24 and Friday December 1, so soak up the festive season with carol singers, street entertainers and hundreds of twinkling Christmas lights. There’s an abundance of independent shops, local tea rooms, pubs and restaurants to visit – all of which will be open 5.30pm until 8.30pm or later.

Treat yourself to a mulled wine and a warm mince pie while you enjoy the festivities in the charming Cotswold village.




Cheltenham’s beloved Christmas Market will take place from Thursday November 23 to Saturday December 16. Visitors can expect mugs of hot mulled cider and wine and warm winter baps, all the while browsing over 40 stalls selling traditional homemade gifts, knick knacks and lots of tasty and unusual food and drink. Also, Cheltenham Animal Shelter’s Festive Evening returns promising to be bigger and better than ever. On Friday December 1 5 – 7.30pm on Gardner’s Lane, they’ll be greetings from the Cheltenham Ladies College singers, a BBQ and mulled wine, chance to meet the animals, gifts to buy and Santa’s Grotto.

From Saturday December 2 to Sunday December 10, interior and events stylist Dee Campling will be teaming up with The Big Bloom Room to offer a unique shopping experience along the Montpellier Arcade. A number of high quality retailers will participate in The Big Blooming Christmas pop-up & hustle and will offer workshops, handmade gifts, Christmas hampers, festive decorations and plenty of festive cheer.

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Chipping Campden

Picture-perfect Chipping Campden will host its exciting annual Christmas Market and festive lights switch-on on Saturday December 2. A number of stalls will be in attendance for unique gifts alongside a bevy of local entertainment and choir performances. The tree will be lit up at 4.30pm and the town’s lights will be switched on 30 minutes later.

Chipping Norton

The wonderful market town of Chipping Norton will gear up for its celebration of festivities again this year on Friday December 8, promising to be bigger and better than ever.




Festive celebrations will begin in Cirencester on Saturday December 2 with the annual Sparkles Advent Festival & Market, with a light switch-on, usually with a celebrity guest in attendance, live music, plenty of delicious food stalls, fireworks and fair rides. There will also be a special Cirencester Sparkles Christmas Weekend Market in and around the newly revamped Cirencester market place on Saturday December 16 and Sunday December 17.

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Embrace the festivities in Dursley which will host the annual light switch-on and an array of Christmas themed stalls, music, fairground rides and fireworks, all taking place on Friday November 24 from 4pm, with the light switch-on scheduled for 5.30pm.

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Festive fun in Evesham begins this year on Saturday November 25 with the countdown for the light switch-on beginning at 5.30pm. From 12pm, the town will be bursting with Christmas cheer: Christmas carols and live music can be enjoyed throughout the day, alongside a market hosted in the High Street and Bridge Street, all before Father Christmas arrives with his reindeer at 3pm.

Following the Christmas lights switch-on, visitors can enjoy a fireworks extravaganza and a Rock ‘n’ Rollin’ Christmas sing-a-long.

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Fairford’s Market Place will play host to a Christmas market full stalls selling a variety of festive foodie treats and unique gifts.

Get into the festive spirit on Friday December 1 from 6.30pm to 8.30pm where, while you shop, live street entertainment, fairground rides and the chance to meet Santa in his Grotto, before the light switch-on, will be there for the whole family to enjoy.

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Forest of Dean

From 5pm on Saturday November 25, expect an array of festive themed entertainment to keep the whole family happy in Lydney. Fairground rides, an appearance from Father Christmas and beautiful choral music will fill the streets and the town’s lights will be switched on by Gloucester Rugby star Richard Hibbard at 6pm.

Explore the magic of ancient Puzzlewood, where you can find Father Christmas and his elves roaming the woods during Saturday December 9 to Sunday December 10, and Saturday December 16 to Sunday December 24.

For an unforgettable festive experience, follow the magical tale of ‘Cora and the Bloobius Bright’ and the chance to meet Father Christmas in the mesmeric setting of Clearwell Caves from Friday December 1 to Sunday December 24.

Dean Forest Railway is running Santa Specials on selected dates from Friday December 8 up until Christmas Eve. You can meet the man in red on his own steam train, enjoy a warm mince pie and all children will receive a free gift. Booking is essential.

The highlight of the Taurus Crafts’ calendar, the annual Christmas Market will take place during the first three weekends of December (December 2 & 3, 9 & 10 and 16 & 17 from 10.30am-5.30pm) where the onsite makers and creative businesses, alongside over 30 independent traders, will create a lively hub for Christmas shoppers to meet and pick up unique gifts.

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The historic Gloucester Quays will be filled once again with Yuletide cheer during the annual Enchanted Christmas Market from Monday November 27 up until Christmas Eve. Wander round stalls brimming with delicious food and drink, festive gifts and hand-crafted items. Live music and entertainment will be at Gloucester Quays on certain dates, while the large open-air ice rink will be open daily up until Tuesday January 2 (except Christmas Day).

Tickets for entry to the open-air rink can be purchased here.


There will be fun and festive treats, locally-made gifts and crafts, tasty local produce and a vast range of stalls at the annual Christmas Market taking place on Saturday November 25 from 9am. As evening approaches, the streets of Moreton-in-Marsh will be lit up with the switching-on of the market town’s Christmas lights.

Keep up-to-date with the timing of the day’s events on the Moreton-in-Marsh Christmas Market and Lights Switch on Facebook page.

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Hosted in the town’s Village Hall on West Street, Kingham’s Christmas Market will have plenty to keep the whole family entertained on Sunday December 3, 11am-3pm.

Bound to muster festive spirit, browse a plethora of gifts, foods and floral displays as well as enjoying demonstrations, music and an appearance from Father Christmas himself. All proceeds will go to Kingham Primary School and Kingfishers Nursery.


Oxford’s Christmas Lights Festival will run from Friday November 17 to Sunday November 19, where an exciting programme of arts, culture and performances will be taking place across the city’s streets and much-loved venues. Watch highlights from last year’s festival here.

Boasting a backdrop of choir singing and gorgeous aromas of mulled wine, Oxford’s Broad Street will become home to the Oxford Christmas market from Thursday December 7 to Sunday December 17 full of homemade crafts, festive foodie treats and perfect stocking-fillers.

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Details for festive celebrations in Painswick are to be announced.


Stow-on-the-Wold’s annual Christmas Tree Festival at St Edward’s Church will take place from Thursday December 7 to Sunday December 10 (10am-5pm Thursday-Saturday and 12.30pm-5pm on Sunday). Visitors can admire an array of beautifully decorated Christmas trees all arranged by local businesses, organisations and school-children.


Stratford’s famous and well-loved Christmas light display will be switched on a date in November (to be confirmed), with festive activities taking place from the morning onwards. Visitors to the historic town can enjoy late-night shopping, festive markets and plenty of street entertainment.

For the first time, Stratford-upon-Avon will also host a three day Victorian Christmas market from Friday December 8 to Sunday December 10 throughout the town centre. Over 150 stalls will be available to browse with a vast selection of festive local produce, bespoke decorations, handmade trinkets and unique presents. In the midst of the medieval streets, you’ll feel like you’re in a whole other century!

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Now in its 13th year, the much-anticipated Christmas Tree Festival will be marking the start of the festive season in Stroud. Hosted by St. Laurence Church, the lights adorning the trees will be switched on by BBC Radio Gloucestershire presenter Dominic Cotter on Sunday November 26. On Sunday December 3 at 4pm, the Christmas Tree Festival Songs of Praise will mark the end of the festival.

The dates for the town’s popular ‘Finish Your Christmas Shopping in Stroud” markets, selling a range of foods, local artisan crafts and vintage treats, will take place on Wednesday 20, Thursday 21 and Friday December 22.

The town’s annual Goodwill Evening will take place Friday December 1 with an ‘Under the Sea’ theme. Visitors can take a trip to Santa’s workshop, indulge in a spot of late-night shopping and embrace the festivities.


This year’s Festival of Christmas will take place at Bath Road Methodist Church on Friday December 15 from 7pm. With festive music and entertainment from the Ukey D’ukes, The Rock Choir and Morgan Sharpe, you’re bound to be entertained at this charity event raising funds for Swindon Cares, Swindon Women’s Aid, The Nelson’s Trust and STEP.

Tickets cost £5 and can be purchased from Holmes Music (01793 526393), STEP (01793 714042) and Swindon Cares (01793 521581).


Tewkesbury’s annual Festival of Lights is taking place Sunday November 19 and festive celebrations will be held from 12pm. There will be traditional carols, street dancing and plenty of stalls to browse along the High Street.

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Warwick will once again be hosting its much loved Victorian Evening and light switch-on this year, attracting thousands of visitors to the historic town. On November 30 the Victorian Christmas market will take place in the town centre with yuletide food and drink, charity stalls and fairground rides, as well as the annual Christmas Tree Festival in St Mary’s Church.

Touch FM will host a packed programme of entertainment on stage in the Market Place where Father Christmas will join the Mayor of Warwick to switch the town’s Christmas lights on at 7pm.

Making preparations for the Victorian evening. (L-R) Sue Butcher, Maggie Garton, Graham Sutherland, Mo Sutherland, Patricia Winnet, Aaron Corsi, Abi McCartney, Helen Williamson Making preparations for the Victorian evening. (L-R) Sue Butcher, Maggie Garton, Graham Sutherland, Mo Sutherland, Patricia Winnet, Aaron Corsi, Abi McCartney, Helen Williamson


The historic streets of Worcester will come alive Thursday November 20 when the renowned Victorian-themed Christmas Fayre is officially opened by the Mayor of Worcester, celebrating its 25th anniversary. Up until Sunday December 3, visitors can browse over 200 stalls of artisan gifts whilst enjoying the joyful sounds of instrumental performances and the heart-warming smells of roasting chestnuts.

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Westonbirt Aboretum

The Arboretum is holding an Enchanted Christmas event to celebrate the beauty of Westonbirt’s trees. Visitors can walk a one-mile illuminated trail and Father Christmas and his wife will be in attendance each evening to hand out gifts and tell seasonal stories. The event is running on the evenings of December 1, 2, 3, 7, 8, 9, 10, 14, 15, 16 and 17 and trails start from either 5pm, 6pm or 7pm, with each trail lasting one hour.


A Christmas Festival brimming with music, festive food, gift stalls and entertainment is taking place in Winchcombe from 5pm-8pm on Tuesday December 5. Plenty of stallholders will be setting up shop in the town centre for the evening and there will an exciting line-up of seasonal, live entertainment.

North Street will be closed to traffic and the Abbey Terrace car park will also be used to host activities, stalls and entertainment. Last year over 2000 people attended the local community celebrations and we’re certain this year will be just as popular!

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Enjoy a Christmas market full of stalls showcasing plenty of gift ideas from jewellery to woodcrafts, all held at St May Magdalene Church on Thursday November 25 10am-7.30pm. For a small donation you can even have a selfie with Santa himself! Proud sponsor of Woodstock Christmas Market is The Woodstock Arms who will be serving a selection of festive beverages, mince pies and other delicious festive foodie treats in their Christmas Cocktail Courtyard.

Christmas comes to Blenheim Palace on Friday November 24 to Monday January 1 with the estate becoming a winter wonderland of illuminations.

Where is your favourite place in the Cotswolds to celebrate Christmas?

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