Christmas markets in the Cotswolds
10:32 17 November 2015
From festive light switch-ons and Santa’s Grottos, to Victorian Christmas Fayres and late-night shopping, we’ve covered what’s on in the Cotswolds this season.
• From November 19 the Christmas lights of Bath will be twinkling once again this festive season. This year’s theme is the Enchanted Forest and along with The Holburne Museum Lantern Procession, various mythical creatures will be forming a dazzling spectacle in the streets from 5.30pm onwards.
• November 26 to December 13, Bath’s Christmas markets will be open and offering 170 traditional stalls, Santa’s Grotto, an ice rink and an Après Ski Bar.
December 1 will see a lights-on extravaganza in Bourton-on-the-Water. The Christmas tree lights will be switched on at 6.30 p.m by Cotswold Life columnist and farmer Adam Henson, and the High Street will be shut to traffic for the evening. As well as a trip from Santa, there will be a late-night shopping fair 4-9pm.
Broadway will be open for late night shopping November 27 and December 4, so soak up the festive season with carol singers 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 until 8.30pm or later.
• Cheltenham’s beloved Christmas Market will be running December 3-20 along the beautiful promenade. Enjoy a mug of hot mulled wine and warm mince pies, whilst you browse over 40 stalls selling traditional homemade gifts, knick knacks and lots of tasty and unusual food and drink.
• Father Christmas will be switching on the lights in Cheltenham town centre this year. The ‘Frozen’ themed festivities will begin at 4pm on November 26, and visitors can take advantage of the free parking available to get some Christmas shopping done.
• The Brewery is holding its own Christmas party November 28, with a snow machine and light switch-on ceremony.
• Montpellier Christmas Fayre will be held November 29 this year from 11am until 5pm. There will be a funfair, market stalls and festive entertainment in the form of a traditional brass band and carols.
December 4 will see free parking, late-night shopping, carol singing and a hog roast in the wonderful market town of Chipping Norton. Ben Fogle will also be judging a range of festive competitions, such as ‘Best dressed shop window’ and ‘Best shopkeeper’s Christmas jumper’.
• The big festive light switch-on will be held in the Market Place November 28. There will be live music, plenty of delicious food stalls and a celebrity lights-on ceremony.
• December 4-7, the Corinium Museum will be hosting a Christmas Craft Fair where you can find a carefully handcrafted gift from one of many local sellers.
• On November 27, Dursley’s Christmas lights will be switched on during an evening of festive entertainment, local shopping and Christmas market stalls. The event will start at 4.30pm and will continue until 10.30pm.
• From Floodlit Swan Suppers and creative arts and crafts, to trips to Santa’s Grotto and supper with elves; the much-beloved Slimbridge Centre will be home to a plethora of festive events this December. You can find out all of the details here.
• Festive fun in Evesham begins this year on November 21 with the light switch-on taking place from 12pm onwards. There will be live music and stalls selling crafts and food in the town centre, and Father Christmas will arrive at 3pm with his reindeer in tow.
• Evesham’s traditional Christmas market is taking place on the High Street December 7-19. Visitors can expect handcrafted gifts, festive decorations and tasty seasonal food.
• GB paratriathlete Andy Lewis will switch-on Lydney’s Christmas lights at 5.30pm, November 28.
• Explore the magic of ancient Puzzlewood, where you can find Father Christmas and his elves roaming the woods during the weekends of December 5-6, 12-13 and 19-24.
• For an unforgettable festive experience, Father Christmas will be opening his underground grotto at Clearwell Caves, November 28 until December 27.
• Dean Forest Railway is running Santa Specials from December 4 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.
• Gloucester Quays’ Victorian Christmas Market will run November 19-22. The market will be selling delicious food, drink and festive gifts whilst Christmas carols and a brass band will fill the historic docks with music.
• The Gloucester Waterways Museum will be setting sail with a special Santa Cruise, held daily December 12-24. Adults will be treated to mince pies and mulled wine whilst Father Christmas hands out gifts onboard.
There will be fun and festive treats, locally-made gifts and crafts, tasty local produce and over 60 stalls at the annual Christmas Market taking place November 28. Father Christmas will be attending the carol service by the Christmas Tree from 2.40pm, and children can visit him at The Redesdale Hall between 3-5pm.
• Oxford’s Christmas Festival is running November 20-22, where an exciting programme of arts, culture and performances will be taking place across all of the city’s best-loved venues.
• The Instant Orchestra’s rendition of Handel’s Messiah at the Bodleian Library will be taking place November 20 from 7.45pm. All musicians no matter how experienced will be able to take part.
• The Ashmolean museum’s Winter Light Night will offer a host of festive family activities November 21
• A beautiful lantern procession will take place through Oxford, November 22 at 5.30pm.
• The beautiful 18th century Rococo Gardens of Painswick will be hosting a festive-themed weekend November 20-21. From 12-4pm the shop will be selling a range of Christmas items and the organisers are hoping to entertain a stained-glass and candle making stall.
• Painswick’s Goodwill Evening is taking place in the town centre November 27 from 5-9pm. Enjoy the festive atmosphere whilst you indulge in some late-night shopping.
• The annual Christmas Tree Festival kicks off at 5.30pm December 2, when the town lights are switched on. And at 6pm, the grand opening of the 2015 Tree Festival will take place at St Edwards Church.
• December 5, children are invited to see Santa at his grotto in St Edwards church where there will be face-painting taking place too.
• Stratford’s famous and well-loved Christmas light display will be switched on November 26, with festive activities taking place from 4.30pm onwards. Visitors to the medieval town can enjoy late-night shopping, carol singing and a trip to Santa’s Grotto at the town hall.
• Learn about the Christmases of the last five centuries, with a trip to the Shakespeare Houses December 5 until January 6.
• The Shakespeare’s Birthplace Lightshow will dazzle once again every Thursday, Friday and Saturday night November 26 - December 19.
• Now in its tenth year, the much-anticipated Christmas Tree Festival will be marking the start of the festive season in Stroud. Hosted by St. Laurence Church, the tree lights will be switched on November 29 at 4pm.
• There will be two Christmas Farmer’s Markets taking place in Stroud this year. The first will be December 19 and the second December 23. It’s a great opportunity to stock up on some fine local produce ready for your Christmas dinner.
• Stroud’s annual Goodwill Evening will be taking place December 4, 5-9pm. Visitors can take a trip to Santa’s workshop, indulge in a spot of late-night shopping, or get creative with some festive arts and crafts.
Tewkesbury’s annual Festival of Lights is taking place November 22 and festive celebrations will be held 12-8pm. There will be traditional carols, street dancing and the opportunity to meet the cast of the Christmas Panto at the Roses Theatre. Father Christmas is turning the lights on at 5pm and children should get their wish lists ready as he’s promised to reply to every one.
The historic streets of Worcester will come alive November 26, as from 4.30 onwards the renowned Victorian-themed Christmas Fayre will be taking place. Visitors can browse 150 stalls of artisan gifts whilst enjoying the joyful sounds of instrumental performances and the heart-warming smells of roasting chestnuts.
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 November 27 - December 20 and the trail is open 5pm-7.30pm daily.
A Christmas Festival brimming with music, festive food, gift stalls and entertainment is taking place in Winchcombe December 1. Around 40 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.
For a fully comprehensive list on where to go, what to do and things to see in the Cotswolds this December, get your hands on our Christmas Issue - on sale now.