Christmas markets and events in the Cotswolds
PUBLISHED: 13:44 26 March 2019 | UPDATED: 15:38 13 January 2020
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 28 to Sunday, December 15, 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 Bath's Christmas Market stalls.
Bourton-on-the-Water's Christmas tree in river will be lit-up from Sunday, December 1.
Broadway will be open for late night shopping Friday, November 29 and Friday, December 6, 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.
Cheltenham's Christmas Lights switch-on will take place on Saturday, November 23. Last year, a giant White Witch puppet, standing more than 16ft high on a chariot, travelled through the town centre in a high-impact street theatre event, and we're certain this year's entertainment will be just as spectacular.
The dates for the beloved Christmas Market and celebrations at the Brewery Quarter will be announced soon. For more information on Christmas events in Cheltenham, head to visitcheltenham.com.
Hosted in the Town Hall and Market Square, the annual Chipping Campden Christmas Market will take place on Saturday, December 7 and Sunday, December 8. Plenty of unique gifts will on sale alongside delicious festive food and an appearance from Father Christmas.
Enjoy live music and family-friendly entertainment when the town's Christmas lights will be switched on at 5.30pm on Saturday, December 7.
Details for Chipping Norton's Christmas celebrations are yet to be announced.
Festive celebrations will begin in Cirencester from 11am on Saturday, November 30 with the annual Advent Festival & Lights Switch On, usually with a celebrity guest in attendance, live music, plenty of delicious food stalls, fireworks and fair rides.
There will also be Cirencester Arts and Craft Market on December 1 (10am-5pm), Cirencester Christmas Gift Markets on December 2-8 (10am-5pm) and Festive Farmers' Market on December 14 and 28 (9am-2.30pm).
Find plenty of gift inspiration at the Mary Howard Christmas Fair; the longest running and original luxury Christmas fair in the Cotswolds, returning to Cotswold Airport from November 12-15. With over 150 unique specialist retailers, expect beautiful gift options ranging from artisan foodie treats and pampering beauty products, to beautiful children's gifts, luxury clothing and homeware, and plenty of unique ideas for the home.
In an evening of festive celebration, Dursley's Christmas light switch on will take place on Friday, November 29. More details will be announced.
Details for Evesham's Christmas celebrations are yet to be announced.
Details for Evesham's Christmas celebrations are yet to be announced.
Forest of Dean
For an unforgettable festive experience, follow the magical tale of 'Archie and the Unicorn' in the mesmeric setting of Clearwell Caves from Friday, November 27 to Tuesday, December 24. Father Christmas and his elves will also be in attendance.
Dean Forest Railway will be running Santa Specials on selected dates from Saturday, December 7 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.
One of the highlight of Taurus Crafts' calendar, the annual Christmas Market will take place during the first three weekends of December (November 30 & December 1, 7 & 8 and 14 & 15 from 10am-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.
Attracting over half a million people last year, the Victorian Christmas Market at Gloucester Quays is a firm favourite of Gloucester residents and visitors alike. Hosted from Thursday, November 14 to Sunday, November 24, this family-friendly event will boast stalls selling food, drink and unique gifts, alongside plenty of entertainment and the open-air ice rink.
The city's stunning Lantern Procession, with a Pinocchio them, will take place from 4.30pm on Sunday, November 17. This ties in with Gloucester Guildhall's adaptation of the family friendly adventure, produced by Strike a Light. Pinocchio will run from Friday, December 6-Saturday, January 4.
There will be fun and festive treats, locally-made gifts and crafts, seasonal entertainment and a vast range of stalls at Moreton-in-Marsh's annual Christmas on Saturday, November 30 from 9am. In the evening, the town's Christmas lights display will be switched by Father Christmas.
Oxford's Christmas Lights Festival will run from Friday, November 15 to Sunday November, 17, where an exciting programme of arts, culture and performances will be taking place across the city's streets and much-loved venues.
Boasting a backdrop of choir singing and the gorgeous aroma of mulled wine, Oxford's Broad Street will become home to the Oxford Christmas market from Thursday, December 5 to Sunday, December 21, full of homemade crafts, festive foodie treats and perfect stocking-fillers.
The town's annual Goodwill Evening will take place on Friday, November 29, 5.30-9pm. More details are to be announced.
Stow-on-the-Wold's annual Christmas Tree Festival at St Edward's Church will take place from Thursday, December 5 to Sunday, December 8. Visitors can admire an array of beautifully decorated Christmas trees all arranged by local businesses, organisations and school-children.
The town's Christmas tree lights will be switched on at 5.30pm on Friday, December 6.
Returning for the third year, Stratford-upon-Avon will also host a three day Victorian Christmas market on December 6, 7 and 8 to Sunday December 9, in the town centre. With a Dickensian theme, browse a vast selection of festive local produce, bespoke decorations, handmade trinkets and unique presents, and enjoy vintage funfair rides and street and staged entertainment.
Now in its 15th 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 Jon Smith on Sunday, December 1. The following week at 4pm, the Christmas Tree Festival Songs of Praise will bring the festival to an end.
The town's annual Goodwill Evening will take place Friday, December 7 with a 'Wild: nature, beasts, people' theme.
On Friday, December 6, Tetbury will be switching on its striking display of Christmas lights. More details about the event are to be announced.
For the third year, Tetbury Town Council will host the Tetbury Christmas Tree Festival and Memory Tree from Friday, December 6-Monday, January 6. Local organisations, schools and clubs will decorate the trees which will take pride of place at St Saviour's Church.
Nearby, Westonbirt Arboretum is holding an Enchanted Christmas event to celebrate the beauty of the arboretum's trees. Visitors can walk along a stunning illuminated trail full of light spectacles and interactive displays, and finish up at the Christmas village where you'll find festive food, traditional fairground rides and all your favourite Christmas characters. The event is running on the evenings of November 29 and 30 and December 1, 6, 7, 8, 13, 14, 15, 20, 21 and 22, from 4-9pm.
Tewkesbury's annual Christmas Lights Festival is taking place Sunday, November 24 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.
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. From 5pm on Thursday, November 28 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.
A Christmas Festival brimming with music, festive food, gift stalls and entertainment is taking place in Winchcombe from 5-8pm on Tuesday, December 3. 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.
The glorious gardens of Sudeley Castle will once be illuminated with colour and mesmerising special effects this Christmas. The Spectacle of Light will return on selected dates from Saturday, November 30-Monday, December 30.
Returning for a second year, the Woodstock Festive Fayre will once again take place at Mary Magdalene Church in the town centre, on November 29 and 30. Expect unique gifts, seasonal treats and plenty of food and drink on sale, plus a wonderfully Christmassy atmosphere. A Night of a Thousand Candles will take place alongside Saturday's Festive Fayre from 6pm. As well as music and entertainment, the town's beautiful light display will be switched on during the evening.
This Christmas, Blenheim Palace will be transformed inside and out, with celebrations promised to be bigger and better than ever before. An Alice in the Palace experience, taking place from Friday, November 22 to Sunday, January 5, will take over the ornate State Rooms during the day, while a spectacular festive trail will illuminate the parkland from November 22 to Wednesday, January 1. From November 22 to Sunday, December 15, Blenheim's Great Court will be transformed into a seasonal market with a range of festive treats on sale.
The historic streets of Worcester will come alive on Thursday, November 21 with the annual lights switch-on in front of the Guildhall.
The 27th annual Victorian Fayre will be coming to Worcester from November 28-December 1, with plenty planned to evoke the festive spirit among its visitors. As well as over 200 stalls selling everything from local arts and crafts, bespoke gifts and delicious street food, there will be a fantastic programme of entertainment including Victorian characters in Gin Lane.