Updated: Oct 21, 2022
The Cotswolds is undoubtedly one of the finest places in the UK to celebrate Christmas. The quaintness of famous, honey-coloured villages and market towns gets turned up to the maximum as everything gets dressed up in Christmas trees, fairy lights and illuminating decorations. It really feels like you are on a Christmas movie set and brings back nostalgic memories of childhood excitement.
If you are considering visiting the Cotswolds in December, think no further! You will be spoiled with a wide range of Christmas activities taking place in the area. Here is a short list of festive events coming up in The North Cotswolds.
If you’ve never seen Bourton-on-the-Water’s Floating Christmas Tree, this is your chance! The Tree will be lit up on the last weekend of November and will stay until Epiphany. All the shops, museums and eateries are getting decorated in fairy lights too, so it is definitely worth a visit.
One of the most popular Christmas events in the North Cotswolds is probably Broadway's Late-Night Christmas shopping (Friday 25th November, Friday 2nd December 2022). The evening is filled with Christmas festivities, street entertainers, live music performances, mulled wine and lots of atmosphere! The shops stay open from 5:30 pm to 8:30 pm.
Top tip: park at one of the Pay and Display village car parks. Pay Machines accept coins (bring £4) or pay by phone (which is unreliable). Download the RingGo app for hassle-free payment.
Moreton-in-Marsh Christmas Lights & Market takes place this year on Saturday, 26th November from 9:30 am. Enjoy browsing over 80 stalls, carol singing and refreshments. The lights switch-on at 5 pm.
Enchanted Light Trail at Adam Henson’s Cotswold Farm Park can be enjoyed on selected dates from 25th November until 31st December from 4 pm to 9 pm. Family-friendly event: animal feeding, Adventure Barn, warm-up by the fire pit with marshmallows, dance at the Frozen Ball and follow the illuminated trail in the woodlands.
Top tip: book your tickets in advance online. Wrap up warm and wear weatherproof footwear.
Another Enchanted Woodland illuminated trail not to miss – at Westonbirt Arboretum (25th November – 21st December 4:00 pm – 9:30 pm). Twinkling lights, sparkling illuminations and magical creatures! Christmas village, Christmas choirs and bands perform seasonal favourites, mulled wine and festive food.
The Spectacle of Light at Sudeley Castle near Winchcombe is a very popular after-dark experience for the whole family. It takes place from 25th November until 30th December with the first entry at 4:45 pm. Visitors can enjoy the castle gardens beautifully illuminated and turned into a Magical Wonderland. Light Curve and the flickering flames of the Queen's garden; sparkling water features and the mesmerising Carpet of Colour. Mulled wine, festive takeaway hot food and treats, gift shop.
Top tip: book your tickets in advance online.
Cheltenham Christmas Market is probably one of the largest street markets in the area. This year it opens on 8th December and will run until 24th December. Come along to The Promenade, browse stalls for gifts, treats and decorations.
Also new for this festive season is The Cheltenham Ice Skating Rink, running from 19th November until early January. The rink is located in the Imperial Gardens, in the heart of regency Cheltenham reflecting the town’s historic Winter Gardens and indoor skating rink that once occupied a site in the gardens. The modern-day version is covered, making it Gloucestershire’s only all-weather ice rink. We recommend pre-booking your tickets to avoid disappointment.
If horse racing takes your fancy, there are two fabulous racing meets taking place at Cheltenham Racecourse, the home of Jump Racing, over the festive season - The International, on 9th and 10th December and of course the very popular New Year’s Day Raceday.
There are lots of Christmas Carol concerts, Santa’s Grottos, pantos etc., in the area which are impossible to fit within this article.
If you wish to find out about other Christmas events in the North Cotswolds or need help in planning your visit, we are happy to help, just drop us a line by email at the bottom of the page.