Updated: Nov 26, 2021
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 shortlist 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 6th January 2022. 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 26th November, Friday 3th December 2021). 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, 27th November from 9 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 27th November until 31st December from 4:30 pm to 10 pm. Family-friendly event: animal feeding, Adventure Barn, warm-up by the fire pit with marshmallows, 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 (26th 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 26th 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. New for 2021: 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 started on 20th November and will run until 19th December. Come along to The Promenade, browse stalls for gifts, treats and decorations. On weekends 27/28 November, and 4/5, 11/12 and 18/19 December prepare to be surprised with the appearance of Christmas characters!
Also new for this festive season is The Cheltenham Ice Skating Rink, running from 18th November to 2nd 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 10th and 11th 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 on email at the bottom of the page.