Things to do in the Cotswolds in December

Horrible Christmas is coming to Cheltenham Racecourse

Horrible Christmas is coming to Cheltenham Racecourse - Credit:

Our guide to the best things to do in the Cotswolds this month

The Contemporary Landscape

An exhibition of paintings by some of the foremost artists working in the genre today. Lyrical observation and dazzling innovation await in a selection that draws upon a broad
range of approaches to the subject. 
until December 11, Rotunda Terrace, Montpellier Street, Cheltenham, GL50 1SW,

In Glad Surprise, by Melanie Cormack-Hicks, 60x60cm

In Glad Surprise, by Melanie Cormack-Hicks, 60x60cm - Credit: Melanie Cormack-Hicks

Merry Illuminations 

Inspired originally and specifically by the richness and vibrancy of Medieval art, Alison Merry's unique painting style puts a medieval ‘spin’ on her subjects, including angels and shepherds, cats, castles and churches, legendary landscapes and characters from folklore. 
until Sunday, December 19, Museum in the Park, Stratford Park, Stroud, GL5 4AF,

A Crafted Christmas 

Bringing together the very best pieces by craftspeople, makers and designers; the perfect opportunity to buy unique gifts, each with a story behind them, years of skill invested in them and creativity at their heart.  
until December 24, New Brewery Arts, Cirencester, GL7 1JH,

Believe at Westgate Oxford

Believe at Westgate Oxford - Credit:


Meet Norbert the enchanted reindeer at Oxford's fun family grotto.  
until December 24, Westgate Oxford,

Meet Norbert the enchanted reindeer at Oxford's fun family grotto

Meet Norbert the enchanted reindeer at Oxford's fun family grotto - Credit:

Table Manners 

A buying exhibition of all manner of tables – dining, console, desk, coffee and lamp – ranging from the classical to the contemporary and the functional and quirky. All tables have been selected for their excellence in design whilst demonstrating the skills of the maker and their respect for the sustainability of the woods and materials used.  
until March 31, 2022, Derwent House, Witney, OX29 5BY,

Scintillating Birch Forest 

This meditative and thought-invoking illumination has been created by Stroud-based artist Jack Wimperis as part of Gloucester's Bright Nights light festival.  
until July 2022, Gloucester Guildhall, 23 Eastgate Street, GL1 1NS,

Enchanted Light Trail at Cotswold Farm Park

Enchanted Light Trail at Cotswold Farm Park - Credit:

Enchanted Light Trail 

Feed the animals their last snacks for the night before setting out on an illuminated evening stroll through the paddocks. 
November 27-December 31 (selected dates), Cotswold Farm Park, Guiting Power, GL54 5FL,

Stroud Goodwill Evening 

A festive experience right in the centre of famously creative Stroud, featuring Christmas market, mulled wine, mince pies and more.
Friday, December 3, 5pm, Stroud Subscription Rooms and across the town,

Celebration of Christmas 

Cotswold Dogs & Cats Home's annual event, hosted by actress Lisa Maxwell and accompanied by friends from stage and screen. Mulled wine and mince pies, raffle and more! Adult tickets are £10 each; children tickets are FREE. Dogs on leads are very welcome. 
Saturday, December 4, 5pm, St Mary's Church, Painswick,

Three Divers at Sunset, by Dan Parry Jones

Three Divers at Sunset - Credit: Dan Parry Jones

Show of Hands 

The launch show of a new collective of artists and makers, including Clare Bonnet, Heidi Hockenjos, Alex Merry, Lorraine Robbins, Dan Parry Jones and Emma Studd. Work is available to buy and is an opportunity for high-end, high quality gift buying in the lead up to Christmas.  
December 4-23, SVA Gallery, John Street, Stroud, GL5 2HA,

Loopy Ewes will be exhibiting at the Show of Hands exhibition, SVA Gallery, Stroud

Loopy Ewes will be exhibiting at the Show of Hands exhibition, SVA Gallery, Stroud - Credit: Loopy Ewes

Monteverdi Mass 

Monteverdi’s four part mass will be sung by Cantabile at a service of Holy Communion. Tickets are free but book by calling 01451 860222 as numbers are limited.  
Sunday, December 5, 6pm, Turkdean Parish Church,

Christmas Market 

A festive market in the Barn, selling a wide range of hand-crafted gifts and festive items. 
Sunday, December 5, Old Farmyard, Avebury, tel: 01672 538036,

Bath Abbey at Christmas

Bath Abbey at Christmas - Credit: Bath BID

Symphony of Sorrowful Songs with Paraorchestra 

Henryk Górecki’s Symphony of Sorrowful Songs is an astonishing meditation on loss and transcendence. Performed by Paraorchestra, with acclaimed soprano Victoria Oruwari. 
Wednesday, December 8, 7.30pm, Bath Abbey,

Mistletoe, Wrens and Mumming
Ever wondered where our Christmas traditions come from? Or how people celebrated Christmas in the past? Join Gloucestershire folklorist Kirsty Hartsiotis in a hunt for Britain's quirkiest Christmas traditions.  
Thursday, December 9, 7pm,

Christmas Tree Festival 

Charlbury's popular Christmas Tree Festival returns, with special events running in the Church over the first weekend. The decorated trees will remain lit up each day until just after Christmas.  
December 9-27, St Mary's Church, Charlbury. More information from

CPRE Gloucestershire Carols 

An evening of Christmas carols, readings, poems, and the amazing Cadenza Choir, followed by mulled wine and mince pies. Tickets £10 (£5 for under 17s). 
Tuesday, December 14, 6pm, Highnam Holy Innocents Church, GL2 8DG,

Stroud Wassail procession

Stroud Wassail procession - Credit: Vintage Mary

The Wassail Tradition 

Stroud Wassailer Robin Burton takes us through the tradition of Wassail, practised in England since Anglo Saxon times and common practice in the South West till the early 20th century. £9. 
Wednesday, December 15, 7pm, Rausing Building, Athelstan Museum, Malmesbury, SN16 9BZ, tel: 01666 829258,


Expect all the usual panto ingredients – laugh-out loud comedy, beautiful costumes and plenty of boos & hisses – as you follow Aladdin, Wishee Washee and Widow Twankey on their spectacular adventure. 
December 15-22, Sundial Theatre, Cirencester, GL7 1XA, tel: 0333 666 3366,

Steve Harley at Darwen Theatre.

Steve Harley - Credit: Darren Robinson Photography

Steve Harley & Cockney Rebel 

Celebrating his 48th year in music, touring with a full six-piece rock band, while also fronting the Steve Harley Acoustic Band. 
Thursday, December 16, Cheltenham Town Hall, tel: 01242 528764,

Maddy Prior & The Carnival Band

Maddy Prior & The Carnival Band - Credit:

Carols & Capers 

Join Maddy Prior & The Carnival Band at their celebratory Christmas show.  
Thursday, December 16, 7.30pm, Roses Theatre, Tewkesbury, GL20 5NR, tel: 01684 295074,

Jack Dee: Off the Telly 

Join Jack for an evening of entertainment in his new stand-up tour. Tickets £25. 
Friday, December 17, Cheltenham Town Hall, GL50 1QA, tel: 01242 528764,

Soprano Rebecca Silverman

Soprano Rebecca Silverman - Credit:

A Night at the Opera with Rebecca Silverman 

Join soprano Rebecca Silverman and pianist Jessica May for a programme of songs and arias by Handel, Mozart, and Bernstein.  
Friday, December 17, 7.30pm, The Old Prison, Fosse Way, Northleach,

Horrible Christmas is coming to Cheltenham Racecourse

Horrible Christmas is coming to Cheltenham Racecourse - Credit:

Horrible Christmas 

A hair-raising adventure through the history of Christmas in the company of Charles Dickens, Oliver Cromwell, King Henry VIII and St Nicholas as they all join forces to save the festive season... all from the comfort of your own car! 
Tuesday, December 21, 11am, 2pm & 5pm, Cheltenham Racecourse,