Things to do in Cheltenham this Christmas

Cheltenham BID Christmas Lights for 2020Picture by Mikal Ludlow Photography12-11-20Tel; 0785

Cheltenham BID Christmas light display in 2020 - Credit: Mikal Ludlow Photography

Christmas in Cheltenham is guaranteed to be a magical affair, with a new ice-skating rink, extended Christmas market, live entertainment, racing and thousands of twinkly lights. 

One of the highlights in Cheltenham’s festive calendar is its Christmas Market (November 20 until December 19). Organised by Marketing Cheltenham on behalf of Cheltenham BID, the market will be significantly larger and grander than previous Christmas Markets and will stretch from the pedestrianised Promenade all the way along the Long Gardens (in front of the Municipal Building) and in front and opposite the No 131. 

Cheltenham light display at Christmas

Cheltenham's light display on The Promenade - Credit: Cheltenham BID

Christmas in Cheltenham

Christmas in Cheltenham - Credit: Cheltenham BID

Cotswold Farmers’ Market and Craft Market will also visit Cheltenham High Street, providing lots of opportunities for visitors to buy local crafts and delicious food over the festive season (Farmers’ Market December 10 & 17, Crafts Market December 11-16 & 18-23). 

New for this year, The Cheltenham Ice Rink, Gloucestershire’s only under-cover rink, will provide a magical ice-skating experience for visitors in the Imperial Gardens in front of the Queen’s Hotel (November 18-January 2, 2022) offering the opportunity for locals and visitors to shop, dine and ice skate in the Regency spa town of Cheltenham this Christmas.

Cardiff ice rink

Cheltenham will be hosting Gloucestershire’s only under-cover ice rink this year - Credit: Cheltenham BID

Cheltenham Christmas Market

Cheltenham Christmas Market - Credit: Cheltenham BID

Cheltenham Christmas Market

Cheltenham Christmas Market - Credit: Cheltenham BID

The Everyman Theatre’s popular pantomime will be entertaining locals and visitors alike with their rendition of Jack and the Beanstalk, which runs from November 26 until January 9, 2022. Audiences can look forward to a cast of Everyman Theatre favourites, including Samuel Holmes, Kevin Brewis, Kane Verrell and, of course, Gloucestershire’s favourite clown, Tweedy! It promises to be a giant comedy adventure with songs, laughs and dazzling special effects. Box Tale Soup in association with the Everyman Theatre is also hosting A Christmas Carol in The Irving Studio Theatre from December 1-31, featuring remarkable puppetry and all-original music to bring Dickens’ classic lovingly to life in a brand-new production. 

Meanwhile, not far away, the popular Spectacle of Light will be returning for its sixth year at Sudeley Castle (November 26 to December 30). Santa will be welcoming guests of all ages to join him in his grotto as he hosts Santa Specials with GWSR, so jump on board a steam train and enjoy a memorable day out in Cheltenham and the Cotswolds (selected days December 4-24). There are two fabulous racing meets taking place at Cheltenham Racecourse, the home of Jump Racing, over the festive season, namely The International on Friday, December 10 and Saturday, December 11 as well as the popular New Year’s Day Racing. 

Cheltenham BID and Visit Cheltenham.Cheltenham Christmas Light switch on featuring the White Wit

Cheltenham's spectacular Christmas light display - Credit: Mikal Ludlow Photography

Cheltenham town centre Christmas Lights Switch-On takes place early evening on Saturday, November 20. On the same day The Brewery Quarter’s festivities (4-7pm) will mark the start of the festive period with an array of local acts from talented performers.  

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Another market taking place on November 28, 11am-5pm is The Suffolks Christmas Market, which is always a special occasion. Whether it’s talking to the local stallholders or from sipping on mulled wine, as you browse the festive stalls, this is a pre-Christmas event guaranteed to put everyone in a festive mood.  

Other events include a Christmas Artisan Market at Pittville Pump Room which will take place November 25 and December 5-7; the Mozart Symphony Orchestra are returning to Cheltenham Town Hall, bringing their famous Christmas show The Snowman from London for one day only (December 23), and the new Heritage Deco Café Orangery at Pittville Pump Room will provide inside/outside refreshments over the colder months including Christmas afternoon tea.