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Christmas in Cheltenham 

It’s the most wonderful time of the year and Christmas in Cheltenham 2022 is the perfect place to get in to the festive spirit. If you are heading off on a weekend break to visit Cheltenham or if you’re lucky enough to live in the area you will find an array of wonderful things to do this at Christmas time in Cheltenham this festive season.

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The Regency town of Cheltenham has so many things to do at Christmas with different Christmas events including iceskating, Christmas markets, Christmas lights and plenty of shopping opportunities.

Having recently returned from a wonderful Christmas weekend in the Cotswolds area I want to give you all the information should you wish to take a break in the area. Lets look at where to go and how to experience the very best of the festive Christmas things to do in Cheltenham.

Where to go at Christmas in Cheltenham 2022, including the best markets and the best places to see Santa!

Christmas in Cheltenham where are the best Christmas markets and places to go 2021

These Christmas events in 2022 will get you in the Christmas spirit where you can experience the magic of Christmas from the moment you wake up till the end of the evening with lots of Christmassy things to do. Take a turn on the frozen Ice skating rink, meet Santa, drink mulled wine or have festive meal in one of the many restaurants in town.

From the switching on of the Christmas lights to a magical pantomime at the Everyman Theatre you will surely find something to do this Christmas in Cheltenham 2021. You can visit the Brewery Quarter with its array of many restaurants and festivities and also explore one of the many Christmas markets or boutiques. Lets explore Cheltenham at Christmas!

Best things to do in Cheltenham at Christmas

Try Ice Skating at the Cheltenham Ice rink in Imperial gardens

Perhaps one of the first places you should visit is Cheltenham’s ice rink. The Ice rink is set in the Imperial Gardens on the site of the historic Winter Gardens which once held a roller skating and ice rink in the 1800s. Now you can Ice skate along to festive Christmas music with friends up until the 2nd of January.

Where: Imperial Gardens, Imperial Square, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, GL50 1QA

Price: Tickets can be booked online and cost £8 for children, £9.50 for adults, £8.50 concessions and £32 for a family ticket.

When: The Cheltenham Ice Rink is open daily, Sunday to Thursday 10am – 8pm and Friday and Saturday 10am – 10pm. From Sunday 19 December until 2 January it will be open daily 10am – 10pm. Closed Christmas day.

Ice Skating lit up sign at the Cheltenham Ice rink in Imperial gardens

Watch a Pantomime at the Everyman Theatre

See a pantomime this year at the Everyman Theatre in Cheltenham. Last year saw Jack and the Bean Stalk which was great fun for adults and children alike. You can book your tickets direct with the Everyman theatre.

Visit a Christmas markets in Cheltenham town

The Christmas markets in Cheltenham town are free markets and offer an array of different seasonal produce, gifts, food and drink. They have a traditional Christmas market, a farmers market and an art and craft market. So where are the best markets in Cheltenham?

Christmas markets in Cheltenham town, Nutcracker at a traditional Christmas market in Cheltenham
Cheltenham Traditional Christmas market

Explore the traditional Christmas market at the Promenade in Cheltenham

Cheltenham has a real Christmas market on the promenade. This wonderful Christmas market is a traditional event offering a variety of many different festive gifts of food and drink. Gather with friends here for an evening of fun and laughter with warm mulled wine served in authentic Christmas boots or some tasty food from one of the many food stalls. What could be more magical than sharing time with friends wrapped up warm in the cold air winter air? The market is beautifully lit and has something for everyone from, sweet stalls, gift stalls and even a toasted macaroon stall!

Traditional Christmas market at the Promenade in Cheltenham . Stunning painted Rosie’s caravan serving hot chocolate with Baileys.
Stunning painted caravan serving hot chocolate with Baileys.

Buy some Christmas food at the Cheltenham Farmers Market

The Cheltenham farmers market takes place along the promenade outside House of Fraser. This moves slightly when the traditional Christmas market comes into place to outside Marks & Spencer. The farmers market is open from 9 am to 2 pm on the second and last Friday of every month.

This is the best place to buy locally grown produce from Gloucester and the Cotswold area perfect for everything you need for your Christmas dinner.

Visit the Suffolks Christmas market Cheltenham

The Suffolk Sunday market in Suffolk Road Cheltenham Gloucestershire is a monthly market organised by the Suffolk traders Association. Each market features arts and crafts as well as vintage items and food and drink. The Suffolk market takes place takes place Sundays and the last market was the 28th November 2021.

Three ladies enjoying. A mulled wine in a little boot at the Cheltenham Christmas market 2021
Enjoy a mug of mulled wine!

 Browse the Christmas Cheltenham Craft Market

The Christmas Cheltenham Craft Market is an exciting event where local artisans come together to show all of there handcrafted wares.

It will take place 11 – 16 December and 18 – 23 December outside Marks and Spencer’s due to the Christmas market.

Explore the Artisan Christmas market Pittville pump room

The Pitteville Pump room is grade 1 listed and is the last and largest of the spa buildings to be built in Cheltenham. And what better background could it be for a Christmas Artisan market with many unique original stalls selling home-made and handmade artisan gifts? With the most gorgeous Christmas tree and a festive feeling you can meander the beautiful stalls with crafts from local artisans in Cheltenham’s surrounding area.

The market is open on midday 8am on the 25 of November and then it will be open on Sunday the 5th of December to Tuesday the 7th of December ,11 am to 6 pm.

Artisan Christmas market Pittville Pump room. View from above
Artisan Christmas market Pittville Pump room. View from above

You will also be able to get a range of hot and cold food in the outdoor café at the Pittville pump room. There is a takeaway service with tables and chairs and you can get hot food and cold food from sausage rolls to sandwiches as well as coffee and cakes
The café is open daily.

The deli board man at the Pittville Pump artisan market. Gorgeous hand made artisan chessboards. With little mice on
The Deli board man at the Pittville Pump artisan market

Admire the Spectacle of Lights at Sudeley Castle 2022

Now you may of been to Sudeley castle by day and seen the beautiful gardens but have you been by night? Sudeley castle is a grade 1 listed castle in the Cotswolds hills. It is the only privately owned castle that’s has a Queen buried within its grounds. Katherine Parr was buried here who is the last of Henry VIII’s six wives.

During the day in the grounds you can walk around the stunning mazes and children can play in the gardens. By night at Christmas it is lit up into a magical Christmas treasure trail. Explore the gardens and walk through secret archways following the Spectacle of Lights. On route you will meet some secret elves and you can even get a hot chocolate to warm your palms. There is something to discover on every turn and you will be truly dazzled by lights.

Where: Sudeley Castle, Gloucestershire GL54 5LP

Price: Tickets can be purchased online and cost £11 for children, £22 for adults and a family saver in £57. You can also save by booking early

When: 26th November – 30th December 2021

Spectacle of Lights at Sudeley Castle 2021 Light arch with woman walking through
Spectacle of Lights at Sudeley Castle 2021

Try a Christmas walking tour with free drinks

Why not hire a guide and have a Christmas walking tour in Cheltenham?

We went on a tour with a local expert blue badge guide Sean Callery from Off Beat Cotswolds. Sean was a Joy to listen to with his historic tales of Christmas in Cheltenham.

Guide in Cheltenham local expert blue badge guide Sean Callery from Off Beat Cotswolds. Sean was a Joy to listen to with his historic tales of Christmas in Cheltenham. Picture of people on tour in town
Christmas walking tour in Cheltenham

On the tour of Cheltenham’s town you will hear all about the history of Christmas in Cheltenham. Learn about how one of Cheltenham’s favourite Royals gave us the Christmas tree and what famous Cheltenham born musician wrote a Famous Christmas melody. You will even hear all about the scandal of what Victorians first thought of iceskating at the Winter Palace.

I loved the tour it was so insightful and on finishing the Christmas tour we were taken to one of Cheltenham’s finest teas rooms. Where we had a cup of tea to warm us up at the charming Gin and Tea Bar of Memsahib.

Row of Chai teas at One of Cheltenham’s finest teas rooms. Here you will have a cup of tea to warm you up at the charming Gin and Tea Bar of Memsahib.
Row of Chai teas at one of Cheltenham’s finest teas rooms, Gin and Tea Bar of Memsahib.

Visit the Christmas lights switch on In Cheltenham

Every year the lights are switched on to celebrate Christmas in Cheltenham. You can find the Cheltenham Christmas light switch on in various locations around town. The lights are normally switched on around the 20th of November every year.

Each part of town has a separate switch on, such as the Brewery Quarter which has its own light switch on where you can celebrate and visit a local restaurant. You can also catch Father Christmas here around 6:30 who helps switch on the lights.

Christmas lights switch on at the Brewery Quarter in Cheltenham next to street art
Christmas lights at the Brewery Quarter in Cheltenham next to street art

Go and search for Santa in Cheltenham at Christmas

Where can I see Santa in Cheltenham at Christmas? You can see Santa at a variety of locations in Cheltenham such as the Christmas light switch on at the Brewery and the Christmas light switch on at Pittville pump rooms. Other places to see Santa in Cheltenham are;

Find him at John Lewis Father Christmas in Cheltenham.

Find Santa at John Lewis in Cheltenham, he is there from the 11th of December through to the 19th of December 2021

The magical grotto experience in Skillcorn Gardens

You can visit Santa in a Magical Grotto Experience at Skillicorn Gardens near the Garden bar Orangery and the Ice Rink at Imperial Gardens

Kids can meet Father Christmas and they are also able to write their own Christmas letters to post in the North Pole postbox. There is a Christmas menu at the Garden which is great for grown-ups too. Places are limited to the experience so book early.

Where: Skillicorn Garden, alongside the Garden Bar orangery Cheltenham

Price: Book online, tickets for children only (£12.95 ) free to parents.

When: Saturday the 20th of November to Sunday the 19h of December 2021

Visit Santa on GWS our train days out

Ride with Santa on a train from Toddington station at Christmas on the wonderful Santa Express The Santa Express takes you from Toddington Station all the way to the North Pole (Winchcombe)
The Gloucestershire Warwickshire steam Railway hold two great experiences for Christmas Santa visits so you can meet him and his elves. Santa travels on the train and visits you at your seat! You also receive complimentary mince pies and hot and cold drinks.

Book early as tickets sell out very very quickly in fact 2021 sold out very quickly.
Don’t be discouraged though you can still grab a ticket for a ride on the train next year! Maybe not with Santa but a great ride on one of the Toddington & Broadway or Toddington & Cheltenham train lines for the 2022 season.

Stay at a cosy Hotels at Christmas in Cheltenham

If you’re looking for somewhere cosy to stay while you’re in Cheltenham this year here are a couple of cosy hotels perfect for Christmas festivities.

Book Christmas at the Queens Hotel Cheltenham

You can step back into a bygone era in this grade 2 listed hotel which is all dressed ready for Christmas. Why not spend Christmas at the Queens in Cheltenham or even New Year? A five course dinner is being served on Christmas Day in the beautiful restaurant Victoria’s. You could even book a festive afternoon tea or Christmas lunch to get you in the Christmas spirit.

New Year’s Eve at the Queens is set to see a black-tie dinner gala in the exquisite dining room. You will enjoy a cocktail on arrival before having a five course meal.
Find out more information about the festivities at the Queens hotel in Cheltenham here.

 Christmas at the Queens Hotel Cheltenham. Huge Christmas tree and lounge all done up with decorations
Christmas at the Queens Hotel Cheltenham

Stay at Ellenborough Park at Christmas

If you are looking for a luxurious weekend Christmas break then look no further than Ellenborough Park. Ellenborough Park is a beautiful 5 star hotel and 15th century English country estate. Ellenborough also has a luxury spa, beautiful grounds and is in close proximity to the Cheltenham race course. It is perfectly situated on the edge of the Cotswolds and just a short drive from Cheltenham town centre with all of its Christmas festivities.

Ellenborough Park have packages for all sorts of Christmas weekend breaks. You can stay for Christmas itself or even New year. They also have festive royal escape offers which include one of their festive afternoon teas!

The festive Afternoon Tea is a cream tea with a Christmas twist. Stay for a night in the hotel and enjoy a cream tea with a difference! Delicate finger sandwiches, scones, clotted cream, spiced & festive sweet treats and your choice of freshly brewed teas and coffee. All served by cosy fireplaces dressed for the season.

Ellenborough Park at Christmas With festive afternoon tea
Ellenborough Park at Christmas With festive afternoon tea

Take a look at more things to do with kids in Cheltenham over with Mummy Travels.

I was kindly invited to explore Cheltenham with Visit Cheltenham. All opinions are my own.

You can find out more about Cheltenham on their facebook group Visit Cheltenham.

Want to explore Christmas markets in the south? Check out my post on Essex Christmas markets here.

Visiting London? Where can you go Ice Skating in London this year?

D x



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