Olly Symonds
Olly Symonds
Associate Director
Fergus Mitchell
Fergus Mitchell
Learn more about the team
Cotswold Life

Christmas is more than just the big day at the end of December, it’s all the little things during the countdown that make it extra special and I know that the excitement and magic this time of year certainly makes up for the colder, crisp weather! We’ve put together a guide of our favourite festive activities in The Cotswolds for you to enjoy…

Christmas Markets in the Cotswolds

With wooden chalets draped with sparkling lights, colourful decorations, locally made gifts, creative crafts alongside the smell of mulled wine, roasted chestnuts and velvety hot chocolate-Christmas markets have become an annual tradition.

Check out these markets which add an extra dose of sparkle to the region’s towns:

As well as the larger events, there are also several towns and villages which have one-off Christmas markets in the Cotswolds, often as part of their Christmas lights switch-on events. These markets are on the smaller scale but have equal amounts of charm and beautiful scenery.

  • Nailsworth-24th November 2 to 7pm
  • Painswick-24th November 5 to 8pm
  • Moreton-In-Marsh-25th November from 10am
  • Tetbury-1st December from 5.30pm
  • Chipping Campden-2nd December 12-6pm
  • Winchcombe-8th December 5-8pm
Christmas Markets in the Cotswolds


Ice Skating

After a year’s absence, the Cheltenham Ice Skating Rink returns to Imperial Gardens in 2023-site of the town’s original Winter gardens and skating rink in the late 19th century. The rink is open to the public from the 17th November up until the 1st January 2024. Luckily, it is undercover so no need to worry about the weather, especially with hot drinks and tasty treats available at the Imperial Gardens barn afterwards.

You can also take a spin on the ice at Bath on Ice in Victoria Park and the Cotswold Water Park’s ‘Gateway Ice Rink’ from the 24th November until the 3rd January 2024.

Bar + Block Bottomless Festive Lunch

The perfect way to start the Christmas celebrations, Bar + Block has launched a special bottomless festive lunch. Available from 12-5pm from now until the 31st December, excluding Christmas Day & Boxing Day, guests can join an endless flow of Prosecco and beer for just £38 pp, with the option to upgrade to bottomless cocktails. Joined by 2 festive courses that include the new Beef Burnt Ends Stuffed Yorkie for starters and the Festive Loaded Burger for mains, it’s a great way to kick-start the Christmas celebrations with friends or on date night. Get merry this Christmas at Bar + Block!

Make your own Christmas Wreath

Spruce up your home & decorate your front door with a beautiful handmade Christmas wreath this year, with tuition from expert florists. Wreath-making classes are available on various dates through November & December at Newark Park, Westonbirt Arboretum, Ellenborough Park, The Slaughters Manor House and Daylesford Organic.

Light Trails

Grab a hot chocolate or spiced apple and explore a magical illuminated light trail this Christmas. With sparkling light displays set to music, these trails through the Cotswolds’ gardens and outdoor scenes are more popular than ever, with 5 local trails to choose from this year.

Commence the excitement of the festive season with one of these enchanting light trails from the 24th November from the Spectacle of Light at Sudeley Castle, Enchanted Christmas at Westonbirt Arboretum, Illuminated Light Trail at Blenheim Palace and The Enchanted Garden at Painswick.

Indulge in a festive Afternoon Tea

Afternoon tea is an English institution and it gets a little extra sparkle this Christmas in the Cotswolds! With hotels & restaurants hosting festive menus, you can enjoy seasonal delights like turkey & cranberry sandwiches, spiced scones and mince pies at Ellenborough Park, Lygon Arms, Stratton House and Charingworth Manor.

Christmas Tea Rooms in the Cotswolds


Create your own Christmas Hamper

The Cotswolds is bursting with fantastic artisan food & drink suppliers, so why not get creative and make your own Christmas hamper – whether that’s for yourself or friends and family! Stock up on local favourites from the Cotswold Cheese Company, Cotswold Gold Oils, Tubby Tom’s sauces, Costello & Hellerstein chocolates as well as charcuterie from Salt pig & The Cotswold Curer.

Late-Night Shopping

Soak up the festive atmosphere and watch the store fronts come to life during the festive late night shopping event in the Cotswolds. You can pick up some unique gifts from the independent shops in Broadway on the 24th November and 1st December with beautifully decorated street alongside mulled wine & mince pies while your browse. You can also experience this in Malmesbury on the 1st December and in Winchcombe on the 8th & 9th.

The Flight Before Christmas

For a Santa’s Grotto with a difference, head to the Cotswold Airport in Kemble for The Flight Before Christmas 2023. From the 25th November to 24th December, children can meet Santa on board a British Airways Jumbo Jet. After a naughty or nice security check-in, there are activities for young ones to enjoy like decorating gingerbread men and assembling toys.

Christmas Concert

Celebrate Christmas in the Cotswolds with a concert at Berkeley Castle on the 10th December. The evening starts with mince pies and mulled wine by the fire in the Long Drawing Room, which is decorated with Christmas trees and glittering lights. As the evening progresses, you will move into the Great Hall where the Orchestra Pro Anima string group will play classical pieces from the last 200 years.

We hope that’s inspired you with what to do in the Cotswolds at Christmas! If you’re considering relocation to the Cotswolds, then please get in touch with our Cotswold Letting Agent team on 01993 684572 and we will be happy to help you find the right home or cottage to rent in the Cotswolds.

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