Cheltenham is a magical place to experience Christmas...

Read on for the Ultimate Guide to Christmas in Cheltenham 2019 featuring Cheltenham Christmas Markets, Christmas light switch-on events, an evening of entertaining late-night shopping plus a host of festive live performances, carol services, best places to see Santa in Cheltenham plus much, MUCH more!

* To read full details of all the events listed below please click on the title of the event highlighted in blue.

Cheltenham Christmas Light Switch-On Events

Add Thursday 23 November firmly to your calendar!  Experiencing Christmas lights being switched on in our Regency town is guaranteed to put you in the festive mood. There are three different Christmas light switch-on events taking place in Cheltenham town centre, all on the same evening, so don’t miss out…

Cheltenham Christmas Light Switch-On inspired by A Christmas Carol

Various central locations around town. 23 Nov 4.30pm parade starts - 5.30pm lights being switched on.  FREE event.

Inspired by ‘A Christmas Carol’ the light switch-on will bring to life this popular Christmas tale. Witness the giant puppet ghosts of Christmas past, present and future parading through the town; one starting from The Brewery Quarter; one near Cambray Place (John Lewis) and the other from Montpellier Street. They will eventually join Scrooge and Father Christmas outside The Queen’s Hotel for a final showdown. Come along to find out whether the Christmas spirit wins.

Click here for everything you need to know including parade trail map.  Which ghost will you follow?!

Regent Arcade’s Light Switch-On

23 Nov 3.30pm start - 4.15pm lights being switched on. FREE event.

This Christmas event will have magical Christmas acts including Rock Choir, Ducie Jazz and dance performances from Danceworks and will be hosting a very important guest, Father Christmas!

The Brewery Quarter Light Switch-On

23 Nov 3pm start, 6.30pm lights switched on, ends 7pm. FREE event.  

Celebrating the launch of Frozen 2 at the venue’s newly refurbished Cineworld, visitors can meet the two ice princesses and their snowman friend, local dance and music acts, as well as enjoying a visit from the stars of Cheltenham Everyman’s pantomime, Cinderella.

Cheltenham Christmas Markets

There is simply nothing better than browsing festive stalls with family and friends whilst enjoying a mulled wine and delicious savoury treats especially with the stunning backdrop of our famous Regency architecture.  There are various Christmas markets in Cheltenham so lots of opportunities to get you into the mood for Christmas (and tick those presents off your list!)

Cheltenham Christmas Market, The Promenade

21 Nov - 14 Dec Sun - Wed (10am - 6pm) Thurs - Sat (10am - 8pm). FREE event.

Housed in gorgeous wooden chalets which create a sense of magic and wonder, Cheltenham's Christmas Market is sure to get you into the festive spirit. Expect a great selection of Christmas gifts plus food and drink stalls located on the absolutely stunning setting, The Promenade.

Christmas Arts & Crafts Market, The Brewery Quarter

23 - 24 Nov, 13 - 15 Dec & 20 - 22 Dec (10am - 5pm). FREE event.

Featuring an array of local arts, crafts, personalised gifts, handmade items, sweets and treats, garden ornaments and more - accompanied of course to the delicious smell of mulled wine!

The Suffolks Christmas Market

24 Nov (11am - 5pm). FREE event.

Expect over 90 stalls featuring street food, arts and crafts alongside carols, buskers, Father Christmas and a funfair.

Montpellier Christmas Street Market

1 Dec (11am - 5pm). FREE event.

Stalls, children’s entertainment, a charity raffle and live music.

Arts and Crafts Christmas Market, The Promenade

17 Dec - 24 Dec (9am - 5pm every day, excluding 19 Dec 9am - 7pm & 24 Dec 9am - 3pm).  FREE event.

Expect stalls featuring everything from jewellery to glass work, wood craft to original art prints.

Cambray Christmas Market, Cambray Place

14 December (10.30am - 3pm)

Highlights of the day include food and festive gifts, local produce, children's crafts, face painting plus a visit from Santa.

Cheltenham Christmas Shopping Events

We have a wide range of incredible shops in Cheltenham including many independent boutique stores and all of your high street favourites.  Worth keeping in mind when buying presents for local family/friends is the Cheltenham Gift Card which can be spent in more than 100 Cheltenham based stores. Without further ado here are the Christmas shopping events you do not want to miss over the next few weeks...

Cheltenham Town Centre Late-Night Christmas Shopping

5 Dec (5pm - 8pm). FREE event.

Another date to add firmly to your calendar!  Enjoy late-night shopping in the town centre (including Montpellier and Montpellier Courtyard) with free parking, free park & ride and free Stagecoach bus services within the town from 1pm.

This unmissable festive event will offer street entertainment and kids entertainment to provide Christmas cheer whilst shopping plus many of the individual businesses are offering festive activities including free outdoor cinema  screenings, glasses of fizz, mince pies and in store entertainment. See link above for full details of these activities and the businesses who will be open until late. 

The Isbourne Christmas Gift and Taster Fayre

3 Dec (6pm – 8pm). The Isbourne, Wolseley Terrace, Cheltenham.

A Christmas fayre with a difference!  Three rooms of the Regency building will be transformed into a Christmas wonderland filled with stalls by local makers and designers.
Opportunity to indulge in taster therapies, showcasing what The Isbourne does best; looking after your wellbeing.

Late night shopping in the Suffolks

Wednesday 4 Dec until 8pm

Enjoy late night festive shopping in the Suffolks. The shops, cafes, bars & restaurants are offering drinks & nibbles, discounts and events. This is a thoroughly enjoyable way to do a spot of Christmas shopping!

Unmissable Cheltenham Christmas Events 2019 (featuring family festive fun for all ages!)

Cinderella, Everyman Theatre Pantomime

29 Nov – 12 Jan (Various Times)

Polish your pumpkins, dust off your gowns and grab your glass slippers to join a host of crazy characters at the Everyman Theatre.

Spectacle of Light, Sudeley Castle

30 Nov - 1 Dec 6 - 8 Dec 12 - 23 Dec 27 - 30 Dec (4.40pm - 7.20pm)

Explore the beautiful new illuminated trail around Sudeley Castle’s stunning grounds.

Meet the Winter Princesses, The Brewery Quarter

30 Nov - 1 Dec

Meet the winter princesses and their snowman friend over breakfast or perhaps enjoy a party with them.

The International, Cheltenham Racecourse

13 - 14 Dec (10am)

Feeling lucky?  Enjoy festive racing at the racecourse.  The perfect meeting to entertain clients, friends and family plus even finish your last minute Christmas shopping with a selection of boutique shops in the Club/Tatts Enclosure. 

Christmas Day Swim, Sandford Park Lido

25 Dec (11am)

The bravest of souls will line up once again to take the plunge at Sandford Parks Lido for this Christmas swim event.  (Minimum age is 17 but families and children very welcome to spectate).

Victorian Christmas, The Holst Museum

26 Nov – 14 Dec (10.30am - 4pm)

Step back in time to see the house decorated traditionally for Christmas, with a Victorian style tree and greenery.

Best places to see Santa in Cheltenham

There are many magical places to visit Santa in and around Cheltenham including...

GWSR Santa Steam Specials, Cheltenham Racecourse

30 Nov - 1 Dec 7 - 8 Dec 14 - 15 Dec 20 - 24 Dec (Various Times)

Visit Santa and his elves and enjoy a steam train from Cheltenham Racecourse Station to Winchcombe.

Sunday Lunch with Santa at the DoubleTree by Hilton

Sunday 8th December

Enjoy a three course carvery lunch. All children present will receive a gift from Santa.

Meet Father Christmas at John Lewis & Partners

20 - 22 Dec, allocated times

Meet Father Christmas this year at John Lewis & Partners Cheltenham. Join him in his magical Christmas grotto on 20, 21, 22 Dec. Children will meet and hear a story from Father Christmas, choose their own gift from a selection and enjoy a festive tasty treat. £5 from every ticket includes a £5 donation to Sue Ryder Leckhampton Court Hospice. Tickets at £20 per child. 

Santa's Christmas Countdown

9 Dec 2019 at the Bacon Theatre

A completely different Santa experience. Join Dotty the Elf, Dasher the Reindeer, Jack Frost and Pompom the Penguin for a fun, festive, theatre production to help fix the Christmas calendar and get Santa's Christmas Countdown started. 

Meet Santa at Cotswold Farm Park

Selected dates November & December

Children can enjoy special time with Father Christmas before choosing their own present from the Toy Room. Children, toddlers and young adults with a Father Christmas booking will also be invited into the elves workshop to make a Christmas eve box.

This is a very popular annual event so we recommend you book up fast to avoid disappointment. Expect cheeky elves, a luxury grotto and other festive activities taking place on the farm (all included in the cost of the Santa visit). 

Breakfast with Father Christmas at Cavendish House (House of Fraser)

Select dates in December (see link above for more details).

This lovely experience only costs £7.50 per child and includes breakfast, a gift and the chance to meet Father Christmas.  Pre - book now from 1st floor restaurant or on the day (if spaces still remain).

Festive crafts & workshops in Cheltenham

Wreath Making Classes

Taking place at various Cheltenham venues including Holst Museum, Jury’s Inn, Ellenborough Park & Cotswold Farm Park,

Learn the art of wreath making and ensure your front door is the talk of the town this Christmas!

Gin workshop

4 Dec (6pm – 8.30pm) at Vinegar Hill, The Promenade.

A fun and interactive Gin workshop with local distillery - Siblings. Enjoy an extensive tasting session followed by a Gin making workshop followed by the option to enjoy 30 mins of private late-night shopping within the beautiful Vinegar Hill store.

Best Cheltenham Carol Services

Cheltenham Choral Society: Tapestry of Christmas Music, Cheltenham Town Hall

10 Dec (7.30pm)

The ever-popular family Christmas concert by Cheltenham Choral Society returns with a programme of festive favourites, plus audience participation and carols.

Winston’s Wish Carols by Candlelight at St Marks Church

4 Dec (6.30pm).  Purchase tickets in advance. 

A special evening of classic Christmas carols, mince pies and mulled wine.  A gathering to give hope to grieving children across the UK.

Christmas Carols in Montpellier Bandstand

Friday 13 Dec 5-7pm. 

The Christmas carols are organised by the Friends of Montpellier Bandstand and Gardens in aid of Cheltenham Foodbank. It is a free event and everyone is welcome. We recommend you wrap up warm and take your best singing voice!  

Carols in Pittville Park, Cheltenham

Carols In Pittville Park, Central Cross Cafe

Saturday 21 Dec 5 - 7pm

Join in the free festive fun at Central Cross Cafe, Pittville Park for the popular annual festive sing-a-long with mulled wine, fake snow and mince pies.

5.00pm-7.00pm with carols starting at 6pm. Joined by The Cheltenham Singing Groups .

Collecting for Cheltenham Open Door a fantastic local charity supporting vunerable, disadvantaged and lonely people. They work all year round to relieve poverty, hardship and social or emotional distress. Wrap up warm and bring your best singing voice! 

Live festive performances

A Christmas Carol, Bacon Theatre

14 Dec (7.30pm)

Charles Dickens’ classic Christmas tale is brought to life in a traditional production.

Tom’s Midnight Garden, Cheltenham Playhouse

14 - 24 Dec (2pm and 7pm)

An adaptation of one of the most beloved children’s books.

That’ll Be The Day, The Christmas Show, Cheltenham Town Hall

19 Dec (7.30pm)

The UK’s most popular rock ‘n’ roll variety show celebrates the festive season with hits from the 50s, 60s and 70s, plus plenty of hilarious comedy.

The Snowman and Peter and the Wolf, Cheltenham Town Hall

23 Dec (1.30pm)

The Mozart Symphony Orchestra returns for the fifth year running, bringing their famous Christmas show from London to Cheltenham for one day only! The film will be shown on a big screen with a live orchestra and a singer providing the musical accompaniment.

New Year’s Eve in Cheltenham

New Year's Eve Parties in Cheltenham

Various locations. 31 Dec until late!

Finish 2019 with a bang at one of Cheltenham’s many New Year’s Eve parties including The Cosy Club, Ellenborough Park, Jury’s Inn, DoubleTree by Hilton and last, but certainly not least, the New Year’s Eve Silver Ball at Hatherley Manor.

New Year’s Day Race Meeting, Cheltenham Racecourse

1 Jan (Opening 10.30am)

Take your family along to Family Day.  Enjoy a day of racing whilst you celebrate the beginning of a new year.

Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra: New Year Strauss Gala, Cheltenham Town Hall

4 Jan (7.30pm)

The perfect way to spend an evening after the indulgences of the festive period. Fast becoming an annual favourite, the New Year Strauss Gala returns to celebrate the New Year with an uplifting selection of waltzes, marches and arias. Enjoy an evening of swirling melodies, glamour and sparkle.

Click here for a downloadable programme of the Christmas events in Cheltenham 2019.


Three Ghosts: Cheltenham Christmas Lights Switch On
Three Ghosts: Cheltenham Christmas Lights Switch On

The Cheltenham Christmas lights switch on is sure to get you into the festive spirit with a traditional Christmas tale to keep all ages entertained. Inspired by Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol the three ghosts of Christmas will lead crowds through the town, reminding us that Christmas is a time for people to come together.

Cheltenham Christmas Market
Cheltenham Christmas Market

Housed in gorgeous wooden chalets which create a sense of magic and wonder, Cheltenham's Christmas Market pops up under the Christmas lights on the Promenade...

Christmas late night shopping - Cheltenham town centre
Late night Christmas shopping Cheltenham

Need a little help getting into the mood for Christmas?  This unmissable festive event in Cheltenham town centre on 5 December is guaranteed to with shops staying open until 8pm. You can expect a night full of festivities including carol singers, a brass trio and a Christmas magician performing on our tree lined Regency streets, all creating a joyful atmosphere.


The Everyman's annual, family-friendly pantomime is back! Cinderella features the hilarious return of Tweedy as Buttons, Cinderella's best friend in this rags to riches tale.

Spectacle of Light
Spectacle of Light

Explore the beautiful new illuminated trail around Sudeley Castle's stunning grounds. Enjoy the wonderful music as you discover each new secret of this magical environment.

Christmas Arts & Crafts Market, The Brewery Quarter
Free Event
Christmas Arts & Crafts Market, The Brewery Quarter

Enjoy three weekends of festive markets at The Brewery Quarter. Featuring an array of local arts, crafts, personalised gifts, handmade items, sweets and treats, garden ornaments and more - accompanied of course to the delicious smell of mulled wine!

Meet Father Christmas at John Lewis & Partners
Grotto, Christmas, Santa, Father Christmas

Meet Father Christmas this year at John Lewis & Partners Cheltenham. Join us in our magical Christmas grotto on 20, 21, 22 Dec. Children will meet and hear a story from Father Christmas, they will choose their own gift from a selection and enjoy a festive tasty treat.

Christmas on the Farm
Christmas on the Farm

Father Christmas will be here at the Farm Park on selected dates in November and December.

Santa Sunday Lunch
Food and Drink
Santa Sunday Lunch

Lunch with Santa at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel. All children receive a gift.

Breakfast with Father Christmas at House of Fraser
House of Fraser Christmas

Visit Father Christmas in store for breakfast Only £7.50* per child includes breakfast and a treat



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