With over 90 fantastic Christmas events in Cheltenham to look forward to, including the spectacular Ice Rink, magical light trails and live performances, locals and visitors are spoilt for choice this festive season. 

Our guide features 21 events and activities you don't want to miss! 

Spend Christmas somewhere special

Cheltenham Christmas events

The Cheltenham Ice Rink

Imperial Gardens, Friday 17 November – 1 January 2024

The spectacular Cheltenham Ice Rink will return from Friday 17 November 2023 to Monday 1 January 2024, open daily excluding Christmas Day. Located in Imperial Gardens in the heart of Regency Cheltenham – reflecting the town’s historic Winter Gardens and indoor roller skating rink that once occupied a site here.

The modern-day version will be undercover, offering a memorable festive experience in all weathers, for skaters of all ages and abilities. With capacity for over 100 skaters at a time, relaxed skating sessions for SEND visitors, and discounts for schools and group bookings, the fully wheelchair-accessible ice rink offers a fun activity for everyone.

Guests and Tweedy at The Cheltenham Ice Rink

Cheltenham Christmas Launch 

Cheltenham Town Centre, 16 November, 4pm - 7pm

On Thursday 16 November, Cheltenham BID will bring the festive season to life as the lights come on around town. Choirs, dancers and ice skaters will be joined by juggling elves, stilt-walking angels and even a polar bear to entertain children and adults alike all over town.

Performances will be taking place across the town on the High Street, near Cambray Place; outside M&S; The Promenade, near Cavendish House, near the Quadrangle, The Ice Rink and Montpellier Street.  The pirouetting Bristol Figure Skaters will perform on the Cheltenham Ice Rink in Imperial Gardens, 5.30pm - 6pm. For the full programme and performance times go to - Cheltenham Christmas Launch.

The Brewery Quarter Christmas Launch Party

The Brewery Quarter, 25 November, 2pm - 7pm

The event will include a host of entertainment, including of kids' entertainment with roaming costume characters (from Star Wars to Disney princesses and festive characters), Lakeside Primary School choir, Variations Dance Academy, Thomas Trilby and Father Christmas, plus snow showers guaranteed! Later there will be live music with the newcomer and rising star Crispin, along with old favourites the Mark Walby band.

Christmas Lights Switch On at Pittville Pump Room

Lawn just outside Pittville Pump Room, 25 November, 3pm – 7pm

Join the Cheltenham Trust team for their annual Christmas lights switch on at Pittville Pump Room, Saturday 25 November, 3pm -7pm. This year will not disappoint with live entertainment for the whole family to get into the festive spirit.

Enjoy a mulled wine and mince pie while being entertained for the afternoon. Entertainment will include Frozen Disney Characters performing live on stage, Santa will also be making an appearance and the lights will be switched on marking the start of the Christmas season. A Christmas Fayre will take place under a large undercover marquee near the Pump Room, 11am to 7pm.

Regent Arcade Candy Lane

Regent Arcade, 18 November, 11am – 4pm

Meet the candy cane stilt walkers, spreading festive cheer & chocolate treats whilst you shop in Regent Arcade. 

Christmas lights and entertainers at The Brewery Quarter, Pittville Pump Room and Cheltenham High Street

The Christmas Meeting

Cheltenham Racecourse, 15 & 16 December

Christmas comes early to Cheltenham every year, with the greatest gift of them all: two days of quality racing action at the Home of Jump Racing for The Christmas Meeting on Friday 15 and Saturday 16 December 2023.

Off the track, and new for this year - a Christmas Extravaganza themed race day, including Santa’s Grotto and Workshop on Saturday, and Got2Sing Choir entertaining racegoers with Christmas Carols across the weekend.

Mother Goose 

The Everyman Theatre, 24 November – 7 January

Get ready for a fun-filled family adventure with the Everyman Theatre’s classic tale of Mother Goose. Gloucestershire’s favourite clown, Tweedy, is back and ready to tackle his most daring pantomime stunt yet, performing as a DAME!

A Victorian Christmas Day

Holst Victorian House, 9 December, 10am – 4pm

Celebrate Christmas the Victorian way with a whole day of seasonal activities for all the family. There will be a traditional tree to enjoy and they will deck the house throughout with greenery. It’s the perfect way to get into the Christmas spirit.


Cheltenham Playhouse, 15 – 31 December

Experience a whole new world with this magical pantomime filled with ‘genie-us’ comedy, costumes, and Christmas spirit. Let them grant your wishes and whisk you away on a journey you won’t forget, with plenty of boos and hisses along the way.

A Christmas Carol 

Bacon Theatre, 22 December, 7:30pm

Chapterhouse Theatre Company is proud to bring you A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens' timeless tale of hope and redemption, this Christmas. With dazzling musical sequences and authentic period costuming, this production promises to be the perfect accompaniment to the festive season. 

New Year’s Day Racing

Cheltenham Racecourse, 1 January 2024

Celebrate the New Year with a day jam-packed with excellent racing and superb entertainment at Cheltenham Racecourse. Join the Cheltenham team on 1 January for free family fun and live music in The Centaur from Tommy and the Fuse, and LAMPA in the Guinness Village throughout the day in the Club/Tatts enclosure.

Tweedy, Cheltenham Playhouse, Jockey racing at Cheltenham Racecourse

Christmas activities in Cheltenham

Stunning light trails, exciting competitions, and an opportunity to meet Santa and more festive activities to experience…

Christmas Elf Trail 

Cheltenham Town Centre, 16 November – 22 December

Free Christmas trail by Cheltenham BID. Sixteen cheeky elves will be hiding in windows around Cheltenham town centre. Take the first letter of each elf’s name and solve the festive anagram to be in with a chance of winning a £100 Cheltenham BID gift card.  (Digital map download available in the above link from 16 November).

Christmas Lights Trail 

Cheltenham Town Centre, 16 November - 1 January

Free Christmas trail by Cheltenham BID. Immerse yourself in the enchantment of Cheltenham's Christmas Light Trail as it winds through the heart of the town, transforming familiar landmarks into a festive spectacle. Explore Montpellier, adorned with twinkling lights, sets the scene for this magical journey. The Strand radiates warmth with illuminated displays, leading seamlessly to the bustling High Street. The Brewery Quarter is a radiant hub, casting a vibrant glow on the Christmas festivities. In this trail, there's no rush; take your time and savour the Christmas magic. Come back as often as you like, discovering new facets of the town's illuminated charm with each visit. Download the map here.

Enchanted Light Trail 

Cotswold Farm Park, 24 November – 31 December

The family-friendly illuminated light trail is a wondrous night-time experience, showcasing marvellous creations, installations and illuminations created by local creative artists, lighting designers and craft-persons. Let the thousands of twinkly lights guide you on an enchanting stroll through the farm park after hours.  

Spectacle of Light 

Sudeley Castle & Gardens, 24 November – 30 December

Follow the new illuminated trail around Sudeley’s beautiful grounds and enchanted woodland. Gaze at the sparkling water features and the mesmerising Garden of Fire. Light beams, lanterns and much more. Enjoy the wonderful music as you experience each new secret of this romantic environment.

Santa Express with GWSR

Cheltenham Racecourse station, 25 November – 23 December

Take your family on a magical ride on a train to visit the North Pole, experience the Grotto and singing penguins. Little ones will get to meet Santa himself and will receive presents and goodie bags with help from the elves. There will be complimentary warm mince pies, mulled wine and other refreshments for children and adults alike.

Christmas lights, Sudeley Castle Spectacle of Light, photographed by Steve Green, Fire entertainer at Cotswold Farm Park, Elf waving to passengers on GWSR's Santa Express

Cheltenham Christmas markets and shopping

Experience the festive season to its fullest with a fantastic selection of Christmas markets this year to treat yourself and loved ones with a memorable gift.

Christmas Gift Market

Cheltenham Promenade, 16 – 19 November

Experience festive shopping at the Cheltenham Christmas Gift Market, hosted by one of the leading market operators - Cotswold Markets. There will be a fantastic selection of retail gifts such as homeware and food & drink. The Market will be full of Christmas chalets for the four-day period.

Christmas Craft Festival

Cheltenham Town Hall, 17 – 19 November

Bringing a burst of creativity and pre-Christmas cheer, Craft Festival Cheltenham returns to Cheltenham Town Hall with 100 of the finest professional designer-maker businesses, live craft demonstrations, a choice of craft workshops for adults to take part in, plus a host of festive children's activities on Saturday and Sunday.

Artisan Christmas Market

Pittville Pump Room, 24 – 26 November

Discover beautiful products created by local makers and creatives at the artisan market at Pittville Pump Room. The market is free to visit and showcases a host of pieces from artworks and scented candles to textiles and hats and jewellery that you won't find on the high street, all made by local artisans.

The Suffolks Christmas Market

Suffolk Parade, 26 November

A fantastically popular event, guaranteed to get you into the festive spirit featuring Father Christmas, carols, children's entertainment and street food. The markets are carefully curated, featuring Arts & Crafts, Designers & Makers, Vintage and Food & Drink. The emphasis is on local, and all stall holders are independent.

Christmas Arts and Crafts Market

Cheltenham Promenade, 14  – 23 December

The second Christmas market hosted by Cotswold Markets will see local traders and creators show their fantastic homemade crafts. Pottery, original art, glassware, jewellery, and much more will be on offer.

Christmas Craft Market launch, Cheltenham Christmas Market

To view the full selection of Christmas events and festive activities, visit our guide to Christmas in Cheltenham. Click here for a downloadable PDF version of our festive events guide.


The Cheltenham Ice Rink
The Cheltenham Ice Rink

It is hoped the spectacular Cheltenham Ice Rink will return mid November 2024 to the beginning of January 2025.

Cheltenham Christmas Launch
Cheltenham Christmas Launch

Cheltenham Christmas Launch - Saturday 23rd November, location to be confirmed. Previous years have featured local choirs, dance performances, Christmas characters and light trails.

Christmas Lights Switch On at Pittville Pump Room
Christmas Lights Switch On at Pittville Pump Room

Join the Cheltenham Trust team for their annual Christmas lights switch on. A traditional family event not to be missed with live entertainment for the whole family to get into the festive spirit.

The Brewery Quarter Christmas Launch Party
The Brewery Quarter Christmas Launch Party

Join the team at The Brewery Quarter for their annual Christmas launch party, featuring roaming costume characters, choirs, dance acts and Father Christmas, plus snow showers guaranteed!

Mother Goose - Everyman Theatre Panto
Mother Goose title graphic

Get ready for a fun-filled family adventure with the Everyman Theatre’s classic tale of Mother Goose! Gloucestershire’s favourite clown – Tweedy – is back and ready to tackle his most daring pantomime stunt yet – performing as a DAME!

Cheltenham Christmas Arts & Crafts Market
Christmas Markets
Cheltenham Christmas Arts & Crafts Market

Browse stalls full of unique Christmas gifts, homeware and handmade goods by local producers, craftspeople and artisans from jewellery to glass work, and woodcraft to original art prints.



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