Starting in picturesque Montpellier, down the sparkling promenade, up to the balconies of The Everyman Theatre, this is the 2023 walking guide to a Cheltenham Christmas.
The Cheltenham Ice Rink has returned for its annual pop-up in Cheltenham’s Imperial Gardens from Friday, 17 November 2023, to Monday, 1 January 2024. With real ice and a canopy of white lights, the Ice Rink paints a post-card winter scene. Offering skate aids and quieter off-peak sessions, the Rink is suitable for all skating abilities.
A broad selection of Cheltenham’s trendiest bars and restaurants lie in the Imperial Garden and Montpellier district for post-skating refreshments. Opposite the Ice Rink, Bar 131 offers a winter wonderland experience, including mulled wine and cider. Alternatively, Montpellier cafes such as Clementine and For the Saints are perfect for a cosy drink.
A short walk down the promenade leads to the Cheltenham Christmas Markets. This year, Cotswold Markets brings the ‘Christmas Arts and Crafts Market’ to the promenade outside Cavendish House from the 14th to the 23rd of December, selling unique gifts from local artists, jewellers, and craftspeople.
Behind the promenade, on Regent Street, The Everman Theatre shows its classic Christmas pantomime. This year ‘Mother Goose’ is running from the 24th of November to the 7th of January. Made special by returning comedian ‘Tweedy’ and ethereal 1891 auditorium, the Cheltenham Pantomime is annually a sell-out show. For other productions this festive season, look to ‘The Playhouse Theatre’ and ‘The Bacon Theatre’.
Head down the High Street to the ‘Brewery Quarter’ for a meet and greet with Father Christmas at one of four locations within the Brewery every weekend from the 2nd to the 17th of December. On the 25th of November, the Brewery Quarter will host its ‘Christmas Launch’ party from 2-7 pm, complete with appearances from the characters of Star Wars and Paw Patrol, musicians, and the unveiling of the long-awaited Christmas lights. Take your pick from a selection of top restaurants also situated within the Brewery, including Mowgli’s and The Botanist.
Suppose you can’t catch Father Christmas at The Brewery, head uptown to the ornamental Pittville Park for their Christmas lights opening on the 25th of November. The beautiful, regency Pittville Pump Rooms will also overlook a grand marquee hosting an Artisan Christmas Market on the 25th and 26th of November. The park, in all its impressive 33 hectares split between two wildlife-filled lakes, is the perfect setting for a winter amble.
Just up the road from Pittville Park, the infamous Cheltenham Racecourse hosts its Christmas Meeting on Friday, the 5th of December. Following this, a weekend of festive activities will take over the venue, from pony rides to a living snow globe. With free tickets for under-18s and plenty of entertainment for both Adults and Children, this is the perfect finale to your Christmas stroll through Cheltenham.
From the 24th of November to the 30th of December, the grounds of the 15th-century Cotswold castle are lit up for a magical light trail under the stars. In its eighth year running, the light show will take a Wizard of Oz theme, the castle playing as a perfect Emerald City!
With a Teddy Bear Workshop, a visit to Santa’s Grotto, a walk of the light trail, and more, Cotswold Farm Park offers a complete Christmas experience package. Open Friday-Sunday from the 24th of November to the 23rd of December.
Available at a range of Hotels in the Cotswolds, enjoy a festive variation of the classic English afternoon tea experience. Mince pies, turkey sandwiches, spiced scones, and mulled wine in a collection of beautiful locations make for a romantic Christmas treat.