Cheltenham Rocks

Christmas Holiday Activity Guide: Monday 18th December - Saturday 30th December

One week to go til the big ho ho ho! To save you much-needed present-wrapping, turkey-prepping time, we've rounded up the best child-friendly activities in Cheltenham up until New Year's Day...

All Week

‘Hello Mr Humbug! Hello Mr Grim! If they gave a prize for being mean the winner would be him!’

Cineworld Cheltenham show discounted screenings of kids’ films to help introduce children to the world of cinema, in their exciting Movies For Juniors series. The Muppets Christmas Carol – Rating U (85 minutes) and The Jungle Bunch – Rating U (97 minutes) are showing until Thursday 21st December. Screening times at 10am daily. Tickets cost around £3. Find out more.

Come along to The Prince of Wales Stadium for a special Christmas Play Zone! We’ll still be swimming daily, decorating biscuits, dancing, creating, designing, exploring and getting sporty like usual but we’ll have added Christmas extras, like a visit from Santa! Running from Monday 18th – Friday 22nd December, open 8:30am – 5pm daily and suitable for ages 5 – 11. Find out more.

Is your child in need of some festive fun while you do some last minute shopping? Sort your holiday childcare needs at Just Camps Christmas themed, 5 day activity camp at All Saints Academy, Cheltenham. Running all week until Friday 22nd December, there’s arts, crafts, sports and games in store, with the option of a half, full or extended day care. Suitable for children ages 6 - 11. Find out more.

Has your letter not quite made it into the right hands? Have no fear, Santa’s Grotto is very much open at House of Fraser so there’s still time to put in your present requests. He’s in house all week up until Christmas Eve (December 24th is now sold out). How does he do it all? Tickets are £6 (With a £1.50 booking fee on each order). If your chosen day is fully booked, a limited number of walk up bookings may be available at the grotto. Find out more.

As the river freezes over and snow lands in drifts, we delve into the winter memories of a group of travellers heading home for Christmas! Join our ensemble cast for A Gloucestershire Midwinter at The Everyman Theatre, as they tell stories, celebrate and reflect on the festive season with a collection of live literature, poetry, music and song, all from the local area of Cheltenham and Gloucestershire. Running until Saturday 23rd December at 7:30pm (performance on the 23rd is now sold out). Find out more.

Come and see Santa at Regent Arcade! Set to bring a smile to children’s faces, Regent Arcade will be bursting with festive cheer, with the chance to meet Santa, get your shopping done, and stop off for coffee and a cake all under one roof. He’s taking names until Sunday 24th December, from 10am – 4pm daily. Find out more.

Rolling Stock Theatre Company are delighted to return to the Playhouse for a third successive Christmas to bring us Pinocchio and The Christmas Wish. This enchanting new version of Carlo Collodi’s traditional fairy tale features an original score of songs, timeless characters – whom you know and love – and a humorous and touching story that will melt your heart Running until Friday 29th December, with performances at 2:30pm and 7pm daily. Tickets £9. Find out more.

Once again this year Sudeley Castle and grounds will come to life through a wonderful spectacle of light and sound. Experience the breathtaking night-time enchantment of the castle, majestically revealed before your eyes as you stroll the magical trail before you! A unique experience for all ages. Open from 5pm until 23rd of December, closed for Christmas and re-open from the 27th – 30th of December. Under 5’s free, children ages 5- 15 £11 and adults £15 (family tickets also available). Find out more.

Magical activities going on throughout the Christmas Holidays at The Boathouse in Pittville Park, at their mini-events series Christmas By The Lake! Story-telling, bauble making, and inspired Christmas wishes for tree hanging is all planned, along with lots of snow (from the snow machine)! Taking place from 20th - 30th December at 1pm. Please contact The Boat House beforehand to check event availability. Find out more.

Mr Mulligan's Lost World Golf is the perfect family activity this Christmas. Choose from two 18-hole courses or do both for a true taste of Lost World adventure. They have a smashing family menu with some yummy treats available and kids eat free 7 days a week meaning that you can make a real occasion of this without breaking the bank. Open every day apart from Christmas Day. Find out more and book your slot online.

Monday 18th December

Father Christmas Comes Up Trumps! As he tries to deliver the presents, his tummy rumbles, gurgles and groans, but Father Christmas knows he must keep it in – he doesn’t want to wake anyone up! Celebrate the season with this must-see musical adaptation of Nicholas Allan’s sequel to ‘Father Christmas Needs a Wee.’ Monday 18th December at 2pm at The Cheltenham Town Hall. Tickets £13. Find out more.

Join Cheltenham Maman and the Bump to Baby Chapter for a Push It Real Good walk with a difference. On Monday the 18th December meet at 11am (bumps, babies, toddlers, mums, dads, grandparents, carers all welcome) and walk to School House Cafe in St Paul's for coffee, cake, mince pies and chat in a judgement free environment. Find out more

This Christmas, join intrepid adventurer Chuck Blaze on his latest quest, to find the fabled ‘Cradle of Life’. Come along to this child-friendly production with Chuck and his trailblazers on this festive escapade as they explore an ancient Persian tomb, seek a lost relic and discover the story of the nativity. With fun, laughter and lots of festive silliness, will Chuck and the team find the Cradle of Life and be home in time for Christmas! 7pm at Cheltenham Elim Church, with free entry for all! Find out more.

Monday 18th and Tuesday 19th December

Two of Cheltenham's fave baby and toddler groups will be meeting on Monday and Tuesday this week. Little Stars Cheltenham are running sessions at the Playhouse on Monday and then in Prestbury on Tuesday. Boogie Beat Music and Movement are meeting in Winchcombe and Bishops Cleeve on Monday and Hatherley on Tuesday.
Little Stars Monday - Find out more
Little Stars Tuesday - Find out more
Boogie Beat - Find out more

Tuesday 19th December

Join us at Hesters Way Library with author Lili Sutherland, as she takes on an adventure with Jasper! Lili will perform a live reading of her 1st book, Jasper At Plumrose Farm which will then be followed by a craft session. The reading is suitable for children aged 6-11, but is open to children of all ages! 12pm – 1pm at Hesters Way Library. Find out more.

Messy Christmas at Highbury Congregational Church is chance to roll up the sleeves and get creative - Christmas style! A meal is planned for 5pm, then explore the meaning of Christmas with crafts and activities until 6:30pm. All ages welcome, no booking required. Find out more.

What’s this? What’s this? A screening of Nightmare Before Christmas?! Bored with his lot in life Jack Skellington, the Pumpkin King of Halloween Town, decides to take over Christmas Town, kidnapping Santa Claus and giving Xmas a Halloweeny make-over! This film is a PG, however due to timings and location may suit older children. 7:30pm – 9:30pm at Shush Bar at The Swan Pub. Find out more.

Tuesday 19th & Wednesday 20th December

Create festive decorations and extra-special gifts in the Christmas themed craft workshops at The Wilson - drop-in craft workshops for a range of ages and skills. Build that Christmas cheer by getting out the glitter! Drop in and get crafty, no need to pre-book! Suitable for ages 3-10 years, teens and adults.10:30am & 1:30pm daily at The Wilson Art Gallery & Museum. Entry cost is £2.50 per child. Find out more.

Join The Bacon Theatre for a relaxed screening of the enchanting, modern adaptation of Beauty and the Beast; with a twinkling grotto, an enormous Christmas tree and a special visit from Father Christmas before the film. Child-friendly features include theatre lights on and film volume low throughout the screening, freedom to come and go as you please and chill-out areas in the foyer with space to take part in other activities. Doors open at 3pm (4pm showing). Tickets: £6, family of 4: £20 (to include a treat from Santa) This is an unreserved seating event, lasting 129 minutes. Find out more.

Wednesday 20th December

Come along to a morning of Christmas-themed storytime, craft and sing-a-long at Bishops Cleeve library! Suitable for ages 4 years + but younger children are welcome. 10:30am – 11am, free entry. Find out more.

Time to get into the festive spirit and stretch the legs in beautiful surroundings, before the madness begins! Drop in during your allocated hour time slot to start the Festive Trail at Cleeve Common (booking required), follow the trail of clues as a family, on a circular 1 mile walk around the Common. Adults free, £2.50 (plus booking fee) per child. Families are welcome to share trails but please note each trail purchased = one prize received. Open from 12pm – 3pm for one day only. Find out more.

Festive fun at this year’s Christmas Disco at the Play Farm! Halls decked and a new super-sound system, with a hot food buffet a Christmas themed party bag to take home! From 3pm – 6pm, £8 for child & parent entry. Find out more.

Footballing legend Michael Owen will be at the Sup and Chow on Bath Road this Wednesday 20th December at 11:30am to present landlady Vicky Martin with theBT Sport Manager of the Month award. All welcome to join the celebration. Find out more on the Sup and Chow Facebook page

There’s some festive sparkle happening In the cosy, vintage room at Smokey Joe’s, with the opportunity to hear Father Christmas tell his spellbinding stories about the North Pole! Each child will also receive a small gift from Father Christmas. From 4pm – 5pm, £2 entry cost with all proceeds going towards The Alzheimer's Society. Find out more.

Wednesday 20th & Thursday 21st December

Rock Up & Bounce is the exciting new inflatable experience for older children aged 5 – 13 years old and it’s returning to Pates Grammar School this December. There will be various inflatable attractions including large obstacle courses, a human demolition zone, disco bouncy castle, large inflatable slide, pillow wars and surf simulator. The 90 minute sessions start at 10am, 12pm and 2pm. £8 per session. Find out more.

Thursday 21st December

The Christmas Youth Theatre 1 Day Christmas Workshop is an opportunity to create an original, festive play-in-a-day. The group will explore the magical and mischievous happenings of our favourite seasonal favourite festive characters and stories, when their worlds collide on Christmas Eve. The workshops run from 10am-4.30pm at St Edward’s Senior School (Senior), costing £40, with 2nd sibling discount £35. There is also flexible drop-off and pick-up between 9am-5pm for working parents. Suitable for ages 6 - 16. Find out more.

Need a break from the Christmas shopping? Pop down to Smokey Joe’s and make some cute Christmas decorations. The workshop is suitable for children from 6 years and upwards with adult supervision, please register to attend the workshop as places are strictly limited. From 10:30am – 11:30am. Cost: £3 per child (£2.50 goes to The Alzheimer’s Society). Find out more.

Enjoy a fabulous afternoon of magical Christmas Storytelling with Princess Belle at Smokey Joe’s cafe, followed by a special meet & greet with the Princess herself. Wonderful Winter Tales With Belle costs £2 per child, with proceeds being donated to The Alzheimer’s Society. From 2pm – 3pm. Find out more.

Thursday 21st & Friday 22nd December

Join Josie’s Bakery for a special Christmas workshop! Create some lovely fondant penguins and snowmen and 2 beautiful gift jars filled with yummy treats for a hot chocolate. Your child will learn lots of creative skills as well as making new friends and having a lot of fun. Workshops suitable for children aged 4-14 years. Price includes tuition, equipment and ingredients. Aprons provided and children fully supervised. Spaces are limited and pre-booking is essential. 10am – 11:30am daily, £18 per child. Find out more.

Friday 22nd December

Pop in to see Grandma Claus this Christmas at Slimbridge Wetland Centre, she’ll give you a treat and you never know who you might meet! Kick start your Christmas with a light hearted, magical and fun family show that will bring out the excitement in children and adults alike. 3 x 1 hour showings per day at 11am, 1.30pm and 3.30pm. £6 per person or a special Family Ticket (of 4) £20. Find out more.

Give the whole family a magical Christmas treat as The Snowman is shown on the big screen while the Mozart Symphony Orchestra provides a live soundtrack. Saint-Saëns’ Carnival of the Animals will be performed with lots of extras and fun surprises including poetry by Ogden Nash and others. 1:30pm, tickets range from £11 - £30. Find out more.

Are you a Jedi or a Sith? Join us at Hesters Way Library to celebrate all things Star Wars. There will be quizzes, craft activities, and a scavenger hunt available for all! Fancy dress is optional but highly recommended! From 3pm – 5pm at Hesters Way Library, free! Find out more.

The Alfresco Film Company return with their pop-up cinema screening of Home Alone at Glenfall House. Leave the snowsuits at home, this screening will be indoors! Doors open at 3:15pm, film showing from 4pm – 5:45pm. Seating is unreserved and all tickets are £7.50. Find out more.

Cheltenham Town Hall brings us Father Christmas and Peter and The Wolf - Raymond Brigg’s Father Christmas is brought to life this Christmas on the big screen with live orchestral accompaniment from the Mozart Symphony Orchestra and actors providing the dialogue and sound effects. The perfect Christmas treat. 4:30pm. Tickets range £11 – £30. Find out more.

Enjoy the timeless romantic comedy Love Actually inside a special pop-up festive cinema at Glenfall House. The screening venue will be heated, although we still advise you to wear clothes that will keep you warm and toasty as befitting the time of year. Under 16’s must be accompanied by an adult. General entry £11.50, premium double seat with a leather sofa, blankets and mulled wine for 2 costs £40. Screening from 8pm – 10:05pm. Find out more.

Saturday 23rd December

Come and join in the festivities in this half day celebration at Whaddon Road Evangelical Presbyterian Church. With games, craft, story, songs, food and much more guaranteed at the Kid’s Christmas Fun Day suitable for ages 4-11. From 10am - 1pm, free for all. Find out more.

Children’s Christmas Disco fun, games and giveaways. This is a FREE event – no tickets or booking required! From 4pm – 6pm at The Norwood Arms. Find out more.

Central Cross’s Community Carol singalong in Pittville Park is a chance to get that wonderful festive feeling with your friends and neighbours, drinking mulled wine, eating mince pies and of course, singing carols. The Cafe will be open from 5pm for refreshments, with carols at 6pm. Find out more.

Christmas Eve: Sunday 24th December

There's 50% off all food on Christmas Eve at the Suffolk Arms and if you say 'HO HO HO' at the bar you'll receive a free glass of mulled wine or spiced plum cider with your meal. Find out more on their Facebook page

Christmas Day

Some will be diving into the present pile, others will be diving into the pool! Sandford Parks Lido will be open on Christmas morning for a quick dip in the main pool. The swim will take place promptly at 11am, with gates from 10:30am. The water will be extremely cold and this is an adults only event (age 17+). The event will finish at 11.30am. There is no charge to enter this event but there will be collection buckets at the entrance raising money the charitable trust that operates the lido. Spectators are welcome and pre-registration is vital. Find out more.

Boxing Day

The Boxing Day Challenge 2017. Whether racing at the front, jogging with friends or walking off the festive excess come and join the Boxing Day challenge at Cheltenham Racecourse, in aid of Winston’s Wish! You have the option of completing either a 2 or 4 mile course. The challenge starts at 10:30am with registration from 9am. There is no upper age limit for participants. Children under the age of 16 should be accompanied by a responsible adult. Find out more.

Thursday 28th - Saturday 30th December

Cinderella Puppet Show – a Magical Marionette Production of the well-loved fairy story, performing at Bayshill Unitarian Church Hall. Come in fancy dress for a gift from the Christmas tree! Showing Thursday 28th, Friday 29th & Saturday 30th December, 11am & 2:30pm daily. Adult tickets £3.50, child £2.50 or family (2 adults, 2 children) £10.00. Find out more.

That's all for this round-up, we hope you've round one or two things in here to heep boredom at bay. Check back any day using What's on Today or Events to browse more activities.