Cheltenham Rocks

Christmas Light Switch Ons in Cheltenham

'Jingle bells, jingle' - there’s no escaping it, holidays are coming! Cheltenham seems to love to celebrate the festive season in a big way - with markets, mulled wine and mince pies a’plenty - no Grinches here! Before we delve too deep into any more magical mid-winter events, we can’t officially go any further until our streets are aglow with reems of twinkling, festive lights! We’ve put together a schedule of Christmas light switch on events in Cheltenham for your enjoyment, so sit back, relax and scroll with a cocoa!

Saturday 24th November is THE big day to light up your weekend, with not one, but THREE big celebrations around town and another in Bishops Cleeve! First stop, Badhams in Church Road. The free festivities begin from 2:30pm, when children get an exciting visit from Santa, who's staying right through until 4:30pm. After the important Christmas list requirements have been taken care of, you're welcome to take a ride on the funfare in Tesco car park, or enjoy activities in the community building, where there's tea, coffee, stalls and a festive table-top sale. The lights are being switched on at 5pm, so there's still time to pop into town and catch the next event...

Kicking off from 3:45pm, the Regent Arcade Christmas Light Switch On offers light entertainment for the whole family to enjoy. Little ones will appreciate a magical afternoon of live music, festive entertainers and most importantly, the man of the hour aka SANTA!! Teens will most likely appreciate the appearance of Frankie Foster from Love Island! Arcade lights will be switched on at 4:30pm, and from there we’re off to Montpellier for the next seasonal installment..

This next central Cheltenham ceremony promises to be fierce, taking inspo from the classic CS Lewis novel, The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe! Cleverly planned to follow the previous event in a timely manner, the fun ensues from 4:30pm, as we follow a 16ft white witch, paraded through the streets on a chariot! Wow! The street theatre will tell the story of the frost-bitten witch, cold-heartedly attempting to hinder Santa's plans to turn on the lights! But will she prevail in this pantomime performance? Oh no she won’t! The magic begins in Imperial Gardens and will proceed through Montpellier to the Promenade, Brewery and back to the gardens for the icy showdown and switch on at 6:30pm! This year, there are even more lights in town too, expect to see them shining bright in The Strand, Cambray Place, Regent Street and Pittville Street, along with new illuminations crossing Clarence Parade, High Street and Boots Corner. We can’t wait to see what else the elves have got up their sleeves!

If you’d rather rock around the Christmas tree - we’ve got the party for you! Not only is the Christmas Market running from 9am, further fun at The Brewery Quarter follows as celebrations kick off at 4pm, with live music and a party atmosphere - best wrap up warm as the show must go on until 7pm! Father Christmas must have flown at warp speed because he’ll be making an appearance too! Enjoy over an hour of free entertainment from acts including Camilla Lewington, The Greatest of Shows and Tux Fizz, as well as Promenade Productions Panto stars from Bacon Theatre's Snow White and the Seven Dwarves. Santa is kindly switching on the Brewery lights to officially ring in the Christmas season, with merriment and cheer aplenty among the crowd! He can’t stop for too long however, but I’m sure you’ll see him around again soon..

After all of that we’ll need a week to recover - and we’ve got just that! Sled into Saturday 1st December, which sees Prestbury Village Library welcoming the public to enjoy their celebrations from 2:30pm, with christmas carols sung around the beautifully decorated tree and refreshments from the WI. The lights will be switched on at 4pm by children from St Mary’s School and Chair of the parish council, John Payne. The event also offers the opportunity to post your Christmas wish list to Santa, as well as sneak a lucky dip from Santa’s sack of goodies!

Our trail leads us warmly to the infamous Winchcombe Christmas Festival on Tuesday 4th December, 5pm - 8pm. Santa’s little helpers and and kind-hearted local residents have been busy putting the finishing touches around the charming town centre, which will see more than 70 sparkling Christmas light up the historic town’s streets.

The annual late-night Christmas shopping evening will see independent shops, galleries, restaurants and pubs opening their doors, offering a warm festive welcome to all. With over 50 market stalls selling delicious hot food, drink and locally-made crafts and gifts - it’s a chance to get your shopping done ‘not on the high street style’! Father Christmas will also make a special appearance, steering his brightly-lit sleigh through the town, before appearing with his elves in his Grotto at the Guide Hall.

Not only will there be entertainment from a stilt walker and balloon modeller to wow the crowds, 11 local groups will be performing throughout the evening, including Occasional Big Band, Winchcombe Abbey Primary School, Winchcombe Handbells, Winchcombe Community Choir, Happenstance Morris Dancers, Isbourne Valley School Choir, Concert Brass, a Churches Together Nativity Scene, St Peter’s Choir, and Winchcombe Methodist Choir. There will be plenty of Christmas carols sung to get everyone into the Christmas spirit!

Next, the Charlton Kings Christmas extravaganza, taking place from 3pm - 6pm Friday 7th December at Church Piece, Charlton Kings. Santa and his reindeer will be spreading Christmas cheer as Charlton Kings school choirs and Charlton Kings Choral Society tunefully perform festive carols around the tree, and the Coady Crew entertains the crowds! This year’s Christmas lights will be switched on by a very special celebrity - Chase from Paw Patrol! There will also be a chance to do some early Christmas shopping at the Stanton Room and a chance to visit the grotto. We'll see you there!

Last but certainly not least, Create On The Square is hosting their christmas event at Coronation Square, Christmas On The Square. From 4:30pm - 6pm Friday 14th December, the square will be bustling with 14 market stalls belonging to local charities, organisations and businesses, all selling christmas gifts and tasty festive food! Local choirs from Rowanfield School, Hesters Way Primary School and the Community Choir will be carolling throughout the evening, before the ceremonious light switch on of the 14ft Christmas tree in the centre of the square at 6pm. The Mayor of Cheltenham will be turning on the lights of the tree this year, which is decorated with memorial stars. Members of the community are welcome to attend a creative workshop set up at Springbank Community Resource Centre on Saturday 1st December to honour loved ones by making decorations for the tree in their memory.

That’s all folks! These events are sure to light up your week - make sure to mark them on your Christmas calendars, and don't forget you can browse the site any time and find activities by day, age, cost, distance and more.