Christmas

11 Great Days Out for Christmas in the Cotswolds

Looking for the best events for Christmas in the Cotswolds? We’ve scoured the offerings to find out exactly what you should be doing to make the most of the festive period in one of the most beautiful parts of England.

Cotswolds Christmas

December is just around the corner and there are so many wonderful things to do in the Cotswolds at Christmas you need to be prepared! We’ve compiled a list of 11 days out at Christmas in the Cotswolds that you can enjoy with your family or friends, or even on your own.

Whether you’re looking for snow activities, shopping, luxurious Christmas markets in the Cotswolds, festive foodie adventures or something more relaxing, we’ve got it all covered.

Best Things to Do for Christmas in the Cotswolds

Here are 11 amazing things to do in the Cotswolds for Christmas for you to choose between…

Cotswolds Christmas

1. Visit a Cotswolds garden centre

Head to one of the beautiful Cotswolds garden centres and get in the festive spirit. There are over 20 stunning garden centres in the Cotswolds where you can shop, taste hot wine or buy a delicious treat from their café, including Nellie’s Cottage & Gardens at Snowshill and The Flower Boutique Garden Centre at Bourton-on-the-Water.

Also try Dobbies in Gloucester for some fab decorations, and Evesham Country Park too, where you can even have tea with Santa.

You’re guaranteed a beautiful Christmas display in a garden centre in the Cotswolds at Christmas, not to mention a foodie extravaganza.

2. Eat a Christmas pub lunch

Christmas in the Cotswolds is a magical time of year for all ages, but particularly families with children who want to enjoy some festive fun over the Christmas period. You can’t forget yourself though, Christmas isn’t all about the kids. There are plenty of pubs across this beautiful region that will provide you with an unforgettably warm festive lunch, including…

  • The Ebrington Arms, Chipping Campden
  • The Lion, Winchcombe
  • The Wild Rabbit, Kingham
  • The Royal Exchange, Hartpury
Christmas time

They all have excellent reviews and some even have a warming fire burning in the hearth to perfectly capture the spirit of the season. Book the day off and enjoy yourself!

A pub lunch is an absolute must for a truly British Christmas.

3. Spend Christmas at Blenheim Palace in the Cotswolds

There’s so much to see at Blenheim Palace in the Cotswolds over Christmas. The house has an abundance of impressive rooms and beautiful displays throughout its interiors. You can also wander around the stunning grounds that are covered with amazing lights for this festive season. There are also a few stalls set up, selling Christmassy offerings.

christmas days out

Twinkling treetops and brightly lit boat tours await you this festive season. Blenheim Palace is an unmissable Christmas treat!

If you decide to head to Blenheim Palace at Christmas you could check out the rest of the great days out for Christmas in Oxfordshire too. Just click the link!

4. Go to a Christmas market in the Cotswolds

Christmas markets in the Cotswolds are open every day during the festive season. Highlights include mulled wine and craft stalls, while you can also enjoy live music performances in the evenings. There are loads to choose from during Christmas in the Cotswolds, but here are some of the most popular…

  • Gloucester Quays Victorian Market
  • Broadway Christmas Market
  • Chipping Campden Christmas Fair
  • Cirencester Christmas Market
  • Bourton-on-the-Water Christmas Fayre

5. Westonbirt Arboretum’s Enchanted Christmas

The Enchanted Christmas at Weston Arboretum is a feast of truly magical wonderment for all ages. The forest is alive with stunning displays and light installations that guide your pathway through the darkness. It is a wonderful walk full of surprises – both kids and grown ups will love it here. It’s one of the best Christmas days out in the Midlands.

Westonbirt Arboretum

Oh no! Father Christmas has lost his Reindeer among the trees of Westonbirt following an almighty storm. Not even Rudolph’s bright red nose can guide them back together. We need your help to reunite Father Christmas with his Reindeer, recover lost presents and save Christmas! If you do, you’ll go down in histor-tree!

Set out on an adventure through the illuminated trees of the arboretum, speak to the trees and tree elves for clues, but watch out for the storm and don’t get lost! If you manage to locate all the Reindeer you may catch a glimpse of Father Christmas himself!

– WESTONBIRT ARBORETUM

6. Take a trip on the Santa Express

The Cotswolds is one of the most picturesque parts of England, filled with stunning scenery, quaint villages and bursting with history. It’s the perfect place for an alternative Christmas experience this year. So, why not book onto the Santa Express to see it all in one outing?

Cotswolds Christmas

The Santa Express is a heritage steam powered locomotive that leaves Cheltenham Racecourse Station and arrives at Winchcombe. Santa is waiting to welcome children at the end of a magical walk through lights, trees and decorations. After a glass of mulled wine and a mince pie, the train leaves for its journey back to Cheltenham Racecourse, with a goodie bag included for the children.

Travel from Cheltenham Race Course Station  to the North Pole (Winchcombe) where you’ll meet Santa and his elves in a magical winter wonderland. .

  • Travel by loco-hauled train from Cheltenham to the North Pole (at Winchcombe) to meet Santa and then back to Cheltenham.
  • Walk through a Christmas wonderland and visit Santa in his grotto.
  • Complimentary hot mince pies, hot and cold drinks, biscuits and fruit available from the station coffee shop, with seating in a heated marquee.
  • Top quality presents for the children.
  • Babies under 1 year old require a ticket but travel free and receive a nominal present only.
  • Limited facilities for those with disabilities on the trains – please telephone before booking to confirm that there is space on your chosen train.
  • Your Santa experience lasts about two and a quarter hours (but allow longer in case of unexpected delays).
  • We regret that dogs are not permitted on the Santa Express. This does not apply to assistance dogs.
  • Free parking at Cheltenham Race Course Station.
  • Great photo opportunities, Santa’s Sleigh, By the Loco, Selfie Frame

£25 per adult and £25 per child (age 1 to 14 years) plus £1 p&p fee per booking if tickets mailed out)

This is one of the best activities for Christmas in the Cotswolds for kids.

If you want to know about more Santa experiences in England, check out our list NOW!

7. Take a long winter walk

Take yourself for a long winter walk while in the Cotswolds for Christmas. It’s a magical place at this time of year, with many quaint little villages and towns to explore. Wander around the foggy streets and soak up the atmosphere in places like Burford, Bourton-on-the Water or Moreton in Marsh that look more like scenes from a Christmas card than real life.

walking in the cotswolds

You will also find little markets and Christmas activities as you explore on your walk through the picturesque landscapes. If you want to know more about the area, check out our guide to a great day out in the Cotswolds here.

8. The Light Festival

Each year, Sudeley Castle – one of the best castles in England – hosts The Spectacle of Lights. The gardens and grounds of the castle are lit up with light installations and magical displays that are a delight for all the family from Nov 25th to Dec 30th 2022. What better way to get into the festive spirit than with a visit to a castle and a magical light show?

“Discover the new Wave and the flickering flowers of the Queens garden. Gaze at the sparkling water features and the mesmerising Field of Fire. Light beams, lanterns and much much more. Sip festive warmers of spiced mulled wine and sprinkled hot chocolate as you join the magical trail around these wonderful grounds. Tuck into simple take away hot food and delicious donuts from the Castle Terrace. Before your journey home why not treat yourself to a winter warming drink and browse our lovely gift shop for some unique Christmas gifts and souvenirs.”

– SUDELEY CAstle

9. See a Christmas show in Cheltenham

Over the festive period, there are so many family-friendly shows organised by the Cheltenham Trust, that you’ll be spoiled for choice. Shows are available across various venues around the town. Productions haven’t yet been announced for this year’s season, but if previous years are anything to go by, you won’t be disappointed.

Fancy a pantomime for your Christmas in the Cotswolds experience? This is the place to find one.

10. Go on a late-night shopping spree

Cheltenham and Bath are well known for their large Christmas markets. They’re popular with visitors who return year after year to enjoy the late-night shopping atmosphere and festivities. What many visitors overlook is that a number of the smaller villages and towns have their very own late night shopping events that are well worth a visit. 

Christmas cotswolds

The postcard picture village of Broadway has late night festive shopping complete with carol singers, street entertainment, mulled wine and more. Local shops and cafes stay open until 8.30 during the Christmas season and some even later. 

You can read more about a great day out in Bath here.

11. Christmas Artisan Market

For Christmas 2022, the Pump Room in Cheltenham is hosting an artisan Christmas market to celebrate local makers and producers on Saturday 3rd and Sunday 4th December. It’s a chance for independent creatives to showcase their products to the many thousands of visitors and pass through Cheltenham’s Pump Room each year. 

Christmas Cotswolds

The evenings will be full of fun with carol singers, choirs, live entertainment and special guests. You won’t want to miss this four-day festive event for Christmas in the Cotswolds.

Why choose the Cotswolds for Christmas?

The Cotswolds are stunning all year round, but at Christmas they become almost otherworldly. The picture-perfect landscapes and villages take on a Christmas card appearance, while the castles, light displays, and markets offer enjoyment for all the family.

christmas cotswolds

Young or old, you’re sure to find amazing days out for Christmas in the Cotswolds. However you choose to visit the Cotswolds for Christmas, you’ll enjoy soaking up that Yuletide spirit.


Christmas in the Cotswolds quick list

  • 1. Visit a Cotswolds garden centre
  • 2. Eat a Christmas pub lunch
  • 3. Spend Christmas at Blenheim Palace in the Cotswolds
  • 4. Go to a Christmas market in the Cotswolds
  • 5. Westonbirt Arboretum’s Enchanted Christmas
  • 6. Take a trip on the Santa Express
  • 7. Take a long winter walk
  • 8. The Light Festival
  • 9. See a Christmas show in Cheltenham
  • 10. Go on a late-night shopping spree
  • 11. Christmas Artisan Market

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