Christmas in Gloucestershire 2012 is set to be a fun-filled festive season complete with plenty of things to do for the whole family, with all the festive celebrations and over-indulgence you could hope for.
SoGlos’s hand-selected guide to Christmas events in Gloucestershire 2012 will help you make the most of everything that’s on offer in the county, from festive fayres, to where to meet Santa, carol singing and special concerts.
Santa and Reindeer at The Brewery
Venue: The Brewery, Cheltenham
What’s happening: Father Christmas and his reindeer will be stopping by The Brewery before heading out on their present delivering duties, to give local children the chance to hand their Christmas wish lists to the jolly bearded man himself and have their photo taken with the reindeer to keep as a festive memento. The event is free of charge, with donations gratefully received for the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
When: Saturday 8 December 2012
How much: Free of charge
SoGlos loves: On Saturday 1 December 2012 The Brewery will also play host to a free Mini Fun Fair, with jet and mini Miami rides, a giant inflatable galleon ship, traditional games and more all expected to add to the excitement for little ones in the run up to the big day.
For more info: See Santa and Reindeer at The Brewery and Mini Fun Fair at The Brewery, call The Brewery on (01242) 574378 or visit thebrewerycheltenham.co.uk directly.
Christmas Open Day at Prescott Shooting
Venue: Prescott Shooting
What’s happening: A free festive family day out at Prescott Shooting with plenty of ‘have a go’ activities on offer, including archery, x-bows and air rifles, and the chance for everyone from novices to experts to try their hand at clay shooting too. Plus, club owner Daniel Martin and his experienced team will also be on hand to help with all your shooting and gunsmith requirements and there’s hot food, mince pies and mulled wine all adding to the festive feel.
When: Saturday 15 December 2012
How much: Free of charge, with 25 clay shots costing £25
SoGlos loves: There will be a one-day Christmas sale in the shop during the day, offering country sports connoisseurs everything from Alan Paine tweed clothing and Aigle fleeces and wellies to Viyella shirts, Brattonsound gun cabinets and private shooting tuition for a fraction of the usual cost. Plus, visitors who spend £150 or more will receive a 50 per cent off voucher for a shooting lesson too.
For more info: See Christmas Open Day at Prescott Shooting, call Prescott Shooting on (01242) 673542 or visit prescottshooting.com directly.
Christmas Ball at Cheltenham Town Hall
Venue: Cheltenham Town Hall
What’s happening: Cheltenham’s most prestigious town centre venue will be hosting a festive evening filled with all-star cabaret, live music, and of course, mince pies, giving discerning dancers the perfect opportunity to show off their quicksteps, waltzes, rumbas and jives this party season.
When: Wednesday 19 December 2012
How much: Tickets cost £16.50
SoGlos loves: Live music on the night is set to come from expert ballroom ensemble, the Ross Mitchell Band, which has delighted music-lovers and dancers alike at a number of major dance competitions, shows and grand gala balls across the globe for more than three decades, meaning Cheltenham Town Hall party-goers can look forward to dancing the night away to some world-class music.
For more info: See The Christmas Ball at Cheltenham Town Hall, call Cheltenham Town Hall on 0844 576 2210 or visit cheltenhamtownhall.org.uk directly.
Christmas Barn Dance at Cheltenham Town Hall
Venue: Cheltenham Town Hall.
What’s happening: Offering the chance for the whole family to have fun together working off those sweet treats indulged in over the festive season, Cheltenham Town Hall will play host to a Christmas Barn Dance, complete with live music and a caller on stage to teach you all the moves, and promising a rootin’ tootin’ good time for all.
When: Friday 28 December 2012
How much: Tickets cost £9
SoGlos loves: Energetic French trio Hérétique will be playing foot-stomping traditional dance songs to keep the crowd on their toes on the night, featuring dazzling vocals, an accordion, bagpipes and hurdy-gurdy – all the ingredients to make for a riotous evening of hilarity and showmanship.
For more info: See Christmas Barn Dance in Cheltenham, call Cheltenham Town Hall on 0844 576 2210 or visit cheltenhamtownhall.org.uk directly.
Taurus Crafts Christmas Markets
Venue: Taurus Crafts
What’s happening: The Forest of Dean-based arts and craft centre will be filled with festive music, goodies and gifts, offering a stress-free alternative to town centre Christmas shopping. From made-to-order hampers and organic wines to vintage clothing, textiles and recycled accessories, you’re sure to find a perfect Christmas pressie at Taurus Crafts. What’s more, you can even pick up a fresh, local Christmas tree to take pride of place at home, along with a whole host of delightful decorations to adorn it.
When: Saturdays 1, 8 and 15 December and Sundays 2, 9 and 16 December 2012
How much: Free of charge
SoGlos loves: The new, on-site toy shop will keep the little ones entertained for hours as they pick out their favourites to add to the list for Santa, choosing from a huge range of funny, cuddly, educational, crafty and quirky toys that are available. Plus, there’s a paint your own pot activity also lined up for crafty children visiting.
For more info: See Taurus Crafts Christmas Markets, call Taurus Crafts on (01594) 844841 or visit tauruscrafts.co.uk directly.
Santa Specials in the Forest of Dean
Venue: Dean Forest Railway & Museum
What’s happening: Combining Christmas cheer and plenty of steam for a real festive treat, there will be a series of Santa Special journeys through the Forest of Dean aboard a beautiful vintage train. Santa will be present and laden with gifts, and plans to visit each child in their seat, while adults can enjoy mince pies and a seasonal tipple.
When: Saturday 15 to Sunday 16; Saturday 22 to Sunday 23; and Monday 24 December 2012
How much: Tickets cost £12 for adults and children aged two and over
SoGlos loves: The journey itself will take approximately one hour and offers the perfect chance to experience the sights of the magical Forest of Dean and Parkend, in one of the railway’s beautifully-restored carriages, pulled by a magnificent steam locomotive.
For more info: See Santa Specials at Dean Forest Railway, call Dean Forest Railway & Museum on (01594) 845840 or visit deanforestrailway.co.uk directly.
Gloucester Lantern Procession, Night Market and Tree of Light
Venue: Gloucester city centre
What’s happening: Gloucester city centre will be transformed into a mysterious undersea realm when the annual Christmas Lantern Procession travels through town, featuring children’s activities, live music, Santa Claus and more, and ending in a special carol service at Gloucester Cathedral. Plus, savvy Christmas shoppers can pick up an array of festive food and gifts from the award-winning Night Market, before the streets are filled with the oohs and aahs of local families watching the Tree of Light being switched on by Newent-based Olympic gold medallist Charlotte Dujardin.
When: The Christmas Lantern Procession takes place on Sunday 18 November, while the Night Market and Tree of Light switch on will both be during the evening of Thursday 6 December 2012.
How much: Free of charge
SoGlos loves: The Tree of Light, organised by The Rotary Club of Gloucester, will not only provide a festive focal point for visitors passing by Gloucester Guildhall but it also offers locals the chance to support worthy causes by sponsoring a message to a loved one, which will be displayed on digital boards throughout the city centre.
For more info: See Gloucester Christmas Lantern Procession, Gloucester Night Market and Tree of Light switch on in Gloucester, call Marketing Gloucester on (01452) 207020 or visit thecityofgloucester.co.uk directly.
Gloucester Quays Victorian Christmas Market
Venue: Gloucester Quays Outlet
What’s happening: A free, four-day shopping spectacular will be taking over Gloucester Quays this November, giving families from far and wide the chance to stock up on Christmas presents with no less than 120 decorated stalls selling everything from fine festive food and drink to artisan jewellery, clothes and accessories. Plus there will be music ringing out across the city from festive fiddlers, brass bands and carollers, with kids also sure to have a great time riding on the traditional carousel and trying their hand at the Victorian games and activities also on offer.
When: Thursday 22 to Sunday 25 November 2012
How much: Free of charge
SoGlos loves: Keep an eye out for street urchins, ruffians, pickpockets, chimney sweeps, Victorian policemen and a whole host of larger-than-life wandering characters who will all be doing the rounds, entertaining festive shoppers and adding to the Dickensian feel of the market.
For more info: See Gloucester Quays Victorian Christmas Market, call Gloucester Quays on (01452) 338933 or visit gloucesterquays.co.uk directly.
Christmas at Gloucester Cathedral
Venue: Gloucester Cathedral
What’s happening: Gloucester’s star attraction will be filled with festive cheer this season, with a Christmas Market selling a myriad of handmade gifts in the breathtaking setting of the cloisters; Carols on the Hour sung by the Cathedral’s choir in the Nave; and two 45-minute Family Crib Services lined up, offering locals with little ones the chance to drop in and celebrate Christmas together.
When: Christmas Market and Carols on the Hour on Saturday 15 December; and Family Crib Services on Sunday 23 and Monday 24 December 2012
How much: Free of charge
SoGlos loves: Not only will the Cathedral be hosting its traditional carol services in addition to the Family Crib seres, but families visiting on these days will also have the opportunity to see the glorious Cathedral in an entirely new light, as the Christmas trees are lit up with twinkling lights.
For more info: See Christmas at Gloucester Cathedral, call Gloucester Cathedral on (01452) 528095 or visit gloucestercathedral.org.uk directly.
Born is the King carol concert in Gloucester
Venue: GL1 Leisure Centre
What’s happening: Following on from last year’s phenomenal success, One Church Gloucester is once again organising one of the county’s biggest Christmas concerts, with a whopping 1,200 local people expected to come together for the festive event at GL1. This year’s event will give ticket holders the chance to sing along to well known carols with a contemporary twist, while Father Christmas will be doing the rounds too.
When: Sunday 16 December 2012
How much: Free of charge
SoGlos loves: In true Christmas spirit, the event is completely free of charge – but don’t forget to book your ticket online on the church’s website via the link below.
For more info: See Born is the King carol concert in Gloucester, call One Church on (01452) 419219 or visit onechurchgloucester.com directly.
Santa Cruises in Gloucester
Venue: Gloucester Waterways Museum
What’s happening: Continuing with its annual tradition, Gloucester Waterways Museum will be welcoming families aboard the King Arthur pleasure boat for a 45-minute festive cruise along the Gloucester-Sharpness canal, with little ones set to light up as Santa arrives down the chimney and spends time with them in his magical floating grotto.
When: Sunday 16 to Monday 24 December 2012
How much: Tickets cost £8
SoGlos loves: Not only does the ticket price include entry to Gloucester Waterways Museum, home to an array of hands-on displays and collections that tell the story of Britain’s waterways, but each child will also receive a personalised gift from Father Christmas, while adults can tuck into warming mince pies.
For more info: See Santa Cruises from Gloucester Waterways Museum, call Gloucester Waterways Museum on (01452) 318200 or visit gloucesterwaterwaysmuseum.org.uk directly.
Christmas Films at Gloucester Guildhall
Venue: Gloucester Guildhall
What’s happening: Giving families across Gloucester the chance to keep warm and entertained indoors this winter, and get into the spirit of the season to boot, the Guildhall cinema will be screening an array of purse-friendly, festive films, including hit Will Ferrell comedy Elf, iconic classics The Snowman and Father Christmas, as well as Frank Capra's bittersweet drama It's a Wonderful Life.
When: Elf on Friday 21 December 2012; and The Snowman, Father Christmas and It's a Wonderful Life on Saturday 22 December 2012
How much: Tickets cost £5.50, £4.50 for concessions and £3 for under 16s
SoGlos loves: To make a real afternoon of it, cinema-goers can add a warming cup of tea and slice of cake for just £1 extra, taking advantage of the Guildhall’s Screen Tea option.
For more info: See Christmas Films at Gloucester Guildhall, call Gloucester Guildhall on (01452) 503050 or visit gloucesterguildhall.co.uk directly.
Christmas Eve at Café Rene
Venue: Café Rene
What’s happening: Christmas Eve at Café Rene promises to be an unmissable night for musos, with a live set from ‘roots warriors’ Wille and the Bandits certain to keep the festive crowd on their toes. The Plymouth-based trio has been making waves in the roots scene since forming five years ago and will go down a treat with fans of 70s greats such as Led Zeppelin, Santana and Pink Floyd.
When: Monday 24 December 2012
How much: Tickets cost £3
SoGlos loves: Also known as ‘Gloucester’s best known secret’, Café Rene is steeped in history – with a Roman Well forming the centrepiece of the bar and wine bottles lining the walls – and not only serves some of the finest real ales around on tap but also a wide array of hearty meals, drawing on local produce. Christmas Eve gig-goers can make a real night of it by heading there early for some pre-party grub, choosing from its specially-made and extensive Christmas menu.
For more info: See Christmas Eve at Café Rene, call Cafe Rene on (01452) 309340 or visit caferene.co.uk directly.
Breakfast with Father Christmas at Slimbridge
Venue: Slimbridge Wetland Centre.
What’s happening: Father Christmas will be inviting families from across the county to join him for a spot of breakfast at Slimbridge Wetland Centre, before the little ones can help his elves spread Christmas cheer to all its residents in a special bird feed around Swan Lake – with an early Christmas present included for all children.
When: Every Saturday and Sunday in December until Christmas.
How much: Tickets cost £13, £18 for children
SoGlos loves: Santa’s Grotto will also be open every Saturday and Sunday in December until the big day, giving excited county kids the chance to meet the jolly, bearded man himself, tell him their Christmas wishes and also unwrap a special Christmas gift. Tickets to visit Santa in his cosy grotto cost £4 per child.
For more info: See Breakfast with Father Christmas in Slimbridge, call Slimbridge Wetland Centre on (01453) 891900 or visit wwt.org.uk/slimbridge directly.
Enchanted Christmas at Westonbirt
Venue: Westonbirt Arboretum
What’s happening: Westonbirt will once again be welcoming families from miles around for its signature winter event, in which thousands of eco-friendly lights line a famous one-mile trail through the National Arboretum, taking in different specimens, paths and vistas in its tree collection at night. Plus, there’s the chance to create a sound and light symphony and a see a floating candle tree to boot.
When: Friday 14 to Sunday 16 and Friday 21 to Sunday 23 December 2012
How much: Tickets cost £9, £8 for concessions and £5 for children
SoGlos loves: In addition to the trail, there’s a whole host of family craft activities lined up, Christmas gifts on sale in the shop, a traditional merry-go-round for the kids, as well as festive songs to be heard from the choir and carollers, all adding to the magic of the winter event.
For more info: See Enchanted Christmas at Westonbirt, call Westonbirt Arboretum on (01666) 880220 or visit forestry.gov.uk/westonbirt-christmas directly.
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