Before you head to the high street, SoGlos has rounded up everything you need to know about Christmas shopping in Gloucestershire, which should help to make 2018’s festive shopping experience a stress-free affair.
Featuring a host of late-night shopping destinations, local artisan foods perfect for your Christmas hamper and charming gifts from around the county, make sure you’re prepared this festive season with our ultimate Christmas shopping guide.
Whether you want to enjoy a day of Christmas shopping without the hassle of driving and queuing for parking, or are planning a late night shopping trip teamed with festive drinks, let Stagecoach West take care of getting you from A to B during the season of goodwill.
For more information call (01452) 418630 or visit stagecoachbus.com directly for details of its Christmas timetable.
Late night opening times: Thursday 29 November, Thursday 6 December, Thursday 13 December and Thursday 20 December 2018, with free parking available in Regent Arcade car park and Town Centre East car park after 5.30pm.
What to expect: Offering just about every kind of shop to find the perfect Christmas gift, Cheltenham is brimming with gorgeous gift shops, stylish clothing boutiques and some of the finest restaurants around. Make a day of it and tick off your Christmas shopping with the latest gadgets for techno-loving friends and family, beautiful beauty products and plenty of toys for the kids too. Grab a bite to eat at one of Cheltenham’s tasty lunch spots or finish off your day with a well-deserved dinner and a cocktail or two! Perfect for getting a festive fix, Cheltenham Christmas Market will also bring the Promenade to life once again this year. Expect handmade gifts, foodie delights and of course, some mulled wine.
SoGlos loves: If you can’t decide which of Cheltenham’s numerous stores to head to for the perfect gift, why not purchase a Cheltenham Gift Card. This versatile Mastercard-based gift card works in the same way as a traditional gift card, but can be redeemed in more than 80 of the town’s best-loved shops, including Neal’s Yard Remedies, Hotel Chocolat and Cath Kidston, to name just a few.
For more info: See Cheltenham Christmas Market, or see visitcheltenham.com directly, or to purchase a Cheltenham Gift Card visit cheltenhamgiftcard.co.uk.
Gift idea: With late night shopping available on Thursdays from the end of November and throughout December, there’s plenty of opportunity to catch up on Christmas shopping without your little elves finding out!
Perfect for: Fashionistas in need of a new year wardrobe, as well as numerous luxury gifts and stocking fillers for the whole family.
Tell me more: Regent Arcade is a haven for the fashion conscious, playing host to stores like H&M, Topshop, TK Maxx, Apricot, Schuh and River Island, all under one roof – so you can even keep warm and dry while you stock up on all those festive essentials. There’s plenty of gifts, stocking fillers and decorations available at stores like Tiger, Card Factory, Yankee Candle and HMV; and gorgeous beauty and jewellery treats to be discovered at Pandora, The Body Shop, The Fragrance Shop and The Perfume Shop. Late Night Shopping sees the centre open until 8pm on Thursdays 22 and 29 November 2018, and Thursdays 6, 13 and 20 December 2018, as well as additional late night openings on Friday 14, Saturday 15, Monday 17, Tuesday 18, Wednesday 19, Friday 21 and Saturday 22 December 2018.
SoGlos loves: In addition to the Christmas shopping opportunities, there are also a range of festive events, and even the opportunity to meet Santa, with details to be confirmed soon.
For more information: See Regent Arcade, Call (01242) 521345, email email@example.com or visit regentarcade.co.uk/ directly.
Gift idea: A cidery experience and tour at Dunkertons Organic Cider
Perfect for: Cider lovers, who want to find out more about their favourite drink.
Tell me more: Guests on this guided cidery tour can learn all about the history of local organic cider and perry makers, Dunkertons. With its 38-year history, the experience gives guests plenty of opportunity to discover how its award-winning ciders are created, and how best to pair the delectable drinks with a range of organic cheeses and charcuterie. There’s also the option to purchase gift cards from £10 up to £60, which are ideal for spending in Dunkertons new on-site shop, and make a lovely gift for cider lovers who want to pick their own flavours to try.
SoGlos loves: Dunkertons Cider opened its new shop in 2018 in Cheltenham’s Dowdeswell Park. Stocking its full range of ciders and perrys, visitors can create a pick and mix case of their favourite flavours, or buy pre-selected cases which are perfect for adding into handmade hampers, filled with foodie treats.
How much: Prices vary
To book: See Dunkertons Organic Cider, call (01242) 650145, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit dunkertonscider.co.uk directly.
Gift idea: A memorable evening out at Cheltenham’s prestigious theatre, enjoying some of the best touring stage productions in the UK.
Perfect for: Star-struck stage lovers, comedy fans, musical admirers and opera aficionados.
Tell me more: Give the gift of live theatre this Christmas – with highlights from the Everyman’s eclectic, early 2019 programme spanning musicals such as Fame, Avenue Q, and Hair. There are even some big names appearing in the comedy Art featuring Nigel Havers and Stephen Tompkinson; and stand-up from Paul Merton and Al Murray. The Cheltenham theatre plays host to a diverse range of productions that cater for all ages, making the venue perfect for family outings, date nights and cultural evenings with friends.
SoGlos loves: What could be nicer – and more thoughtful – than giving a loved one tickets to a special night at the theatre? And if picking out just one particular performance is too tough, the Everyman Theatre also offers gift vouchers.
How much: Tickets for some performances start from just £12, with gift vouchers available in a range of monetary vouchers.
To buy: See Everyman Theatre, call (01242) 572573, email email@example.com or visit everymantheatre.org.uk directly.
Gift idea: Gorgeous local and handmade gifts, foodie treats and clothing, available during a day at the home of jump racing – during Cheltenham Racecourse’s November meeting.
Perfect for: Those who love the buzz of Cheltenham Racecourse, and enjoy purchasing gorgeous gifts for friends and family.
Tell me more: Showcasing more than 80 unique sellers which usually only sell online, The November Meeting Shopping area offers racegoers the perfect opportunity to discover a range of unusual gifts for their loved ones this winter, while enjoying a day at the races. Featuring artwork, tailoring, Christmas cards, clothing, jewellery, millinery and equestrian equipment, the shopping area provides an eclectic range of items as Cheltenham Racecourse transforms into a stunning shopping destination. Plus, there’s also the option to buy a very special gift ahead of The Festival 2019: A Room with a View offers an overnight stay at The Frogmill, a helicopter ride to and from the racecourse during The Festival, and a hospitality package during the race day.
SoGlos loves: Festival tickets make a lovely gift for racing fans, and if bought before Friday 30 November 2018, can be purchased at the lowest possible price. If you’re looking to give the gift of a real racing experience, generous gift-givers can also purchase Raceday Essentials packages for any of Cheltenham Racecourse’s race meetings – including a ticket, betting voucher, food and drink voucher and race card voucher. It’s the ideal gift for someone who’d love to experience a day at the races.
How much: Prices vary.
To book: See Cheltenham Racecourse, Call 0344 579 3003, email firstname.lastname@example.org": or visit cheltenham.co.uk directly.
Late night opening times: King’s Walk Gloucester will once again be offering late night shopping from 9am to 7pm on Thursdays 6, 13, and 20 December 2018; from 9am to 7pm from Monday 17 to Saturday 22 December 2018; and from 9am to 5.30pm on Christmas Eve. What’s more, the Gloucester retail destination will also be open on Boxing Day from 9am to 5.30pm.
What to expect: Easily accessible, convenient and with a variety of affordable brands, King’s Walk Gloucester is located in the heart of the city. Offering a range of great places to shop, eat, drink and relax, the centre even has its own parking facilities nearby, so you won’t need to carry those heavy shopping bags far! Boasting a huge selection of stores, shoppers can get all of their presents sorted in one day. Snap up some seasonal trends for the fashion-conscious at River Island and Primark; grab the latest releases for gamers at CEX and HMV; stock up for the kids at The Entertainer or MenKind; and put a smile on the face of someone special, with gifts from The Perfume Shop or Warren James jewellery.
SoGlos loves: The popular Gloucester shopping centre not only offers families the perfect place to grab their pressies, but there is a whole host of Christmas activities scheduled throughout December too, including visits from Santa, and live performances from carol singers to add to the festive atmosphere.
For more info: See King's Walk Shopping Centre, call (01452) 304953, or visit kingswalk.co.uk directly.
Venue: Eastgate Shopping Centre
Late night opening times: Thursday 6 December, Thursday 13 December, Monday 17 December and Tuesday 18 December until 7pm; Wednesday 19 December, Thursday 20 December, Friday 21 December and Saturday 22 December 2018 until 8pm.
For more info: See Eastgate Shopping Centre or call (01452) 520023.
Venue: Gloucester Quays
Late night opening times: On weekdays from Monday 19 November 2018 to Friday 21 December 2018, Gloucester Quays is open from 10am until 9pm. On Saturdays throughout December shops will be open until 7pm. On Monday 24 December 2018 the centre is open until 4pm. Boxing day it will open until 8pm, and on Tuesday 27 December and Wednesday 28 December until 9pm.
For more info: See Gloucester Quays or call (01452) 338933.
Gift idea: Spa Days and treatments, vouchers for afternoon tea, overnight stays or dinner at Hatherley Manor.
Perfect for: Friends and family who love a bit of luxurious pampering.
Tell me more: Situated on the outskirts of Gloucester, Hatherley Manor Hotel and Spa is an elegant 17th-century manor house set within 37 acres of rolling countryside. Having launched its state-of-the-art spa in 2018, guests can indulge in a relaxing spa treatment, spend the day letting their worries float away in the pool, or unwinding in the well-equipped thermal suite and vitality spa pool. If you’re looking for inspiration for foodies, vouchers for afternoon tea or dinner in the hotel’s intimate Dewinton restaurant would no doubt be well received gifts. For an extra special treat, a residential spa retreat with an overnight stay is the perfect way to banish any January blues.
SoGlos loves: This December, Hatherley Manor is also offering a Festive Afternoon Tea, including a glass of Prosecco or mulled wine, mini turkey and cranberry tart, cheese scones, Christmas themed sandwiches; cakes and fancies; and tea and coffee, with vouchers able to purchase.
How much: Prices vary
To buy: See Hatherley Manor, call (01452) 730217, email email@example.com or visit hatherleymanor.com directly.
Gift idea: Handpicked hampers, tasty treats and luxurious gift vouchers
Perfect for: Discerning foodies who will enjoying adding delicious, local products to their store cupboards and Christmas hampers.
Tell me more: Severn & Wye Smokery is a family-run business located close to Gloucester on the edge of the Forest of Dean. Housed in The Barn, its artisan foodstore is brimming with gastronomic delights, spanning handmade chocolate, biscuits, jams, chutneys, crackers, and condiments; along with a host of wines, spirits, ales and ciders, all of which can be made into bespoke hampers for any occasion. Shoppers can also expect to find a range of homeware and cookware gift ideas, including printed tea towels, aprons, and fine bone china mugs. And, if you can’t decide what to buy that special someone, then you can also purchase gift vouchers. During a visit to The Barn at Severn & Wye, make sure you stock up on some of its award-winning smoked fish, which makes the ideal addition to Christmas celebrations, whether you’re planning a festive gathering or are hosting a New Year’s Eve party.
SoGlos loves: Combine a shopping trip to The Barn at Severn & Wye with spot of breakfast or coffee and cake in its café, or book to enjoy a pre-Christmas lunch in its relaxed restaurant, which serves a delicious selection of fish dishes, alongside meat and vegetarian courses.
How much: Prices vary
To book: See Severn & Wye Smokery, call (01452) 760191, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit severnandwye.co.uk directly.
Gift idea: Gift vouchers for a relaxing trip to Cowley Manor
Perfect for: People who seem to have everything, or mums-to-be in need of some pampering.
Tell me more: Luxury Cotswold hotel, Cowley Manor, is a stunning contemporary getaway, offering gift vouchers which can be used against all of its services, including afternoon tea, dinner in its Malt Restaurant, overnight stays and even treatments in the C-Side Spa. Gift vouchers are available in any denomination over £25 and can be bought online. The hotel offers bespoke packages which can be bought in advance, if you’re looking to indulge that special someone, with options including a Festive Spa Day, a Twilight Evening Spa or even a two- or three-course Sunday lunch.
SoGlos loves: In addition to its gift voucher offering, Cowley Manor turns into an incredible Cotswold shopping destination when it hosts A Very Cowley Christmas on Wednesday 28 and Thursday 29 November 2018. The two-day event celebrates all things festive, with shopping opportunities, a fashion show and Christmas Masterclasses, covering topics from beauty and fashion, through to candle making.
How much: Prices vary
To book: See "Cowley Manor": https://www.soglos.com/hotels/luxury-hotel/26901/Cowley-Manor-Hotel, call (01242) 870900, email email@example.com or visit cowleymanor.wearegifted.co.uk directly.
Gift idea: Give a Friends of Westonbirt Arboretum membership to encourage friends and family experience this stunning natural spectacle throughout its seasonal changes.
Tell me more: Membership is valid for an entire year and can be purchased for individual visitors, or two people in a joint membership. The pass provides free entry to Westonbirt Arboretum on 364 days of the year, alongside half-price tickets to Westonbirt Arboretum’s Enchanted Christmas illuminated trail. Early bird presale tickets for the Forest Live concerts are also available to those with membership. The pass even provides discounts with retail brands including Snow and Rock, Cotswold Outdoor, Runners Need, Cycle Surgery and Forest Holidays; and discounted entry to selected gardens throughout the UK.
SoGlos loves: A Friends of Westonbirt Arboretum membership also allows up to four children or grandchildren to be brought along for free, as long as they’re under 18 years old. There are also special offers for guests wanting to bring along a friend for free. This offer is available on Tuesdays between Tuesday 13 November 2018 and Tuesday 26 March 2019.
How much: A single membership is priced at £39 per year, while a joint membership is £76 for the year.
To book: See Westonbirt Arboretum, Call 0300 067 3300, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit https://www.fowa.org.uk/ directly.
Image Credit: Paul Box
Gift idea: From charming one-off homeware finds through to gorgeous hand made gifts, The Malthouse Collective has something to suit every taste.
Perfect for: Those who love buying local, supporting small businesses or collecting unusual one off pieces for the home.
Tell me more: The Malthouse Collective offers a whole host of homeware and vintage delights, housed inside the iconic Malthouse building in Stroud. Stocking everything from crafts and gifts through to fabric and unique furniture, the store is stunningly curated, and even features The Merry Makers Shop during the Christmas season. Stocking crafts, fabric creations and unusual gifts from more than 30 independent designer makers, The Merry Makers Shop is open until Monday 14 January 2019, making it the ideal spot for picking up a one-of-a-kind Christmas gift for those who love the unique.
SoGlos loves: Promising to be a ‘shopping experience’ for its guests, no two visits to The Malthouse Collective are the same. With its ever-changing displays and collections from new designer-makers appearing each month, there’s something to suit all tastes and budgets in this unique shopping destination.
How much: Prices vary
To book: See The Malthouse Collective, Call (01453) 755800, email email@example.com or visit themalthousecollective.co.uk directly.
Gift idea: Homewares, gorgeous plants and unusual gardening gifts.
Perfect for: Green-fingered gardeners this Christmas, a trip to The Nursery at Miserden will not disappoint those who love a gorgeous garden-related gift.
Tell me more: This traditional independent nursery is home to a range of stunning gifts for both home and garden. Visitors to this four-acre Cotswold nursery can purchase everything from festive wreaths and floral table centrepieces, through to homeware and outdoor accessories that would look great in the greenhouses of Gloucestershire’s discerning gardeners.
SoGlos loves: While searching for the perfect Christmas gift, shoppers can enjoy lunch or a hot drink in The Garden Café, Miserden’s stunning café. Converted from a historic glasshouse, the café serves up seasonal meals and tasty coffee, and is the perfect pitstop on your search for festive fayre.
How much: Prices vary.
To book: See The Nursery at Miserden, Call (01285) 821638, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit http://www.miserdennursery.co.uk directly.
Please note, seasonal plants and gardening items are available from Tuesday 20 November, and Christmas trees are on sale from Saturday 1 December 2018.
Gift idea: Give the gift of wine this Christmas, with local artisan vineyard, Woodchester Valley Vineyard and Winery.
Perfect for: Wine connoisseurs and those intrigued by the English wine buzz, and lovers of all things local.
Tell me more: For family and friends who enjoy a glass or two of wine, gift vouchers for Woodchester Valley Vineyard are the ideal gift this festive season. Available for any amount, gift vouchers can be used to cover the cost of a bottle of the vineyard’s first release sparkling wine, cases of wine, or even tours of the vineyard and tasting sessions, making them the perfect selection for all budgets. If you’d prefer to give your loved ones a real experience this Christmas, private tours and group tasting sessions can also be accommodated in the venue’s on-site tasting room. Year-round tours of the Woodchester vineyard are available, offering the chance to walk through acres of Cotswold vines and enjoy a sit-down tutored tasting with the vineyard’s expert guides. There’s even the opportunity to buy a bottle of your favourite wines to take home and enjoy – ideal for adorning your table this Christmas day.
SoGlos loves: Providing ultimate luxury gift, Woodchester Valley Vineyard and Winery also offers overnight accommodation in its three luxurious vineyard barn guest rooms; and for families of four or those travelling with dogs, in its retreat farmhouse. Enjoy stunning views from private balconies in this idyllic haven overlooking acres of Cotswold vineyard.
How much: Gift vouchers are available to purchase to suit all budgets, as well as vouchers for tours, tastings, wine and accommodation.
To book: See Woodchester Valley Vineyard and Winery, Call 07710 605558, email email@example.com or visit woodchestervalleyvineyard.co.uk directly.
Gift idea: A flying experience at The International Centre for Birds of Prey
Perfect for: Animal lovers who want to experience a hands-on experience in Gloucestershire
Tell me more: Buy the gift of flight this Christmas, with a range of courses and experiences available to purchase at the International Centre for Birds of Prey, in Newent. Owl lovers will enjoy the Half-day Owl Experience where guests can fly the owls and have their photo taken with the regal-looking birds. There’s also the Half-day Raptor Experience giving the opportunity to get close to hawks, falcons and kites; the Full-day Hawk Experience; and Owl Evenings – a very special experience where guests can see owls flying at night. Led by torchlight, the group can experience the owls at their most alert, and can warm up afterwards with a tasty hog roast and mulled wine. Alternatively, for those keen to extend their journey into falconry, the Six-day Falconry course would make a lovely gift.
SoGlos loves: The centre also offers an annual membership for couples, individuals, and families, offering unlimited free access to the centre for a whole year, amongst other perks, making it the ideal gift for bird lovers. There’s even the chance to provide sponsorship to your favourite birds, helping to support the work of the ICBP.
How much: Prices vary
To book: See International Centre for Birds of Prey, Call (01531) 820286, email firstname.lastname@example.org : email@example.com or visit icbp.org directly.
Venue: Taurus Crafts
Late night opening times: While this venue isn’t open late at night, it is open throughout December offering a range of unusual and local gifts and crafts.
For more info: See Taurus Crafts or call (01594) 844841.
Gift idea: A driving experience at Land Rover Experience Eastnor
Perfect for: Motor enthusiasts who love to test out their driving skills.
Tell me more: Giving daring drivers the chance to traverse more than 5,000 acres across the Malvern Hills, Land Rover Experience Eastnor offers a range of driving packages that take in the stunning Herefordshire landscape. If you're buying for a beginner, opt for the one-hour Taster Experience which is perfect for getting to grips with the basics of off-road driving and covers steep inclines, deep water, roller beds, rock crawls and more. While the Half Day and Full Day Experiences are ideal if you are searching for a gift for someone who really wants to learn how to navigate various off-road elements and gain a greater understanding of vehicle control. If you know some who'd be up for a challenge, then the seven-hour Eastnor Explorer will be right up their street, with the experience designed to test the vehicles to the absolute limits over three days. Fans of the Land Rover Defender can test out the iconic vehicle on the Advanced Drive Experience offering an immersive day of off-roading for those who’ve previously completed a course at Land Rover Experience.
SoGlos loves: If your family doesn’t want to miss out on the action, be sure to book the Exclusive Experience where three additional people can sit in the vehicle to experience the adventure together.
How much: The Taster Experience is £129 per vehicle; the Half Day Experience is £225 per person; the Full Day Experience is £549 per person; the Eastnor Explorer is £599 per driver, per day; and the Advanced Day Experience is £595 per driver.
To book: See Land Rover Experience, call (01531) 638777, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit eastnor.landroverexperience.co.uk directly.
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