Christmas is back and the build-up feels bigger than ever in 2021, with hundreds of enchanting lights twinkling across Gloucestershire to mark the start of the festive season.
From town centre switch-on events to festive illuminated trails, SoGlos has handpicked 13 magical Christmas light displays to see in and around Gloucestershire this November and December 2021. Cameras at the ready!
Illuminating Gloucester from November 2021 until February 2022, Gloucester Bright Nights is brightening up dark evenings in the city with a variety of enchanting, interactive light installations.
Throw shapes with shadows outside Blackfriars Priory until Friday 31 December 2021; see Robinswood Hill in a whole new light with Globoscope from Friday 26 to Sunday 28 November 2021; and ring in the festive season with Gloucester’s annual lantern procession and Christmas light switch on Sunday 21 November 2021.
Don’t miss Gloucester’s Lantern Procession and Christmas Light Switch-On on Sunday 21 November 2021 from 4.45pm. This year’s magical lantern procession is themed around ‘loving our planet’, with lanterns depicting foragers, pollinators and gardeners created by local schoolchildren and artists.
Catch a glimpse of the procession, led by Father Christmas, as it makes its way through Southgate Street, Westgate Street, Berkeley Street, Longsmith Street and Ladybellegate Street, before arriving at Blackfriars Priory – switching on the city’s Christmas lights as it goes.
Lighting up the trees of Westonbirt Arboretum with an all-new illuminated trail, Enchanted Christmas is always a highlight in Gloucestershire’s Christmas events calendar.
Returning on selected evenings from Friday 26 November to Tuesday 21 December 2021, families are invited to explore the magical setting as they search for Father Christmas’s missing reindeer, with seasonal stalls before and after the trail. And if you’re lucky, you might even catch a glimpse of Santa himself!
Explore Cotswold Farm Park in a whole new light when the popular Enchanted Light Trail returns to the family-favourite attraction from Saturday 27 November to Friday 31 December 2021.
Illuminating the farm park after hours, the dazzling light display waves through the paddocks and into the woodland, while there’s also the opportunity to feed the animals their last snacks and enjoy toasted marshmallows at the firepit.
Wander through a festive winter wonderland with dancing water fountains, fire gardens and twinkling light tunnels at Winter Glow’s illuminated light trail, open from Saturday 4 December 2021 to Sunday 2 January 2022.
The incredible Christmas festival is packed with other family attractions, too, including an ice-skating rink, a giant observation wheel and an Arctic Express train that will take excited little ones all the way to Santa’s cosy cabin.
Sudeley Castle’s illuminated light trail is back for a sixth year in 2021, with new installations to discover in the Winchcombe grounds from Friday 26 November to Thursday 30 December 2021.
Experience the brand-new Light Curve, stroll along the Carpet of Colour and soak up the sights of the lanterns and water features, with seasonal refreshments available to pick up, too.
Cheltenham’s Brewery Quarter is officially switching on its Christmas lights on Saturday 20 November 2021, celebrating with a festive party filled with special guests and family fun.
Along with live music from local performers, a sneak peek at this year’s Everyman Theatre panto, Jack and the Beanstalk, and the opportunity to learn some circus skills, there’ll be a special visit from Father Christmas to switch the lights on at 6.30pm.
Celebrate the awakening of Cheltenham’s Christmas lights as a magical parade of roaming characters make their way through the town on Saturday 20 November 2021.
Visitors will be enchanted by the Snow Queen and White Wolf, with mesmerising LED ballerinas, a Fairy Godmother and even roller-skating unicorns to spot between The Brewery Quarter and Montpellier.
Getting late-night shoppers into the Christmas spirit, Tetbury is switching on its festive lights on Friday 3 December 2021, as local craft and produce stalls pop up around the Market Hall.
Visitors can join in the festivities and browse the Christmas market as the town lights up, while Tetbury’s high street stores will also be open after hours for those seeking special gifts.
See Stroud’s Christmas displays burst into light as the town welcomes the festive season on Friday 3 December 2021, with the return of the Goodwill Evening.
Stroud Goodwill Evening also provides fantastic Christmas shopping opportunities, with festive market stalls to browse and many of the town’s independent shops staying open late for gift-hunters.
Head to Tewkesbury high street for a day of festive fun on Sunday 21 November 2021, when the town’s Christmas light switch-on and market is taking place.
There’s a whole range of activities for families to enjoy, from fairground rides and live performances to appearances from Father Christmas, who will be switching on the Christmas lights from around 5pm.
Enticing families from across the Cotswolds, Blenheim Palace’s Illuminated Trail is back for 2021, following a brand-new route that will take visitors through glittering tunnels and into the parkland of the stunning Oxfordshire palace.
Christmas at Blenheim Palace takes place from Friday 19 November 2021 to Sunday 2 January 2022 – featuring a Christmas market and a magical new Nutcracker experience that will see the Palace’s state rooms transformed.
Hop on the Twilight Express at Perrygrove Railway for a magical journey through the Forest of Dean, spotting colourful illuminations along the way, this December 2021.
Welcoming families aboard from Wednesday 1 to Thursday 21 December 2021, the Twilight Express showcases the forest lights in all their glory, with the chance to meet Father Christmas and grab a complimentary hot chocolate, too.
Set to mesmerise visitors, Bath’s American Museum and Gardens is playing host to The Enchanted Garden of Light on selected dates from Thursday 9 to Friday 31 December 2021.
Well-worth travelling for, there’s the chance to explore the impressive attraction after-dark, following sparkling reindeer through tunnels of light and seeing the grand house, gardens and woodland lit up with bright, seasonal colour.
By Charlotte Taylor
Tuesday 16 November 2021
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