10 unmissable things to do in Gloucestershire this December

From exhilarating Christmas Day swims to the county’s first Taco Bell opening, fill your December with 10 unmissable things to do in Gloucestershire.

By Annabel Lammas  |  Published
Have the merriest Christmas in Gloucestershire, with 10 unmissable things to do in the county, this December 2021.
Have the merriest Christmas in Gloucestershire, with 10 unmissable things to do in the county, this December 2021.

Christmas has officially arrived in Gloucestershire – with magical light trails, Santa meet-and-greets and festive events galore, all happening throughout December 2021.

There’s exciting new openings, post-Christmas plans and the chance to win some seriously AMAZING prizes too, with SoGlos rounding up 10 unmissable things to do in the county this month.

Merry Christmas, everyone!


About the sponsor – Gillman’s

Totally independent and family-owned, Gillman’s is a leading electrical appliance retailer based in Gloucestershire, with showrooms in Gloucester and Ross-on-Wye; as well as offering spares, repairs and servicing.

Spreading some seasonal goodwill, Gillman’s is offering FREE next day delivery to GL postcodes through its Go Go Gillman’s scheme until Wednesday 8 December 2021, between 9am and 2pm.

Plus, get your cooker Christmas Day ready, with Gillman’s able to service range cookers from just £90; or invest in a shiny new appliance, with the option to pay for new goods in three interest-free instalments via PayPal.

For more information about Gillman’s, visit gillmans.co.uk.


1. Experience the magical world of Winter Glow

From hitting the ice rink to taking a ride on the observation wheel, or hopping aboard the Arctic Express to meet Santa in his cosy cabin, families can venture into a Christmas wonderland at Winter Glow – taking over Three Counties Showground until Sunday 9 January 2022.

There’s also a spectacular light trail to discover, which is hosting dog-friendly and sensory-friendly sessions on selected dates throughout December.


2. Explore Cotswold Farm Park after hours

Gleaming with sparkling lights and colourful illuminations, Cotswold Farm Park’s much-loved Enchanted Light Trail is open until Friday 31 December 2021, giving families the chance to spend a winter evening at the popular attraction.

As well as seeing the farm burst with colourful light, little ones can feed the animals a late-night snack, party in the Adventure Barn and toast S’mores by the crackling firepits, too.


3. See the giant Christmas tree at Gloucester Cathedral

All decked out for the season with its biggest Christmas tree yet, Gloucester Cathedral is a gorgeous destination to soak up some festive joy this December.

With a host of events planned in the run-up to Christmas, families can also enjoy Carols on the Hour from the cathedral’s choirs on Saturday 11 December 2021; with exclusive opportunities to visit the beautiful building after dark when it’s spectacularly lit, too.


4. Catch a pantomime in Gloucestershire

It just isn’t Christmas without a jolly good panto (oh no it isn’t!) and Gloucestershire families are spoilt for choice this December. Don’t miss the return of the ever-brilliant Everyman Theatre pantomime, this year presenting Jack and the Beanstalk, starring Tweedy the Clown and the voice of none other than Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen as the giant!

Meanwhile, The Roses Theatre in Tewkesbury promises big laughs at King Arthur: The Panto!:, with two extra cheeky performances aimed at adults only, too.


5. Find your perfect real Christmas tree in Gloucestershire

Dust off the decorations and start untangling those fairy lights – it’s Christmas tree time! Whether you’re looking to buy or rent a real tree this year, there are lots of places to hunt for the perfect spruce in Gloucestershire.

From family-run farms and independent garden centres to local arboretums, make choosing your tree a truly festive occasion – with SoGlos’s pick of 18 places to buy your Christmas tree in Gloucestershire providing some inspiration.


6. Feast on Taco Bell in Cheltenham

At long last, Taco Bell is opening the doors to its new Cheltenham restaurant this month – bringing its spicy burritos, cheesy quesadillas and, of course, famous tacos to Gloucestershire just in time for the new year.

Mexican food lovers across the county can look forward to sampling all the American fast-food joint has to offer when it officially opens on Wednesday 22 December 2021


7 Brave the Christmas swim at Sandford Parks Lido

It’s certainly a unique way to start your Christmas morning, but Sandford Parks Lido attracts hundreds of courageous swimmers for an icy cold dip every year – and expects to hold its Christmas Swim again on Saturday 25 December 2021, if Covid restrictions allow.

The wacky event is sure to be a talking point over the turkey, so grab your Santa hat and take the plunge. Just make sure to check for confirmation with the venue directly before diving in.


8. Meet Father Christmas in Gloucestershire

From bonding with the big man over breakfast at Slimbridge Wetland Centre, to meeting him and his elves aboard one of Dean Forest Railway’s vintage trains, there are plenty of chances for excited kids to catch a glimpse of Father Christmas in Gloucestershire.

And SoGlos has families covered, rounding up a whopping 29 places to meet Santa Claus across the county, this December.


9. Blow off the Christmas cobwebs at Painswick Rococo Garden

After enjoying all those mince pies, mulled wines and Christmas leftovers, stretch your legs and get some much-needed fresh air at Painswick Rococo Garden – open to visitors from Sunday 26 and Friday 31 December 2021.

Families can wander around the fanciful gardens, search for the centre of the quirky maze and complete the new festive trail by helping Santa’s reindeer to solve a present mix-up – before cosying up in the café for a marshmallow and cream-topped hot chocolate.


10. Win prizes in The Great SoGlos Advent Giveaway!

Spreading heaps of festive joy from Monday 1 to Friday 24 December 2021, the SoGlos Santa is BACK! With a sack full of Gloucestershire prizes to give away to lucky winners, every day until Christmas Eve.

From overnight stays and luxury spa days to family days out and exciting local experiences, don’t miss the daily prize drops on SoGlos’s Facebook page and check out The Great SoGlos Advent Giveaway to find out more about the Gloucestershire businesses taking part.


For more information about Gillman’s, visit gillmans.co.uk.


By Annabel Lammas

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