11 really good reasons to visit Gloucester this Christmas

There's never been a better time to visit Gloucester than when festive fun is in the air.

By Emma Luther  |  Published
Gloucester Quays will be transformed into a winter wonderland this Christmas.
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Planning on where to enjoy some seasonal festivities? Gloucester is a great place to go - with plenty to see, sip and savour in the run up to the most wonderful time of the year.

So, gather your loved ones and pop a date in your diary for one of our SoGlos favourites.

Christmas cheer at Gloucester Cathedral

From a ceremony of carols to a Christmas experience at night, there's more than a hint of magic and meaning in the air at Gloucester's crown jewel.

Pop in on your lunch break for carols on the hour, or join in a family crib service. There'll be midnight mass on Christmas Eve and a Christmas day Eucharist being live streamed for anyone who wants to watch it from home.

Light up little one's eyes with lovely lanterns

Gloucester's stunning lantern procession and Christmas light switch-on returns this year on Saturday 19 November 2022 at 4.45pm.

Local schools have created colourful lanterns inspired by Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland.

The parade kicks off at Kimbrose Way Triangle on Southgate Street corner at 4.30pm, travelling through Blackfriars, Ladybellegate Street and Commercial Road, around to Kimbrose Triangle, Southgate Street and Westgate Street, before finishing at Gloucester Cathedral.

Orchard Street Christmas markets

Soak up the atmosphere at the historic Gloucester Docks with a wander around the twinkling Orchard Street Christmas markets.

Festive gifts, delicious street food and pop-up bars will be on offer from more than 90 traders every weekend until Sunday 18 December 2022.

Tree of Light

Taking pride of place in Kings Square, the dazzling Tree of Light will be switched on by Santa on Saturday 19 November 2022 to a backdrop of music and entertainment.

Lit up with more than 10,000 lights and organised by the Rotary Club of Gloucester, you can display a message for family and friends or commemorate a loved one in exchange for a donation to local charities.

Help rescue Santa

For a fun family day out, head to the Trapped Escape Rooms in Longsmith Street to help find the lost keys to Santa's cabin.

Youngsters will have a helpful elf on their side and they'll also get the chance to chat with Santa and receive a present from him once they track him down.

It costs Β£10 a child and accompanying adults and under twos go free. You can take part every Wednesday to Sunday from 10am to 2pm and 3pm to 7pm from Thursday 1 December to Thursday 22 December 2022.

Get your skates on at the city's ice rink

What could be more festive than a spin around a magnificent open-air ice rink?

Open at Gloucester Quays from Thursday 24 November 2022 until Monday 2 January 2023, tickets cost Β£11.50 for adults and Β£9 for children. It's accessible for wheelchair users too.

Winter wonderland at the National Waterways Museum Gloucester

Enjoy half an hour of stories with Santa in his cafΓ© grotto from Saturday 3 December 2022. Story time takes place on Saturdays and Wednesdays throughout December - just remember to book ahead.

You can also help build a gingerbread city or tuck into a fabulously festive afternoon tea. And if you're visiting Gloucester Quays ice rink, you get 40 per cent off the usual museum entry price for one day only.

Climb your way towards Christmas

The Warehouse Climbing Centre has a festive open day for novice and first-time climbers, who might want a head start on a healthy new year hobby.

On Sunday 18 December 2022 from 9am to 5pm, for Β£15 you can try 30 minute β€˜mini-taster’ activities. Absolutely no experience is required and all kit and equipment is provided.

Give the 90m long artificial caving system a whirl or roll up your sleeves for a taste of bouldering or digiwall climbing.

A Christmas Carol at Blackfriars Priory

Step back in time and join Victorian novelist Charles Dickens, as he's brought back to life to share one of the most famous ghost stories of all time.

In a stunning setting brought alive with seasonal spooks, hauntings and humbug, award-winning actor and writer Jonathan Goodwin performs as Dickens in this one-man performance on Thursday 15 December 2022. Tickets cost Β£12.

Be tempted at Gloucester Vegan Christmas Market

The fifth Gloucester Vegan Christmas Market returns to beautiful Blackfriars Priory on Sunday 4 December 2022, from 10am to 3pm.

Find your seasonal spirit among 60 stalls packed with fantastic food, delightful drinks and gorgeous gifts. Entry costs Β£3.

Santa Fun Run

Lace up your trainers and grab your best Santa or elf outfits to bring some festive fun to the city on a one or five kilometre trail.

Starting at 10am on Saturday 10 December 2022 from the former Debenhams store in Kings Square, it costs Β£6 for adults, Β£2 for under 16s and wheelchair users can join in for free. Money raised will go to the Rotary Club of Gloucester to be shared among local charities.

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