10 free things to do in Gloucestershire this Christmas

Your Gloucestershire Christmas celebrations don’t have to cost a fortune, thanks to SoGlos’s round up of 10 free things to do in the county over the festive season.

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Make the most of Christmas this year without having to break the bank, with these free things to do in Gloucestershire.
Make the most of Christmas this year without having to break the bank, with these free things to do in Gloucestershire.

Gloucestershire is bursting with plenty of free things to do over the festive holiday season, so we’ve rounded up 10 of our favourites – giving you plenty of great inspiration for the month of December and into the new year.


About the sponsor – Trioscape Garden Centre

An impressive garden centre located just five miles from Gloucester and home to plants, gardening products, furniture and gifts through the year, Trioscape really comes into its own each festive season with a stunning Christmas department.

Expect to find specially sourced festive gifts, baubles, decorations, artificial trees and much more throughout the store, while the popular restaurant – open throughout the week – will be offering a traditional Christmas menu on Wednesdays in December.

For more information, visit trioscape.co.uk.


1. Meet Santa’s reindeer at Trioscape

There’s a chance for children – and kids at heart! – to meet real life reindeer at Trioscape garden centre in Newent on Saturday 11 and Sunday 12 December 2021. This event is completely free of charge and doesn’t require booking, but there is also the oppotunity to visit Santa in his grotto for £7.50, including a Christmas gift.

For more information, visit trioscape.co.uk.


2. Enjoy Gloucester Cathedral’s best ever Christmas

After spending last Christmas apart, Gloucester Cathedral is inviting people in the county to come together and celebrate in style, with a host of festive events from carol concerts to family services. Marvel at Gloucester Cathedral’s biggest ever Christmas tree, take part in the Digital Advent Calendar, follow the Christmas Story Trail and tune into special services if you weren’t able to book real life tickets.


3. Wander through a Gloucestershire Christmas market

What’s more Christmassy than strolling around a festive market? Offering a sprinkling of seasonal joy, gift buying options galore and plenty of mulled wine, take a stroll through the markets spread out across the county in December 2021.


4. Spot magical Christmas lights

From Gloucester Bright Nights which continues well into 2022, to beautiful light installations in Cheltenham, Stroud, Tewkesbury and Tetbury, take a winter trip to Gloucestershire’s town centres for a magical – and free – evening of traditional entertainment.


5. Meet Santa and his elves at Regent Arcade

On Saturday 11 December 2021, Father Christmas and his cheeky elves will be making a special visit to Regent Arcade, walking around the Cheltenham shopping centre and taking time to hear lots of boys and girls’ wishlists before Christmas Day.


6. Take a festive walk in the Forest of Dean

Under a canopy of trees in the Forest of Dean, make your way around the iconic sculpture trail from Beechenhurst. Wrap up warm, pack a wintry picnic and enjoy a magical walk through the enchanting forest without breaking the bank.


7. Run off some steam at a playground in Gloucestershire

Get outside and run off some steam with a trip to one of Gloucestershire’s best parks around. Whether little ones want to zoom down the slides, swoop on the swings or whizz down the zip wire, there’s plenty of fun to be had at 12 of the best children's playgrounds in Gloucestershire.


8. Spread festive cheer at the Stroud Goodwill Evening

The Sub Rooms will be playing host to a special goodwill evening on Friday 3 December 2021 from 5pm to 9pm, with free entry to all. Get together with friends and family to enjoy the Santa’s grotto, gift market, light switch on, mulled wine, mince pies and live entertainment.


9. Take the plunge at Sandford Lido

While not officially confirmed at the time of writing, with Covid restrictions allowing, it’s likely that brave souls will be able to take the plunge in Sandford Park Lido’s chilly Christmas Swim once more in 2021. A great, albeit slightly bonkers, way to work up an appetite for lunch, this annual event brings in hundreds of people who are willing to swap the Christmas PJs for a cossie and a pair of goggles.


10. Start the new year with family fun at Cheltenham Racecourse

While adults do have to pay, under 18s get free entry to New Year’s Day racing at Cheltenham Racecourse. There’s a dedicated family fun zone, children’s television characters Bluey and Bingo will be making personal appearances throughout the day, as well as inflatable fun, a bouncy castle, face painting, the chance to meet animals from St. James City Farm and more.


For more information about Trioscape, visit trioscape.co.uk.


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