The new 'Gloucester Believes...' campaign from Visit Gloucester is encouraging residents and tourists to experience the magic of Gloucester at Christmas, showcasing all the unique things there are to enjoy in the city throughout the festive season.
The streets are already alive with colour after the annual lantern procession and Christmas lights switch-on set the city centre aglow — and the decorations are up at the spectacular Gloucester Cathedral, too, which is hosting a variety of free carol services in the run-up to Christmas, as well as its hugely popular Cathedral Christmas Experience at Night.
Down at the docks, Gloucester's outdoor ice rink opens at Gloucester Quays on Friday 24 November 2023; its eclectic Winter Markets take place every weekend until Sunday 17 December 2023; the brand-new Gloucester Food Dock has new openings coming thick and fast throughout the festive season; and visitors can even hop on a floating sleigh ride accompanied by Santa's elves, taking in iconic sights like the LV14 SULA Lightship, Llanthony Bridge and High Orchard Bridge from a whole new viewpoint.
There are plenty of opportunities to meet Father Christmas before he sets off on his incredible journey across the world, with the National Waterways Museum Gloucester hosting Stories with Santa; an immersive Santa experience at Coal Kitchen; Father Christmas paying a visit to the historic Llanthony Secunda Priory; and even the beautiful tall ship, the Kathleen & May, hosting a visit from the big man himself.
For a sprinkling of Christmas culture, visitors can catch a lecture on the Gloucester banker that inspired Ebenezer Scrooge and a performance of an excerpt from A Christmas Carol at St Mary De Crypt church; listen to ghost stories at the atmospheric Blackfriars Priory; enjoy an evening of mirth and merriment from the Steampunks of Gloucestershire at The Folk of Gloucester; or catch the Hundred Watt Club's evening of festive burlesque at Gloucester Guildhall.
There's festive family fun to be had at Gloucester Ski and Snowboard Centre; the chance to become an Elf Ninja at Ninja Warrior UK Gloucester; and a thrilling escape room experience where families must race against the clock to save Christmas as Trapped Escape Rooms. There's even a Santa Fun Run to get involved with.
Visit Gloucester has also created a Gloucester Gift Guide, showcasing the city's independent retailers, shopping centres and Christmas craft markets, along with experience gifts from Gloucester businesses, like cathedral tours, brewery experiences and even ski or snowboard lessons. There are 12 runaway reindeers to spot across the city centre while you're out and about Christmas shopping, too. The gift guide can be found at visitgloucester.co.uk/christmas/gift-guide.
Councillor Andy Lewis, cabinet member responsible for leisure and culture at Gloucester City Council, said: 'Gloucester’s love of Christmas goes right back to the Romans, who would’ve celebrated Saturnalia here, and the city really comes into its own at this time of year.
'This campaign by Visit Gloucester perfectly sums up how much Gloucester Believes in Christmas.'
Visitors are encouraged to share their festive photos taken around the city using #GloucesterBelieves on social media.
For more information about the 'Gloucester Believes...' campaign and all the fantastic festive things to do in Gloucester this Christmas 2023, visit visitgloucester.co.uk/christmas.