Towns and villages across Gloucestershire are switching on their Christmas lights, giving residents the chance to gather and count down to the start of the festive season.
With some seriously impressive events planned — think fireworks displays, lantern parades and full-scale Christmas markets! — SoGlos shares the best Christmas lights switch-on events happening in Gloucestershire this November and December 2023.
Cheltenham Christmas lights switch-on events
Cheltenham Christmas Launch, Thursday 16 November 2023
Cheltenham BID's official Christmas launch event brings roaming characters and live entertainment to the town centre from 4pm to 7pm. The Christmas lights will turn on when dusk falls — with brand-new installations creating Cheltenham's very own festive light trail for visitors to follow this year.
Bishop's Cleeve Christmas lights switch-on, Saturday 18 November 2023
With free entertainment, an open-air Christmas market and food vendors, as well as the chance to meet Father Christmas and his reindeer on The Green, Bishop's Cleeve is switching its Christmas lights on at 5.30pm — with festivities from 3pm to 7.30pm.
Pittville Pump Room Christmas lights switch-on, Saturday 25 November 2023
See Father Christmas turn the lights on at 5.30pm, with live music, DJ sets and Frozen performances from 3pm to 7pm. There's also opportunities to meet Santa and the Frozen characters, plus a Christmas fayre and artisanal market.
Charlton Kings Christmas lights switch-on and fayre, Friday 1 December 2023
Lighting up the Christmas tree at Church Piece, this free community event includes meet-and-greets with Santa and his reindeer, carousels and traditional funfair games, live entertainment, and craft stalls inside Stanton Hall — all taking place from 3pm to 6pm.
Cotswolds Christmas lights switch-on events
Cirencester Advent Market, Saturday 25 and Sunday 26 November 2023
One of the Cotswolds' biggest festive events, Cirencester's Advent Market event returns with a two-day street market, featuring over 200 stalls, live entertainment and family activities. The Christmas lights switch-on ceremony begins at around 4pm on the Saturday, followed by a short, silent fireworks display, falling snow and light projections!
Moreton-in-Marsh Christmas market and lights switch-on, Saturday 25 November 2023
Moreton's annual Christmas market opens at 10am, with Santa's grotto in the Redesdale Hall. Soak up seasonal cheer at a carol service in the High Street, before the town's Christmas lights are switched on in the evening.
Tetbury Christmas fair and market, Friday 1 December 2023
Author Jilly Cooper is switching on the Christmas lights in Tetbury town centre at 7pm, with Santa's grotto, a brass band and plenty of food and drink. For even more festive fun, Tetbury's Christmas lantern parade and Christmas tree festival are taking place on the same day, too.
Bourton-on-the-Water Christmas lights switch-on, Friday 1 December 2023
See the famous floating Christmas tree in the river as it bursts into light and colour, with Bourton's Christmas lights being switched on at around 4.30pm.
Chipping Campden Christmas market, Saturday 2 December 2023
Chipping Campden's annual Christmas market is back, transforming the high street, town square and market hall with arts and crafts stalls selling unique gifts and festive food and drink from 12pm. The Christmas lights are switched on at dusk.
Lechlade Christmas lights switch-on, Saturday 2 December 2023
Taking place in the market square from 3.45pm to 6.30pm, Lechlade's Christmas celebrations feature a lantern parade, live music from rock ukulele band Frankenstein's Lobster, appearances from Mr and Mrs Claus and barbecue food, as well as the grand switch-on event.
Fairford festive market, Friday 8 December 2023
Shop for seasonal goodies at Fairford's Christmas market, when the Christmas tree lights are also switched on. Browse stalls selling a variety of crafts, gifts and food and drink from 6.30pm to 8.30pm.
Stow-on-the-Wold Christmas lights switch-on, Friday 8 December 2023
Join in with carol singing and festive tunes around the Christmas tree in The Square, as the lights are switched on for the festive season. Celebrations take place from 4pm to 6.30pm and coincide with the annual Christmas Tree Festival at St Edward's Church.
Forest of Dean Christmas lights switch-on events
Cinderford Christmas lights switch-on, Saturday 25 November 2023
Gather at The Triangle to see the Cinderford Christmas lights turn on from 5pm, with a Christmas lantern parade led by the town crier planned as part of the event — starting at the Belle Vue Centre at 4.30pm.
Light Up Lydney parade, Friday 1 December 2023
Join the parade through Lydney at 5.25pm, starting at Hams Road and finishing at Lydney Town Hall around 6pm, where Santa will light the Christmas tree. There's live music from X Factor star, Russell Jones, as well as chances to meet Father Christmas in his grotto, free face painting and festive craft stalls.
Coleford Christmas lights switch-on, Saturday 2 December 2023
Coleford's Christmas celebrations start at 1pm, with stalls to browse, funfair rides for youngsters and live entertainment; followed by a parade at 5.30pm and the official lights switch-on at 5.30pm. Father Christmas will also be in his clock tower grotto to meet visiting children at various times throughout the day.
Newent Christmas lights switch-on, Saturday 2 December 2023
Christmas comes to Newent with an artisanal festive market and music from 2pm, as well as children's fairground rides. The parade starts at 5pm (spot Santa in his sleigh!) followed by the lights switch-on.
Gloucester Christmas lights switch-on events
Gloucester lantern procession and Christmas lights switch-on, Saturday 18 November 2023
Gloucester's beloved lantern procession is brightening up the city once again, with a colourful '12 Days of Christmas' theme for 2023. Starting on Southgate Street at 4.30pm, the parade makes its way to High Cross for the official Christmas lights switch-on at 4.50pm; continuing to Kings Square for the illumination of Gloucester's Tree of Light at 5pm.
See Gloucester lantern procession and Christmas lights switch-on for full details of the event.
Stroud Christmas lights switch-on events
Stonehouse Goodwill Festival, Saturday 18 November 2023
See Father Christmas turn on the Stonehouse Christmas lights at around 6pm, as part of this year's Goodwill Festival — featuring market stalls, live music, street entertainers and a mini-farm, all from 2pm, as well as meet-and-greets with the big man in Santa's grotto.
Dursley Christmas lights switch-on, Friday 24 November 2023
Launching Christmas with a bang, Dursley's Christmas lights switch on at 6pm, followed by an explosive fireworks display. Celebrations start earlier in the day from 4.30pm, including a funfair, Christmas market stalls and live music — with Santa's grotto staying open until every child who wants to visit has been seen.
Nailsworth Goodwill Evening, Friday 24 November 2023
Nailsworth's Goodwill Evening kicks off with Santa arriving at his grotto at 5pm, shortly followed by the Christmas lights switch-on. There's also carol singing, face painting, fun fairground rides and appearances from recognisable Disney characters, with local traders running stalls on Market Street from 3pm, too.
Stroud Goodwill Evening, Friday 1 December 2023
It's not a traditional switch-on event but Stroud Goodwill Evening sees hundreds of brightly lit lanterns parading the streets, with residents invited to take part in the procession from 6pm — this year's theme is 'ocean'. Shops are open for late night shopping, with food and drink stalls dotted around town, too.
Berkeley Christmas lights switch-on, Friday 1 December 2023
Marking the start of the festive season, Berkeley is switching on its Christmas lights, hosting various craft and food stalls and keeping shops open later, with celebrations from 5pm to 8pm.
Tewkesbury Christmas lights switch-on events
Tewkesbury Festival of Christmas Lights, Sunday 19 November 2023
Bringing around 100 Christmas market stalls, fairground rides and a performance stage to Tewkesbury town centre, this year's Festival of Christmas Lights kicks off at 12pm, with festivities taking place until 5.45pm — including the official Christmas lights switch on at 5pm.