There’s no denying it, Christmas is nearly here and whether you embrace the full festive fun or choose to escape the build up, there's plenty of things to do and gorgeous gifts to buy in the Cotswolds. 

Batsford Arboretum Elf Hunt
Santa and his Elf return to their magical grotto at Batsford Arboretum this Christmas on Saturday 9th and Sunday 10th December.  You’ll also find lots of lovely gift ideas in the Arboretum Shop. Meanwhile on Boxing Day you can burn off your Christmas dinner with a magical winter walk through the arboretum and a free glass of mulled wine (while stocks last!).  The arboretum is open from 10am to 3pm.

Cotswold Wildlife Park

The Cotswold Wildlife Park has a whole host of wonderful animal experiences which make unique gift ideas for that ‘hard to buy for’ family member!  Whether it’s becoming a keeper for a day or meeting the park’s giraffes, there’s something for everyone.

Birdland Park

Discover exciting experiences and interactive gifts ideas at Birdland this Christmas, where you can become a keeper for a day, feed the penguins or even adopt a bird.  A firm favourite is the penguin feeding experience, a very special and memorable gift idea, guaranteed to delight everyone who takes part. The penguins are fed every day at 2.30pm and you can help to feed the colony of King Penguins and parcel of Humboldts that inhabit Penguin Shore. Vouchers are available to buy online from the website.


Celebrate Christmas with a touch of royal splendour and enjoy exclusive Christmas shopping and dining events at Highgrove – the private estate of The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall. Located near picturesque Tetbury,  the Highgrove Estate will be brimming with unique gift ideas and artisan wares, while the estate chefs will be cooking up a storm with seasonal dishes for lunch, as well as exclusive supper events in December.

The Ebrington Arms

Celebrate your Christmas in style with a fantastic meal at The Times’ No 1 UK Village Inn 2017!  Nestled in the north Cotswolds, The Ebrington Arms is a great base to celebrate Christmas – being close to Broadway, Chipping Campden and Daylesford and close to historic Stratford Upon Avon.  With lovely rooms available too, the pub is like going back in time with roaring open fires, beams and flagstones, yet rooms with all the contemporary touches.  The pub has been independently owned for a decade and has held two AA Rosettes for the past seven!

It's a Wonderful Life at the Corinium Museum

Is there anything more festive than ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’?  This fabulous movie about an angel who helps a despairing businessman discover what life would have been like if he’d never existed is being shown at The Corinium Museum cinema in Cirencester at 7pm on Thursday 14th December and festive refreshments will also be available.

Create Christmas jumper decorations at the Fashion Museum Bath

Families can enjoy a whole host of fun activities at the Roman Baths, Fashion Museum and Victoria Art Gallery in Bath this Christmas.  Make a paper plate owl calendar inspired by Minerva’s owl at the Roman Baths, create Christmas jumper decorations at the Fashion Museum, and make some seasonal art to decorate your home at the Victoria Art Gallery. The Gallery will also be running special ‘Grandparents and Grandkids’ art sessions. All events are included in the admission price – and no booking is required – just turn up.

Robert Welch

Pop into Robert Welch this Christmas and experience a host of festive treats, including their new and exclusive range of table linen and candles.  Just mention ‘Cotswold Tourism’ at the till to enjoy free gift wrapping until 31st of December, with gifts wrapped in a hamper for £12.50.   And on Friday 1st and 15th December from 11am to 4pm there’s a carving masterclass, with tips from a professional chef on how to make the most delicious Christmas dinner, and on Saturday 9th December there’s a Canape Masterclass from 11am to 4pm.

New Brewery Arts

If you’re feeling crafty, New Brewery Arts is the place to come this Christmas.  Crafted for Christmas is a buying exhibition where you’ll find high quality craft for the home and for Christmas - on until 31st December.  If you love a handmade Christmas, there’s a heavenly host of Christmas workshops taking place including Willow Christmas Decorations, Make A Silver Ring, Print Your Own Wrapping Paper, Gift Wrapping and Needlefelt Robins.  And the Café will be serving up regularly changing seasonal nibbles.

Undiscovered Cotswolds - a private tour and the festive lights at Blenheim Palace

Treat yourself to a private tour of Cotswold villages before taking a relaxing stroll around the festive light trail at beautiful Blenheim Palace.  The ‘Cotswolds and Christmas at Blenheim Palace’ tour run by Undiscovered Cotswolds is available from November 30th and throughout December and can also be tailored to suit your needs.

The Howard Arms

If you’re stuck for gift ideas this Christmas, what could be better than a voucher to spend on lunch or dinner at the Howard Arms in Illmington.  There’s a special Christmas menu available throughout December and a Christmas Fayre on December 5th with free mulled cider and festive arts, crafts and gifts.

The British Motor Museum

Visit the British Motor Museum at Gaydon for festive family fun including a Christmas trail and the chance to help Martin the Mechanic get Santa’s sleigh back on the road!  You can meet Lady Edwards or her Chauffeur William and hear all about the Christmas boxes of goodies they’ll be delivering to the servants for Boxing Day.  The Christmas Elves will also be stopping by at 1.30pm each day to take families on a special festive family tour of the museum.  Available from the 8th – 23rd December.

Tewkesbury Abbey

Tewkesbury Abbey are hosting wonderful festive events in the run up to Christmas.  Enjoy the Advent Carol Service sung by the Abbey Choir and Schola Cantorum on December 3rd and the service of  nine lessons and carols on December 17th.  There are also services on Christmas Eve including Midnight Mass with the Christmas Day Eucharist at 10.30am the following morning. The Epiphany Carol Service on the 7th January sees the Abbey lit by more than 5,000 candles - all services are open to all.

The ENO (photo courtesy of ENO - Richard Hubert Smith)

Cheltenham Town Hall is the venue for a magical performance by the critically acclaimed English National Opera’s orchestra and chorus on December 21st.  The programme includes festive music by Vaughan Williams, Handel and Anderson and there’ll be an encore of We Wish You A Merry Christmas.  VIP tickets include the best seat available, use of the drawing room, a glass of prosecco and canapés on arrival as well as an interval glass of wine.

Gloucester Cathedral - market in the cloisters

Enjoy Christmas carols in glorious Gloucester Cathedral on December 9th when bite-sized bursts of festive praise are sung on the hour by Choirs of the Cathedral.  There’s also Christmas shopping at the Cloisters market and don’t forget to visit The Monk’s Kitchen and Chapter House for some tasty Christmas treats too, or the new gift shop for some beautiful gifts, cards, candles and more.

Brewerism Brewery Tours

Give a beer-loving friend a gift to remember this Christmas with a gift voucher for Brewerism Brewery Tours.  The vouchers cover the full price of walking tours (including beer, behind-the-scenes-tours, and a snack) in Cheltenham, Gloucester and the Cotswolds.  The voucher can also be personalised by hand.

Roe deer at Cotswold Water Park

If you’re looking for a present with a difference this year, why not go for a Cotswold Water Park annual membership?  As well as helping to make the Park a better place for wildlife and people, your gift includes free parking at all CWP Trust run car parks, 15% discount off all food and drink at The Gateway Centre as well as a members’ newsletter and CWP map!

Christmas shopping in Cheltenham

Forget Christmas markets in Europe this Christmas and instead pay a visit to Cheltenham where you’ll find festive markets with Christmas entertainment for kids and adults alike – and some of the best shopping around.  A Christmas street party on November 25th kicks off the festive fun and there’ll be a whole range of pantomimes and other traditional festivities around the town this Christmas.

.Court Barn Museum - selling exhibition

There are gift ideas a-plenty at Court Barn’s Christmas Delights Selling Exhibition from 25th November to 7th January.  It’s a great opportunity to buy a present for that special someone or just go along and treat yourself.  Entry is free.

Vintage Classics

If you’re looking for an unusual present for car-lovers, why not put them behind the wheel of an Aston Martin of E-Type Jaguar touring around the Cotswolds?  Vintage Classics Christmas gift vouchers help evoke nostalgic memories of driving in bygone days and are available for a particular car, or give the recipient the chance to choose themselves.  All cars are provided with tours around the Cotswolds.




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