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'Tis the season to be jolly!

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas, with Christmas markets popping up around the Cotswolds. Richard & I have always loved the Christmas season, plus the fab thing about Christmas markets is that not only do you start to get into the festive mood, but you can also support local Cotswold businesses! It is a 'win-win'...

Now the big question is 'Where are the Cotswold Christmas markets' this year? Some of the markets start early in November. We always head to the large market hosted at Cheltenham Racecourse, along with visiting our very local Daylesford market. However, those dates have been & gone, so if you are wanting to add some dates to your diary, here is the low-down on where the next Christmas markets will be running up to Chrimbo

Saturday 26th November: Head to the Roman city of Cirencester, there is a market on each day running up to Christmas but the opening Advent market & light switch on is taking place in Market Place this coming Saturday 26th November. A fab event to mark the start of the festive season including live entertainment and music for all the family. This is a fantastic Christmas Market set to the festive back drop of the Christmas tree, Christmas lights, carols and live music from local community performers. Extending the whole length of the Market Place and spreading into Cricklade Street and Castle Street. There will be over 100 stalls & don't miss the Christmas lights being switched on which will be at 4 pm.

Saturday 26th November: If you are in Moreton in Marsh this Saturday then just head to the main high street, where you will find an eclectic mix of local traders, with up to 80 stalls selling gifts and edible treats. From Noon, Santa will be on hand to greet his adoring fans, so whether you have been naughty or nice, here is your chance to ask for that special gift you want left under the Christmas tree this year. The market opens at 9am and the lights will be switched on just as it gets dark.

Two-day event Saturday 26th & Sunday 27th November: Enjoy a weekend of Christmas shopping and festive cheer in the 18th century barns and farmyard at Cogges Manor Farm in Witney. The market is open 10am to 4pm. You will find a collection of local traders offering a selection of artisan arts and crafts, unique gifts and homewares, accessories and delicious treats. This venue if perfect for Downton Abbey fans too.

Sunday 27th November: Head to the Spa town of Cheltenham for a spot of Christmas shopping at Suffolk Christmas market. Lots of stalls that will run from Great Norwood St, right along Suffolk Parade to Montpellier Terrace. Plus, you may even spot Santa, making sure his list is up to date before the 'big day'. Kids & adults can enjoy the fun-fair, local trader stalls selling everything from gifts to tasty treats. Shop whilst being serenaded by carollers, the perfect way to lift the spirits and while away a few hours on a Sunday afternoon.

Friday 2nd December: Why not head to the historic market town of Tetbury. An occasion full of cheer & warmth you don't have to be a local to enjoy Tetbury’s Community Christmas Lights Switch-On event. This year promises to be bigger & better than ever, get in the festive mood with the brass band playing Christmassy tune, enjoy a spot of shopping at the Christmas market and an evening of festive delights. A Lantern Parade is taking place at 5.30pm just before the lights get switched on at 6pm. Whilst in Tetbury why not pop into St Saviour's Church on New Church Street and admire the 'Christmas Trees' all decorated by local organisations, the local schools & clubs. You could get some decorating inspirations! The Christmas Tree festival is running from 1st December through to the beginning of January

Friday 2nd December: Fairford is such a lovely little town & this year they are hosting a Christmas market. This evening event starts with the lights being switched on at 6.30pm & will run through until 8.30pm. Plenty of time to do a spot of shopping before the chill of the evening air has time to settle in. Lots of stalls with a variety of gifts, if you are in the area do pop by & support this local event.

Friday 2nd December: Malmesbury is the perfect Cotswolds town, filled with lots of independent shops & stores along it's vibrant High Street. This late night Christmas shopping event is filled with festive fun and entertainment. Don't miss Santa's Grotto, carol singing, rides, food and more…The event is open between 6pm-9pm.

Saturday 3rd December: A beautiful high street & a Christmas market, what more could you ask for? Well Chipping Campden is hosting it's Christmas market on the first Saturday in December so why not head along & check out the stalls from local artisans to crafts, tasty treats and a glass or two of warming mulled wine. The event opens at midday and runs through to 6pm.

Christmas Crafts at Berkeley Castle: Monday 5th to Wednesday 7th December. With the atmospheric castle as the backdrop this is the perfect location to head to if you want to create something a little different for the very special someone. With a different workshop running each day you can design your own festive door wreath, create a glitter house or design your own lantern. Tickets are prebook only, but there is still time to get booked in & create something to be cherished for years to come.

If none of these dates work for you then don't panic! Sudeley Castle & Blenheim Palace have events running throughout December. Wander through thousands of twinkly lights, amazing light displays with the backdrop of these beautiful is a sure-fire way to get into the festive mood. Tickets for these events do sell out fast!

Another top tip, check the National Trust website for local houses like Chastleton, Lacock, Snowshill and see what events they have. I know that our nearest NT home, Chastleton is decorating their property in a 60's Christmas style...opening times are limited over the winter months so do check ahead before travelling.

I hope this has helped to give you a few ideas on what to do in the run up to Christmas in and around the Cotswolds.

Have a fun filled time & just remember, we are open & running Cotswolds tours throughout December, we have a few dates left so do not hesitate to reach out if you want to spend the day exploring amazing villages and market towns!

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