It’s that time of the year again – Christmas is coming and the high streets are full of people running around, searching for Christmas gifts, and scouring supermarkets for all threats the festive season has to offer. If you and the family want a well-deserved break from this not so fun part of the festive run up, come to Gloucestershire – with a wide range of festive events happening across the county, you can join in with the spirit of Christmas for all of the family…
Christmas at Clearwell Caves – Clearwell caves, in the heart of the Forest of Dean, are ancient iron mines dating back over 4,500 years. Through the maze of tunnels, dug out by the miners, you will come across large caverns. Coming here at Christmas is a magical experience – the caves themselves have a magical feel to them. This year, you can meet Santa – in one of the beautifully decorated caverns – then follow the story of Evie’s aeroplane. Along the way there are underground stalls and places to buy festive refreshments. All of the family will enjoy this underground adventure!
Boxing Day Duck Race – Bibury – Gloucestershire is no stranger to unusual traditions, also being the home of the cheese rolling on Coopers Hill! So, if like many people, you want to get out and about on Boxing Day but don’t fancy fighting through the sales, wrap up warm in your Christmas hats, scarves and gloves, and come and cheer a duck on at the Bibury annual duck race! It starts at approximately 11am. There are 2 races – each raising money for charity – the first involves decoy ducks, and the second thousands of yellow rubber ducks – a bizarre sight to see them meandering down the River Coln on Boxing day morning!
Westonbirt Arboretum Christmas Lights – Westonbirt Arboretum is one of the many jewels in Gloucestershire’s crown. A beautiful collection of thousands of different species of trees from around the world, Westonbirt Arboretum is beautiful at any time of the year, but at Christmas it becomes a magical enchanted forest. The trail is lit up, with twinkling lights in the trees, and great lighting designs lighting up the festive trail. A truly relaxing way into Christmas!
Cheltenham Races – 9th and 10th December – To get your adrenalin pumping, visit the world famous Prestbury Park – home of the Gold Cup. The two day International in December is a fun day out for seasoned horse racing fans, or people who have never been horse racing before. There are plenty of food and drink stalls around, and the atmosphere is great. If you have any horse lovers in the family, local artist Gill Parker, specialises in bronze animal sculptures of horses – have a look at her website, http://www.gillparker.com for a special Christmas gift.
Winter Owl Evening – International Birds of Prey Centre, Newent – An owl, gliding through the shadows, is a special treat on a winters evening – be amazed by these beautiful birds at the winter owl evenings. You will be taken on a guided tour by torchlight – seeing the owls at night when they are alert. You can then enjoy a nice warming mulled wine and hog roast, before seeing the birds doing what they do best – flying at night. The smaller owls will be shown in the indoor arena with low lighting, and you can see the larger owls outside, gliding softly across the fields. Make sure that you wrap up warm and bring a torch.