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Fun Christmas shopping!

Why sweat it on the high street buying cookie-cutter gifts when there's so much local, independent talent flooding Christmas fairs and markets all over Glos and Wilts? Here's our pick of the best.

The Roses’ Christmas Market, The Roses Theatre, Tewkesbury, Glos, Sat 18 Nov

Last year’s Christmas market (its first) was such a roaring success that Tewkesbury’s The Roses Theatre thought, ‘let’s do it again!’ A faberoo festive shopping experience, you can pick up one-off gifts, artisan produce and affordable art, among loads of other original gifts you won’t find on the high street. You can also have a bit of a sing-a-long to carols and stuff yourself with hot pork rolls and mince pies. Plus Tewkesbury itself is definitely a contender for lead part as the perfect Christmas market town, so get into the spirit early.


Friends of Salisbury Cathedral School Christmas Fair, Salisbury, Wilts, Sat 18 Nov

From organic gin, fine art and Christmas decorations to scrumptious jams and pickles, this fair is a great showcase for local talent, as well as showing off the gorgeous cloisters of the Cathedral School. An atmospheric night out, there will be over 40 stalls selling gifts, as well as a good selection of food. And it’s raising money for the Salisbury Charity Children’s Chance, so you’ll be shopping for a good cause, too.


Christmas Shopping at Whatley Manor, near Malmesbury, Wilts, Tue 21 to Thu 23 Nov

For a luxe, otherworldly Christmas shopping experience, head over to Wiltshire’s lovely country house hotel Whatley Manor which is even more gorgeous than usual when it’s dressed for Christmas. Muddy favourites Moloh, Cozi, Hicks & Hide, Dragonfly & Blossom, Hi Ho Silver and Chien Lunatique will be among the shops laying out their stalls, alongside stylish home decorations, gifts from the Whatley spa, unique wines and spirits and produce from the Whatley Manor kitchen. That’s the one with the Michelin star doncha know! Would be a shame to go without lunch, tea or even stay the night I’m thinking!


Christmas is coming to Highgrove, Tetbury, Glos, Wed 22 Nov to Sun 17 December

HRH The Prince of Wales’s gaff is a princely host for a right royal Christmas festive and shopping experience. This year the famous Orchard Room will be once again offering unique gift ideas, decorations and gourmet foods. Bask in the beauty of the place and find those special, one-of-a-kind gifts. No sharp, high street elbows here, instead you can float around, glass of champagne in hand, breaking for lunch and cream tea in the brand new restaurant. Sounds perfecto. 


Salisbury Christmas Market, Salisbury, Wilts, Thu 23 Nov to Fri 22 Dec

This magical Christmas market sees the beautiful medieval cathedral city transformed into a winter wonderland that rivals the best of Germany’s famous Christmas markets. From jewellery and crafted handmade furniture to every flavour of liqueur you could dream of, this one could get jolly! The opening night is always special with loads of street entertainers and a real festive spirit, then on Thu 30 Nov, there’s the annual Christmas Lantern Parade which this year is in association with the Salisbury Arts Centre and is another it-feels-good-to-be-alive event.


Winter Parade and Christmas Market, Devizes, Wilts, Fri 24 Nov

This winter parade is one of the region’s largest lantern processions and will get even Scrooge types into a festive mood with its river of hundreds of beautiful creations. Father Christmas gets picked up along the way and then it’s to the town centre for the Christmas lights switch-on, after which it’s time to shop! Local crafts and tradespeople will have goodies on show.


Lou Lou’s Vintage Fair, Cheltenham Town Hall, Cheltenham, Glos, Sun 26 Nov

Not strictly a Christmas fair, but hey, vintage is for life not just for Christmas. Browse stalls of eclectic, affordable vintage fashion and homeware and even pop into a vintage beauty salon for a victory roll, beehive or pin-curl do at this award-winning fair. From 11am to 4pm, £2.50 on the door, under 12s go free,


Cotswold Christmas Market, Pittville Pump Room, Cheltenham, Glos, Sun 26 Nov

Hosted by inspirational and aspirational Cheltenham gift shop The Willow Tree, expect a beautifully curated selection of gifts by local talented makers and artisans, vintage pieces, and food and drink. And the venue, of course, will be spectacular too. Just need sunshine now for a perfect Sunday outing.


Victorian Christmas Market, until Sun 26 Nov; Enchanted Christmas Market Mon 27 to Sat 24 Dec, Gloucester Quays, Gloucester, Glos

These two fab, back-to-back markets at Gloucester Quays include a cast of Victorian characters – street urchins, pickpockets and the men in blue – street food vendors, a Ferris Wheel, tons of festive stalls, a real ale tent, brass bands and an open-air ice rink. I’ll see you dancing on ice!


Wealth of Wiltshire Christmas Fayre, Trowbridge, Wilts, Thu 30 Nov

A gathering of all the best makers in the county, this fair is one of Wiltshire’s largest and as well as local craft and gift stalls, it also features live music, entertainment and good nosh. It’s also a good excuse to visit the gorgeous market town on the River Biss which is famed for its textile history dating back to the 14th century.


The Malthouse Collective, Salmon Springs, Stroud, Glos, Thu 30 Nov

Stroud’s newest interiors store (see newsflash here) is already something of a treasure trove, but for its Christmas Market, it will become a veritable grotto! From stocking fillers to forever gifts, retro finds to antique collectibles, artisan goodies to original art, they’ve got it covered. You can also expect a bucket load of mulled wine and festive music. And there may even be a visit from man of the moment, Santa.


Wild Boar Presents: A Curious Christmas, Wild Bore Gin Lounge, Stroud, Glos, Fri 1 to Sun 3 Dec

Did someone say gin? Always happy to follow that spirit, and on this particular weekend, your G&T will come served up with a smorgasbord of festive gifts, including art, gifts, jewellery, clothes and decorations. There will also be music and festive games. And more gin! I’m in!


Christmas Floating Market, Bradford on Avon, Wilts, Sat 2 to Sun 3 Dec

After the success of last year’s inaugural floating market in Bradford on Avon, the crafty boaters who live on the Kennet and Avon Canal are back again this year even bigger and better. There will be 40 traders spread between 14 boats, stalls on the tow path and a takeover of West Barn in the Tithe Barn Complex. As well as retail therapy, you’ll also be able to watch makers at work, from hand spinning wool to a resident blacksmith who will be turning up with a portable forge. And, there’ll be pizza, courtesy of Wildflower Pizzeria, which prepares pizzas on its boat and then cooks them in a mini wood-fired oven. And if pizza’s not your bag, Wolf Kitchen which serves warming soups and other tasty snacks will be there to keep the wolf from the door.


Made in Bradford on Avon Christmas Market, 16 Dec

Browse the wonderful array of handmade, local gifts. This annual event is hugely successful with visitors. Take time to have a chat, meet new people and visit the refreshment area which is provided by Dorothy House Hospice Care.


The Guild at Chapel Arts, Cheltenham, Glos, Thu 14 to Sat 23 Dec

Colin Chetwood Monolights

We love, love, love the beautifully crafted pieces produced by the Gloucestershire Guild of Craftsmen and this special Christmas show at Chapel Arts (one of Muddy’s favourite galleries), will be a visual and sensory treat (does anyone else like stroking wood-turned vessels or is that just me?). The café will be homebaking festive treats and there’ll also be some Christmas carols to belt out.

Additional words and research by Tonicha Luffman

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