Christmas is nearly here, the shops bursting festive songs, and the pigs in blankets, turkey and mince pies fill the supermarket shelves. The countdown has begun, and you know how many nights are left until Christmas. When the tree is up, the presents bought and wrapped, and you’ve got your festive jumper from the back of the cupboard, what Christmas activities can keep you entertained this December? Read on to discover some of the varied experiences you could have in and around Swindon during the holidays.
Soak Up the Atmosphere of the Christmas Markets
If you missed the STEAM Christmas Market at the STEAM Museum of the Great Western Railway in Swindon, don’t worry, there are still plenty of opportunities to get into the Christmas spirit among the stalls selling Christmas-themed food, drinks and crafts. A stone’s throw away in Salisbury is the annual Salisbury Christmas Market, boasting an excellent selection of festive gifts, artisan products and mouth-watering food and drinks. If that isn’t enough, there is also an all-weather, real ice rink for you to skate, just like in the movies. There’s also a free park and ride available, with five sites providing free car parking and regular buses into the city centre. And if you want to stay in Swindon, there will be a Pop-Up Christmas Artisan Market appearing in the town on selected weekends in December.
Fill Up on Festive Dining
Whether you want a sit-down meal or a festive snack, you won’t be short of choices in Swindon. The Blunsdon House Hotel hosts its Santa Sunday Lunch every Sunday until December 16th, featuring a three-course lunch, followed by a disco. If you want something to eat on the go while you do your Christmas shopping, the Swindon Designer Outlet has an array of festive street food stalls ranging from Yorkshire pudding wraps to German bratwursts. If you still have some room, don’t worry, there are plenty of Christmas desserts to help fill that hole and satisfy your sweet tooth.
Head to the Casino
While there has been a lot of talk about the possibility of opening a casino right here in Swindon, as of yet, we still have to wait in anticipation for the day such an announcement comes. However, there are options for those looking to soak up the atmosphere in a brick-and-mortar casino, such as the Grosvenor Casino in Reading, which is open 24 hours a day, or a short train journey to London opens many possibilities. For many, the casino is an excellent place to end a night of partying when celebrating Christmas or New Year’s, so get clued up on casino etiquette to make sure you can make the most out of the experience.
Enjoy the Festival of Lights
A new event for 2018, Swindon’s The Festival of Light guides you around the town centre with a beautiful trail of light and magic. Until the end of December, the Festival of Light has you exploring the town while getting into the Christmas spirit. On the trail you will find:
- A beautiful fountain lit up with bright LEDs.
- Giant glittery baubles, an excellent spot to take selfies.
- Santa’s sleigh and reindeer.
- A giant interactive teddy bear.
- A 20-foot-tall Christmas tree.
In addition to these features, there will be additional temporary attractions throughout December, including a Christmas Mariachi Band and a Bauble Photo Booth.
Watch a Film
With plans for the Snowasis development recently confirmed, Swindon will soon get a new cinema. That doesn’t mean, however, that you can’t relax in front of a new Christmas film in the town this year, as there are, of course, multiplex cinemas at Shaw Ridge and Greenbridge. Both show all the latest releases, including “The Grinch” and “The Nutcracker and the Four Realms.” If you want to escape from Christmas films, there are plenty of non-festive options, too.