Cheltenham Christmas light switch-on a crowd-pleaser


Cheltenham’s Christmas lights were switched on in style on Saturday evening to the delight of spectators.

This year’s spectacular event was inspired by A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens and saw three giant ghost puppets parade through the town eventually meeting outside The Queens Hotel where they met Scrooge and tried to change his ways.

The three parades, starting separately from Cambray Place, The Brewery Quarter and Montpellier Street, told the famous tale of selfish Scrooge and the ghosts of Christmas past, present and future who show him the error of his ways and what the true spirit of Christmas is all about.

With a different personality for each ghost, spectators were encouraged to choose which ghost they wanted to follow.

Once at The Queens Hotel, spectators were on hand with help and encouragement (alongside lots of boos and cheers), and Scrooge finally learnt the meaning of Christmas, helping to bring Christmas lights to Cheltenham alongside the most famous festive figure of all, Father Christmas.

Cheltenham saw thousands of spectators join in, following the parades and taking part in the event. With the Christmas market also in full swing, visitors were able to get hot food, refreshments and early Christmas gifts as the parade moved through the town.

The event was run by Cheltenham Business Improvement District (BID), who increased the number of Christmas lights from the previous year, adding lights to Winchcombe Street for the first time.

Kevan Blackadder, Director of Cheltenham BID, said of the event: “It was great to see so many people following the parades. The atmosphere really built up as the crowds gathered round the stage and it was wonderful to hear all the excited children’s voices when the lights were turned on.”

Either side of the parade, the town also saw The Regent Arcade and The Brewery Quarter light switch-ons, with a host of entertainment on offer.

Cheltenham’s next Christmas event will see the streets filled with entertainment during its late-night shopping event on the 5 December from 5pm-8pm. The event will see many town centre shops open until 8pm and will be offering free parking at Cheltenham Borough Council car parks from 1pm.

Visitors will also be able to travel for free on Stagecoach services within the borough, including services D and E from Bishops Cleeve and free travel from Cheltenham’s two Park & Ride’s from 1pm. Citipark car park at John Lewis will also be offering free car parking from 1pm.

Tim Atkins, acting chief executive for Cheltenham Borough Council, says: "We're delighted to be working with Stagecoach and the BID to offer our residents free bus travel, including park and ride, and free parking in our car parks all from 1pm for this year’s late night shopping event on Thursday 5 December.

"This is an ideal opportunity for people to try out Cheltenham's great bus services and we hope this will encourage more people to think about their options for travelling into town."

Cheltenham’s late-night shopping will see a variety of entertainers including carol singers, a brass trio and a Christmas magician, all to keep busy shoppers entertained whilst they enjoy some festive retail.

For more information and the latest updates on Christmas activities around Cheltenham click on the link below.



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