This Saturday (19th November) sees the official launch of Christmas in Cheltenham. Cheltenham BID have been working hard behind the scenes to put on events throughout the festive period to drive footfall into the town centre and create a magical atmosphere for visitors to the town.

Here are some of the events Cheltenham BID have organised.

1. CHRISTMAS LAUNCH

Saturday 19 November will see the launch of Christmas 2022 in Cheltenham! 

On behalf of Cheltenham BID we invite you to join us for ‘Cheltenham Christmas Unboxed’, fantastic free 15-minute shows featuring singing, interactive banter, dancing, music and local choirs, bringing joy and fun to the people of Cheltenham.

Please note, there will be no official Christmas light switch on this year, instead as dusk falls thousands of twinkling Christmas lights will come on throughout the town centre.

Locations of performances

Cheltenham High Street at Cambray Place – 5pm

Pedestrianised Promenade (near House of Fraser) – 5pm

Imperial Gardens – 6.30pm

High Street near M & S – 6.30pm

The Brewery Quarter Christmas Launch Party will also take place on Saturday 19 November, between the hours of 3 – 7pm. 

2. CHELTENHAM NUTCRACKER TRAIL

Starts Saturday 19 November and will close on Friday 30th December

The whole family will love getting involved in the Cheltenham Nutcracker Trail and will discover some interesting facts about Cheltenham along the way, whilst exploring the beautiful areas of our town.

Nutcrackers may actually look a little scary but according to German folklore, they represent power and strength, bare their teeth to evil spirits and serve as the traditional messenger of good luck and goodwill.

Find your free Nutcracker Trail map in town or view it online and then wander around the town to find 10 Nutcracker soldiers. The map tells you the location of the soldiers and as you find each one, write their name down on the Trail Sheet. Once you’ve found all of the names, fill in your details and post it into Santa’s postbox, which is also marked on the map. First prize is a £100 Cheltenham Gift Card.

The Nutcrackers will be available to find in their various locations from Saturday 19th November. The competition will close on Friday 30th December.  The winner will be announced via the Cheltenham BID website, on Cheltenham BID social media channels and via email on Tuesday 3rd January 2023.

Collect a booklet from various businesses around Cheltenham including Cineworld, Cheltenham Library, Cheltenham Children’s Library, Cheltenham Martial Arts, The Wilson,The Garden Bar, Waterstones, Blushes & Berrey’s Pick ‘N’ Mix.  

Alternatively you can download the booklet online and print.

3. MINCE PIES AND MULLED WINE IN MONTPELLIER

Late night shopping event in Montpellier – Thursday 1st December from 5pm

Experience the magic of Montpellier as this iconic Cheltenham location plays host to festive musical entertainers, a festive fun window trail and late night shopping. Enjoy mulled wine, mince pies and other festive favourites in the many eateries and bars.

Join the event on Facebook for updates

4. POP-UP MARKET

Taking place 2nd to 4th December, along the pedestrianised Promenade.

Shoppers can look forward to browsing pop gazebo stalls, mainly made up of local independent traders selling food and gifts.

Join the event on Facebook for updates

5. CHELTENHAM CHRISTMAS MARKET

Open daily 8th to 24th December, along the Promenade and Long Gardens.

Enjoy FREE entrance to a large Christmas market, featuring traditional stalls selling festive food, drink, crafts & gifts.

Join the event on Facebook for updates

VISIT CHELTENHAM’S CHRISTMAS GUIDE

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Visit Cheltenham (@visitcheltenham)

There are over 70 events happening in Cheltenham over the festive period. Make sure you’re up to date by visiting the Visit Cheltenham website.

On Monday, 6 December Cheltenham Business Improvement District (BID) hosted the first of two festive networking events at the Queens Hotel. The morning saw a variety of Professional Services businesses within the Cheltenham BID zone get a chance to network with other local businesses whilst enjoying some light refreshments in the beautiful Queens Hotel. After the networking session, our BID businesses were invited to join us for a skating session on Cheltenham’s all-weather ice rink located in Imperial Gardens, Montpellier.  

Lisa Hudson joined us from The Workplace – a co-working space which has recently opened a second site at Star Lodge in Montpellier. She had this to say about the event: “I really enjoyed attending the Cheltenham BID event at the Queens Hotel. Having the opportunity to meet other people from a variety of different businesses was interesting and informative. Sometimes the links needed between businesses can be small but have the potential to help support and attract new clients. Skating after a light lunch was a refreshing way to spend Monday lunchtime.”  

Our second event is this coming Monday, 13 December and we hope to see many more of our BID businesses there. In addition to networking and ice skating, there will also be a prize draw for all attendees to win either a £25 Cheltenham Gift Card or £25 worth of vouchers to spend at Cheltenham Christmas Market.  

Cheltenham BID sold exactly £27,055 worth of Cheltenham Gift Cards over the 2020 Christmas period. This money will be locked into Cheltenham’s local economy, supporting local businesses and people.

Launched in 2017 by Cheltenham BID, the gift card allows recipients to spend in a wide range of town-centre businesses. Over 80 businesses are currently signed up to accept the card across retail, food, drink, leisure and entertainment.

There are many advantages of the Cheltenham Gift Card to town centre businesses. Customers that redeem gift cards tend to upgrade their experience and spend on average 40% more than the value of the gift card by going for higher-margin products. People that receive town centre gift cards also tend to explore their options more, and 15% of gift card redemption is by customers visiting a business for the first time.

It doesn’t cost anything to become a part of the programme. There are no additional set-up or ongoing fees, and as the scheme uses the existing Mastercard network it is easy to get started. If your business is interested in accepting the Cheltenham Gift Card, please contact info@cheltenhambid.co.uk.

Read more about the scheme here: https://cheltenhamgiftcard.co.uk/.

Photography: Mikal Ludlow

Cheltenham is sparkling in a beautiful Christmas glow following the switch on of the town’s new festive lights.

Year on year since the BID was formed in 2016 we have improved and extended the Christmas lights display in the town centre.

This year we have worked with a new contractor to bring something very special to Cheltenham.  The new lights not only look spectacular during the hours of darkness, but also bring some festive cheer to the streets during daylight hours.

The golden baubles in the trees on The Promenade are already proving to be popular, with hundreds of social media posts.  As well as the new street displays, there is a stunning new Christmas tree on the Montpellier roundabout. 

As well as the Christmas lights, the BID is pleased to be working with the Queens Hotel on their exciting new project sees its current scaffolding lit up with a projection of a giant advent calendar.

Supporting local charity, No Child Left Behind (NCLB), which aims to help young people thrive, the organisations have developed a new children’s artwork competition surrounding the theme of ‘Kindness at Christmas’. Each day from 1 December a lucky winner will have their artwork revealed within the advent calendar. The winners will also be able experience the grandeur of the venue with an afternoon tea for them and their family when restrictions permit.  

Thank you to all of our businesses who have put up some beautiful displays.  The shops have some stunning festive displays and the office windows are aglow with lights and decorations, helping to bring vibrancy to the town. 

Featured in the December 2020 newsletter.

Building on the success of last year’s Christmas marketing campaign and the new Cheltenham branding, Marketing Cheltenham have designed a campaign to encourage people to ‘think local’ this Christmas.

Cheltenham’s campaign forms part of a wider programme of activity to support the high street and local businesses through the pandemic and has been supported by the national Reopening High Streets Safely Fund through the UK Government and European Regional Develop Funding.

As part of the campaign, an online directory and gift guides have been created to highlight local retailers, festive experiences and the many local cafes and restaurants offering takeaways and delivery services. These guides can be found on the Visit Cheltenham website and social media channels, making it easy for the public to find something special for loved ones this Christmas.

There is also a new Facebook group, ‘Love Cheltenham – Supporting Local Businesses’ which has been created so people can find and order from businesses which otherwise might have struggled to compete with well-known online retailers.

If you would like to involve your business in the campaign, join and engage with the ‘Love Cheltenham – Supporting Local Businesses’ Facebook group, use the hashtags #ourchelt and #supportlocal with any social media posts and see visitcheltenham.com to find out more.

Thanks to an ongoing Partnership Agreement between Marketing Cheltenham and Cheltenham BID, BID levy payers are also entitled to a listing on the Visit Cheltenham website. If you are a BID business and need to create or update a Visit Cheltenham business listing, please contact alex@cheltenhambid.co.uk.

Restaurants, cafes and bars are also encouraged to share their festive dining packages via this link to appear in Visit Cheltenham’s Christmas guide.

Featured in the December 2020 newsletter.

Although the end of lockdown is good news for many of our businesses, we recognise that for some of you in the hospitality sector, being in Tier 2 is still going to be difficult, particularly at this time of year. 

Extended Hours

Our message to the public is that Cheltenham is a safe place to come and enjoy Christmas shopping and socialise within the restrictions of Tier 2. 

With the announcement by Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick that retailers will be able to extend their daily opening hours from Monday to Saturday in the run-up to Christmas and through January, it is hoped this extension will make socially distanced shopping easier and ease transport pressures.

We are encouraging all businesses to take advantage of this and have worked with Marketing Cheltenham to put together a guide.  If you haven’t already let us know what your opening hours are please email us at info@cheltenhambid.co.uk.

Please also submit your festive dining packages and events here for inclusion in Visit Cheltenham’s Christmas guide.

Featured in the December 2020 newsletter.

From today (Wednesday 2 December), Cheltenham is welcoming back locals and visitors after the second national lockdown as non-essential shops, restaurants, gyms, hotels and hair and beauty salons reopen under Tier 2 restrictions.

With its fantastic range of independent businesses, high-street favourites and vibrant food and entertainment scene, Cheltenham is a great place to eat, drink (with a substantial meal) and be merry this Christmas. Operating under social distancing requirements at reduced capacity, businesses across town promise an enjoyable and COVID19-secure experience, with many also offering virtual booking and queuing systems.

For more consumer information about visiting Cheltenham this Christmas, including travel and parking information and details of social distancing and hygiene measures, please browse Visit Cheltenham’s all-encompassing guide here.

Although the end of lockdown is good news for many of our businesses, the announcement is still hitting the hospitality sector hard as pubs and bars are unable to reopen unless operating as restaurants. Tier 2 also means it is not possible to meet other households inside, and the rule of six remains applicable both inside and outside. The tier system will be reviewed every two weeks from Wednesday 16 December.

Regular, good handwashing, wearing a face covering and keeping two meters apart continue to be essential steps for everyone to follow.

We would like to welcome back all of our BID businesses able to reopen and wish them a safe and successful Christmas trading period.

Information for businesses

Extended Hours

In a boost to the high street, Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick has announced that retailers will be able to extend their daily opening hours from Monday to Saturday in the run-up to Christmas and through January.

It is hoped this extension will make socially distanced shopping easier and ease transport pressures.

Many large stores across Cheltenham have already announced they are extending their Christmas opening hours, including John Lewis and Partners, House of Fraser, Primark, M&S and the Regent Arcade. For more details, click here.

If you haven’t already, please email info@cheltenhambid.co.uk to let us know if you are extending your regular opening hours this Christmas.

Details of local and national grants

For businesses forced to close from 5 November 2020, click here for details of the national scheme.

To apply for the Discretionary Business Grant Scheme from Cheltenham Borough Council, click here. The deadline for applications is midnight on Wednesday 9 December.

For pubs that predominantly serve alcohol, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced yesterday (Tuesday 1 December) that an additional £1,000 Christmas grant for ‘wet-led pubs’ in tiers 2 and 3 will be available for those who will miss out on much-needed business during the busy Christmas period. Read more here.

A new Christmas competition has launched giving people the chance to win a £1500 Cheltenham Gift Card.  The Great Town and City Christmas Quiz is a national competition where towns and cities across the UK and Ireland compete against each other for the chance of being crowned the brainiest Christmas town or city of 2020.

Designed to encourage local shopping and keep money locked into the area, the multi-venue gift card has been active in Cheltenham since August 2018. It is part of the award-winning Town and City Gift Cards programme from fintech Miconex, active in more than 50 towns and cities around the UK and Ireland.

Each Cheltenham Gift Card is a prepaid Mastercard that can be spent locally in shops, restaurants, cafés, leisure venues and on services- including John Lewis and Partners, Waterstones, Marks and Spencer, Boots and many town centre independents.

Belinda Hunt, Operations Manager at Cheltenham BID said: “We are very excited to be a part of this national competition and would really like to see this fantastic prize come to Cheltenham. The Great Town and City Quiz is a bit of festive fun, but the message behind it is vital: shop in Cheltenham and support local jobs and businesses. 

“Anyone with a good general knowledge stands a chance of winning this quiz – I hope it’s someone from Cheltenham!”

All 10 questions in the Great Town and City Christmas Quiz are themed around Christmas and famous gifts, such as the gift Ebenezer Scrooge gave to the Cratchit family, the wish made by Kevin McCallister in Home Alone and the $1.1 million gift given by Richard Taylor to Elizabeth Taylor in 1969. Competitors enter where they live and complete the quiz, with a leader board of places around the UK and Ireland.

To take part in the quiz, compete on behalf of Cheltenham and be in with a chance of winning the £1500 Cheltenham Gift Card, visit Christmasquiz.townandcitygiftcards.com.

To find out more information about and to purchase a Cheltenham Gift Card, visit cheltenhamgiftcard.co.uk/.

Photography: Mikal Ludlow

Cheltenham is sparkling in a beautiful Christmas glow following the switch on of the town’s new festive lights.

The new Christmas lights, organised by Cheltenham Business Improvement District (BID), are accompanied for the first year with golden baubles hanging from the trees on the pedestrianised Promenade and gold powder-coated holly, reindeer, stars and harps adorning the lampposts, allowing people to feel festive throughout the day and night. Alongside the new additions on the Promenade, there is also a stunning new Christmas tree on Montpellier roundabout.

Although the traditional Christmas light switch-on event was unable to go ahead this year, the lights offer a festive experience for those taking their daily exercise or using click and collect from local businesses.

Belinda Hunt, Operations Manager at Cheltenham BID, says of the lights, “We are pleased that we took the decision earlier this year to have new Christmas lights.  We could not have foreseen how important these decorations would be and the fact that the display is as attractive during the day as it is at night is extra special. 

“With the support of Cheltenham Borough Council, we have been able to give local businesses and people something to enjoy when they come to town, whether that is for their daily exercise or do their Christmas shopping when the restrictions are lifted.”

Cllr Victoria Atherstone, Cabinet Member for Economy and Development, added: “The Christmas lights are absolutely stunning and I’m certainly feeling in the festive spirit now. It is a real shame the traditional Cheltenham Christmas lights switch-on event, normally enjoyed by so many, had to be cancelled, but public safety quite rightly has been prioritised. I do hope however the people of Cheltenham are able to safely visit the town centre to experience this wonderful festivity for themselves.”

The spectacular Christmas lights follow the announcement of Cheltenham’s Christmas campaign which urges local residents and would-be visitors to support local businesses this Christmas.

As well as the Christmas lights, Cheltenham BID is pleased to be working with the Queens Hotel which has recently announced an exciting new project which will see its current scaffolding lit up with a projection of a giant advent calendar.

Supporting local charity, No Child Left Behind (NCLB), which aims to help young people thrive, the organisations have developed a new children’s artwork competition surrounding the theme of ‘Kindness at Christmas’. Each day from 1 December a lucky winner will have their artwork revealed within the advent calendar. The winners will also be able experience the grandeur of the venue with an afternoon tea for them and their family when restrictions permit.  

For more information on Christmas in Cheltenham including gift guides, takeaways and shops offering click and collect, see visitcheltenham.com/christmas

Cheltenham’s new marketing campaign, led by the town’s marketing body, Marketing Cheltenham, alongside Cheltenham Business Improvement District (BID) and Cheltenham Borough Council, is calling on local residents and would-be visitors to support local businesses this Christmas.

The campaign aims to overcome the latest national lockdown by creating an online directory of shops and local businesses in Cheltenham and a series of gift guides that highlight local retailers, festive experiences and the many local cafes and restaurants offering takeaways and delivery services. These guides can be found on the Visit Cheltenham website and social media channels, making it easy for the public to find something special for loved ones this Christmas.

There is also a new Facebook group, ‘Love Cheltenham – Supporting Local Businesses’ which has been created so people can find and order from businesses which otherwise might have struggled to compete with well-known online retailers.

David Jackson, Manager of Marketing Cheltenham, said: “We’re really aware of just how challenging things are for the retail and hospitality sectors right now, so the Christmas trading period is more critical than ever this year, particularly for the many small, independent businesses we have in Cheltenham.”

Belinda Hunt, Operations Manager of Cheltenham BID, said: “Local businesses, both independent and people’s favourite national brands, have been innovative in the way they have changed their model to ensure their loyal customers can start their Christmas shopping. This campaign will support businesses by reminding local people that they are still there and offering a personal service which shoppers aren’t likely to experience with global online markets.”

Cheltenham’s campaign forms part of a wider programme of activity to support the high street and local businesses through the pandemic and has been supported by the national Reopening High Streets Safely Fund through the UK Government and European Regional Develop Funding.

If you would like to involve your business in the campaign, join and engage with the ‘Love Cheltenham – Supporting Local Businesses’ Facebook group, use the hashtags #ourchelt and #supportlocal with any social media posts and see visitcheltenham.com/christmas to find out more.

Thanks to an ongoing Partnership Agreement between Marketing Cheltenham and Cheltenham BID, BID levy payers are also entitled to a listing on the Visit Cheltenham website. If you are a BID business and need to create or update a Visit Cheltenham business listing, please contact alex@cheltenhambid.co.uk.

Cheltenham’s new marketing campaign, led by the town’s marketing body, Marketing Cheltenham, alongside Cheltenham Borough Council and Cheltenham Business Improvement District (BID), is calling on local residents and would-be visitors to support local businesses this Christmas.

The campaign aims to overcome the latest national lockdown by creating an online directory of shops and local businesses in Cheltenham and a series of gift guides that highlight local retailers, festive experiences and the many local cafes and restaurants offering takeaways and delivery services. These guides can be found on the Visit Cheltenham website and social media channels, making it easy to find something special for loved ones this Christmas.

There is also a new Facebook group, ‘Love Cheltenham – Supporting Local Businesses’ which has been created so people can find and order from businesses which otherwise might have struggled to compete with well-known online retailers.

David Jackson, Manager of Marketing Cheltenham, said: “We’re really aware of just how challenging things are for the retail and hospitality sectors right now, so the Christmas trading period is more critical than ever this year, particularly for the many small, independent businesses we have in Cheltenham.”

“Our Shop Local, Support Small campaign is our way of reminding people that, despite not being able to physically shop in the way we might like – at the moment at least – you can still support local businesses by buying or ordering from them online. The beauty of this too, of course, is that because we have so many wonderful independent businesses in Cheltenham, you’re more likely to find something different and truly individual that you simply won’t find anywhere else.”

Cllr Victoria Atherstone, Cabinet Member for Economy and Development, added: “The health and vitality of our high streets, not just in the town centre, but across the whole of Cheltenham play such an important role in supporting our local communities, particularly at this time of year. It’s fantastic therefore to see partners coming together to support local businesses through this campaign – and I’d encourage everyone to do what they can to shop local and support local businesses this year. One way to find out what you can buy and where visit the ‘Love Cheltenham – Supporting Local Businesses’ group on Facebook. ”

Belinda Hunt, Operations Manager of Cheltenham BID, said: “Local businesses, both independent and people’s favourite national brands, have been innovative in the way they have changed their model to ensure their loyal customers can start their Christmas shopping. This campaign will support businesses by reminding local people that they are still there and offering a personal service which shoppers aren’t likely to experience with global online markets.”

Cheltenham’s campaign forms part of a wider programme of activity to support the high street and local businesses through the pandemic and has been supported by the national Reopening High Streets Safely Fund through the UK Government and European Regional Develop Funding.

To find out more, see visitcheltenham.com/christmas