No Wiltshire Christmas would be complete without a generous helping of Christmas markets, festive shows, carols and concerts, parties, shopping, light festivals and more. Plus eat, drink and be merry with Christmas lunches, mince pies, mulled wine, and the chance to meet Father Christmas.

With such a wealth of festive celebrations and activities to enjoy, Christmas in Wiltshire is a very special time and VisitWiltshire has put together a list of top 10 ‘things to do’ over the festive period.

1. Explore Wiltshire’s Festive Markets The award-winning Salisbury Christmas Market with its charming German-style chalets is back for another year. It runs until the 22 December and there are lots of yummy treats, homemade gifts and tipples to be found. Made in Bradford on Avon, on 16 December, is a community project which houses over 100 local artists and artisans, plenty of handmade and local gifts to browse and buy. Tis’ the season to be jolly, in the south west of Wiltshire at Tisbury’s ‘Tis the Season’ high Street Christmas Market, which will be full of many festive delights including a mince pie eating contest.

2. Meet Father Christmas Ho ho ho! Can you hear those sleigh bells ringing? Pop into the American Museum to meet Santa in his grotto or Trowbridge Museum where you can meet a traditional Father Christmas in his magical Christmas Grotto wearing his fur-trimmed green velvet robes. Indulge in breakfast and tea with Father Christmas at the Hawk Conservancy Trust this year, and meet two of his miniature donkeys and owls.

3. Enjoy Festive Carols and Concerts BBC Wiltshire Carols at Salisbury Cathedral will be on 16 December, the Salisbury Plain Military Wives choir and the award-winning Aldbourne band will be there along with the Salisbury Cathedral Choir. Chippenham is hosting The Snowman’ and a visit from St Nicholas on 16 December where they’ll be a live musical, magical celebration with piano, puppets and more.

4. Watch a Festive Show Wyvern Theatre’s pantomime this year is Peter Pan starring Adam Woodyatt which will run from 2-31 December. A fantastically written and designed Jack and the Beanstalk pantomime is coming to Salisbury Playhouse 2 December – 7 January. Head to the Salisbury city hall to watch SLADE! On 14 December. Expect flamboyance and fun, the perfect Christmas shindig.

5. Get Christmas Party Ready Be swept off your feet at on 14 December at the Bowood’s Christmas Party Night - indulge in a red carpet arrival, followed by an extravagant three course meal and then dance the night away! Come together and create your very own Christmas feast with your friends and family at The Farm Cookery School! If you’d prefer to sit back and relax you can watch a demonstration and take part in tasting the festive delights. Get your dancing shoes on and step back in time to the 80’s at Melksham’s Christmas Party on 15 December - don’t forget your 80’s outfit!

6. Shop Till You Drop McArthurGlen Designer Outlet Swindon offers fantastic brands at affordable prices so you can pick up that luxurious item for a special friend. Stonehenge will be hosting late night shopping on 13 December, so make sure to head down to pick up all the latest goodies, including Stonehenge’s all new Barbour jackets! Marlborough is a great place for a shop and stroll - it has 200 stores from high street fashion brands to jewellers and more.

7. Explore Wiltshire Christmas trees, traditional decorations, a festive trail, and Father Christmas are all heading to Lacock Abbey this December and a woolly hat is definitely recommended for wandering around the grounds and cloisters of this amazing National Trust attraction, village and museum. Enjoy a winter ramble with archaeologist Dr Nick Snashall at Avebury’s stone circle walk on 14 December. Head to Roundway Down near Devizes, to enjoy sweeping wintry views across the Wiltshire countryside, Wiltshire offers plenty of walks where you can appreciate the beautiful countryside.

8. Eat, Drink and be Merry Warm up with a mulled wine and traditional bratwurst at one of the county’s Christmas markets. Test the local ale at Wadworth Brewery after a tour to find out how they are made. Tuck into some homemade sourdough bread at The Bell at Ramsbury, a picturesque 300-year-old former coaching inn and voted AA hospitality pub of the year. Just over the Wiltshire border is Bombay Sapphire Gin Distillery, here you can learn about the botanicals that go into the gin, and even find out which cocktail suits you.

9. Tour A Decorated Stately Home Enjoy a Christmas guided tour of Avebury Manor and find out how Christmas was celebrated throughout the ages. Sip some mulled wine and mince pies at the tea room in Mompesson House and view the grandeur of the festively decorated rooms. Longleat House has rooms decorated in Elizabethan fashion, with Christmas characters showing what it would have been like in its heyday. The elegant State Rooms at Lydiard House are adorned with traditional foliage, decorations, Christmas trees and a classic kissing ball!

10. Longleat’s Christmas Festival of Light Don’t miss the amazing spectacle of light at Longleat. transforming the park into a glowing winter wonderland. This year’s theme is the magic of storytelling, which draws inspiration from tales old and new; including the popular story of Little Red Riding Hood, the Nordic influenced Little Mermaid as well as the local legend of Somerset’s ‘Gurt Worm’ dragon.

For further details of what’s on during the Christmas festive period be sure to check out Visitors are now able to purchase tickets for a variety of Wiltshire attractions, events and activities at

Why not get away for a short break this Christmas or New Year? Check out the following places to stay: Bishopstrow Hotel & Spa, Warminster, are offering a New Year’s Eve package including afternoon tea, black tie champagne canapé reception, seven course gala dinner and fireworks to celebrate the New Year. £299 per person per night with children under 4 going free.

Church Farm Country Cottages still has availability for 3-7 nights between Friday 29 December and Friday 5 January 2018 – sleeping 2–4 guests. Facilities include indoor heated swimming pool and games room, welcome mince pie and brandy clotted cream. Prices from £75 per person per night.

The Highworth Hotel, an elegant Georgian townhouse in the centre of Highworth overlooking the historic high street, is offering guests a Christmas Shopping special offer with a bottle of fizz, afternoon tea, three-course dinner, bed and breakfast for only £199 per person per night. That’s a 15 per cent discount on standard rates.

For additional accommodation options please go to