Salisbury's not-to-be-missed Christmas highlights

As we head swiftly towards Christmas, our Traditional Original city comes to life with festive fun for the whole family. 

Whatever your age, there is something that will offer joy and merriment – including carol singing, giant Christmas trees, festive theatre, Santa, Nutcracker Kings and real reindeer!  

With so much to choose from, Experience Salisbury has put together the highlights to experience in Salisbury this Christmas: 

Salisbury’s Family Festive Fun 

The countdown to Christmas really begins on Friday 19th November. Although there will be no big Christmas light switch-on, the twinkling lights will be on and ready for celebrations between 4pm and 10pm in the Market Place. This is definitely one the whole family will enjoy, with carol singers, stalls, entertainment and even real reindeer! 

The Family Festive Fun event also marks the first day of Salisbury City Council’s popular Christmas Tree Trail. Starting at Salisbury Cathedral and finishing at the Market Place, the magical trail will guide you through the medieval streets of Salisbury.  Can you find all the beautifully decorated trees? Click here for a map that will help you track them all down.

Christmas on the Square and Santa’s Little Wonderland 

Friday 19th November is also when Christmas on the Square kicks off. Organised by Salisbury City Council, there will be a destination bar and food area in front of the Guildhall every day until the end of the year. It will be the perfect venue to meet family and friends to celebrate during the festive period.  

If you want to find out if you’re on the naughty or nice list this year, then make sure you stop-off at Santa’s Little Wonderland! He has taken some time out of his very busy schedule to meet and greet children on certain days up to Christmas Eve. Tickets for this do need to be booked in advance. Find out more here. 

Nutcracker Kings Hide & Seek 

Salisbury BID are bringing back their Nutcracker Kings and if you find one you could win a £50 Salisbury Gift Card! They will be located in businesses across the city centre from Friday 19th November. If you come across one, take a selfie with the festive statue and post it on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter tagging Experience Salisbury and Salisbury BID and using the hashtag #SalisburyNutcracker and the business where you took the photo. All selfies will go into a draw to win a £50 Salisbury Gift Card. There will be three Gift Cards up for grabs over six weeks. Click here for more information. 

Christmas at Arundells 

Arundells, the home of former Prime Minister Edward Heath, will be made even more spectacular this Christmas by being decorated from head to toe! It will open to visitors from 25th November to 19th December, filled with decorations, many hand made by staff and volunteers and a themed tree in each room. There will also be special festive craft workshops and events throughout - including carols in the drawing room, make your own wreaths and jewellery and needle felting. Booking is not required to visit the house, but it is for the craft workshops and special events. Find more details about Christmas at Arundells here.

The Snowman 

A truly magical way to start Christmas! Watch the classic festive animation, The Snowman, in the majestic surroundings of Salisbury Cathedral. There will be three performances on 3rd December, all with a ‘live’ orchestra. It’s a double bill with The Nutcracker Suite, complete with an exclusive big screen animation. Fantastic musicians, great stories and a fun evening for all ages. The shop will be open until 7pm so it will be an ideal time to do some late-night Christmas shopping!  There are limited tickets left, so book soon! 

Snow White 

From The Snowman, to Snow White.... Wiltshire Creative’s Christmas show is, as always, a not-to-be-missed event. Delve into a magical 1950s wonderland from 3rd December with Snow White and the Happy Ever After Beauty Salon. With toe-tapping live music, dazzling design and laugh out loud entertainment, the show will delight the whole family this Christmas. Tickets should be booked in advance here. They are going quick! 

Festive Markets 

If you're looking for some unique Christmas gifts this year, our creative city has a lot to offer. 

Salisbury City Council’s Sunday Festive Markets return on 28th November. They will fill the Market Place with festive stalls and food each Sunday up to Christmas. The perfect place to pick up a present, or two! 

Fisherton Mill’s Courtyard Christmas Makers Markets have also returned for 2021. Taking place on 20th and 27th November then 4th and 11th December, the Saturday markets feature six individual stalls run by artists offering original handcrafted fare and a range of quirky gifts.  

Tudor Christmas 

A feast, falconry, strolling minstrels – yes, the Tudors are back for Christmas at Salisbury Museum! 

Decked in Tudor splendour the Kings House in The Close will be filled with the sights, sounds and smells of Christmas during Tudor times. There will also be food demonstrations, martial arts, historical stories and even a bouncy Tudor castle! A full day of festive fun for everyone, the Tudor Christmas will run on 11th and 12th December. 

Celebrate Voice at Christmas 

Following on from their record-breaking festival, Celebrate Voice will celebrate Christmas! They are putting on an enchanting evening of opera, show songs, cabaret and festive music, with the opportunity for the audience to raise the roof with rousing carols! The special Christmas Gala will take place in an equally special setting: the Banqueting Hall within Salisbury's Guildhall! Be there on 17th December. Book now! 

St Thomas’ Church Christmas Tree Festival 

Last year, St Thomas’ had to run their popular Christmas Tree Festival online due to Covid, but this year it is back in the church! Between 30th November to 5th December 2021 the building will be filled with trees of all different designs, decorated by local groups to raise money for charity. There will also be music throughout the week, and the chance to take part in workshops too (4th/5th/6th December).  

A giant Christmas tree and nativity 

If you do love a Christmas tree, you have to head to Salisbury Cathedral this year to see their giant one! In the week starting Monday 6th December, the huge Christmas tree from Longleat’s sustainable forest goes up at the West End of the Cathedral building. It will be followed by the installation of the Cathedral’s beautiful renaissance style Nativity scene - three 10ft by 35ft voile panels that feature members of the Cathedral congregations, staff and community as characters in the Christmas story. You can find more on the packed Christmas programme at Salisbury Cathedral this year by clicking through to our blog pages here.


Salisbury Cathedral giant Christmas tree and nativity, 2020

Salisbury is a beautiful city blessed with an active community of independent businesses. Whatever you are doing this Christmas, remember shopping local really helps the whole city and, while you are out and about enjoying the festive merriment in the city centre this Christmas, make the most of the shops and hospitality. They are ready to offer you a warm, friendly, festive welcome! 

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