15 June 2024

Christmas 2021: Here’s everything you need to know about Christmas in Salisbury

Tradition is set to continue in Salisbury this Christmas with a festive offering featuring Snow White, Nutcrackers, a pop-up bar, reindeer and cheer. Here are the dates to look out for to get you in the festive spirit.

Friday 19th November, Laughter and lights in the Market Place
The countdown to Christmas officially begins on Friday the 19th of November as Salisbury starts to glisten with Christmas lights.

Although there will be no big light switch-on event again this year, Salisbury will still be beautifully dressed in twinkly lights for all to admire when visiting the city centre over the festive period.

The lights will be switched on in time for an evening of family-friendly festive fun in the Market Place. From 4pm to 8pm, there will be reindeer, carol singers and other Christmas activities and performers to celebrate the return of the stunning sparkling lights that wrap the trees in the Market Place.

Friday 19th November, Christmas on the Square
Friday 19th November also marks the start of the pop-up Christmas on the Square event in front of the Guildhall. Festivities here will include a destination bar and food area which will run until 3rd January 2022. It will be the perfect venue for celebrations with family and friends in the run-up to Christmas and New Year.

Also, as part of Christmas on the Square, Santa will be taking time out of his very busy schedule to meet the children of Salisbury! He will be stopping off at Santa’s Little Wonderland at various times up until Christmas Eve. Time slots must be booked in advance to see the big, jolly man himself. Tickets can be bought through the Experience Salisbury website here.

Mayor of Salisbury, Cllr Caroline Corbin, said: “At last, we can start to put the last year behind us and look forward to a joyful Christmas. We can come back together to celebrate the festive season with a programme of events aimed at bringing vibrancy and vitality to our city. We want to make sure Salisbury is filled with festivities for the whole family. We hope you can join us!”

The Nutcrackers Selfie Competition
After a two-year hiatus, Salisbury BID will bring back their impressive Nutcrackers! The giant statues, each 6.5ft tall, will be hidden in businesses across the city centre. Find them, take a selfie, and you could win a £100 Salisbury Gift Card.

Salisbury BID, Chief Executive, Robin McGowan said, “The Nutcrackers are always a big draw to Salisbury city centre, so we are thrilled to be able to bring them back this year. Not only will the giant statues keep children entertained during the Christmas shopping trips, hiding them in businesses will serve as a reminder that we should all shop local where possible. After a hard couple of years, businesses need our continued support“.

Salisbury Christmas Tree Trail, from the 19th November
Following the success of last year, Salisbury City Council’s popular Christmas Tree Trail will also return to the city centre. Starting at Salisbury Cathedral and finishing at the Market Place, the magical trail will guide you through the medieval streets of Salisbury.

Snow White at Salisbury Playhouse, from the 3rd December
Wiltshire Creative’s Christmas show is, as always, a not-to-be-missed event. Delve into a magical 1950s wonderland 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.

Christmas at Salisbury Arts Centre
Whether you’re looking for theatre, music, comedy or a workshop, you can find it all at Salisbury Arts Centre this Christmas.

Pit your wits against JB Fletcher at Solve-Along-A-Murder-She-Wrote. The interactive screening of a classic episode of Murder, She Wrote will take place on 3rd December.

On 10th December, join Jazz Dynamos as they take well-known songs and transform them with a mix of jazz, bossa, and samba.

For those who need a little festive cheer, the ever-popular Barnstormers Comedy night returns on 17th December with a festive twist, bringing the hottest acts from the London comedy circuit to Salisbury.

The Hug will have children engrossed in a beautiful tale of hope, empathy and acceptance as Hedgehog and Tortoise search of a restorative hug. There are only a few seats left, so book now to see the production from Long Nose Puppets on 11th December.

If you want to get creative this Christmas, Wiltshire Creative has festive workshops hosted by a range of local artists that will guide both adults and children in making their own decorations, willow trees and festive crafts. Why not get a head-start on your Christmas presents? Tickets are selling fast, so pre-book soon!

Gareth Machin, Wiltshire Creative’s Artistic Director commented, “We are looking forward to offering a distinctive festive line-up this year for young and old alike. Both the Salisbury Playhouse and Arts Centre are magical spaces and they will come alive this Christmas with a programme that will bring joy to all of our community. There really will be something for everyone; from nights out with friends and craft workshops for both children and adults to endearing, fun family shows“.

All Wiltshire Creative events can be booked here.

Events at Salisbury Cathedral
For an authentically English Christmas experience head to Salisbury Cathedral. You can watch The Snowman in the majestic surroundings of the cathedral on Friday 3rd December. The classic Christmas animation played alongside a live orchestra, has become a firm festive favourite for both children and adults. Book now to avoid disappointment.

This year will also see the return of some popular fixtures in the Cathedral’s festive calendar. The unmissable Darkness to Light Procession, when the Cathedral celebrates the start of Advent, will take place at 7pm on Friday 26th and Saturday 27th November, and 5pm on Sunday 28th November. This beautiful service begins in total darkness and ends with the ancient building ablaze with over a thousand flickering candles.

On 8th December, the gigantic Christmas tree will be hoisted up at the Cathedral’s West End. Soaring at around 32ft, the huge Norway Spruce comes from Longleat’s sustainable forest, so as the Cathedral tree goes up another will be planted in its place. Outside you can enjoy a fairy light walk across the Cathedral Close and look out for the Cathedral’s contribution to the Christmas Tree Trail.

If you are looking for a perfect way to start your Christmas, on Saturday 11th December Handel’s Messiah will be sung by the full Cathedral choir accompanied by the City of London Sinfonia. Soloists will be soprano Soraya Mafi, alto Robin Blaze, tenor Sam Furness and bass James Platt. The concert starts at 7pm and a pre-concert dinner is available in the Refectory Restaurant.

As if all that wasn’t enough, there will be Carols by Candlelight at 7pm on Wednesday 22nd and Thursday 23rd December and a Family Service will be held on Christmas Eve at 3.30pm. More details on all these events will be released soon.

Photography by Ash Mills

City Centre Shopping
Salisbury is blessed to have an active community of independent shops and, as part of efforts to remind present buyers to shop local, there will be a Best Dressed Christmas Window competition run in partnership by Salisbury BID and the Salisbury Journal.

Local businesses will fight it out for the top spot whilst raising awareness of Salisbury businesses and bringing festive radiance to the winter streets through their imaginative designs.

Festive Sunday Markets: It’s not just shops that will offer unique Christmas gifts this year. There will also be the opportunity to pick up an original present from traders when the Festive Sunday Markets return. The Market Place will be filled with festive stalls and food each Sunday from November 28th.

After another year living through a global pandemic, shopping local really does make a difference. No matter how big or small your purchase is, Salisbury’s shops, restaurants and cafes are truly grateful for your support this Christmas.

Written by
Beth Doherty
View all articles
Written by Beth Doherty