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10 reasons to visit Coventry this Christmas

Done your Christmas shopping or started the festivities yet? If you’re anything like us, you’re just getting your head in the game, but don’t worry, the City of Culture has got everything you need wrapped up in one place.

1/ You can do your late night shopping on Wednesdays from 17 Nov to 22 Dec and parking’s free. There’s nothing we like better than shopping stress-free with no crowds so we’ll be hot-footing it down between 3pm and 8pm to stock up on goodies (and a mulled wine or two).

2/ If you live in the Midlands there’s a good chance you’ve heard of the historic Coventry Cathedral, but now’s your chance to see it like never before. A real ice skating rink has been installed in the Cathedral Ruins, so skate effortlessly – or cling onto the sides and drag yourself – around the rink at Coventry Glides.

3/ Fancy going to a light trail this year? One of the biggest locally is Luminate at Coombe Abbey Park, just on the outskirts of the city. It’s a mile-long trail set to ambient music after dark, so take your walking boots and your cosiest coat.

4/ Need more convincing Cov’s a big deal? Possibly the biggest accolade – The Turner Prize – is being held at the city’s Herbert Art Gallery & Museum. It’s awarded annually for an artist born, living or working in Britain for an outstanding exhibition or presentation of their work. The Prize is held outside London every other year and this year it’s Coventry’s turn.

5/ Love it or hate it, nothing says Christmas like the panto. The Belgrade Theatre is putting on Beauty and the Beast this year so expect a Christmas calamity when Coventry dame Iain Lauchlan returns to the stage with sidekick Craig Hollingsworth. Performances will be to a full house but socially distanced on Jan 5.

6/ Is it even Christmas if you haven’t watched The Snowman? This screening on 23 Dec will be extra magical, set in the gorgeous Coventry Cathedral and with a live orchestra to boot, definitely one for the whole family. 

7/ You know we love indie businesses, so where better to stock up on gifts (for them and you) than FarGo Village Christmas Makers Market. They’ll be held over 4-5 Dec and 11-12 Dec and be full of handmade items by local designers. We love. 

8/ So, Lapland might be off the cards this year (and last year, and probably next, boo) but there’s nothing wrong with a bit of pretending, right? Level 3 of West Orchards shopping centre has been transformed into Santa’s sleigh lodge and you can go for a ride on his moving 4D sleigh using VR headsets. Just like the real thing (apparently).

9/ If you haven’t visited Coventry Transport Museum before, you’re missing out. It’s a great day with the kids (so pop it in your half term to-do list). It’s extra magical at Christmas when it’s transformed into a winter wonderland of snowy scenes with lots of festive activities to keep them busy and a vintage sleigh pulled by reindeer – for the kids, of course. Tickets start at £10.

10/ So we all know about that German Market in Brum, but did you know Cov’s also got a pretty special one in Broadgate with traders in festive log cabins under a canopy of twinkly fairy lights. There’s lots of cutesy gifts for sale and the obligatory food and drink stalls too. Frankfurter and a Baileys hot chocolate anyone? 

Click here for more information and a full list of events. 

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