Light Up Cheltenham is now in it’s third year (in 2020), but this was the first year I was able to attend myself. I love Cheltenham. I moved here (from Dorset) when I was 18 and I fell in love with this town, so I stayed here and built my life here. It’s beautiful, it’s only a 10 minute drive from almost anything you could need – town, countryside, city, lakes, shops, entertainment, tranquillity. The only thing we don’t have here is the sea.
Cheltenham is steeped in culture with it’s regency heritage, it’s jump racing and it’s festivals of music, literature, science and jazz. It’s a buzzing and vibrant town with a friendly atmosphere and there is an abundance of cafes, restaurants and a pretty good nightlife too. From a mum’s perspective, there are a multitude of family friendly places to go and things to do, and there are some good schools here as well.
Marked as “the centre of the Cotswolds”, Cheltenham attracts a lot of visitors and so to welcome those visitors, Visit Cheltenham put on lots of events. Light Up Cheltenham is one of those events. So for three weeks of every year, some of Cheltenham’s many regency buildings are lit up with brightly coloured lights. I took my children, my sister and my niece and nephew to the 2020 launch of Light Up Cheltenham.
World-renowned drummers, Spark! Launched Light Up Cheltenham. They are five exceptionally talented drummers who wear outstanding white and silver costumes, which light up. Their charisma and facial expressions inject so much life into their performance. I’ve been lucky enough to see them perform before at one of The Body Shop Live’s conferences in Telford. I would happily watch them again and again.
Despite arriving early to The Brewery in Cheltenham, where the drumming began, we unfortunately couldn’t get a very good view, as there were so many people already there. Spark! played there for about 15 minutes before leading a procession down through the town towards the Promenade. This takes you past many of the buildings which have been lit up. We managed to sneak in a gap and get some better photos there! Then they continued their parade down to the Imperial Gardens (known to locals as “the beer gardens”). Spark! played the rest of the hour out in the gardens, next to the garden bar and the big observation wheel which is erected especially for Light Up Cheltenham.
I took five of the children on the big wheel, whilst my sister stayed on the ground, with the child who didn’t want to go on. Tickets for the big wheel were £5 each for children and £6 each for adults, but we were kindly gifted a family ticket, so only had to pay for two of us. This is why I have marked this post as an ad, as the tickets were complimentary but I wasn’t under any obligations to blog about it.
The queue for the observation wheel looked daunting but it actually moved very quickly. However I’d recommend going on on any other night to launch night, to avoid the queues. It’s usually open for about 3 weeks. We got the six of us easily into one pod and thoroughly enjoyed getting a birds eye view of Light Up Cheltenham. Unfortunately, as the wheel itself was lit up too, my photographs weren’t the best! The children laughed and chatted excitedly through our two rotations on the big wheel and all too soon, it was time to get off.
We all thoroughly enjoyed our evening out at Light Up Cheltenham. It’s always nice to do something a bit different and especially if it supports your local town. A good excuse to get the children out in the fresh air in February too!
For more events and things to do in Cheltenham, head over to the Visit Cheltenham website.