It’s just 9 weeks until Christmas Day and Salisbury is preparing for a slightly different Christmas experience.

We may not be able to physically come together and celebrate Christmas in the traditional way this year, but some of the leading organisations and businesses in Salisbury have come together to ensure alternative plans are in place to spread festive cheer across the city.

Covid restrictions have meant many of the seasonal events in Salisbury are not able to go ahead, either because they can’t be held safely or because they aren’t financially viable with reduced capacity.

But together, Salisbury City Council, Salisbury Cathedral, Wiltshire Creative and Salisbury BID have made sure an array of festive activities and experiences will take place; giving everyone something to look forward to and enjoy this Christmas.

Here are some of the highlights:

Festive Lights: Christmas in Salisbury traditionally begins with the much-loved light switch on event in the Market Place, but sadly this event will not be going ahead this year.

However, 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, including the stunning lights wrapping the trees in the Market Place, from Saturday 21st November 2020.

Salisbury Christmas Tree Trail: Sponsored by local businesses, twelve wonderfully decorated Christmas trees will be situated across the city centre, creating a magical trail for the whole family to enjoy safely.

Starting at Salisbury Cathedral and finishing at the Market Place, the trail will guide you through the medieval streets of Salisbury.

Pick up a trail map and enjoy the Salisbury Christmas Tree Trail from 21st November 2020 until 4th January 2021.

Sunday Festive Markets: Salisbury Market Place and Guildhall Square will be full to the brim every Sunday from 22nd November until 20th December with an eclectic mix of artisans, crafters and independent retailers and street food vendors. A lovely opportunity to find a unique gift and soak up the festive atmosphere.

Little Robin Redbreast at Salisbury Playhouse: It wouldn’t be Christmas without a trip to the theatre. Despite pantomime not being able to go ahead this year, thankfully Salisbury Playhouse has still got our Christmas show covered.

Showing in the Main House from 1st – 27th December, Little Robin Redbreast is a show full of magic, laughter, song, dance and surprise for children and their grownups. Tickets must be booked in advance here.

Also showing in the Main House at Salisbury Playhouse this December will be productions of Christmas Gothic (3rd – 5th December), three seasonal tales of terror to scintillate on dark winter nights, and back by popular demand is the return of Guy Masterson’s one-man retelling of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol (15th –19th December).

Fisherton Mill Courtyard Christmas Makers Market: For the first time ever, Fisherton Mill will be running a series of Maker Markets in the lead up to Christmas. The markets will take place under cover in their courtyard on Fisherton Street and will showcase an array of products from talented artists and makers. For dates, times and more information click here.

Fisherton Mill will also be hosting a whole range of creative Christmas workshops in the lead up to the big day.

Make a Wish Santa Experience: Santa will be visiting Queen Elizabeth Gardens this December where families can book to write and hang their Christmas Wish for 2021. They can see Santa busy in his workshop and take their own photo of their children and the special man himself – socially distanced of course! Tickets will be free, but booking will be essential in order to safely manage visits.

Christmas at Salisbury Arts Centre: Every Saturday from 21st November to 19th December, Salisbury Arts Centre will be hosting a small art and craft fair. Two different local artists will have their work on display, and it will be the perfect opportunity to buy local art for Christmas presents.

For those looking for live music, book a table at the Arts Centre on a Friday evening and enjoy local musicians, the bar and delicious food made by the kitchen.

If you’re looking for an opportunity to learn a new skill and create something in time for the festive period in a social and informal environment, then the Art Centre’s Festive Masterclasses is for you.

Also at the Arts Centre throughout the Christmas season, you can view the Diaspora exhibition that will bring together artists and makers of African/Caribbean heritage to showcase their work, not previously seen in Salisbury with an opportunity to collect work by artists.

Christmas Shopping in Salisbury: With so many independent retailers in Salisbury city centre offering unique gifts, homewares, fashion, food and more, you can do all your Christmas shopping in Salisbury and feel heartened knowing you're supporting local businesses.

Some retailers will be staying open later, but opening times should be checked with individual businesses.

Whilst doing your Christmas shopping in Salisbury, don’t forget to stop off at a local cafe or restaurant and enjoy a festive treat.

Now, more than ever, it's important we all play our part in the national effort to shop locally. No matter how big or small your purchase is, Salisbury's shops, restaurants and cafes are truly grateful for your support this Christmas.

To see more what’s on in Salisbury this Christmas, click here.