Whatever event you wish for this festive season, there is something for you in Coventry.
Organisations across Coventry have joined forces to bring ‘Winter Wishes’ to the city – a campaign that shines a light on more than 200 events and activities taking place in Coventry during the festive season.
The programme kicks off with the Christmas Lights switch-on taking place 5.30-8.00pm on November 17. The evening begins with a magical musical drumming parade with the amazing Spark! drummers taking the audience on a promenade through Broadgate and the new landscaping of the city centre, following on with a series of "Coventry Stars" performances on the stage, a firework finale to mark the big switch on and topped off with DJ Santa. This event also kickstarts the city centre’s free parking for late-night shoppers every Wednesday from 3pm to 8pm right up to December 22.*
The website – www.VisitCoventry.co.uk/Christmas features all of the events taking place up to January 1.
Highlights include the return of Coventry Glides - a stunning ice rink that will transform Coventry Cathedral Ruins into a ‘winter wonderland'. It is suitable for anyone over the age of five and open seven days a week, with prices starting from £5. Luminate Coombe, a mesmerising mile-long trail of lights and music is also being hosted in the historic Coombe Abbey grounds.
Taking up residence in Broadgate under a canopy of star-themed lights will be an array of Christmas cabins, the cabins will offer mulled wine, hot chocolate and festive food, as well as fire pits to toast marshmallows.
The Belgrade Theatre’s live pantomime show is also back with a production of the hugely-popular Beauty & The Beast and Coventry Cathedral will present a special screening of The Snowman accompanied by a live orchestra.
This year, there will be two sleigh rides in the city as the traditional Christmas sleigh ride experience returns to Coventry Transport Museum and West Orchards hosts a 4D virtual reality sleigh experience on the third floor of the city centre shopping centre.
FarGo Village’s Christmas Makers Markets are also returning across two weekends in December offering a range of gifts by local independent artists and makers on December 4/5 and December 11/12.
Art lovers can also visit the world-renowned Turner Prize exhibition at the Herbert Art Gallery & Museum – the first time the show has taken place in the Midlands.
Further to that, the Winter Wishes campaign also highlights community events taking place across the city over the festive season.
Cllr Jim O’Boyle, Cabinet Member for Jobs, Regeneration and Climate Change at Coventry City Council, said: “I’m really pleased that our city centre will be packed with activities for all ages this Christmas.
“The city centre has undergone a massive transformation – with new water features, lighting and greenery and it will provide the backdrop for a packed programme of events.
“There really is something for everyone and it is pleasing and really important – as ever – to see so many partners coming together to deliver something truly special for the people of Coventry and visitors alike.”
Chenine Bhathena, Creative Director of Coventry City of Culture Trust, said: “Winter Wishes is a great way to bring so many different events and activities together because there is so much to do in Coventry this festive season.
“Christmas is a great time for the whole community to come together and enjoy themselves. Coventry Glides was one of the few experiences that was able to go ahead in 2020 and, such was its popularity, we are delighted to bring it back again alongside such a packed calendar of activity right across the city.”
Paul Michael, Commercial Director at Coventry Building Society Arena added: "The Arena is delighted to support Coventry's Winter Wishes. It's such a great city that delivers a diverse range of cultural events."
"We're excited to be part of the Christmas offering when we host the MOBO awards on December 5th and our private Christmas parties throughout the festive season".
*In addition to the weekly free parking, people will also be able to park for free in all council car parks on Sunday 19 December. This offer is valid between the hours of (08:00 -18:00).
In the week before Christmas, people can park for free after 3pm until 9pm in all council car parks. This offer begins on Monday 20 December.