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Newbury Racecourse could host Christmas winter wonderland

"We think this would be a real shot in the arm for the local economy"

Dan Cooper

Dan Cooper


01635 886632

Newbury could host Christmas winter wonderland

A MAGICAL Winter Wonderland could be coming to Newbury this Christmas.

Bringing you some news to make you smile this week, the Newbury Weekly News can reveal that Newbury Racecourse is in talks with Underbelly, one of the UK’s leading live events companies, about hosting a huge Christmas Carnival over the festive period.

The carnival would feature a number of Christmas market stalls, plus an ice rink, circus, a big wheel, funfair rides, a Christmas tree maze and a Santa’s grotto and would run from late November until early January, from 2021.

Newbury Racecourse chief executive Julian Thick said: “We are certain it is an exciting opportunity for Newbury, its community and the wider region and would be the first of its kind family event in the area.

“The proposal is very much focussed around bringing families and friends together in a fun and interactive environment to celebrate the festive season and it is our hope that this event can become something Newbury town is proud to be part of and which will support the community and become a key Christmas destination.

“All the hospitality businesses in Newbury are really suffering and we think this would be a real shot in the arm for the local economy at a much-needed time.” 

The organisers intend to apply for temporary planning permission for up to five years and say they hope that this “will be a popular and magical family event that becomes a fixture of Newbury’s Christmas calendar”.

It is anticipated the carnival would start at noon each day (apart from some race days when it would start at 4pm) and run until 8pm or 9pm on Sundays to Wednesdays and 10pm on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays.

A consultation has now been launched to encourage feedback and comments from local residents.

Mr Thick added: “It’s obvious to all that leisure businesses have been hit hard in the last 12 months and we will all need to diversify to help us recover and this event is a key plank in our plans to get the racecourse back on its feet.

“As the public consultation goes live, the initial response from some of our local residents has been really positive which is great to see, but with any change there will of course be concerns.

“We want to work collaboratively with all the community and the local authority to show this will be an incredibly well run, carefully managed family event.”

Underbelly is responsible for producing a number of festive events, including Edinburgh’s world-famous Hogmanay, Christmas in Leicester Square, Christmas in Trafalgar Square and Southbank’s Christmas Market.

The company is unable to host a public exhibition due to the current Covid-19 restrictions, so will hold an online consultation instead.

It starts tomorrow (Friday) and runs for three weeks until Friday, March 12.

You can find out more about the Christmas Carnival, or respond to the public consultation, by visiting 

Alternatively, you can email your comments or queries to 

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Article comments

  • Klaus

    18/02/2021 - 21:07

    wonder what the entry fee will be...


    • Bored of registering

      24/02/2021 - 11:14

      assume the costs will be slightly less than Hyde park as an alternative, so at a guess, I would say the entry fee will be 25/30 per person. food will be an even higher markup than the racecourse, there will be a blanket ban on taking your own food/water. There is no real benefit to the people of Newbury I feel. only more traffic, I also assume the traders will be not local, many staff will be contractors, so a very limited opportunity for a small number of most likely zero-hour minimum wage staff. What does Newbury get in terms of benefits? What do its taxpayers get? this is not aimed at the people of Newbury, this is a 'destination attraction' attempt.


  • brunin the bear

    18/02/2021 - 17:09

    terrible idea- the racecourse is too far out- do it in Vicky park you numpties.


  • Klaus

    18/02/2021 - 12:24

    Fairground rides are the first thing I think of when I think of Christmas. Southbank has a traditional merry go round & that's it...


  • NewburyResident

    18/02/2021 - 10:05

    So not really likely to benefit the businesses in town much, and should imagine the residents who bought properties on the Racecourse wont be that impressed either. I am sure WBC will approve this for their "mates" at the racecourse though!