The Great Elf Gathering!

Here’s more information on what’s being planned for Bath this Christmas – which this year includes the largest gathering of elves the city has ever seen.

With a packed programme of events and activities across the city centre, Bath Business Improvement District (BID) has called on the Christmas elves to make sure the Yuletide experience is one to remember.

The fun begins on Thursday 17th November with the Countdown to Christmas. Residents and visitors are invited to don their pointy hats, dress as an elf and join the Great Elf Gathering in Milsom Street which will feature music and entertainment before the Christmas Light Trail Switch On.

The Mayor of Bath and Bath Carnival will be there to ensure the celebrations begin with a bang, as the city welcomes the Christmas season back in style.

Joining the Great Elf Gathering will be the Bath BID Swapshop elves who are back again due to hugely popular demand, following the first ever Elves’ Swapshop held last year.

The Swapshop, open from 24th November – 20th December, allows children to bring an old toy to the Elf-o-Matic machine in Abbeygate Street. The old toy is exchanged for a golden token, before being upcycled by the elves for a new lease of life. 

Children can then exchange their silver token for a newly upcycled toy, spreading Christmas cheer and encouraging a sustainable approach to the season.

The Elf-O-Matic machine was devised by Bath BID and brought to life by theatre and festival set designer and maker, Vix Fuller. Over 85% of the machine was made from reused, recycled, upcycled and preloved materials, including a Perspex cog that was previously used at Glastonbury Festival and doors from a former Bath nightclub.

As well as meeting the elves and marvelling at the Elf-O-Matic machine, children will also be able to meet Father Christmas who will be hot-desking from the Swapshop!

Allison Herbert, Chief Executive at the Bath BID, said, “As a city Bath is always welcoming of visitors, so we’re really excited to be hosting this special delegation of elves from the North Pole to ensure that we can welcome the festive season back in true Bath style.

“In recent years we’ve not been able to celebrate as we would have liked to, so it is brilliant to have Bath Carnival, the elves and of course Bath’s fantastic businesses joining the Bath BID as we kick off the countdown to Christmas. 

“We’re encouraging city centre businesses to stay open into the evening on Thursday 17th November as residents, workers and visitors join us for the Switch On from 4.30pm.

“The Elves’ Swapshop was a brilliant success last year and we’re delighted to be bringing it back to help promote the message of sustainability on the run-up to Christmas. It’s a fun, friendly and festive way for children to learn more about reusing and recycling.”

Find out more about Christmas in Bath and to purchase tickets for the Elves’ Swapshop, visit