Join us on a Cornish Christmas Advent-ure with something for every day of December
- Credit: Claire Tregaskis Photography
Christmas in Cornwall is a magical thing - even with the many and varied Covid-19 restrictions in place. Here’s our pick of events and ideas to keep you busy throughout the festive season
Launching 1 November
Fowey Christmas Market
Cancelled until 2021, this festive event attracts more than 10,000 people enjoy this event in Fowey which is packed with quality locally produced food and drink and festive gifts. Instead they are launching a trader’s directory to help support local makers, creators and producers. Traders are still hand-picked by the organisers for their quality and you will find a great collection of handmade, locally produced gifts, arts and craft as well as some of the county’s finest locally produced food and beverages.
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Eden Ice Skating Rink with pic CORN DEC20 DIARY EDEN
Get your skates on as Eden’s icy attraction returns for the 17th year in its spectacular setting in front of the world-famous rainforest and Mediterranean biomes. Because of social distancing measures, skaters are limited in number so there will be more space than ever before in the 40-minute sessions. There’s a family fun skate for parents and young children on Sunday mornings and skating lessons on Wednesday evenings and Saturday mornings.
The Enchanted Christmas Market
Get into the Christmas mood with this event at the Royal Cornwall Showground in Wadebridge. There will be stalls selling crafts, local produce and gifts and lots of food and drink and entertainment, with a huge circus tent. Car parking is free.
23 November-13 December with pic CORN DEC20 DIARY SHOPPING
Made in Cornwall Christmas Fair
This popular event returns to Truro’s Lemon Quay, with a few changes to accommodate Covid-19 restrictions. The outdoor market is a chance to shop for Cornish products and support local businesses. The event is being held over three weeks with extended opening each Wednesday to coincide with late night shopping until 9pm.
Meet Santa and his reindeer
This magical - socially-distanced - experience starts in Landel Gwel an Mor resort’s rustic yurt, warming by the fire for storytime as Santa tells the tale of the animals of Feadon Farm Wildlife and Conservation Centre - while the chief elf hands out gifts for each child including an arts and crafts set to enjoy at home. Tell ather Christmas your Christmas wishes, and meet reindeer Nadelik and Lowen (meaning Happy and Christmas in Cornish) and Santa’s sleigh in their stable then follows. The reindeer live at the resort year round at the Feadon Farm Wildlife and Conservation Centre, an integral part of Landal Gwel an Mor. The resort near Portreath also hosts wreath making workshops on 8 and 14 December.
30-November – Sunday 2 December
Etsy Made Local Christmas Fair
The Christmas shopping season starts here. Head to the Guildhall for a cornucopia of original gifts, all created by Cornish makers. It’s the best place to look for one-offs and unusual items, and the atmosphere’s always fab. There’s a café and live music, making a real event of the annual Christmas present shopping trips.
Follow Etsy Makers Cornwall on Facebook for more details.
Padstow Christmas Festival
This star-studded event combines top chefs, a Christmas market, live music and community events, topping it all off with a spectacular fireworks display. Over the four days of the festival, you can see chefs in two demonstration theatres including local heroes Rick Stein, Paul Ainsworth and Nathan Outlaw alongside Atul Kochhar, the first Indian chef to receive a Michelin star, José Pizarro, Glynn Purnell and Phil Vickery. “It is a great example of what Cornwall has to offer,” says Rick Stein. “From some of our most successful local food producers to the fine chefs who have chosen Cornwall as a great place to live and work. We are lucky to have access to some of the best ingredients right here, on our doorstep.”
The festival attracts tens of thousands of visitors to the picturesque fishing town of Padstow which comes alive with cookery demonstrations, culinary hints and tips, Christmas shopping, and a smorgasbord of food and drink. The popular Christmas Market will house a diverse range of crafts, gifts and artwork as well as more than 100 local food and drinks providers ranging from artisan bread, cakes, chocolate, meats, cheeses, preserves and alcoholic beverages. The Santa Fun Run raises money for good causes. padstowchristmasfestival.co.uk
From 4 December
Bude Christmas Market
In North Cornwall, beach huts aren’t just for summer! More than 70 of them at Crooklets and Summerleaze beaches will be open every Friday, Saturday and Sunday (11am-4pm) from 4-20 December to showcase the work of local artists, crafters and artisans which will make great Christmas gifts.
This free event at Heartlands in Pool will have lots of indoor and outdoor stalls selling a range of goods and there will be mulled wine and festive foods in the Red River Café and from street food vendors. Father Christmas will arrive on his sleigh and children can see him and receive a gift (book tickets online at £2.50).
Although tickets for the Christmas Market are free, you still need to book online.
5, 19 December
Pendeen Farmers’ Market
This popular fortnightly farmers’ market offers a range of quality, fresh and home-cooked produce including free-range meat, poultry and eggs, seasonal game and vegetables, fish and baked goods, cheese and preserves. It’s great that it can still hold its popular Christmas events by setting up outdoors in the Pendeen Church Car Park from 10am to 1pm.
From 5 December
Lappa Valley Steam Railway
Take a nostalgic steam train ride through the wooded valley into Lappa where children can meet Santa in his grotto. There will be balloon modelling, music from a traditional fairground organ, seasonal refreshments and rides on the woodland railway. The Santas specials are on 5, 6, 12, 13 and 19-24 December.
From 5 December
Paradise Park Santa’s Grotto
This lovely family-run attraction has been entertaining visitors for nearly 50 years. There are more than 1,200 birds to see and at Christmas you can also visit Santa’s Grotto (5, 6, 12, 13 and 18-24 December). Santa will spend quality time with each family and a visit to his Grotto will allow you to claim a discount on entry to the park.
12, 18 December
Colwith Farm Distillery with pic CORN DEC20 DIARY COLWITH
Pay a visit to Cornwall’s first plough to bottle distillery on a 200-acre farm near Fowey. It’s run by three generations of the Dustow family who have been producing award-winning Cornish spirits since 2014. The visitor centre is open throughout the winter months and you can shop for gifts (including gin-making kits) or book in for an afternoon distillery tour, evening gin masterclass or half-day gin masterclass, bottling and labelling your own gin to take home. Or get into the Christmas spirits at a Cocktail Masterclass with Cornish mixologist Will Bickham on 12 and 18 December.
While the world famous Mousehole Christmas lights won’t be happening this month, Cornwall’s many and varied harbours hope to put on an outside show allowing social distancing.
Festive cream tea
Is there anything better than a Cornish cream tea? Yes adding a festive touch by way of Christmas cakes and delicacies (and a sprig or two of holly) and a glass of something sparkly. We like St Ives Harbour Hotel.
If you are sheilding, you can enjoy a cream tea at home with The Cornwall Hamper Company who will deliver a vertiable feast of Cornish Christmas goodies. thecornwallhampercompany.co.uk
Christmas in Cornwall with the National Trust.
The many annual events that celebrate the traditions of Christmas at Cornwall’s varied National Trust properties are still being planned. But it’s likely that the traditional Cotehele flower garland that decorates the ancient hall will go onhung, as many of the houses remain closed due to the ongoing coronavirus but there is sure to be twinkly lights and an opportunity to see the gardens by twilight. Keep an eye on their website for the latest news.
17 Various dates
The jewel in England Heritage’s crown, the (possible)former home of King Arthur, Tintagel Castle is open for pre-booked visits. Set high on Cornwall’s rugged north coast, Tintagel is Inextricably linked with the legend of King Arthur. For centuries this dramatic castle and coastline has fired the imaginations of writers, artists.
Falmouth Festive Weekend
Planning is well advanced for a free weekend of activities in this waterfront town. Expect lots of Christmas sparkle, an artificial ice rink, a Victorian carousel and a festive land train. There will be plenty of live entertainment too. Where there are charges (the ice rink, carousel) the prices have been kept low at £1, proceeds towards next year’s event.
19 December-3 January
National Maritime Museum Cornwall
The theme for Christmas at this Falmouth attraction is Lanterns and Lights with, as you would expect, a nautical twist. The traditional wooden boats at the museum will be decked out with festive lights as a maritime alternative to Christmas trees.
Children can enjoy making something crafty to take away and the hunt is on for twinkling lights, with a small prize to be claimed. All activities are included in the admission price.
A Christmas Carol
Discover the magic of Charles Dickens’ classic festive tale as the miserly Ebenezer Scrooge is visited by the ghosts of Christmas Past, Christmas Present and Christmas Future. This mesmerising story is performed solo by David Mynne in a production which has delighted audiences on previous outings. Suitable for children of eight years and above, it can be seen at The Acorn Penzance.
26 December-3 January
Christmas Adventure Quest
Blow away the cobwebs at Pendennis Castle in Falmouth with an adventure quest for all the family. You can hunt for clues, discover fun facts and untold stories in the place where history happened at this fortress built by Henry VIII. The quest is included in admission prices, and you must book in advance.
The Lost Gardens of Heligan with choice of pics CORN DEC20 DIARY HELIGAN
Christmas is always a magical time at The Lost Gardens of Heligan. There’s a chance to meet Father Christmas or shop for some original and unique gifts. For anyone craving a homemade roast, the Heligan Kitchen has re-opened for Sunday lunches offering the finest Heligan reared meat and local produce (vegetarian option are available). Due to Covid-19 restrictions tables need to be booked ahead via the Heligan website.
Barbara Hepworth Museum and Sculpture Gallery
While the prebooking timed visits that are happening at all our favourite attractions requires a certain amout of organisation - the plus is that smaller places like Barbara Hepworth Museum and Sculpture Garden feel like you have them almost to yourself.
Dame Barbara Hepworth remains one of the world’s most renowned sculptors and at her former home her work sits along a subtropical garden.
Christmas Day swim, Bude
At 11am on Christmas morning, Crooklets beach throngs with thousands of people watching hundreds of hardy and bonkers souls take a dip in the Atlantic Ocean – and no wetsuits are allowed. Organised by Bude Surf Lifesaving Club, the oldest such club in the country, this annual fundraiser continues to grow in size year after year.
It’s all over by 11.30am everyone will have gone, but in-between there is a massive, festive gathering.
There’s festive fun with this show by Falmouth-based Near-ta Theatre. Christmas. Time is a musical comedy about two cellmates, Charlie and Toby, who are spending time at Her Majesty’s pleasure over Christmas and decide to cheer themselves up with a whistle-stop tour through Dickens, panto, music, festive films and Christmas dinner.
The show is at The Alverton in Truro.