Fabulous family days out you can STILL enjoy this Christmas

All aboard for some festive fun at Seaton Trams. Photo: Ben Kapur

All aboard for some festive fun at Seaton Trams. Photo: Ben Kapur - Credit: Archant

Devon venues are making safety the priority to ensure festive fun

South Devon Railway is hoping to take passengers on a very special train ride. Photo: PNP Events

South Devon Railway is hoping to take passengers on a very special train ride. Photo: PNP Events - Credit: Archant

Excited kids, parents and grandparents coming together to enjoy a meet and greet with Santa traditionally marks the time when everyone starts to feel Christmassy.

Our top tourist attractions have a proven track record of pulling out all the stops when it comes to organising incredible wintry wonderland grottos, themed steam train and tram rides, ice rinks and more.

This year is different, of course. Santa’s got his hat and mask on, for one thing. Things have had to be scaled back, made subject to change and added restrictions put in place. But we can still share a bit of festive joy, can’t we?

“It is going to be fun,” says Josh Castree from Seaton Trams, speaking before Devon Life went to press. “We’re still planning to go ahead with our Polar Express ™ tram ride. We’re close to selling out of tickets.”

South Devon Railway is hoping to take passengers on a very special train ride. Photo: PNP Events

South Devon Railway is hoping to take passengers on a very special train ride. Photo: PNP Events - Credit: Archant

The popular event involves a magical ride on a specially decorated tram to Santa’s North Pole home. Here, visitors will be able to enjoy a hot chocolate while they admire the twinkling lights before heading back to the station, singing along to Christmas Carols all the way. Santa will also be handing out some gifts – but not in his grotto this year.

“He will come out to the visitors,” says Josh adding that the Big Man will of course be wearing a mask, in line with current safety measures. (When we speak, the Seaton Tram team had been busy deciding whether it would be mask over or under the beard!)

READ MORE: 30 great days out in Exeter

Enjoy the sights and sounds of the River Exe this winter with Stuart Line Cruises. Photo: Stuart Lin

Enjoy the sights and sounds of the River Exe this winter with Stuart Line Cruises. Photo: Stuart Line Cruises - Credit: Archant

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Over at Stuart Line Cruises in Exmouth, they’re getting ready to launch their festive special trips.

Passengers can enjoy a trip along the River Exe on a boat decorated with fairy lights, garlands and plenty of sparkle and shine. There are heated lower decks and cosy blankets to keep you warm while you enjoy the views, plus a glass of mulled wine and mince pie.

Stuart Line have been running their popular cruises throughout the summer and autumn at a third of their usual capacity to keep everyone socially distanced.

Staff at the family run firm say the winter trips are always really special because wading and migrating birds, such as avocets, curlews and plovers usually make an appearance in this area, a designated Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).

“We’re really looking forward to it,” says Stuart Line’s marketing director Lauren Clark. “It’s about trying to provide a fun experience that’s also safe.

“We’re doing whatever we can to make the best of things, whatever happens.”

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MORE FESTIVE FUN

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South Devon Railway is also planning to run a Polar Express ™ train ride. A sleek, black steam engine, inscribed with the ‘1225’ signage to identify it as Santa’s train is set to pull into the Buckfastleigh station, before taking passengers on a magical hour-long ride through the countryside.

Wildwood Escot is hosting a celebration of Yuletide event its Saxon village area.

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