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Six seasonal South Devon celebrations to get you in the Christmas spirit

December 5, 2018 | News

South Devon is home to a host of seasonal celebrations this winter. Whether you’re looking for a classic Christmas market or something a little more out of the ordinary, Visit South Devon has six celebrations not to be missed.

  1. Christmas at Pennywell Farm – 24 November until 24 December

Get the whole family in the Christmas spirit at the Pennywell Christmas farm festivities, which will run from 24 November up until 24 December.

This enchanting experience begins with a nativity performance, where kids are the star of the show alongside the Pennywell animals. All costumes are provided including heavenly angels, shephards, wise men, innkeepers and, of course, Mary and Joseph.

The celebrations will continue with an exciting visit from Father Christmas where children receive a special gift. After all the festive fun, the experience finishes with a well-deserved festive refreshment.

Allow two hours for the full experience. All bookings for the first performance on the 24 and 25 November or 1 and 2 December include a special breakfast with Father Christmas. Alternatively, book at 2.30pm on Saturday 1 or Sunday 2 December and enjoy a Devon cream tea with Father Christmas after your performance. Deep link:

Where to stay: Beyond Escapes Devon is home to a collection of luxury lodges and apartments. Located in Higher Blagdon, near Totnes, the lodges are within perfect distance of local amenities and attractions. Apartments are available for 4+ people from £433 per week.

  1. Exeter Christmas Market, Cathedral Green, 15 November to 16 December

 Exeter’s popular Christmas market is back for another year, where visitors and locals are invited to enjoy 32 days of festive food, craft and gift stalls from local and international traders.

The magical winter market lights up the Cathedral Green in the run up to Christmas, making it the perfect day out to get everyone in the seasonal spirit. This year there will be perfomances from local bands, carol singers and choirs on the west front bandstand, creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere for visitors.

The festive village opens on Thursday 15 November and will close on Sunday 16 December. The opening times will be Monday to Wednesday between 10am and 7pm, Thursday to Saturday 10am until 9pm and Sunday’s between 11am and 5pm. Deep link:

Where to stay: Recently refurbished, the City Gate Hotel in Exeter offers 14 boutique, individually designed bedrooms just two minutes’ walk from the Cathedral.  Double rooms can be booked from £109. 

  1. Candlelit Dartmouth, 30 November to 1 December

One of the highlights of South Devon’s Christmas fairs and festivals, Candlelit Dartmouth is a spellbinding event that captures the hearts and imaginations of couples, families and children alike.

Starting on Friday 30 November at 4pm, this traditional seasonal celebration kicks off with a classic Christmas Market, which runs over the entire weekend. Taking place in Royal Avenue Gardens, there will also be live entertainment adding to the festive atmosphere, both in the gardens and around town.

As dusk falls, the town’s Christmas Lights are switched on, transforming the town into a glittering wonderland in readiness for the arrival of Father Christmas, who crosses the moonlit waters of the Dart before landing ashore.

The market will then resume on Saturday 1 December at 10am with music and entertainment in to the early evening. Many shops will be open until late during the weekend, making it an ideal opportunity to purchase Christmas gifts.

At the heart of this two-day event is the captivating Candlelit Christmas procession that winds its way through the medieval streets and alleyways of Dartmouth.  Taking place on Saturday evening, this beguilingly beautiful parade features hundreds of intricate, hand-made paper lanterns.

There will be a free park and ride service from the top of town on Saturday from 10am to 8pm. Deep link:

Where to stay: The Royal Castle Hotel, situated at the very heart of Dartmouth, enjoys fantastic views over the river Dart and Royal Avenue Gardens.  Double rooms in this award-winning and privately owned 17th century hotel can be booked from £160.

  1. Bovey Tracey Christmas Street Fayre, Saturday 01 December 3-6pm

Renowned for its crafts, and home to the Devon Guild of Craftsman, Bovey Tracey is the perfect place to find an original or inspiring present.  The one day Christmas Street Fayre, held on Saturday 01 December, brings together 40 gift and artisan craft stalls as well as a host of street food vendors in the one location.

Throughout the day there’ll be carol singing and fairground rides and a bouncy castle snow globe for the kids. In between shopping, grown-ups can indulge in moreish mulled wine or a tipple of your choice from the mobile bar. As dusk draws in, you will be invited to join in with the count down to switching on the lights and giant Christmas tree in the square. Deep link:

Where to stay: The Ilsington Country House Hotel, situated in 10 acres of land, perched high on the rolling hills of the Dartmoor National Park, is just a short drive from Bovey Tracey. Double rooms are available from £145 per night, including breakfast.

  1. Plymouth Christmas Market, 29 November to 16 December

Held in the City Centre Piazza, Plymouth’s Christmas Market brings a winter wonderland to the heart of the city with more than 50 magical log cabin stalls offering everything from hand-crafted Christmas gifts to fabulous food stalls festooned with fairy lights.

Lasting 18 days, the Christmas Market, which starts on 29 November and runs until 16 December, is the perfect way to get into the Christmas spirit, aided by the waft of seasonal treats, beer, Gluhwein, hot chocolate, teas and coffees.

Add to that a Bavarian bar that offers the unusual treat of heated seats, and you have the perfect antidote to chilly, late night or last-minute Christmas shopping. Deep link:

Where to stay: Langdon Court Hotel, a historic Grade II Listed 16th-century Tudor manor house set in its own grounds, is only six miles from Plymouth City Centre.  Double rooms are available from £129 with breakfast included.

  1. Late Night Christmas Shopping at Totnes: 4th, 11th and 18th December (3:30pm-9:30pm)

Join the seasonal buzz of Totnes’ Tuesday Christmas markets this winter when the town’s medieval high street is taken over by up to 60 Christmas stalls selling crafts, presents, decorations, and locally made food and drink.  Take the opportunity to indulge in Totnes’ world famous independent shops, breathe in the heavenly smell of festive food and mulled wine, and enjoy a host of South Devon’s renowned street entertainers and folk musicians who perform every night of the Christmas markets.

Visitors can expect artisan stalls and fabulous food vendors intermingled with a stunning lantern parade and Santa’s Grotto.  You can find everything from bonsai trees and upcycled bicycles, to felted clothing, scented candles, hand-made jewellery, and soaps.  With two food areas, visitors can indulge in stews, paella, hog roast, locally produced gourmet burgers and special Christmas menus in local pubs and restaurants.

The Civic Hall will be open offering craft activities, Santa’s Grotto, delicious food, mulled wines and ciders.  There’ll be performances too, with jugglers, buskers, children’s entertainers, musicians and choirs throughout the town, followed by live music at the Royal Seven Stars after the market closes. Deep link:

Where to stay: Royal Seven Stars Hotel, Totnes. This pretty former coach house Inn is located just a stone’s throw away from the lovely River Dart and the South Devon Railway.  Double rooms are available from £105 per night including breakfast.

For more information on South Devon’s Christmas festivals and events, go to