10 things to do in Cornwall this Christmas

Merry markets, ice skating and even a dip in the sea! Follow our guide and discover why Christmas really is the most wonderful time of the year in Cornwall.

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Christmas markets

Drawing large crowds, Padstow’s Christmas Festival takes place from Thursday 4 to Sunday 7 December featuring 110 food artisans and producers, plus demos from award-winning chefs – including our very own executive chef Neil Haydock. Expect fireworks, live music, carol concerts and a great lantern parade. If you’re on the south coast, Fowey Christmas Market runs over the same weekend from the evening of Friday 5 to Sunday 7 December. Keep an eye out for Father Christmas who will be arriving by boat. Across the river and new for 2014, Falmouth’s December Festival will see 30 artisan stalls, a Santa Fun Run and live nativity play over the weekend of 11-14 December.

Ice Skating at the Eden Project

The ever popular ice skating rink is back at the Eden Project – and open until 22 February. Skate sessions cost £6 per person, and last for 40 minutes beginning every hour. Children who are a little wobbly can use one of Eden’s penguin supports to lean on plus lessons are available. Father Christmas and real reindeer are also be here on selected dates until 24 December.

National Trust properties

The National Trust has a massive feast of Christmas events to keep the whole family entertained. Sit by the fire and take in the famous 60ft dried flower garland at Cothele House right up until 31 December. Terice, the Elizabethan manor house, is putting on lots of craft activities a plenty including Christmas tree decoration and mincemeat making throughout December. Meanwhile, see Christmas through the eyes of a Victorian child at Lanhydrock House on 11 dates between 6-28 December.

The Polar Express Okehampton

All aboard! Inspired by the hit movie, the Polar Express comes to life with the Dartmoor Railway – rolling out of Oakhampton and arriving at the North Pole just half-an-hour later. Sip hot chocolate and listen to the story being read aloud before rolling into Santa’s Village to meet Father Christmas himself.

Mousehole Harbour Lights

Now in its 51st year, Mousehole Harbour Lights has been captivating visitors for years. The 2014 switch on will be held on Saturday 13 December at 7:30pm, with an open-aire Carolaire service at the entrance to the North Quay.

Late night shopping

Don’t panic if you’ve left your Christmas shopping until the last minute. Falmouth’s Christmas light switch on takes place on Thursday 4 December, with late night shopping on 4, 11 and 18 December. In our county’s capital – Truro – late night shopping takes place every Wednesday until the 17 December, with shops open until 9pm and plenty of mulled wine and hot chestnuts to tempt.

The fun of the theatre

It’s behind you! Kids will love the ‘Robin Hood’ pantomime being played at the Hall for Cornwall, Truro, from Sunday 7 until Saturday 20 December. Meanwhile, the brilliant Miracle Theatre is playing ‘Dr Livingstone, I Presume’ at various venues around Cornwall between 4-30 December.

Christmas and Boxing day swims

Blow away the cobwebs Cornish style with an invigorating Christmas Day swim, sans wetsuit! Swims are taking place at Bude, Sennen and Gwithian among others. For the very brave (or very mad) only.

Pendennis Castle

Join Pendennis Castle for Nadelick – celebrated in Cornwall when Christmas festivities fell out of fashion during the late 18th and early 19th century. The weekend of Saturday 6 and Sunday 7 December from 11am-4pm will see storytelling, dancing, Cornish carols and card making as well as tasty Cornish goodies available in the tearoom.

Cathedral carols

Truro Cathedral holds a wide range carol events open for all to attend. Of note are Turo’s BIG Christmas Sing at 7.30pm on Friday 12 December, The Truro Cathedral Choir Christmas Concert at 7.30pm Saturday 13 December, and Cornwall Youth Choir’s Christmas Concert on 2pm Saturday 20 December. Visit the Truro Cathedral website for tickets and more information.

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