You know us; we love Cornwall whatever time of the year it is.
In the run up to Christmas, though, Cornwall really does know how to celebrate. Harbourside towns light the bay with flashes of colour, markets and stalls line town centres with crafts and workshops, festive foods aromas fill the air and family-friendly events abound across the region.
Here are some of our favourite Cornwall Christmas events near our South East Cornwall holiday cottages where you can soak up the festive spirit whilst exploring the county’s wintry beauty.
1 Cotehele Christmas
When: Daily until December 31 2016; 11am – 4pm (closed December 25-26)
Where: Cotehele (National Trust), St Dominick, Saltash PL12 6TA
Details: Christmas is a magical time at Cotehele. Celebrating 60 years of the Cotehele Christmas garland, see the 60ft flower garland adorn the Tudor hall in the House throughout Christmas and enjoy music by a variety of local choirs and musicians performing under it. From its annual Christmas food fair (November 19 -20) to visits from Mother and Father Christmas (selected dates), a Father Christmas woodland trail (December 3-24), festive art-making afternoons, wassailing in the orchard and more, there’s plenty to do at Cotehele. Please check the website for event details.
2 Cornwall Macmillan Christmas Fair
When: November 17 2016; 10am – 4pm
Where: Eden Kitchen, Eden Project, Bodelva, Par PL24 2SG
Details: Why not gather together your favourite goodies and make up a Cornish hamper for a south-west-obsessed friend at the Macmillan Christmas Fair? With 15% of all stall takings going to Macmillan, you can shop until you drop knowing that you’ll be helping others whilst choosing gifts for your loved ones (and maybe a couple for yourself). Featuring a plethora of stalls, it’s the perfect place to pick up Christmas treats, stocking fillers and local gifts.
3 Pencarrow Christmas Fair
When: November 19 – 20 2016; 10am – 4 pm
Where: Pencarrow House and Garden, Bodmin PL30 3AG
Details: This large Christmas Fair has become the crème de la crème of Christmas fairs in Cornwall. Snuggled between Wadebridge and Bodmin, this stunning Georgian house set in 50 acres offers a chance to inspire you in time for Christmas. The fantastic food hall is a definite must see and taste and the best craft producers in Cornwall deliver a wide selection of imaginative creations. The Peacock Café is a great resting place for a light lunch, coffee and cake. Don’t forget to don those sensible shoes for a walk in the magnificent grounds where dogs are welcome.
4 Winter Festival at the Eden Project
When: November 25 – February 19 2017 (selected times and dates).
Where: Eden Project, Bodelva, Par PL24 2SG
Details: This winter the Eden Project welcomes the festive season with open arms as the site is transformed into a winter wonderland. As darkness falls, you’ll be amazed by the Festival of Light and Sound which will transform Eden’s winter landscape with laser light projections, music and colour. Running between November 25 – December 30 (selected evenings), visitors will be able to step out on to the Eden viewing platform and gaze in awe as dramatic lasers pierce through the darkness to create a canopy of light, painting the Biomes and the plant displays with festive colours. The breath-taking event is the big new addition to Christmas at Eden, alongside favourites Father Christmas and his elves and the ever-popular ice rink. There will also be live storytelling and the chance to try some wonderful food and drink. Please check the website for more details and to book online.
5 Christmas at The Lost Gardens of Heligan
When: November 28 – December 23 2016 (various events)
Where: Pentewan, Saint Austell PL26 6EN
Details: Christmas is always a magical time at The Lost Gardens and there is plenty to get you into the festive spirit while you soak up the stunning surroundings. A warm welcome awaits you in the Heligan Tearoom from November 29 (except Mondays) for traditional Christmas Lunch with all the festive trimmings warmed by a welcoming wood burner on crisp days. From December, visitors can write their wishes in a letter to Father Christmas and pop it into a magical post box to be whisked away to ‘the man himself’! On December 5 and 19 join in the Christmas spirit with FREE entrance to the magical Lantern-Lit Gardens, on an enchanting Christmas Lantern Night between 5.30-9pm. The family-friendly first Heligan Christmas Fair on December 10 – 11 will give visitors the perfect opportunity to find some unique Christmas gifts, with well over 70 stalls. And, from December 17, come and explore the Gardens on a magical festive Trail before heading to the Head Gardener’s Office where children will meet the Heligan elves and receive a little traditional gift from Father Christmas by the fireside. Please check the website for event times and booking details.
6 Looe’s BIG Festive Weekend
When: December 2 – 4 2016
Details: Looe heralds in the festive season on December 2 with a lantern procession, lights switch-on and carol singing on the beautifully lit harbourside. On December 3, Santa ditches his aqua sleigh and hitches a ride with the RNLI lifeboat crew flanked by his two special reindeer. Then join ‘the man himself’ as he travels across the town towards his glittering grotto. While you wait for Santa at 2pm, visit the Nativity Scene in West Looe, with real animals to pet and fantastic photo opportunities! There will be children’s entertainment, a bouncy castle and food and drinks outlets to visit as well! Fireworks at 7pm signify Santa’s Departure with live music until 9pm. On December 4 kids get a treat with a disco and competitions between 1-3pm and afterwards live music. Explore the Christmas Market in West Looe during the weekend too. Please check the website for more details.
7 Liskeard Lights Up
When: December 3 2016; 5.30pm
Details: Liskeard’s annual winter carnival is always a magical evening. There will be a procession of lanterns followed by the switching on of the Christmas lights and a firework display. This year the theme is ‘Carnival of the Animals’ so expect a veritable menagerie to be roaming the streets!
8 Santa by Steam
When: December 3 – 24 2016 (selected dates)
Where: Bodmin & Wenford Railway, Bodmin PL31 1AQ
Details: Santa has ditched his sleigh in favour of a fun-filled journey through the beautiful Cornish countryside. Join Santa aboard his enchanting steam train for a one hour journey. Whilst on board, the elves will invite you to visit Santa in his magical grotto, where he will surprise your children with a special present. There’s time for a chat and a photo too. Adults can enjoy a seasonal drink and mince pie, though we’re sure you could get a snap with Father Christmas too, if you’ve been good! Please check the website for more details.
9 Polperro Christmas Market/Lights switch-on
When: December 3 2016; 2 – 7pm
Details: In Polperro, they do things with real Cornish style. December 3 marks the Christmas Lights switch-on in this picturesque village, and, always eager for a chance to celebrate, the folk of Polperro gather on the Big Green from 2pm onwards to turn the event into a proper festival. Craft stalls, live music, mulled wine, mince pies and the smell of roasting chestnuts evoke a truly seasonal atmosphere, as well as offering a great chance to pick up some unique Christmas gifts. During the festive season the local restaurants and eateries create dishes from seasonal local produce to give visitors a true taste of a proper Cornish Christmas. The festive lights line the roads with hundreds of brightly coloured bulbs, giving this unique fishing harbour a truly magical atmosphere.
10 Fowey Christmas Market
When: December 9 – 11 2016
Details: This year will be the twelfth Fowey Christmas Market, a seasonal event which has grown into one of the biggest and best in Cornwall. Soak up the atmosphere on the harbour in this stunning seaside location. Come along for a spectacular weekend of festive entertainment, meet and greet with Santa Claus, enjoy live music and gather up some yummy produce and unique Christmas gifts – everything handmade and Cornish!
11 Mount Edgcumbe Christmas Fayre
When: December 10 – 11 2016; 10am-5pm (Sat), 10am-4pm (Sun)
Where: Mount Edgcumbe House & Country Park, Torpoint PL10 1HZ
Details: Add some extra Christmas sparkle with a visit to the stunning setting of Mount Edgcumbe House for their Christmas Fayre, back for the thirteenth year and still fabulous! With more stalls than ever before selling the exciting, the gorgeous, the unusual and the absolutely scrumptious; leading West Country chefs demonstrating their culinary skills; plus a host of entertainment, there’s something for everyone. If all that isn’t enough to convince you, there’s even a beautiful grotto ready and waiting for Santa who will be taking a break from his busy schedule to visit between 11am-3pm.
12 New Year’s Eve in Looe
When: December 31 2016
Details: You probably know it by now but Looe is THE place to usher the New Year in, with fireworks at 6pm and midnight. The whole of the town and harbour – including the boats – are festooned with lights, making Looe even prettier than usual. It’s not just the town that has a New Year’s makeover, it’s the residents and visitors as well. Fancy dress is almost obligatory, with groups of friends (along with pub and restaurant staff) joining together in themed outfits to outdo and impress other sets of revellers.
Need a place to stay?
Why not treat the family to a relaxing Christmas short break at one of our cosy holiday cottages in South East Cornwall. All within an easy drive of these exciting festive events, sure to add an extra special layer of sparkle this Christmas.