Not long to go until Christmas, and thoughts turn to ways of sharing in the joy of the festive season with those around us. Check out our list of the best events happening in Cornwall this Christmas to help make the most of the holidays this year.
The Eden Project goes festive:
There's a trilogy of events at Eden this Christmas sure to delight all members of the family. Firstly, the beloved Eden Project ice rink has come back yet again for this year, with a variety of sessions sure to capture that ice skating magic. You can check out our page for more information about this exciting activity. Further, there are going to be a few very special appearances from Father Christmas at the Eden Project, with a show and gifts for all attendees. And as if that wasn't enough, the entire Project will be taking on a festive theme on certain dates, with a masterclass of illumination transforming the Domes into a Winter Wonderland, complete with the Christmas Big Band playing all seasonal favourites. To book and for more information, check out The Eden Project website.
Adventure at the Tunnel of Lights:
An immersive frozen adventure experience awaits visitors at the Shipwreck Treasure Museum this Christmas. Delve into a multi-sensory underground world through a fantastic polar expedition with gigantic icebergs and frozen shipwrecks, before experiencing the magic of the never-before-seen underground tunnel with thousands of lights debuting at this event. The Museum is home to one of Europe’s largest collections of shipwreck treasures with over 8,000 items on display, and for the festive season is completed by the UK's longest underground tunnel of illuminations. For a more mature experience, there's an exclusive adults-only hour at the end of the day, held with complimentary refreshments on arrival.
Have an Active Christmas:
There are a variety of festive trails available this year for families who want to get more active in the lead-up to the seasonal celebrations. At Pendennis Castle, a Christmas adventure quest has been prepared, allowing families to get active while discovering fun facts and festive folklore as they explore the castle grounds. At Mount Hawke, elves have moved in to pass on messages to the North Pole for Christmas, and families are challenged to spot letters on their tiny doors to spell a special Christmas message. At Wheal Martyn clay works, a reindeer trail is waiting for families with handcrafted woodland reindeer hidden throughout the historic grounds and woodland trails, and there's an opportunity to vote for the best dressed Christmas tree after exploring the exhibition in the Discovery Centre. This is just a selection of a few great ways to get active in Cornwall this Christmas, with many more great opportunities to be more mobile available to families and people of all ages.
Catch a train to Santa's grotto:
Hop aboard one of the Santa Special trains at the Bodmin & Wenford railway for a traditional Christmas railway experience, returning this year after popular demand. After being greeted by Santa's elves on the platform, depart the station on a steam train journey around Bodmin during which children will be encouraged to write their lists for Father Christmas. The train will then return to the station, where children will have the opportunity to take part in Christmas-themed activities before visiting Santa in a unique Victorian-era coach. All children will receive age-appropriate gifts and get the chance to take a photo with Santa to complete an excellent railway experience.
Get crafty on the clifftops:
A variety of craft sessions are available at the Polurrian hotel this Christmas, with workshops for cards, cookies, wreaths and more available. A hotel with pedigree, it has played host to stars including Winston Churchill and Clark Gable throughout its storied 150-year history. Experts of design will lead the workshops, with attendees sure to come away proud with beautiful handmade Christmas creations.
Embrace a different kind of tradition:
Enjoy a proper Cornish tradition at the Montol festival in Penzance, a modern revival of many of the traditional Cornish midwinter customs and traditions historically practised around the wider Penzance area. Montol is a six-day arts and community festival, with a variety of activities throughout the week including workshops, carols, plays and late night shopping in Penzance. The main event is on December 21st and involves more traditional aspects of the Cornish midwinter celebrations, including traditionally costumed "Guise dancing" and the lighting of several fire beacons, with festivities and dancing throughout. The festival is held on the traditional date of the feast of St Thomas the Apostle, which always coincides with the winter solstice.
Enjoy dinner and a show:
Enjoy a plant-based three-course banquet, backed by the scintillating performances of the popular Swamp Circus. Upon arrival, you will be welcomed with a glass of bubbly before the big reveal where Le Gâteau will open. Enter Le Gâteau, the indulgent Big Top circus extravaganza of a Christmas Party, complete with a well-stocked bar with all the favourites and a few local gems you might not have tried before. Once seated, you will enjoy a future-friendly plant-based banquet served by performing waiters. Whilst you dine, the cabaret will entertain with glow and light performers, incredible jugglers, and so much more! After dinner, the vivacious Motown Pirates will entertain as the dance floor fills and the night is seen out with an in-house DJ. To book, head to the Cornwall Hospice Care website.
Shop local at a Christmas fair:
It's more important than ever to support local business, and there's a variety of ways to do this in Cornwall over the festive season. The Jubilee Wharf Christmas Fair is making a return this year, ideal for picking up a few handcrafted Christmas gifts ready for the big day. Enjoy a variety of local produce from pots to oysters to chopping boards, jewellery, gin, and even board games. Mount Edgcumbe House and Country Park's popular Christmas Fayre also returns for the seventeenth year, with a variety of local produce and crafts to eat and peruse. There's also Christmas Craft Fairs in St Keverne and at the Watermark bar in Newquay, so there's surely an event for everyone this year.
Visit the animals this Christmas:
There are a couple of exciting Christmas offerings from conservation organisations around Cornwall this year. At Paradise Park, a great "Christmas Cracker" wildlife quiz has been prepared, with a special gift upon completion. The park is home to over 1200 rare and beautiful parrots, penguins, flamingos and more, and would be a special and educational visit for every member of the family over the holidays. Elsewhere, Santa is coming back to Newquay Zoo in a treat for all families. Santa will be taking time out from his busy Christmas schedule to take up residence in his magical grotto for more days than ever before. Children can meet Santa, receive a gift and also make reindeer food at the elf workshop – sprinkle it on your lawn at night, the moon will help it sparkle bright, as Santa’s reindeer fly and roam, this food will guide them to your home!
Experience nature in the festive season:
The Lost Gardens of Helligan are fully embracing Christmas with an extended series of events following their popular success last year. The Lost Gardens have once again partnered with the Lantern Company to transform the park, which will become beautifully lit by a variety of traditional paraffin lanterns and a breathtaking display of flora and fauna lanterns, illuminated within the Garden's beloved and iconic locations. Opening times are extended into the evening to allow the masterclass of illumination to shine a nocturnal magnifying glass upon the often overlooked beauty of the natural flora and fauna on our doorstep. Lovers of nature are invited to explore the Gardens experiencing wildlife from owls to butterflies, foxgloves, hares and robins, and a joyful burst of fuchsias, in a seasonal experience that creates a wonder-filled space for families and friends to discover these beautiful indigenous species.
Take part in true Cornish festivities:
A couple of locations in Cornwall embrace Christmas like nowhere else. Falmouth's festive weekend is returning this year, with the entire town centre transformed into a hive of festivities: a festive land train, a giant snow globe, festive stalls, snowy streets, fairground attractions, an artificial ice rink, live choirs, and much more adorn the streets of this scenic location. And we would be remiss to omit the renowned Mousehole Christmas Lights, popularly recognised throughout not only Cornwall but the entire country as one of the best Christmas displays around. Due to restrictions this year, there is no formal "switching-on" ceremony, but the lights will quietly go up by mid-December and will stand as beautifully as any other year, forming an amazingly picturesque constellation in the heart of Cornwall.
There's no better way to make the most of this Christmas season than enjoying some of the wonderful event offerings available throughout Cornwall this year. Let us know how you get on and if there's anything we've missed. Happy holidays!