Feel festive with these magical winter days out in the South West
The best days out for an unforgettable Christmas break
Whether you’re meandering through sparkling Christmas markets with a glass of mulled wine in hand, or venturing into the crisp Cornish countryside for a festive family day out, the South West is a magical place to be at this time of year. To celebrate this wonderful season and the countdown to Christmas, we’ve compiled the best festive days out to add to this year’s calendar.
Christmas at Corfe Castle
Feel the magic in the air with a festive visit to Corfe Castle. With an array of enchanting events taking place throughout December in and around the striking ruins, kick-start your celebrations with the ‘Twelve Days of Christmas Family Quest’ and search for hidden shields scattered throughout the castle to secure an ancient siege coin as your prize. Try your hand at Christmas crafts and make your own festive decorations to liven up your home this December, using all natural materials inspired by Corfe Castle and its picturesque countryside surroundings.
The rugged landscape is transformed into a mesmerising spectacle for the winter solstice on December 21st, where the public are advised to arrive bright and early to secure a spot to sit and watch the sunrise on the shortest day of the year. The castle opens at 7:15am, with a £10 entry ticket including breakfast and a hot drink served in the tea rooms after a magical sunrise.
Just minutes away from Corfe Castle is our brand new Dorset holiday home, Kirrin. An idyllic base for a last minute winter escape, Kirrin enjoys a sleek upside down design and incredible panoramic views across Studland Bay.
Dickensian evening in Lostwithiel
Brave the cold this December and enjoy a Dickensian evening on Thursday 13th December from 6-9pm. Lostwithiel’s ever-popular festive event sees its streets filled with crowds of all ages, looking forward to an old-fashioned Christmas experience steeped in Cornish tradition. Church bells open the evening, before a lantern parade and procession of reindeer alpacas lead the way down Lostwithiel’s streets to the heart of the event. Stilt walkers and performers bring the evening alive with music and entertainment as the local townspeople line the streets in Dickensian dress.
Enjoy lashings of mulled wine, late night shopping, traditional fairground rides and a bustling Christmas atmosphere before rounding off the night admiring festive scenes in the Advent Window Trail or soaking up some history at Duchy Palace, open to the public throughout the night.
Commemoration Garland at Cotehele
To mark the centenary of the First World War Armistice, a special event is taking place at Cothele this November, where a beautiful garland of seasonal flowers is being built to adorn the Great Hall throughout Christmas. Colourful as ever, each of the 30,000 flowers in the traditional garland are home-grown, cut and dried on site, before being added to a 60ft-long rope and displayed for the public to see from 10th November until 6th January. This year’s Commemoration Garland has been designed by local print artist Dominique Coiffait, whose floral tribute honours those who fought and died in the First World War, and who ‘survived and sowed the seeds for future generations’.
With plenty of festive food and drink to enjoy at The Barn Restaurant or The Edgcumbe tea-room on the quay, as well as a fantastic gallery exhibiting the work of West Country artists and makers, Christmas is a magical time to experience Cothele.
An hour’s drive away in the beautiful coastal village of Bigbury-on-Sea, Avocet is a fabulous multi-generational home that’s perfect for large group retreats.
Padstow Christmas festival
Bringing together the best local chefs, food producers and craftspeople from 6th – 9th December, this year’s Padstow Christmas Festival is celebrating the festive season in style, with plenty of culinary delights to sample in a picturesque waterside setting. The Cornish fishing village welcomes over 40,000 visitors each year, with a spectacular firework display, beautiful lantern parade, live music and series of fantastic chef demonstrations to entice the bustling crowds.
Find your favourite festive treats in the Christmas market – from handmade fudge and artisan peanut butter to Cornish crepes and award-winning charcuterie. Pop-up stalls will be showcasing the wares of the county’s leading arts and crafts producers, while the likes of Rick Stein, Nathan Outlaw and Paul Ainsworth whip up a whole manner of creative dishes. From beetroot-cured salmon to Tuscan bacon and bean soup, there’s something to suit every taste on the quayside.
Rosemoor at Christmas
Hosting a wintery extravaganza that will continue long after the festive frenzy of Christmas is over, from 15th November 2018, RHS Garden Rosemoor is welcoming colour-changing trees, magical storytelling workshops and a series of food and craft fairs to Devon.
Kicking off the event, the Glow Garden Illuminations are sure to bring a sparkle to everyone’s eyes this winter. On Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays until 8pm, take a walk following the new route towards the lake as colour-changing lights and the rich colours of autumn guide the way through the trees. 2018’s focal point will be Rosemoor’s commemorative soldier display, standing among 100 ceramic poppies in a wildflower meadow to mark the centenary of the end of the First World War.
Complete with a ‘Glow Simple’ supper menu to be enjoyed in the Garden Kitchen, the event will also feature an intriguing wildlife sculpture exhibition, a family workshop with Father Christmas in his magical theatre, and ‘The Magic of Christmas Food and Craft Fair’ where you can pick up unique last minute gifts and local artisan produce.
With limited winter availability, The Downes is the perfect special occasion home for hosting sparkling celebrations in the Devon countryside, complete with endless gardens and a dedicated games barn to entertain guests of all ages.
If you’re looking to truly embrace the spirit of the festive season, see our favourite South West festivals of light to attend this winter, or click here to discover the best places to spend New Year’s Eve in 2018.
Still searching for the perfect holiday home for your Christmas escape? View our available properties here.