The countdown to Christmas in Devon holiday cottages

The countdown to Christmas in Devon

Kate A 23 November 2018

It’s time to hang the mistletoe and decorate the tree; the moment you and your family have been waiting for all year is finally here: the countdown to Christmas is officially on! If your little ones are more excited than Santa’s elves, why not make the most of the season and treat everyone to a fun festive Devon holiday? From breakfast with Santa to hilarious pantomimes and bustling Christmas markets to magical steam train rides, the county is simply bursting with yuletide cheer to excite the whole family.

As children all over the country begin to open the first doors of their advent calendars, we’ve decided to create our very own Stay In Devon Advent Calendar, which hands out something even better than chocolate. We’ve picked out 25 family-friendly festive events, markets and festivals in Devon - one for each day in the run-up to Christmas – because there is no greater gift than spending quality time together at this special time of year.

Make it a Christmas to remember with these fun festive events in Devon…

1. North Devon Christmas Market

North Devon Christmas Market

Where: Caen Street Car Park, Braunton

When: Saturday, December 1st

Top Tips: Look out for delicious locally made food and drink to try, and unique handmade gifts to fill your family’s Christmas stockings.


2. Clovelly Christmas Lights Switch-On

Clovelly Christmas Lights Switch-On

Where: Clovelly Harbour

When: Sunday, December 2nd

Top Tips: The light switch on takes place at about 5pm followed by a festive carol service and a grand finale of dazzling fireworks.


3. Christmas Toddler Takeover Days

Christmas Toddler Takeover Days at The Big Sheep

Where: The Big Sheep, Bideford

When: Monday December 3rd to Friday December, 7th

Top Tips: Tickets to Toddler Takeover Days can only be pre-booked before 9am each day in order to receive the special reduced toddler prices. 


4. Penguins: A LEGO® brick trail

Penguins: A LEGO® brick trail in Plymouth

Where: Plymouth City Centre

When: December 3rd- January 3rd

Top Tips: Whilst you are looking for penguins, keep an eye out for the fantastic LEGO brick Santa Express at the Old Town Street entrance to Drake Circus – the perfect place for a festive selfie!


5. Newton Abbot late night shopping

Newton Abbot late night shopping

Where: St Leonard's Tower, Newton Abbot

When: Three Wednesday's througout December (5th, 12th and 19th)

Top Tips: Once Santa has parked his reindeer on top of the Clock Tower, he can be found inside for children to visit and receive a bag of sweets.


6. Christmas Murder Mystery Night

Christmas Murder Mystery Night at The Imperial Hotel in Torquay

Where: The Imperial Hotel, Torquay

When: December 6th and 20th

Top Tips: Stay alert, keep your eyes and ears open and trust no one!


7. Winter Wonderland Grotto

Winter Wonderland Grotto in Torquay

Where: Fleet Walk Shopping Centre, Torquay

When: November 17th - December 24th (Fridays and weekends only)

Top Tips: Photography elves ensure that every child has a picture to capture the special moment when they meet Father Christmas.


8. Train of Lights

Santa Express in Paignton

Where: Dartmouth Steam Railway

When: 1st, 2nd, 4th, 11th, 18th & 27th-31st December depart at 5pm and 7pm; 8th, 9th, 15th, 16th & 20th-23rd December trains depart at 7pm only

Top Tips: Tickets must be booked in advance, and, if you travel on the 7pm service, indulge in the spirit of the season by wearing pyjamas!


9. Christmas Flea Market

Christmas Flea Market in South Molton

Where: Pannier Market, South Molton 

When: Sunday, December 9th

Top Tips: Get there early to enjoy the freshest local food including heavenly homemade cakes.


10. Plymouth Christmas Market

Plymouth Christmas Market

Where: Plymouth City Centre

When: November 29th - December 16th

Top Tips: For some festive family snaps, visit the illuminated bauble arch.


11. Totnes Night Christmas Market

Totnes Night Christmas Market

Where: Fore Street and High Street, Totnes

When: Tuesdays, December 4th, 11th and 18th

Top Tips: There is a convenient Park and Ride service operating between 5.30-10pm.


12. Exeter Christmas Market

Exeter Christmas Market

Where: Cathedral Green, Exeter

When: November 15th - December 16th

Top Tips: Treat yourself to a secret recipe mulled apple gin to take with you as you explore the market.


13. Carols In The Caves

Carols In The Caves at Kents Cavern

Where: Kents Cavern, Torquay

When: Thursday, December 13th

Top Tips: Booking is essential, and don’t forget to wrap up warm and bring sensible footwear.


14. Dick Whittington

Dick Whittington at the Theatre Royal Plymouth

Where: Theatre Royal, Plymouth

When: December 14th - January 12th

Top Tips: Starring John Partridge and Samantha Womack, this action-packed pantomime is full of laughter, music and dance - but hurry, tickets on sale now!


15. Santa's Grotto and Elf Emporium

Santa's Grotto and Elf Emporium at The Milky Way

Where: The Milky Way Adventure Park, Bideford

When: December 8th, 9th, 15th, 16th, 20th, 21st, 22nd and 23rd

Top Tips: To guarantee a visit to see Santa and his elves, as well as the chance to decorate delicious gingerbread straight from Mother Christmas’ kitchen, you need to book online.


16. Woolly's Wonderland

Woolly's Wonderland at The Big Sheep

Where: The Big Sheep, Bideford

When: December 1st - 24th (weekends)

Top Tips:  See Santa’s Magical Light Show and make the most of the Ewetopia Indoor Playground, Eweston Station Train Ride and Twister Ride.


17. Crealy Christmas Spectacular