Get these event dates in your Cornish calendar this festive season!
Now that the evenings are getting darker (around 4:30pm now – good grief!) I’ve found myself in the weird dark lull between Halloween and when I’ll ‘allow myself’ to get in the Christmas spirit. Each year I usually try and wait until December 1st before I go ALL OUT with festivities (I’m talking Christmas playlists, gingerbread everything, decorations up, and gift buying), but that leaves basically the whole month of November left for planning out my calendar and fun festive activities.
I love going to Christmas events, and luckily, Cornwall has plenty to offer! There are loads of things to do this Winter, so whether you’re a Cornish local ready to get festive, or if you’re visiting for the season and want to know what are the best things to do, check out my curated ‘highlights’ list below:
Mousehole Christmas Lights
We used to go every year as children, and I have fond memories of being huddled up in multiple layers on the quay admiring all the beautiful lights and shapes in the harbour whilst clutching a box of chips and hot chocolate. I haven’t been for years, but it’s famous throughout Cornwall and I hope to attend this year for sure!
The light switch on event is on December 15th at 6:30pm on the harbour, where there’s be a carol choir and silver band playing amongst the crowds. The lights will then be on each evening from 5pm to 11pm until 4th January, so you can always visit then if you’re not around for the 15th!
Made in Cornwall Christmas Fair in Truro
The Cornish capitol’s Christmas fair is back again in the Truro piazza, showcasing 80 traders selling delicious ‘made in Cornwall’ food and drink, as well as local artists and craft stalls to browse as well. There’s usually some kind of choir or band playing, and remember Truro will have ‘late night shopping’ one evening a week so you can stay late and grab some gifts while you’re out!
Ice Skating at Eden Project
Every year, the famous Eden Project transforms their indoor arena into Cornwall’s only indoor ice skating rink, with prices from £7 per adult and £6 per child. The Eden Project also host a range of other activities throughout Christmas as well, so why not combine your ice skating trip with something festive, like wreath-making or new after-dark experiences?
Padstow Christmas Festival
Padstow’s Christmas festival is one of the best and biggest here in Cornwall! I’ve never been, but I’ve heard great things and I hope to go this year. It’s all about good food, with chef demos from the likes of Rick Stein and Nathan Outlaw throughout the weekend, as well as a bustling Christmas market too.
The festival runs from the 6th til 9th December on Padstow Harbour.
Illuminated Garden Walks (Trelissick & Heligan)
Last year, Alex and I visited Trelissick for one of their ‘illuminated’ nights around Christmas, and it was beautiful! This year, they are running these events again, and the Lost Gardens of Heligan are joining in too! I’ve never actually been to Heligan (even in the day time!) so I’m keen to go along to this one.
Trelissick Illuminated is open every evening from the 7th December from 4pm til 7pm, while Heligan have certain dates throughout December.
Montol Festival, Penzance
Montol is the Cornish festival of Midwinter, and is celebrated every year on the 21st December in Penzance, with a procession of lanterns and masked festival-goers dancing through the streets. I have never witness Montol for myself but am fascinated by it! Sarah from Salt & Sea Stories has written about the event in more detail on her blog, with stunning photographs of what to expect too.
Pantomimes and Woodland Theatre
This year, Miracle Theatre will be performing Aladdin as a pantomime at Princess Pavillions in Falmouth, from the 7th December to the 5th January. If you’re a fan of pantos, this is set to be a good one!
Personally, I’m not a huge fan, BUT I do enjoy some theatre, and Rogue Theatre are one of my favourite local groups who regularly put on fantastic performances in Tehidy Woods throughout the year. This Winter, they are putting on a Winter Wood experience, and I can’t wait to go along.
Boxing day swim (various locations)
It wouldn’t be Christmas without an infamous Boxing Day swim in Cornwall, would it? Throughout the county, crazy Cornish folk head to the beach, nursing sherry hangovers and still full of leftovers from the dinner before, and run into the freezing cold Atlantic ocean… for fun! Below are a few of the locations that are met with large groups each year:
- St. Ives
They all ‘officially’ start at different times, so best to research beforehand!
Falmouth NYE Fireworks
I’ll be honest – I’ve never been to a big New Years Eve fireworks display! I’ve never been ‘out out’ at NYE either… I know, it’s shocking. However I have heard from others that Falmouth is THE place to be for New Year’s Eve fireworks, as they are lit from the iconic Pendennis Castle and everyone goes out to all the bars and pubs in the town. I don’t know what I’ll be doing this year but this is definitely on my Cornwall bucket list!
St. Ives NYE Fireworks
Another great one that many people rave about is New Year’s Eve in St. Ives! Apparently everyone dresses up and has a fantastic street party night in the town, followed by fireworks at midnight on the quay.
There are tonnes more Christmas markets, light switch ons and other events going on throughout Cornwall this November and December, but these are my ‘cream of the crop’, favourites list that I love doing every year (or have earmarked for visiting for the first time in 2018!). Don’t forget to check out places like Facebook for upcoming events near you as well.