Mousehole illuminations - Christmas in Cornwall
Cornwall, Family days out

The Ultimate Guide to Christmas in Cornwall 2019 – markets, Santa and lights

A few years ago we enjoyed a magical Christmas in Cornwall. We hunkered down in our luxury cottage, ate turkey and only ventured out if there was promise of sparkle and festive fun. And we found plenty. If you are in the South West this December then here are some of the best things to do in Cornwall at Christmas in 2019.

Dates are still being confirmed for many events so keep popping back for updates!

You might also like to read my top Christmas days out in Devon and festive events around the UK.

The best places to visit in Cornwall this Christmas

From grottos to illuminations and markets to carol singing, you’ll find plenty of places to visit in Cornwall with kids this winter. Here’s where to head for festive spirit and maybe even a mulled Cornish cyder!

If you are in South West England this December then you have to experience Christmas in Cornwall. Here are some of the best festive things to do in Cornwall for families looking for seasonal fun including illuminations, markets and where to meet Santa #Christmas #thingstodo #Cornwall #familyfriendly #festive #daysout #Christmas #activities

Cornwall attractions at Christmas

Christmas all wrapped up at Camel Creek

Meet Santa, ride the Elf Express, decorate biscuits and enjoy a warming mulled wine or hot chocolate while enjoying all the winter rides and attractions at this excellent family theme park.

Camel Creek, Wadebridge, selected dates from 30 November to 22 December 2019. Special admission prices apply.

Christmas workshops at the Telegraph Museum

Make vintage Christmas decorations at the Telegraph Museum during 90 minute workshops between Christmas and New Year. There will be plenty of other festive activities happening at this interactive museum in the run up to Christmas.

Find out more about visiting this top Cornwall attraction.

Telegraph Museum, Porthcurno. Dates TBC. Normal admission prices apply.

Festive Christmas Trail at Lost Gardens of Heligan

A seasonal sensory trail with opportunity to sing along to festive favourites; detect the ‘smells’ of Christmas; enjoy bird spotting (friendly Robins); guess the present (by squeezing, not peaking) and chuckle at Christmas cracker jokes!

Lost Gardens of Heligan, Truro, from 1 to 24 December 2019. Normal garden admission prices apply. 

Ice skating this Christmas in Cornwall

Ice skating and Santa at The Eden Project

The Winter season always starts early at The Eden Project in Cornwall with the annual ice rink opening in time for the October half term. Christmas gets underway with opportunities to see Santa at Europe’s largest indoor rainforest from November.

Eden Project, St Austell, from 12 October 2019 to 23 February 2020.

Illuminations in Cornwall

Illuminated Lost Gardens of Heligan - Christmas in Cornwall

Heligan By Night

Throughout December, internationally renowned light artist Ulf Pedersen reveals the night time magic of Heligan’s historic gardens. This year Heligan will debut a selection of Pederson’s unique sound and light installations, creating a dazzling nocturnal immersive experience. The gardens are spectacular in the day so I can imagine them being incredible lit up

Lost Gardens of Heligan, Truro, selected dates from 19 December 2019 to 4 January 2020.

Illuminations at Trellissick

The garden of this stately home on the River Fal will be lit up for evening visitors. Take a look at our visit to Trelissick’s house and gardens during our last Christmas in Cornwall.

Trelliissick, Falmouth. Dates TBC. Normal admission charges apply. Free for members of the National Trust.

Christmas lights in Mousehole

A dazzling 7,000 lights will illuminate this pretty Cornish fishing village over the festive season. For a taster take a look at the harbour picture at the top of this post.

Mousehole Christmas lights, Mousehole. The lights will then be on each evening between 5pm and 11pm from 15 December 2019 until 4 January 2020, with the exception of 19 December 2019, when the lights will be dimmed between 8-9pm. Free to attend.

Light and lanterns at the Eden Project

An avenue of lights and lanterns will be set up in the biome at the Eden Project in 2019. See the biome lit up with glowing colours and lights dancing to festival music. There will also be plenty of festive music and activities as part of the Eden Project’s Festival of Christmas. We loved the Festival of Light which we saw at the Eden Project a few years ago.

Eden Project, St Austell. 30 November to 30 December 2019. Included in standard entry price.

Wheal Martyn laser illuminations

The Wheal Martyn clay pit, woodlands and trails are being illuminated during a special three day even in the run up to Christmas. A stunning laser show will be projected onto the clay pit, and there will be an immersive light trail leading into a Woodland Wonderland UV experience.

Wheal Martyn, St Austell, 5 to 7 December 2019. Booking essential.

Where to see Santa in Cornwall

Christmas fair at Heligan - Christmas in Cornwall

Santa at The Lost Gardens of Heligan

Father Christmas will be by the log fire in the Head Gardener’s Office where visitors can meet him and post their letters. Each child will receive a small traditional gift during the visit. Booking is essential.

Lost Gardens of Heligan, Truro. Saturday 14 to Monday 23 December. £2 per adult, £7 per child plus normal garden admission.

Meet a Tudor Father Christmas at Trerice

Visit Father Christmas in the Great Chamber to hear tales and traditions of Christmas. There’ll be five thirty minute performances on each of the performance dates (see the website), tickets are £4 for children, £3 for adults. Admission applies and tickets are available online with a limited percentage available on the day.

Trerice, Newquay. Dates TBC. Normal admission prices apply and members are admitted to the property. Tickets are available online with a limited percentage available on the day.

Visit Santa’s grotto at China Fleet Country Club

Tin Box family meet Santa at China Fleet Country Club Santa's Carvery & Grotto

If you’re looking for a way to celebrate Christmas with family and friends before the big day then check out the family Christmas parties at China Fleet Country Club in Saltash. Have a two course carvery, let the kids enjoy crafts and face painting, and then Meet Santa in his grotto. Here’s our review from the 2018 Carvery with Santa at China Fleet Country Club.

China Fleet Country Club, Saltash, Sunday 8 and Sunday 15 December 2019. Booking essential. 

Santa at Charlestown Shipwreck Centre

Santa Claus will be welcoming youngsters to his festive grotto at Charlestown’s Shipwreck Treasure Museum over the winter period.

Travel through the UK’s longest festive tunnel of lights beneath the museum, have an encounter with Alabaster Snowball the elf and discover Santa Claus in his underground grotto this December. As well as meeting Santa Claus, younger visitors to the Shipwreck Museum will also be able to show off their artistic skills at the festive crafts workshop to decorate their own bauble.

The Santa Experience will take place between 11 am and 6:30pm on Saturday 7 and Sunday 8 December, and then daily between Saturday 14 and Monday 23 December 2019.

There’s an early bird offering of £6 per child (ends at 4pm on Sunday 17 November 2019). Book online via the Cornish Riviera Box Office now to get the early bird offer.

Charlestown Shipwreak Centre, Charlestown, selected dates from 6 to 23 December 2019. 

Santa by Steam on Bodmin and Wenford Railway

Board this special service at Bodmin General Station where you’ll find festive treats before your hour long Santa train experience. During the ride there will be a visit to Santa’s grotto with gifts for children. There are two autism-friendly services too. Check out our visit to Bodmin & Wenford Steam Railway at Easter.

Bodmin & Wenford Steam Railway, Bodmin. Selected dates between 30 November and 24 December 2019. Booking essential.

Meet Santa in his grotto at Newquay Zoo

Come along every day over the Christmas period, expect Christmas day itself, to see the the animals. Or why not book into Santa’s Grotto on two special dates. Children will receive a special trail sheet and treat. There’s also an elf’s silent disco.

Newquay Zoo, Newquay. 14 and 15 December 2019. Special prices apply.

Meet Santa at the Eden Project

See Santa in his grotto at Europe’s largest indoor rainforest. Go behind the scenes to see where the elves sleep and work.

Eden Project, St Austell. Selected dates between 30 November and 24 December 2019.

Looking for more inspiration for things to do in Cornwall? Read our guide to family holidays in Cornwall.

Christmas markets in Cornwall

Santa and Mrs Claus at Healey's Cornish Cyder Farm - Christmas in Cornwall

Christmas markets at a working farm

Come and see Healey’s Cornish Cyder Farm showcase stalls of tasty local produce alongside Cornish art and crafts every weekend in the run up to Christmas. There’s the opportunity to pick freshly cut Christmas trees and try the range of Healeys Cornish cyders for free in Healeys own farm shop. It’s a full, fun day out for the family. You can also go on Cyder making tours and tractor rides down to 20 acres of orchards run regularly throughout the day whilst the friendly farm animals, including donkeys, pigs, goats, ponies and shire horses are a favourite for little ones to meet.

Healey’s Cornish Cyder Farm, near Newquay. Selected weekends in November and December. Entry to the farm and parking is free all year round. Charges apply for tours and tractor rides. 

Christmas Festival at Padstow

Visit Padstow for Cornwall’s latest food festival of the year with a very festive theme. There will be a Christmas market and celebrations of local food and drink

Padstow Christmas Festival, Padstow. 5 to 8 December 2019. Free.

Christmas Fair at The Lost Gardens of Heligan

More than 100 of the best local food producers, artisans, creators and makers will be at The Lost Gardens of Heligan for its annual Christmas Fair. Unique food/drink, jewellery, art, ceramics and more, will be on sale, and mulled wine and seasonal treats available.

Lost Gardens of Heligan, Truro. 6 to 8 December 2019. Free entry for Heligan Annual Members Free; local pass holders £1; £2 everyone else including garden entry.

The Alternative Christmas Present Show at Carnglaze Cavern

Find a unique Christmas gift at this festive show featuring crystals and crafts. You can also go on a guided tour of the caverns.

Carnglaze Cavern, Liskeard. 10am to 5pm, 7 to 8 December 2019. Gift show and garden entry £2 and under 16s free.

Vintage Christmas shopping at Flambards

Flambards Christmas Craft Fayre

More than 80 local craft makers will be lining the cobbles of Flambards’ famous Victorian Village for the Christmas Craft Fayre this festive season.

For a truly Dickensian Christmas shopping experience, whatever the weather, groups can head inside to explore the full-sized Victorian Village and discover craft stalls, sample local treats and enjoy a drink among the authentic 19th Century installations including a milliners, butchers and sweet shop among many others.

Flambards Christmas Craft Fayre, Cornwall, 31 November to 1 December 2019, www.flambards.co.uk.

Christmas at National Trust in Cornwall

Christmas tree in Trelissick House - Trelissick National Trust

Christmas at Trelissick

As well as illuminated gardens at Trellisick this Christmas visit the house to see it decorated in a festive fashion. You can also meed Santa’s reindeer in the stables as they have a rest before Christmas Eve.

Trelissick, Falmouth. Illuminations and house open on selected dates TBC. 

Christmas garland at Cothele

Each year there is a festive flower garland in the Grand Hall at Cotehele. All of the flowers in the garland are grown at Cotehele from seed and planted in early spring in the Cut Flower Garden. It’s a wonderful display that takes 10 days to create.

Cotehele, near Saltash. From November until 5 January 2020. Normal admission charges apply and members are free.

Masked Ball at Lanhydrock

See the extraordinary kitchens at Lanhydrock in preparation for a masked ball. Try your hand at Christmas crafts and Victorian parlour games. You can also meet Santa on selected dates.

Lanhydrock, Bodmin. 30 November 2019 to 5 January 2020. Normal admission charges apply and members are free.

Christmas crafts at Trerice

Make festive crafts and gifts at Trerice in the run up to Christmas. You can also meet Santa at Trerice in December.

Trerice, Newquay. Selected dates from 9 Novemeber to 22 December 2019. Normal admission prices apply and members are free.

Christmas show at Godolphin

This year’s short Christmas show is entitled A Christmas Made of Tin. Help Tiny Tin rediscover the Christmas Spirit in this family-friendly performance.

Godolphin, Helston. Selected dates between 30 November and 29 December. Tickets cost £5.50 and booking is essential.

More things to do in Cornwall

If you’re looking for more places to visit in Cornwall then we can recommend days out when it’s raining in Cornwall and dog-friendly days out around Cornwall.

Or why not read our guide to family holidays in Cornwall.

Why not pin this post about what’s on this Christmas in Cornwall for later?

If you are in South West England this December then you have to experience Christmas in Cornwall. Here are some of the best festive things to do in Cornwall for families looking for seasonal fun including illuminations, markets and where to meet Santa #Christmas #thingstodo #Cornwall #familyfriendly #festive #daysout #Christmas #activities