Baubles - Christmas in Devon
Devon, Family days out, UK

17 magical Christmas events in Devon

UPDATE: For events happening at Christmas in Devon in 2018 see my updated post.

2016 will be our first Christmas in Devon. It’s also the first year both our girls are old enough to appreciate some of the sparkle of the festive season. A couple of Christmas-themed days out are definitely in order during the coming weeks.

But where to start? Without much experience of what’s on offer at this wonderful time of year in the West Country I’ve put on my researcher hat and have been scouring the internet for ideas. Here’s a few of the most magical Christmas events in Devon that I’ve been able to find:

Christmas in Devon 2016

Hannahs Winter Wonderland, Newton Abbot – 18 November to 23 December

The Edwardian Quad is being taken over by a month of festive events. There will be a skating rink, a snowman bouncy castle and Christmas stalls. Tickets for ice skating can be bought on the day or in advance for themed events on Thursdays and Saturdays. There’s also plans for a Christmas Gifts Exhibition and a Fayre.

Hannahs Seale-Hayne, Newton Abbot. Check website for prices for each activity. Book skating online.

A Grimm Christmas, Killerton – 19 November to 5 January

See the inside of the house transformed with dark fairy tales by the Brothers Grimm. There’s also a equally festive trail around the gardens and the house will be illuminated at dusk. A traditional Father Christmas will be visiting during selected dates in December.

Killerton, Exeter. Normal admission prices apply. Booking online essential for the house.

Candlelit Dartmouth, Dartmouth – 25 to 26 November

The town will come alight during this 48 hour event when the Christmas lights are switched on and a candlelit procession of lanterns weaves through the streets. Don’t miss Santa arriving by boat on the Friday or the children’s entertainment on the Saturday before the procession.

Candlelit Dartmouth, Dartmouth. Free. Some events bookable in advance.

Christmas at Pennywell, Pennywell Farm – 26 November to 24 December

The farm will be hosting traditional nativity plays with an authentic manger in a barn full of animals. Visiting children can dress up as one of the characters and take part under the direction of the farm staff. After the performance each child can meet Santa in his grotto and receive a gift.

Pennywell Farm, Buckfastleigh. Normal admission applies. Booking is online is essential.  

Coleton Aglow, Coleton Fishacre – weekends from 2 December until 18 December

On Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays throughout December the gardens and house of this coastal National Trust property will be illuminated with festive lighting. Father Christmas himself will also be taking a break from his important Christmas preparations to pop in during the three Sundays before Christmas.

Coleton Fishacre, Kingswear. Normal admission applies. Book online.

Santa by Steam, South Devon Railway – 3, 4, 10, 11, and 17 to 24 December

All aboard the train for the North Pole! Young passengers will be invited to meet Santa and his elves in their special carriage on the train from Buckfastleigh to Totnes, aka the North Pole. There will also be mice pies and mulled wine for the adults during the ride.

South Devon Railway, Buckfastleigh. Book online.

Radiant Christmas Grotto, Radiant Space – 3 to 23 December

This performing arts space will be transformed into a winter wonderland for 15 minute shows following the winter adventures of fantastical creatures. There’s also a little something for the audience to take away and Christmas afternoon teas to be had in the RumpusCosy on-site cafe.

Radiant Space, Plymouth. Special prices apply. Book online.

Christmas farmers’ markets, The BIG Sheep – 3, 10, 17 and 21 December

There will be plenty of locally produced, seasonal goodies at this series of festive farmers’ markets. Pick up your smoked salmon, turkey, cheeses and sprouts ready for the big day. There will also be a variety of gifts and Christmas trees on offer.

The BIG Sheep, Bideford. Free entry.

Santa in the Caves, Kents Cavern – 4 to 24 December

Visitors to Britain’s oldest ancient monument will be able to meet Santa and friends in these wonderful caves. There’s an hour long show with gifts for children as well as mulled wine and mince pies for the adults. On 15 December you can also join in with Carols in the Cave in support of local charity, Anode.

Kents Cavern, Torquay. Special prices apply. Book online.

Christmas Special, Morwellham Quay – 10 to 11 December then 17 to 24 December

The Mine Train will be taking visitors to see Santa in his grotto where a Christmas story will be read by the fire. Families can enjoy a drink and mince pie, while making their own Christmas decoration to take home. Places for the train are limited and must be booked on arrival.

Morwellham Quay, Tavistock. Normal entry prices apply. 

Santa Express, Dartmouth Steam Railway – selected dates between 10 and 24 December

As well as a ride on this charming steam railway, guests will be treated to a mini-pantomime and an audience with Santa. There will be suitably adult refreshments for parents and grandparents as well as lots of games to entertain children during the round trip from Paignton to Kingswear.

Dartmouth Steam Railway, Paignton. Special prices apply. Book online.

Breakfast and lunch with Santa, Bygones – 20 to 24 December

Children can dine with Santa, visit his workshop and receive an early present in traditional Christmas surroundings. Throughout December visitors will be able to experience a Victorian Christmas at Bygones as part of their normal admission.

Bygones, Torquay. Special prices apply to breakfast and lunch with Santa. Book online.

Breakfast or tea with Santa, Wyevale Garden Centres – selected dates in November and December

Sit down for a lovely meal with Father Christmas at one of four Wyevale Garden Centres in the county – Ashford Barnstable, Endsleigh, Jack’s Patch or Sidmouth. Children and adults alike will have the chance to meet with Santa, as well as the chance to decorate their own Christmas biscuits, receive a special present from Santa and participate in a range of fun festive activities.

Wyevale Garden Centres, Devon. Book online.

Santa’s Story Time, Crealy Great Adventure Park – selected dates in December

Santa will be telling festive stories in his interactive grotto at the family theme park. Younger visitors will have a chance to meet the big man and all who visit the grotto will receive a gift to take home.

Crealy Great Adventure Park, Exeter. Normal admission prices apply. Book online to save 20 percent.

Enchanted house, Saltram House – throughout December

Rooms in the West Wing will be dressed with festive decorations on the theme of fairy tale favourites from Beauty and the Beast to Cinderella. The gardens will also be illuminated for the first time at Christmas with late night opening from Wednesday to Sunday so you can appreciate the spectacle.

Saltram House, Plymton. Normal admission applies.

The Polar Express Tram Ride, Seaton Tramway – selected dates in December

Join the Polar Express tram for a journey to the ‘North Pole’ including hot chocolate, sweet treats and a meeting with Santa and his elves. There’s even a gift for the children.

Seaton Tramway, Seaton. Special prices apply. Book online.

Christmas at The Milky Way Adventure Park – selected dates in December

Santa and his elves will be making appearances at the park’s grotto throughout December and sharing early presents with young guests. Children can also decorate gingerbread, make personalised baubles and Christmas cards.

The Milky Way, Clovelly. Normal admission prices apply. There’s an additional charge for some activities.

Which of these events to celebrate Christmas in Devon will you be going to?

UPDATE: For events happening at Christmas in Devon in 2018 see my updated post.

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13 must-see magical Christmas events for families in Devon during November and December 2016