Escape the Christmas shopping madness on the high streets and in the big department stores – Christmas markets offer an altogether more civilised way to get your gift shopping done.
Here you’ll find original, handmade, thoughtful gifts your friends and family will love, whilst supporting local artisans with your purchases rather than faceless corporations. What’s more, if you remember your reusable bags, it’s the eco-friendly way to do your Christmas shopping, avoiding all that excessive packaging that invariably comes with your online orders.
Meanwhile the tempting aromas of mulled wine and mince pies, along with twinkling lights and traditional carols are sure to bring you Christmas cheer as you get your chores done. Bring a friend for a festive outing together, just make sure they look the other way when you’re getting their gift!
If you’re in Devon or Cornwall in the run up to Christmas, check out our pick of some of the best Christmas markets in the South West…
Exeter Cathedral Christmas Market
16th Nov to 17th Dec 2017
Set in the heart of Exeter, in the beautiful surroundings of Cathedral Green, Exeter Christmas Market is one of the highlights on the South West festive calendar. Renowned for its warm and welcoming atmosphere, and its collection of wooden cabins set under the magnificent Cathedral offering tempting displays of delicious food and drink, artisan crafts, handmade clothing, and much more. The perfect place to find just the right gifts.
Friday 24th and Saturday 25th November 2017
A much-loved annual 2-day event featuring Christmas markets, entertainers, musicians, carol singing, seasonal craft workshops for kids, a lantern procession and the official switch-on of the town’s Christmas lights whilst Santa arrives by boat. See website for full timings of activities.
Kingsbridge Celebrates Christmas
Saturday 2nd December 2017
A wonderfully festive day out in Kingsbridge, with the farmers market in the town square and street stalls lining Fore Street offering all kinds of goodies to kick start your Christmas shopping spree, plus lots of lovely food and drink to keep you fuelled throughout the day.
From Salcombe Gin to garden ornaments, soaps, crepes, hog roasts and homemade Christmas puddings – there’s something for everyone, including a visit from Father Christmas on his sleigh, street entertainment, carol singers and much more!
Totnes Christmas Market
Tuesdays 5th, 12th and 19th Dec 2017
Tuesday nights throughout December are transformed into magical evenings with the unique atmosphere you only find in Totnes. The High Street is bustling with stores open late, and an appealing mix of pop up stalls line the streets and Market Square, offering an eclectic selection of handmade gifts and locally produced food and drink, including mulled cider and roasted chestnuts to keep you warm as you shop.
Here you’ll find anything from handcrafted olive wood chopping boards to sheepskin throws. From raw, organic, unpackaged food to homemade chilli jam. The evenings are enhanced by the diverse entertainment provided courtesy of local schools, community choirs and talented performing artists. Park and ride is put on especially for the event.
Plymouth Christmas Market
30th Nov to 21st Dec 2017
For three weeks, the city centre Piazza will be completely transformed into a magical Christmas Market with 50 beautiful log cabin style stalls, festooned with fairy lights, offering unique, handcrafted gifts from the South West and beyond. After an afternoon of productive shopping, unwind with a glass of mulled wine and a festive foodie treat in the heated seating area of the Bavarian style bar.
Padstow Christmas Festival
4th to 7th Dec 2017
This is a must-visit for any foodies staying in Cornwall in early December. With live cooking demonstrations from award-winning chefs on the quayside, market stalls selling local food and produce, live music, fireworks and Christmas lights reflecting on the harbour waters, Santa’s grotto, carols, and much more – even Scrooge would find himself filled with Christmas cheer!
St Ives in December
1st to 31st Dec 2017
Celebrating the festive season with twinkling lights, Santa’s visits, carols, pantos, Christmas markets, food trail, live music, community events and much more! Culminating in a spectacular New Year’s Eve celebration where thousands of people descend on the streets of St Ives for one big fancy dress carnival and midnight is marked with one of the best firework displays in Cornwall.
Truro Made in Cornwall Christmas Fair
29th Nov to 3rd Dec 2017
Exclusively celebrating products that are ‘Made in Cornwall’ there will be over a hundred artisan makers selling their wares, from gourmet hampers to exquisite works of art and craft that make ideal gifts for the special people in your life.