Uncorking the Cornish Festive Spirit

With the last of the autumn leaves gently falling and the wild geese and wading birds returning from the icy north, it’s time to start hunkering down for winter.

It’s easy for the shorter daylight hours to bring on the winter blues, so what better way to snap out of those grouchy mornings and grumpy twilights than to embrace the coming of the festive season.

Here’s a winter caboodle of some of Cornwall’s most merry goings-on and Yuletide fare to get you into the festive spirit…

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Eden on Ice

It’s the only indoor ice rink in Cornwall and is open to everyone. Ice skating at the Eden Project is sure to slide you gracefully into a Christmas mood; from toddler play sessions to romantic evening ice soirées, Eden’s ‘glittering’ rink is a spectacular way to celebrate the festivities.

Let There Be Light

The traditional Christmas lights displays will soon be sparkling across the harbours and high streets of towns and villages all over Cornwall and the ‘switching on ceremonies’ are bound to attract the excited crowds in their woolly hats and gloves…

Why not wrap up warm and visit the open-air carolaire service at the North Quay, Mousehole, for an evening of harbour lights and harmony. The Mousehole Christmas lights are the most famous in Cornwall, with stunning displays not only around the streets and quayside, but also floating in the harbour.

Travel the coastal road to St Ives to enjoy the traditional Christmas market and lights ceremony, just part of the historic harbour town’s exciting calendar of festive events.

Make a date in your Christmas diaries for the Padstow Christmas Festival, full of culinary delights and festive frolics, it’s a flamboyant celebration of this thriving port on the north Kernow coast with a magical display of Christmas lights as its backdrop.

A Bracing Wintery Walk

There’s no better way to invigorate the senses than a brisk walk in the gorgeous countryside. Blessed with coastal trails, moorland tracks, green lanes and beach paths, Cornwall is a haven for wild adventures and attracts ramblers all year round.

Wildlife to Watch Out For…

Flocks of redwing and fieldfare feasting on the fruit-bearing shrubs and the bounty of insects and worms.

Female grey seals gathering on the Cornish beaches ready to give birth to their young; the delightful milky-furred pups can be spotted this time of the year but be sure to respect their privacy and keep your distance.

Tiny, newly-hatched moon jellyfish floating on the winter tides and currents.

The last of the Red Admiral butterflies can be found nectaring on garden buddleia, flowering ivy or rotting fruit.

The trumpet of whooper swans returning from Iceland to their southern winter roasts.

A Feast of Christmas Fare…

Many of us love a ‘crimbo’ tipple to help get us in ‘the festive mood’ and Cornwall is plum with exceptional locally brewed libations; Skinner’s ‘Jingle Knocker’ and ‘Christmas Fairy’ ales will be welcome guests at any Christmas party, as will St Austell’s ‘Jolly Holly’ and a box of Cornish Orchards’ classic mulled cider, just some of the fine labels Kernow has to offer. And how about a drop of Cornish Cream liqueur for those of you with a sweeter tooth, or a balloon glass of Tintagel’s legendary ‘Clotted Cream Gin’, expertly distilled by the Wrecking Coast Distillery to help wash down the mince pies.

Cornish Christmas Festivals, Fayres & Markets…

Fowey Christmas Market
24th – 26th November

Join the gathering on Fowey’s historic town quay where a mouth-watering array of local festive produce will be on offer, plus a bumper crop of stocking fillers and gift ideas for all you Christmas shoppers. There will also be a Samba band, sizzling hog roast, carol singing, street entertainment and the traditional arrival of Father Christmas by boat.

Padstow Christmas Festival
7th – 10th December

Staged under the twinkling fairy lights of Padstow Harbour, the festival is both a spectacle of culinary delights and a masterclass of kitchen skills. Celebrating Cornwall’s finest, you’ll be spoilt for choice!

Mount Edgcumbe Christmas Fayre
9th – 10th December

Make your way to the breathtaking manor house grounds of Mount Edgcumbe, the country park by the sea. Enjoy a feast of festive delights and a smorgasbord of Christmas stalls.

Truro Winter Gift Fayre
12th – 17th December

You’re invited to celebrate this inaugural event in the cathedral city of Truro: a Christmas market full of gifts and treats under spellbinding festive light. Tickets are available for the BBC Truro Christmas Concert on the evening of Tuesday 12th December, just one in a long line of wonderful events being held in the city cathedral throughout the festive season.

Nadelik Lowen: A Cornish Christmas, Falmouth
16th – 17th December

‘The Keep’ at Pendennis Castle is the majestic setting for this traditional Christmas event full of fireside tales, folk dancing, mulled wine, mince pies, carol singing, crafts and plenty more to whet your festive appetites.

Montol Festival: Penzance
16th – 21st December

A six-day arts and community festival in celebration of the midwinter solstice packed with musicians, storytelling, circus performers, guise dancing and exhibitions all capturing the spirit of ‘old Kernow’ and culminating in ‘Montol Eve’ and the feast of St Thomas the Apostle.

If you’re planning a Cornish Christmas this year, be sure to have a ‘goosey-gander’ at Toad Halls’ Cornish Holiday Cottages and take advantage of some of our sparkling seasonal offers.