Christmas in Cornwall
4th November 2023
After the calmer autumn weeks, Cornwall comes alive again at Christmas. There’s a lot going on this year across the county, and we’ve put together a guide to our favourite Christmas events in Cornwall.
We’ve already written about all the fantastic festive activities in St Ives at Christmas.
Here’s what’s happening a little further afield in December 2023.
Christmas At Eden
The Eden Project always puts on a great show at Christmas. There are twinkly lights and lanterns everywhere, with the glowing biomes presenting the most perfect backdrop. There’s ice skating, a Christmas fair and the chance to visit Santa, plus food and music everywhere you turn. A magical must-see event.
Tickets need to be pre-booked. Aim to spend at least some of your time here after dark, because it’s simply stunning.
Heligan Night Garden
Like Eden, Heligan comes alive at night over Christmas. The attraction’s “Heligan Night Garden” event has become one of Cornwall’s favourite festive celebrations. Over 100,000 LED lights transform the gardens into a winter wonderland. Look out for the animal-shaped lanterns as you wander along the trails.
Feeling a bit chilly and peckish? Toast marshmallows over a fire pit, or order a warming hot chocolate. Book your tickets as soon as you can to make sure you don’t miss out.
National Trust Christmas in Cornwall
There’s plenty going on this Christmas at Cornwall’s National Trust properties. Nearby Trengwainton hosts a lantern trail, and Godolphin House is open on some weekends to see the house decorated in all its Christmas finery.
You can visit Father Christmas in his grotto at both Tudor house Trerice and Trelissick. A Christmas craft fair can also be found in the barn at Trelissick between 2nd – 5th December, with homemade gifts handmade by National Trust staff and volunteers. Lanhydrock is always beautiful at this time of year; and if you don’t mind a long drive, Cotehele’s famous 60-foot Christmas garland is truly spectacular.
For a Cornish Christmas, take advantage of the free events at Botallack Count House – including traditional Cornish dance and carolling performances.
Cornish Christmas Shows
Is the Kernow King doing panto again this year? Oh yes he is! Join Edward Rowe and his crew for Peter Pan at Truro’s Hall For Cornwall. It’s a proper traditional panto, with songs, shouting and a distinctly Cornish twist.
You can also wrap up and head for the woods. Rogue Otherworld are performing their unique Winter Wood experience at Tehidy Woods. Old Man Winter guides you on an immersive journey through an enchanted world (while you warm up with mince pies and mulled wine).
See The Lights
The famous Mousehole Lights will be illuminating the village and harbour from 11th December this year. Stroll around the narrow lanes, enjoying the lights along with street food, music and a lively atmosphere. Arrive very early to get parked, or get the park and ride bus from Penzance.
If you drive, you’ll pass through Newlyn on the way. Don’t simply pass through, because Newlyn’s lights are also fantastic, if not as well known. A few miles up the A30, Angarrack (behind Marks & Spencer’s) puts on a great display of lights each December.
Charlestown’s Tunnel Of Lights
The Shipwreck Treasure Museum at Charlestown is worth exploring at any time of year; however, we really love it in December, when its underground Tunnel Of Lights comes to life. A trail takes you through various festive scenes, from Narnia’s winter woods to a German Christmas market. You can also visit Santa this year on selected dates.
Unless anywhere else has topped it yet, this is the longest festive light tunnel in the UK. We’re guessing that the smugglers never predicted this…
Meet Father Christmas
Where can you meet Santa in Cornwall in 2023? Well, he’s popping up all over the shop this year, so there should be plenty of opportunity to wish the man himself a Merry Christmas.
One of the most popular places on Cornwall to meet Father Christmas is the Bodmin & Wenford Railway. Book onto their unique Santa By Steam event for a day to remember (who needs reindeer when you can have a heritage loco?).
Christmas Markets in Cornwall
If you’re shopping for unique handmade gifts (or simply like wandering around with a cup of something mulled), you can’t beat a traditional Christmas market. There’s a great choice of Christmas markets in Cornwall this year, as well as our lovely local fair in St Ives.
Truro has a programme of different markets (check Visit Truro’s website for details). Healeys Cider Farm are running their Christmas markets every weekend, from Saturday 11th November – Sunday 17th December, so plenty of opportunities to stop by and enjoy a jam packed schedule of entertainment, whilst sampling their apple juice 😉
If you’ve come for the food, Padstow’s Christmas Festival is the best bet (7th-10th December). For a more unusual venue, try the event at Heartlands (2nd and 3rd December). A little later in December (16th-17th December), Penryn hosts a lovely event with a focus on Cornish-made jewellery and crafts.
We hope that we’ve given you a good insight into Christmas in Cornwall! As you can see, we’re really not simply a summertime destination, and December is one of the most fun times for a Cornish holiday.
Get in touch with us at Polmanter to find out about late-availability in our self-catering accommodation this winter.