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Christmas events in Devon: Lights, late night shopping & festive celebrations

PUBLISHED: 10:00 28 November 2017 | UPDATED: 10:02 11 January 2018

Brixham will be full of festive cheer during 'Lanterns, Lights and Luminations' (c) IanWool / Thinkstock

Brixham will be full of festive cheer during 'Lanterns, Lights and Luminations' (c) IanWool / Thinkstock

ian woolcock

The weather outside might be frightful but we promise these festive themed events are quite delightful. Here are our round-up of Christmassy celebrations in Devon

Arlington Court & the National Trust Carriage Museum

Start your Christmas shopping early at the Arlington Court & the National Trust Carriage Museum on Saturday 18 and 19 November, from 10.30am to 4pm. There’ll be over 40 local stall holders selling lots of unique gifts, interesting crafts and delicious festive fare.

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The BIG Sheep, Bideford

The county’s biggest indoor Farmers’ Markets will be hosted at The BIG Sheep in Bideford on Saturday 2, 9, 16 and 23 December, 9am-1pm. Free range turkey, organic meats, sprouts on stalks, cheeses, cakes, plus much more, will be on offer to ensure families are all set for their festive feast.

Devon’s popular family friendly attraction have organised plenty of festive themed activities to keep little ones entertained, including the fantastically decorated Woolly’s Wonderland which will open on Saturday December 2.


In partnership with Brixham Town Council, Born Hectic Events have organised a bevy of festive fun with the “Lanterns, Lights and ‘Luminations” show taking place on Saturday November 25.

There will be entertainment to enjoy throughout the day in the pretty harbour town with a grand firework display and lights switch on to take place at 6pm.

Brixham at Dusk



South Devon Railway, Buckfastleigh

Join Father Christmas and his singing elves this December on a train ride along the South Devon Railway. On the return trip from Buckfastleigh to Staverton, the whole family can enjoy refreshments and entertainment while children have the chance to meet Santa Claus in his magical grotto. Santa’s Trains will run on 9 and 10 of December, and from the 16 to December.

Pennywell Farm, Buckfastleigh

Santa Claus is coming to town on Saturday 25 November – well to Pennywell Farm in Buckfastleigh! The family-friendly farm will once again be transformed into a magical winter wonderland; and visitors can enjoy a heart-warming Nativity performance, a chance to meet Father Christmas in his grotto, and plenty of mulled wine and mince pies to tuck into of course. Christmas celebrations will take place up until 24 December (see the dates here).

The Dartmoor Railway

All aboard! This year families can expect a magical journey along the Dartmoor Railway on ‘The Train to Christmas Town’. Before departing from Okehampton Station, there’s chance to tuck into festive foodie treats - including mulled wine, warm cider and hot chocolate – as well as musical performances to enjoy. The entertainment doesn’t stop there – there will be plenty of festivities to enjoy while the train chugs along the railway.

Book your tickets for various times and dates from Friday December 1 to Thursday December 28.

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Live entertainment, carol singing, a Christmas light switch-on, an appearance from Santa Claus and ‘Candlelit Kids’ seasonal workshops can all be expected at the town’s much-loved Candlelit event.

The festive weekend will take place on Friday 24th November and Saturday 25th November. See the full list of timings here.

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Dartmouth Railway

Enjoy a pantomime with a difference aboard the Santa Express featuring The Sleeping Beauty. Departing on a return journey from the Queen’s Park Station in Paignton, families can watch the story of Princess Aurora in Sleeping Beauty, enjoy a visit from Father Christmas and try balloon modelling or I-Spy on various dates in December. See the available dates and times here.

Christmas shopping in Exeter

As well as the wonderful Christmas market held on the Exeter Cathedral Green between Thursday 16 November and Sunday 17 December, there’ll also be the opportunity to pick up Christmas presents during the late night shopping events at Princesshay Shopping Centre. They’ll take place on 30 November, 7 December, 14 December and 21 December.

There will also be late night Christmas shopping on Gandy Street on Thursday November 23 from 5.30 – 8pm, as well as walkaround acts, free samples galore and tastings of prosecco and mince pies.

Returning for its fifth year at Exeter Phoenix, party-goers can enjoy performances from Professor Elemental, Fey Pink and the mentalist/magician Marc Lobb, among many acts, at The Steampunk Yule Ball on Saturday December 9 at 7.30pm. Book tickets here.

Newton Abbot

Newton Abbot will be switching on its Christmas lights at 5.30pm on Saturday 25 November from the Clock Tower, before a dazzling firework finale at 6pm viewed from the Highweek Way. Don’t miss an array of festive entertainment hosted throughout the day in the vibrant market town, including the Black Bess Morris Dancers and the Coombeshead Academy Music Department Showcase.

Newton Abbot Christmas Lights Queen Street Devon

Paignton Zoo

From Saturday 16 December to Sunday 24 December, Christmas at Paignton Zoo will involve a Father Christmas meet and greet, a hop-aboard Christmas train to spot magical elves and a snowball throwing challenge in the Jungle Fun play area. This is alongside the popular attractions the zoo features throughout the rest of the year too.

Paignton Zoo. Monkeys in the Christmas tree.


For three weeks, the picturesque city of Plymouth will be flooded by Christmas shoppers, looking for last minute gifts and stocking fillers, from Thursday 30 November – Sunday 21 December at the Plymouth Christmas Market.

Those with a passion for crafts can take part in festive wreathing on Friday December 8 at 10am at Ocean Studios in Royal William Yard. Find out more about this workshop, and others, here.

Families can also participate in the Waterfront Snowflake Trail from Sunday 26 November to Sunday 7 January, where snowflakes will be dotted along the city’s beautiful waterfront to spot.

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Powderham Castle

Once again visitors can go along to the stunning setting of Powderham Castle for Christmas wreath making, and create their own magical decorations in one of four sessions (2 – 4.30pm and 6.30 – 9pm on Wednesday 13 December and 10am – 12.30pm and 2 – 4.30pm on Thursday 14 December). To book call 01626 890243.

Polar Express at Seaton Tramway

Indulge in hot chocolate and cookies, sing and dance to festive classics and meet Santa Claus in his workshop while onboard The Polar Express this Christmas.

Embrace the festivities on The Polar Express at Seaton Tramway from 1 – 3, 8 – 10 and the 15 – 24 December, with departing times between 2 – 7.45pm (on selected dates).


This year, Sidmouth’s Christmas Late Night Shopping Extravaganza, organised by the Sidmouth Chamber of Commerce, will take place on Friday 1 December from 5 – 8pm. As well as plenty of opportunities for Christmas shopping, there will also be lively entertainment for the whole family to enjoy and lots of festive foodie treats to tuck into.

There will also be the chance to pick up presents during the charming regency town’s Late Night Shopping Thursdays on the 7, 14 and 21 December.

Sidmouth, Devon - Christmas lights Dec 2016

Babbacombe Theatre in Torquay

Music, magic and lots of laughs can be expected during Babbacombe Theatre’s Christmas is...Magical during various dates in November and December (see the full list of dates and times here).

Perfect for the whole family, Christmas is...Magical features mesmerising illusions, plenty of comedy and classic music to sing along to.


Once again the town will be brimming with festive cheer with the return of the ‘Totnes Night Market’ from 3.30pm on Tuesday 5 December, 12 December and 19 December. Soak in the aroma of mulled cider, tuck into a mince pie and enjoy glorious choral song while you browse a mix of market stalls.

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