December Muddy Guide
Ho ho here it is! An unapologetically Christmassy Muddy Guide with all the very best festive fun to be had in the region this December. From traditional festivals to all the Christmas shows to see. Someone pass me a mince pie and let’s do this!
THEATRE & DANCE
Sleeping Beauty, Hall for Cornwall, Truro, Tues 5 – Sun 31 Dec
The third in a trilogy of festive productions at Hall For Cornwall starring Kernow King and Granville Saxton. This year’s Christmas Show revives the classic tale, Sleeping Beauty and gives it a comic Cornish twist. Expect lots of local in-jokes and good old-fashioned, festive laughs for all the family. £16 – £29
The Christmassy Christmas Show by Squashbox Theatre, various dates and venues throughout Cornwall, from 8 Dec
Children in Falmouth, St Ives, Hayle and Cambourne will be treated to this festive Christmas show from Squashbox Theatre. The Christmassy Christmas Show of Christmassy Christmasness! is an over-stuffed stocking of seasonal surprises crammed with puppets, songs and comedy, and over-flowing with crazy characters, silly slapstick, tall tales and fantastic facts – all presented in unique Squashbox style! Tickets from £5.
Winter Wood by Rogue Theatre, Tehidy Woods, nr Portreath, 9-20 Dec
We love love love Rogue Theatre but have never made it to the Winter Wood. We shall definitely be righting that this year and heading to Tehidy for this enchanting winter celebration. Expect Christmas stories from the forest and tales of years gone by as you wind your way along the woodland paths. Great for kids of all ages – remember to wrap up! Tickets from £8.50
Bah Humbug! A Christmas Carol, Princess Pavilion, Falmouth, 14 – 21 Dec
This December, Miracle breathes new life into the second most famous Christmas story in the world – Charles Dickens heart-warming masterpiece ‘A Christmas Carol. Following a sell-out run of ‘Cinderella’ last year, Miracle is back at Falmouth’s Princess Pavilion, with a re-telling of this timeless classic about the cold-hearted miser Scrooge and his joyous redemption. Children £10, adults £15.
The Little Match Girl, The Poly, Falmouth, Wed 13 Dec
A touring family show for Christmas inspired by Hans Christian Andersen’s traditional tale. London. Christmas Eve. The snow is falling. A little girl struggles fiercely through the cold. We follow her throughout the day as she encounters the funny and zany characters of the vibrant city streets. In this touching, madcap and heart-warming Christmas show, The Last Baguette use visual storytelling, live music and puppetry to shine a light on Hans Christian Andersen’s classic winter tale.
Prideaux Angels, Prideaux Place, Padstow, 16 – 28 Dec
The team behind this summer’s a pinch of SALT season of dance performances on beaches and gardens, are back with a new Christmas show. A promenade performance in and around the gardens at Padstow’s Elizabethan Manor House, Prideaux Place, the show is a perfect Christmas story for all the family, including live music, robins, snowflakes, and a giant snow globe! There will be food available from Ed Stein which is pre-orderable with tickets. Matinee performances and evening shows are available. Children £8, adults £12.
The Mousehole Cat, Solomon Browne Hall, Mousehole, 17 – 31 Dec
A magical puppet and live action production of Antonia Barber’s classic children’s story, The Mousehole Cat, performed in the heart of Mousehole alongside the village’s famous Christmas light display. Based on a well-known Cornish legend this uniquely heart warming story of the friendship between a fearless fisherman and his devoted cat will warm your cockles… almost as much as an ‘efty portion of stargazy pie! This show lasts for approximately one hour. Last year it sold out, so book early! All tickets £10.
FESTIVALS & COMMUNITY
Lantern Walk, Trengwainton Garden, Penzance, Fri 1 & Sat 2 Dec
A firm tradition in the local calendar, start your Christmas festivities with Trengwainton’s beautiful lantern walk. Wander through walled gardens lit by withy lanterns, flaming torches and hundreds of fairy lights; visit Father Christmas in his grotto (£2.50 per child, timed tickets issued on the night) or decorate your own lantern to take home with you. Join in with singing carols and songs performed by local bands and choirs and stay warm with the hot food and drink for sale. First Kernow is offering a FREE shuttle bus service from Penzance bus station, starting at 5.15pm. Adult £4.50, child £2.25. National Trust members free.
Trelissick Illuminated, National Trust Trelissick, 1-3, 8-10, 15-23, 27 Dec
See Trelissick in a festive light with the garden and house illuminated after dusk and with a longer route around the garden this year there’s even more to explore. Last entry to the garden at 6.30pm. Normal admission charges apply, free to National Trust members.
Festival of Light & Sound, Eden Project, Bodelva, 1–3, 8–10, 15–23, 27–30 Dec
Described by one visitor as being like ‘man-made Northern Lights’ this unforgettable display of light, music and colour returns to the Eden Project this winter. Step out onto the viewing platform and gaze in awe as dramatic lasers pierce through the darkness to create a canopy of light, illuminating Eden’s lush landscape. You can also take part in craft workshops before the festivities kick off each evening. All activities are included with an Eden Project ticket or Pass, and there is no need to book.
Winter Festival, Tate St Ives, Sat 2 Dec
Enjoy free entry to the Rebecca Warren exhibition and Modern Art and St Ives display, along with pop up talks, Christmas themed making activities, special film screenings and Christmas choirs singing in the new gallery. Including a special performance from the St Ives Combined Chapels Choir singing traditional Cornish carols, many unique to St Ives.
Christmas Lights in Mousehole (from 16 Dec) & Angarrack (from 2 Dec)
Yes, there are Christmas lights in towns all over Cornwall but these are the particularly special and famous ones and I can’t resist a visit every year. These two villages punch well above their weight Christmas lights wise. In Mousehole the harbour and town is lit up with everything from sea monsters to star gazey pie and Angarrack’s display depicts the twelve days of Christmas.
Padstow Christmas Festival, Padstow, Thurs 7 – Sun 10 Dec
It’s the tenth year of Padstow’s annual Christmas festival, one of Cornwall’s biggest festive events. Local super chefs Rick Stein, Paul Ainsworth, and Nathan Outlaw will be joined by a Who’s Who of gastronomic A-listers including Angela Hartnett, Michael Caines, Roy Brett, and Tom Kerridge for the weekend. And Padstow will be bustling with more than 100 food, drink, and craft producers from across the West Country. There will also be live music, a lantern parade, Santa’s grotto, carol concert, and fireworks.
Heligan by Night, The Lost Gardens of Heligan, 14, 15, 16, 21, 22, 23 & 28, 29, 30 Dec
This December, step into ‘Heligan by Night’ and experience the art of illumination as internationally renowned light artist Ulf Pedersen reveals the night time magic of Heligan’s historic plantings. Journey through an after dark Lost Gardens and delight in the incredible textures, colours and atmosphere created by Pedersen’s thought provoking illuminations. £5, under 5s free.
Nadelik Lowen, Pendennis Castle, Falmouth, Sat 16 & Sun 17 Dec
Enjoy Christmas the Cornish way with fireside tales, traditional dancing, mulled wine, mince pies, carol singing and crafts in the castle keep. Celebrate the end of the year as staff ‘Light and Chalk the Block’; make a Christmas card with Cornish good wishes; learn how to make a Cornish ‘Christmas Bunch’ from greenery; and have a go at making your own traditional Christmas pomander and marzipan delights. Plus, meet Father Christmas, in his historic green attire, as he takes up residence in the keep to share folk tales and traditions. Entrance free with standard admission (children £5, adult £8.40).
Montol, Penzance,Thurs 21 Dec
Montol is Cornwall’s traditional festival of midwinter on 21 Dec (the Winter Solstice) in Penzance. Dancers in full disguise, called Guisers, parade the streets, accompanied by music from peccadillos, drumming and burning torches. It can be a little bit frightening for small children but is loads of fun and a real sight to see.
Tom Bawcock’s Eve, Mousehole, Sat 23 Dec
We always spend an evening in Mousehole at Christmas time, to see the amazing light display but Tom Bawcock’s Eve is the biggest celebration. Every year, the school children and locals parade lanterns and sing the traditional song and Star Gazy Pie is served up in The Ship Inn on the harbour side. This is all in honour of Tom Bawcock, a fisherman who according to legend, risked his life to go out fishing and feed the hungry people of Mousehole, one especially stormy Winter.
The Lost Gardens Open for Charity, The Lost Gardens of Heligan, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day, 26 Dec & 1 Jan
The Lost Gardens of Heligan once again opens its gates in aid of local charities on Boxing Day 2017 and New Year’s Day 2018. Whilst no garden admission charges are made on these special days, visitors are encouraged to make a minimum £2 per person donation to this year’s nominated charities.
Etsy Made Local, St Ives Guildhall, Fri 1 – Sun 3 Dec
We have so many talented artisans, makers and designers here in Cornwall and some of the best will be selling their wares at St Ives Guildhall at this Etsy Made Local event. On Friday night, there will be a late night shopping evening with live music and woodland cocktails from Tom Thumb, followed by a full weekend of browsing, gift buying and mince pie scoffing.
Healey’s Cyder Farm Craft Fayre & Market, Sat 2 & Sun 3 Dec
For an authentic Cornish farm Christmas experience, Healey’s Cyder Farm will be hosting its first European-style Christmas Craft Fayre, market and tasting event early this month. On this celebratory weekend, the farm also offers the opportunity to choose your freshly cut Christmas tree. For children, there will be tractor rides and the chance to meet the animals. Entry and parking free. Dogs are welcome.
Roots Culture Christmas Market, Mount Pleasant Eco Park, Porthtowan, Sun 3 Dec
Browse an array of stalls selling gorgeous local, ethically produced, artisan crafts, art, food and alternative Christmas gifts – mostly handmade in Cornwall. Pick up unusual gifts; enjoy the laidback atmosphere, music and delicious food available throughout the day – including the amazing veggie Reggae Roasts, which will be served from La Cantina Cafe.
Heligan Christmas Fair, Sat 9 Dec
Get into the festive spirit, soak up the stunning surroundings and find some unique Christmas gifts. Heligan Xmas fair will welcome over 80 local producers, artisans, creators with stalls in marquees in the coach park, picnic and ticketing areas. You can also buy or order your Christmas tree here. Choose from a 3-foot pot grown Norway spruce all the way up to a 10ft Nordmann. And don’t forget to pop into the award winning Lobbs Farm Shop for some Xmas treats or to order the turkey. £2 admission to fair and gardens, £1 locals pass holders, free for Heligan members. Free park and ride from Willow Car Park, Mevagissey.
The Castle Christmas Fair, The Castle Bude, Sun 10 Dec
For 2017, the Castle Christmas Fair will be hosting stalls in a large marquee on the lawn as well as the Blanchminster Room and Willoughby Gallery, providing lots of space for a wider, more varied range of stalls and activities. Café Limelight in the Castle will be open throughout the day and we will be running a ‘pop-up’ selling mulled wine, hot chocolate and minced pies in the marquee. There will also be live choral and music performances throughout the day. Entrance is free.
Meet Father Christmas and his Elves, Eden Project, Bodelva, various dates from 1-24 Dec
There are letters to sort, presents to deliver, and a very important sleigh to prepare. Father Christmas is keen to meet you and your children, so they can help. Inside the cosy tent you’ll get to see ‘behind the scenes’, including the elves’ bunkbeds, the pigeonholes full of children’s letters, and all the stockings laid out ready for the big day. After settling down for a story beside an open fire, each child can enjoy a special moment with the man in red. There are also relaxed sessions for visitors with autism and sensory or communication needs. £6 per child (aged 1 year plus) and £4 per adult, plus Eden Admission or locals pass.
Fairytales from Father Christmas, National Trust Trelissick, 1, 2, 3, 8, 9, 10 & 15-23 Dec
Bring the children for a family experience, with Father Christmas entertaining a gathering with his fairy tales. This is a group family experience rather than a 1:1 with Father Christmas and children can be accompanied by a maximum of two adults due to space in the barn. Each child will go home with a present. £5 per child plus 5% booking fee. Normal admission charge to property still applies, free to National Trust members. Booking essential.
Sugar & Spice Christmas Grotto, Bedruthan Hotel & Spa, 1-24 Dec
At Bedruthan’s utterly magical Sugar and Spice Grotto, children meet a very authentic looking Father Christmas as well as Cornish Piskies, and this year’s special guests, Scandinavian friends, Tomte & Astrid. Plus, there will be fake snow for making snow angels and throwing snowballs, a magic star hunt and clay tree decoration crafting. £15 per child
Santa by Steam, Bodmin & Wenford Railway, selected dates, various dates between 2-24 Dec
Arrive at Bodmin General Station for mince pies and seasonal drinks whilst Liskeard Band play carols on the platform, before you board for a one hour return journey on a steam hauled train. During the trip you’ll visit Santa, with plenty of time for a photo, and gifts for each child. From £13-£15 depending on dates.
Tudor Father Christmas, National Trust Trerice, Newquay, 2, 3, 9, 10, 16, 17 Dec
Christmas at Trerice wouldn’t be complete without a visit from Father Christmas; he’ll be sharing tales and traditions of Christmas past with 30 minute performances at 11.30am, 12.15pm, 1.30pm, 2.30pm and 3.15pm. All children will go home with a present. Tickets available from reception on the day.
Meet Santa & his Real Reindeer, Gwel an Mor, Nr Portreath, every Weds and Sun in Dec, plus 22 Dec
This is. the one we’ve always gone to and loved! Head to Gwel An Mor and meet Santa, stroke his reindeer, sit in his sleigh, tell him your Christmas wishes, get an orange, a special gift plus take part in some fun Christmas crafts or cosy up and watch a festive film! Everyone who meets Santa also gets a voucher for a soft play session at Base Camp in January or February and are invited to enjoy a free hour in the soft play area before meeting Santa. Probably the nicest soft play I’ve ever been to I might add – not a sticky surface in sight! £15 per child.
Santa Trains at Lappa Valley, St Newlyn East, 9, 10, 16, 17, 20 – 24 Dec
Board the Santa Train bound for Santa’s magical Christmas grotto where children will meet and receive a specially selected gift from Santa himself. Ticket includes a return steam ride, entrance to the leisure park where visitors can enjoy shows from our entertainer Harry Kazzam, rides on the woodland railway, pedal cars, children’s play areas, crazy golf (weather permitting), woodland walks and toddler’s path maze. A time will be given upon arrival to meet Santa. Numbers are limited during Christmas offering a very special visit. Visitors are welcome to return on any train and are encouraged to spend as much time as they like in the park. £12.50 per person (adult and child).
Trebah Santa Days, Trebah Garden, Mawnan Smith, Thurs 21 & Fri 22 Dec
This Christmas the elves has taken up residence at Trebah, building a fantastical factory. Watch them handcraft unique gifts just in time to collect your very own from Santa himself. Hot chocolate, face paints and creative crafts are also on offer. Santa will be visiting the factory between 11am and 3pm. No need to book.
NEW YEAR’S EVE
Fancy Dress & Fireworks in St Ives, Newquay and Looe, Sun 31 Dec
There are parties all over but the places that really go for it on New Year’s Eve in Cornwall are St Ives, where the streets close and everyone dresses up and fireworks light up the sky at midnight; Newquay for its brilliant fireworks and party atmosphere and Looe, where you can expect fancy dress and firework shows (usually at 6pm and midnight, so the kids can enjoy them too). This year for the first time there will also be a big fireworks display launched from Pendennis Castle in Falmouth.
Finally, I can’t list them all because I’d be here until January but don’t forget to check Facebook or ask locally for your nearest Santa Runs and Christmas Day/ Boxing Day/ New Year’s Day swims. A Cornish Christmas wouldn’t be the same without them!