12 Cornish Xmas Treats
From feasts and theatre in the forest to pixies, pagans and Star Gazy Pie
A big December guide, packed with Christmassy fun will follow in due course, but it doesn’t hurt to get organised – and a little bit excited about the festive season early!
Here are the 12 things I’m looking forward to most this Christmas in Cornwall (and some will need booking on the double).
Celebrating winter in the woods with Rogue Theatre
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!
Winter Wood, Tehidy Woods, nr Portreath. 9-20 Dec. tickets from £8.50.
Treating the kids to the ultimate Santa experience
A tip-off I got from a Mum at my son’s swimming class last year (Kelly is the lady to ask!). We’d already done the Santa thing but as soon as I heard about this one I was gutted we didn’t head directly for the gorgeous Bedruthan Grotto. Children will of course 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.
Sugar & Spice Christmas Grotto, Bedruthan Hotel & Spa. 1-24 Dec. £15 per child
Taking the family to Hall For Cornwall’s Christmas Show
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.
Sleeping Beauty, Hall For Cornwall, Truro. Tues 5 – Sun 31 Dec. £16 – £29
Feasting in a tipi beneath the trees
Cardinham Woods is one of my favourite places to go for the Christmas tree because it makes a lovely festive day of it and now there’s even more reason to get down to the woods this Christmas. Wild Tipi has teamed up with Pencoose Pantry for a series of parties in Cardinham Woods. Choose from a fine dining evening with some amazing Cornish folk music, big-pan parties with live music or a fun family ceilidh night. See you there?
12 Tipi Nights of Christmas, Cardinham Woods, see all the dates on line
Scouring the stalls at Etsy Made Local
The round of festive craft fairs has already begun but this is the one I’m most looking forward to. 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.
Etsy Made Local, St Ives Guildhall, Fri 1 – Sun 3 Dec
Joining the crowds at Montol in Penzance
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.
Montol, Penzance, Thurs 21 Dec
Drinking mulled wine in Mousehole on Tom Bawcock’s Eve
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.
Tom Bawcock’s Eve, Mousehole, Sat 23 Dec.
Singing carols in a donkey shed
Tickets sell faster than Glasto for this ridiculously bucolic and magical carol concert at Flicka Foundation Donkey Sanctuary (another school-gate tip off I got last year). Click below to find out how to get tickets – they do it the old fashioned way with phone calls and cheques in the post but it’s well worth the effort. £5 adults/ £3 children, includes a glass of mulled wine and a mince pie.
Flicka Foundation Donkey Sanctuary, Mabe Burnthouse, Sat 9 Dec
Gathering friends to do something creative
Yes there will be plenty of eating and drinking opportunities but there’s something really special about catching up with friends and doing something creative together. And there are Christmas craft workshops all over my Facebook feed at the moment. My dream ticket is the wreath making workshops and lunches/suppers run by Muddy award-winning florist Ruby Alice Floral Design at The Old Coastguard and UNA, Carbis Bay.
They’re selling out quickly, so check Alice’s Facebook page for the latest info
Trying every Cornish Xmas ice cream flavour going
I am very serious about this one – a blog post detailing my important research will follow in early December, when I’ve got around them all. But this year I’m feeling particularly excited about Callestick Farm‘s boozy numbers, such as Pink Prosecco Sorbet and Sea Salted Caramel & Whiskey, having another taste of Moomaid of Zennor‘s inspired Mulled Wine Sorbet and scooping Treleavens luxury Brandy Custard flavour on my Christmas pud.
Doing the big Christmas Dinner shop at Trevaskis Farm
It’s the one time of year when Tescos just won’t do. Actually I’ll probably hit Tesco too but the shopping trip that has turned into a pre-Christmas ritual is a visit to Trevaskis Market. From Christmas meats and local treats, to fresh farm veggies and sauces, I’ll take it all!
Trevaskis Farm, Connor Downs, Hayle, TR27 5JQ
Spotting Santa gangs running and cycling round Cornwall
In my hometown of Perranporth the Santas take to the sand, while in Wadebridge they go by bike but however they travel, a parade of Santas (and their pooches) can’t fail to raise a smile. Check Facebook for your nearest Santa runs, many of which support brilliant charities in Cornwall and beyond.
What are your Cornish Christmas traditions? Pop your family favourites in the comments below.