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What’s On in December

Jingle all the way to Christmas Day and beyond with illuminations, skating, theatre and special appearances from the guy in red, plus plenty of cultural goings-on too.

XMAS: Old Brewery Christmas Markets, Falmouth (12 and 19 Dec)

Gorgeous Christmas market in a beautiful covered courtyard with food, drink and handcrafted artisan wares.

CINEMA: Cornish Cinema Club Christmas Drive In (various Dec dates)

Christmas family films a-plenty including Home Alone, Elf, Jack Frost, Frozen and many more at the drive-in cinema at Truro Cattle Market.

XMAS: Meet Santa (various locations and dates)

If you’re quick you might find one or two tickets left to meet the man in red himself, but he’s been rather busy lounging in the cliff top hot tub at Bedruthan hotel (abov), so the opportunities are few and far between with tickets selling quickly… head this way to catch him at Eden, Heligan and by steam train in Bodmin and Lappa!

XMAS: Eden Project Festival of Christmas (Fri 4 Dec – Weds 30 Dec)

During the day, enjoy seasonal walks and trails through the Outdoor Gardens, take a whirl on the ice-rink (pre-booking essential), and warm up with a hot chocolate or festive treat.

As darkness falls, the Biomes shine out with a festive welcome. Follow a route around the Rainforest Biome, where the tropical landscape is transformed into a magical world of shadows and light. Cross over to the Mediterranean Biome, where thousands of dancing, twinkling lights create a beautiful backdrop to a joyful celebration of Christmas music, performed live by musicians positioned amongst the gardens and exhibits.

Plus, follow a new Christmas reindeer trail around the gardens and Biomes. Santa’s grotto is now in the Clore centre (pre-booked tickets only).

GET OUTSIDE: Peter Rabbit Trail, Trelissick Gardens, Lanhydrock Estate, various dates 5 Dec – 3 Jan

Sadly no Christmas events from the National Trust but this year at various locations across Cornwall, Peter Rabbit’s friends need some help finding items to see them through the colder winter months. Help some of Beatrix Potter’s well-loved characters such as Squirrel Nutkin, Mr. Jeremy Fisher and Jemima Puddleduck, and solve the clues to earn a special trail badge and certificate.

GET OUTSIDE: An enchanting lantern experience, Lost Gardens of Heligan, Mon 7 Dec – Sun 3 Jan

Experience the Gardens illuminated by hundreds of traditional lanterns and discover a breath-taking display of wildlife lanterns, illuminated in Heligan’s much-loved and iconic locations.

This year, The Lost Gardens are working with the Lantern Company, a leading UK outdoor arts organisation, which works locally, nationally and internationally, bringing artists and communities together to create spectacular illuminated installations, ranging from intimate encounters to large-scale mass participatory events.

The Lantern Company’s illuminated installation at Heligan holds up a nocturnal magnifying glass to the often overlooked wonders and beauty of the natural flora and fauna on our doorstep. From frogs to foxes, badgers to squirrels and hedgehogs and a joyful burst of snowdrops, this illuminated seasonal trail creates a treasure-filled space for families and friends to discover these beautiful indigenous species.

Pre-booking essential.

FOOD & DRINK: Prime Beef Feast, Nancarrow Farm, Zelah, Near Truro, Sat 12 Dec

Nancarrow’s famous winter feast is back for one night only in December, with a twist. No long tables but groups of six in two sittings. Check out all the Covid-compliance deets this way.

THEATRE: Rogue Theatre’s Winter Wood, Tehidy Woods, Sat 12 – Sat 30 Dec

Multi-award-winning Rogue Theatre returns to the wilds of Tehidy Woods this December with their enchanting winter celebration Winter Wood.

Follow the path deeper into the Winter Wood, land of myth, legend and festive magic as Old Man Winter’s world of stories, faeries and winter wonders comes to life.

Created by Cornwall’s immersive and highly visual Rogue Theatre, Winter Wood is an adventure for families and those who still believe in magic.

MUSIC: A Musical Minack Christmas, Minack Theatre (Sat 12 & Sun 13 Dec)

Five well-known faces of Cornwall’s musical theatre scene are packing their talents into a glittering box of festive goodies, for an afternoon of great songs from musicals old and new,  including favourites from Les Miserables, Dream Girls, Jekyll and Hyde, Oklahoma and Shrek.  And for a shimmer of seasonal sparkle, they’ll also be singing some of the best-loved Christmas songs.

THEATRE: A Christmas Carol, Minack Theatre (Sat 19 – Tues 22 Dec)

This is Dickens’ original words with added silliness. Silliness?  Bah!

Celebrate the festive season with a mesmerising one-man performance of Charles Dickens’ timeless, transformative story: A Christmas Carol. Bah!

THEATRE: The Mousehole Cat, Drive In Screenings, various locations, Mon 21 -Weds 23 Dec plus at home screening Thurs 24 Dec

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… This show lasts for approximately one hour. Last year it sold out, so book early!

This Christmas experience the festive magic of The Mousehole Cat at drive-in screenings across Cornwall! Live music, “car-participation” and your very own Mowzer Mini Lantern will put you at the heart of this adventure and warm your spirits like a ‘efty piece of star gazy pie!

MUSIC: Nine Lessons and Carols, Truro Cathedral, Weds 23 and Thurs 24 Dec

The ‘Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols’ services are a much loved and historic part of Christmas celebrations in Cornwall, this year restricted to only 160 socially distanced seats. Devised in 1880 by Bishop Benson, the first Bishop of Truro, these services are usually hugely popular, so set your alarm for 7 Dec 2020 at 09:00am when tickets are released.

XMAS: Xmas day swims, various locations (Fri 25 Dec)

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 – they will no doubt be much more informal this year to comply with socially distancing rules, but I’m willing to bet Santas will be dipping all along Cornwall’s coast this Christmas Day…

GET OUTSIDE: The Lost Gardens Open for Charity, Lost Gardens of Heligan, Boxing Day (Sat 26 Dec)

Take a walk around the gardens for a good cause, and shake off your turkey stupor… All money raised from garden admission on these special days will be donated to this year’s nominated charities which are Cornwall Air AmbulancePeople and GardensSea Sanctuary and Refuge 4 Pets.

KIDS: The Sea Show, Minack Theatre (Mon 28 – Weds 30 Dec)

Storytelling with puppets and songs for families with young children at the stunning, world-famous Minack Theatre. Meet crazy characters like Morwenna the ‘beautiful’ mermaid, Ruan the reformed seagull and salty seadog Captain Pemburthy, as well as a cast of mischievous sea-squirts, anemones, limpets, crabs and pilchards. Dress warmly, it definitely won’t be as warm as the photo suggests! Booking essential.

GET OUTSIDE: Cotehele (various dates throughout Dec)

Sadly for the first time since 1956, the traditional Christmas Garland which spans the Great Hall at Cotehele will not be able to go ahead this year but the garden will be illuminated and some of the usual festive decoration will make it to the garden.

ART EXHIBITION:The Vanity of Small Differences – Grayson Perry, Newlyn Art Gallery & The Exchange (until 2 Jan 2021)

Grayson Perry is a great chronicler of contemporary life, tackling subjects that are universally human: identity, gender, social status, sexuality, religion. 

Inspired by William Hogarth’s A Rake’s Progress six tapestries, each measuring 2m x 4m, chart the ‘class journey’ made by young Tim Rakewell and include many of the characters, incidents and objects Perry encountered on journeys through Sunderland, Tunbridge Wells, and The Cotswolds for the television series All in the Best Possible Taste with Grayson Perry, first aired on Channel 4 in June 2012. 

In the series Perry goes on ‘a safari amongst the taste tribes of Britain’, to gather inspiration for his artwork, literally weaving the characters he meets into a narrative, with an attention to the minutiae of contemporary taste every bit as acute as that in Hogarth’s 18th century paintings.

ONLINE: Winter at The Byre The Byre Gallery (until 3 Jan)

‘Winter at the Byre’ will open online on Saturday 14th November and will continue even if the physical doors to the gallery are able to open once again in December. There is some really stunning new work featured: paintings from three regulars, Sophie Harding, Jill Hudson and David Muddyman, and some beautiful pieces from an artist new to the Byre, wonderful woodblock printmaker Adrian Holmes.

ART EXHIBITION: Haegue Yang: Strange Attractors, The Tate St Ives (until 3 May 2021) 

The largest UK exhibition to date by South Korean artist Haegue Yang opened at The Tate St Ives at the end of last month, the first exhibition to take place across both the award-winning top-lit gallery in the new building and the spectacular sea-facing gallery in the original building. The exhibition brings together new and existing works spanning installation, sculpture, drawing, collage and painting. Haegue Yang is renowned for creating immersive environments from a diverse range of materials and are certainly a conversation starter – check out our review here.

ICE-SKATING: Eden Project (until 21 Feb 2021)

Cornwall’s biggest outdoor ice-rink has returned to the grounds of the Eden Project – and due to Covid restrictions you’ll have even more space on the ice-rink itself this year, so plenty of space to practice your axels and spins. The cafe is serving up sweet treats too, just don’t forget your face covering to wear rink side. Pre-booking online is essential, and you’ll need a locals pass or to pay to access Eden itself too.


XMAS: Porthilly Spirit Christmas at the Farm & Christmas Market (Fri 4 Dec – Sun 6 Dec)

Christmas on the Farm is one in a series of seasonal food and music-led events happening at Trefresa Farm – the home of the Porthilly Spirit Festival. The farm will be transformed into a three-day Christmas market, showcasing a wealth of Cornish artisan food, drink, and craft producers plus wreath making workshops, food from Fee’s Food, and on Saturday night, Fee’s Curry Night – pre-booked tickets essential.

DRIVE IN CINEMA, The Greatest Showman & Elf, Sunset Drive In Cinema, St Austell (4 Dec)

The drive-in cinema is back in St Austell with family favourite, the 2017 The Greatest Showman and everyone’s Christmas favourite, Elf. Booking essential.

THEATRE: Harold Pinter’s A Slight Ache, Lane Theatre, Newquay, 9 Dec

This classic early “comedy of menace” by Harold Pinter was originally produced as a radio play but adapted for the stage following the successes of The Dumb Waiter and The Caretaker. Although it is described as a comedy it is far more than that as it moves into darker territory leaving the audience with as many questions as answers.

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