Christmas in South Devon – 10 Reasons to spend Christmas in South Devon

Christmas in South Devon is just as magical as you would imagine. We may not get much in the way of snow down in sunny South Devon but we do have some of the best Christmas markets and I have to say I’m looking forward to a festive cocktail or two at The Swan! And Christmas is children and dog-friendly in Noss Mayo so they can have as much fun as you.

Here are my personal Christmas favourites:

No.1 Totnes Christmas Market

The Totnes Christmas market is the best way to kick start the festivities. There is a huge array of fabulous Christmas gifts to purchase and you can grab some magnificent street food from regulars such as Kumar’s Dosa Bar and wash it down with a mulled cider or pop into Ben’s Wine & Tapas* for a glass of red and some fresh squid.

I will warn you that it gets pretty busy so if you’re doing some serious shopping I’d recommend getting there early but it’s great just to soak up the atmosphere and enjoy the christmas music and entertainment.

Dates for 2022 are Tuesday December 6th, 13th & 20th 3pm until 9pm.

No. 2 Christmas Eve cocktails at The Swan in Noss Mayo

When I took my sisters here earlier in the year we couldn’t make up our minds which was the best, the Passion Fruit Martini or The Expresso Martini…it’s an argument I’m prepared to keep having! Since the new owners took over The Swan they have done nothing but improve the setting and the food. The menu now is truly brilliant, it doesn’t matter what I order it’s always delicious, fresh and locally produced.

There’s now a fantastic outdoor seating area with heaters and blankets so you can enjoy the vista no matter the weather. I love sitting out here at night watching the lights reflecting on the water.

We’re waiting to hear what these guys are going to be doing for Christmas, there’s talk of a Yuletide breakfast…keep watching this space.

No.3 Boxing Day Dinner at The Ship Inn, Noss Mayo

After you’ve booked your accommodation at Anchor Cottage, Holiday Cottages Noss Mayo, you can grab a table at The Ship for a relaxing dinner where someone else can do the washing up! The good folk at The Ship won’t be opening on Christmas Day but they’ll be back in business on the 26th and ready to take the strain. The Ship specialise in traditional well cooked fare in the most beautiful surroundings, make sure to book a window table for the best views across The Voss.

No.4 South West Coast Path Walk followed by a pint at The Dolphin, Newton Ferrers

We love a walk with Mabel (our Schnoodle) along the South West Coast Path and as a WayMaker property we are proud to supporter the wonderful work that they do to keep our routes open and safe throughout the year. There’s a lovely 5 to 8 mile walk that you can do from Anchor Cottage that takes in a great section of the SWCP and has breathtaking views. You’ll spot all kinds of birds and beautiful plants along the way and the sea air will totally recharge the batteries I promise!

We like to head back and grab a pint at the award-winning Dolphin Inn in Newton Ferrers and if we’ve managed to drag the boys with us we’ll treat them to one of their “Dolly Burgers”, I’m a massive fan of their steamed mussels in white wine and Rich will usually plump for the Fish and Chips.

Again we’re waiting to hear about their Christmas opening hours but I’ll let you know as soon I do.

No.5 Panto in Plymouth

Sleeping Beauty is this year’s Panto at the Theatre Royal in Plymouth starring Shane Richie as Muddles, the other cast members are Matt Terry and Ceri Dupree but I’d be fibbing if I said I knew who they were! But it doesn’t matter, some of the best pantos I’ve seen haven’t had any celebrities in them and I’ve still loved them. There is something wonderful about releasing your inner child and singing along with the rest of the audience. Tickets are available now with performances running from 16th December until 14th January.

Plymouth is only 20 minutes away by car from Anchor Cottage and there is information about parking in our guide book.

No.6 Christmas event at the National Trust

It wouldn’t be Christmas if I didn’t treat myself to a new tree decoration from a National Trust shop. This year I’m going to get one from Greenway because they’re doing a Miss Marple inspired Christmas. Greenway was the holiday home of Agatha Christie and according to the website

‘all the family would gather here to celebrate the season. They would trim the rooms with traditional decorations and play family Christmas games. This time of year was also usually when Agatha would release a new novel, and her devoted fans would always make sure to purchase one, prompting the phrase ‘a Christie for Christmas’.

There’s going to be traditional decorations and a Christmas Mystery to solve with clues dotted around the house, I can’t wait!

No.7 Making a Christmas Wreath

I know that Devon is packed full of craft courses where you can make your own Christmas wreath but the courses at Dartington Trust. are always a little special. This year they’ve got Grace Allardvce from the brilliant Studio Kado teaching us how to create a floral design from from foraged and dried flowers, leaves and, feathers and twigs. It’s going to be something you’ll be proud to hang on the door every year.

No.8 Doing something completely new

I am a complete sucker for Christmas traditions. We always have to go to a carol concert, buy the turkey at the turkey auction, have a glass of mulled wine in our local, and sing something from the Pinkie & Perkie Christmas album – don’t ask! But I also like to try something new each year, just in case it’s a contender for an annual slot.

So this year I’m booking tickets forĀ  the Christmas Train of Lights. A vintage carriage – decorated with thousands of lights – will take us through the 450-metre Greenway tunnel leading into the enchanted forest and arriving to twinkling lights of Dartmouth reflected on the river Dart. We haven’t been on the Dartmouth Steam Railway since the boys were really little so I’m hoping they’ll still enjoy it….for those of you that still have little ones you can add a visit from Santa!

N0.9 Something for the little ones

We’re at that rather odd stage in life where there aren’t any really little ones in our family & friends circle although I’m sure that won’t last for long. For those of you who do The Christmas Mouse is a gorgeous treat at The Soapbox Children’s Theatre. I do rather miss that stage although I wouldn’t want to go back! I’m more than happy cuddling up to my beautiful Mabel these days, it’s all the unconditional love I need!

No 10 A Boxing Day Dip

You didn’t seriously think that a swim wouldn’t make it on to my list did you? I am seriously addicted to a cold dip these days. Going to try and do the winter without a wetsuit again, didn’t manage the river swims without one earlier this year but that Dart is really, really cold. The sea swims are fine, I just don’t put my head under after November.

I’ve been managing to sneak in some great Sunday morning swims this autumn, I drop the boys at their rugby fixture and grab a swim whilst they’re warming up, back in plenty of time to watch the match – ideal! A lovely lady loaned me her body board this week which was brilliant fun so I’m going to stick mine in the boot in future. And I’ll definitely be in the sea on Boxing Day and New Year’s Day, I’ve already got a lot of willing volunteers to join me lined up!

*Don’t forget there’s a Ben’s Farm Shop selling loads of lovely local produce just up the road from Anchor Cottage.

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