Insider's guide to Christmas in Cornwall

Find Your Dream Holiday

Insider’s guide to Christmas in Cornwall

Posted: November 4, 2016

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The traditional Cornish name for Christmas is Nadelik and with tradition in mind we’ve pulled together a list of our favourite things to do around Cornwall at Christmas time. It’s a magical place to be – the weather can be dramatic and changeable with incoming storms or you could find a pleasantly mild sunny day with sparkling seas on your cliff top walk. We’ve even been known to BBQ on Christmas day! Both extremes are equally as beautiful.  

Cornwall is the perfect place to get away from the busy time that Christmas has become. A holiday in Porthleven is an ideal location to unwind with family and friends before the start of the new year.

So, if you are heading to Cornwall this Christmas, add these to your activities list:

Traditional events and festivals

Christmas Swim

Around the coast of Cornwall, people in towns and villages gather on beaches and harbours on Christmas day, no matter what the weather, and take a dip in the sea. And Porthleven is no exception. If you head down to the harbour at high tide you will find an intrepid bunch diving in and swimming the width of the harbour. Luckily The Ship Inn opens early for a post swim brandy!

Montol Festival, Penzance, December

This traditional celebration of Christmas and mid-Winter is a 6 day festival which includes arts and community events culminating in Montol Eve on the 21st December. A must if you are interested in Cornish tradition.  

Mousehole Christmas Lights

Christmas lights at Mousehole paint a wonderful picture reflected off the waters of the inner harbour. People come from far and wide every year to see the display. Be warned, it does get busy. But it is worth it!

Trebah Garden Santa Trails, Mawnan Smith

Santa visits Trebah Gardens on 18-20th December. Follow the seasonal trail to the Elves Village, enjoy the Christmas craft workshop and get your face painted before meeting Father Christmas in the grotto. Enjoy lunch in the cafe. Tickets are valid for 7 days.

Visit Falmouth Christmas Festival

Late night shopping, Christmas lantern making, choirs, a Father Christmas fun run and lots of Christmas cheer. Check out the list activities here 


Cinderella Pantomine, Hall for Cornwall – 16 – 31 December

Hall for Cornwall once again put on one of the best Pantomimes in Cornwall. Engaging and entertaining for the whole family and a tradition not to be missed.

Winter Wood, Rogue Theatre

This is adventurous theatre at its best. Be drawn into Tehidy Woods on a fanciful experience of theatre and art, down to the main stage (covered!) and experience the Winter Wood Christmas show. A feast for the eyes and the senses. Wellies and raincoats essential! Check dates here

Local markets and shopping

Porthleven’s local galleries and shops

Porthleven’s independent shops have many locally made craft for those last minute Christmas gifts. Take a look here to find a list of where to shop in Porthleven.

Porthleven christmas market 19th November

Porthleven will have its own Christmas Market for the first time in 2016 on the harbour head. Expect locally produced food, drink and beautifully crafted goods, as well as a festive atmosphere.

A Country House Christmas – Trevince House

The house has been in the same family since the 12th Century and now is open for the first time to the public for this unique event. Set in farmland and woodland the owners will be creating a unique Christmas experience with beautiful gifts created by local artisans and sourced from across Europe. The grand opening is on the 25th November. Buy gifts and home decor and enjoy the cosy cafe too.

Victorian Christmas Fair, Truro

From the 13th – 18th December enjoy a Victorian experience with around 70 stalls and lots of traditional activities including Victorian costumes, an animal pen with rare breed sheep, an in-house café, champagne bar, food, drink, arts, crafts and high quality gifts and more.

Book your Christmas and New Year Break in Porthleven now


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