What's on this month in Cornwall

PUBLISHED: 14:03 04 December 2019 | UPDATED: 14:03 04 December 2019

Mousehole Christmas Lights (photo: Copyright Chetwode Ram Associates LTD 2015)

Mousehole Christmas Lights (photo: Copyright Chetwode Ram Associates LTD 2015)

Copyright Chetwode Ram Associates LTD 2015

Our guide to the best events in and around Cornwall, this month it's all about winter outings!



Amazing light shows, seasonally themed Wonderlands, mulled wine and even a surprise appearance from Father Christmas awaits visitors to the stunning formal gardens at Mount Edgcumbe on the Rame Peninsula in South East Cornwall where more than 25,000 fairy lights will illuminate the gardens as part of an after dark Christmas adventure.

"The garden is such a magical setting for an experience such as this, and we look forward to the event providing lasting memories for everyone," says park manager Chris Burton.

The excitement starts with a special effects show - journey beyond a secret door and find yourself in a twinkling enchanted grove and hear the soothing sounds of a garden alive with life. Meet eccentric adventurer Sir Piers in the dining room and join him on a fascinating tour around his Mansion of Mysterious Curiosity. Then dare to venture beyond the fire garden to a scarily thunderous valley - but beware… you are not alone.

Don't miss this year's new show - Finding Wonderland. Discover a spectacle like no other as you're literally surrounded by an unforgettable kaleidoscope of colourful lights, lasers, special effects and a soundtrack overflowing with emotion that will leave you in awe.

Creator Richard Toy says that this year the entire garden has been opened for exploration and there are choreographed light shows. Hot food and drink is available including marshmallows toasting over open fires.

Check online at wondernights.co.uk for dates and a 30 per cent discount. £1 from each ticket goes to St Luke's Hospice, Plymouth


11 and 18 DECEMBER


The talented team from Heart of the Woods are holding workshops at The Godolphin Arms overlooking St Michael's Mount to help people create their very own Cornish Christmas wreath. Using a selection of ribbons, dried fruit and festive foliage such as holly and pine sprigs, foraged from the beautiful surroundings, woodland expert and floral arranger Jo will help create wreaths which will be the perfect way to ignite the Christmas spirit.



13 - 14 DECEMBER


There will be more than 30 artisan exhibitors, workshops, entertainment and food and drink at this picturesque estate near St Germans.

In the Mad Hatter's Studio learn how to wrap the perfect present, creating beautiful eco-friendly wrapped gifts with your own printed paper and embellished with handmade decorations.Discover exciting alternatives for Christmas canapés and tips on the perfect festive cocktails. There are workshops and demonstrations in truffle making, jewellery making and creating festive decorations, bunting and displays from recycled materials. There's musical entertainment and excerpts from The Nutcracker, carols and even face painting and there's plenty of local food and drink.

The festival runs noon -8pm on Friday and from 10.30am-4pm on Saturday.





This Christmas at the Eden Project the Winter Festival will see the landscape transformed with festive music, lights and installations. The ever-popular ice rink will be back and Father Christmas will be returning to Eden with his elves and a magical new show. Elsewhere there will be storytelling, craft activities and some extra special Christmas surprises for everyone to enjoy.

Join Father Christmas in a cosy tent and go behind the scenes as preparations are made - see the elves' bunkbeds, the pigeonholes full of children's letters, and all the stockings laid out ready for the big day.

After a story beside the open fire, children will get a special moment with the man in red himself. Eden works with the Sensory Trust to offer relaxed Father Christmas sessions for children with autistic spectrum condition, sensory and communications needs or learning disabilities. As it gets dark, the iconic biomes and Eden estate will be illuminated.

The Christmas programme is on selected dates between 30 November and 31 December. There are additional charges are made for visits to Father Christmas, who is last seen on Christmas Eve. The ice rink (extra payments) will be open until February 23.





Cornwall's Miracle Theatre is 40 years old this year, and is still entertaining family audiences with shows that are full of fun, music and mayhem.

For the past three years, the company has been performing Christmas shows at the Princess Pavilion in Falmouth - Cinderella, Bah Humbug! and last year's hugely popular Aladdin. This year's treat is freely adapted from Robert Louis Stevenson's Treasure Island and given the Miracle twist with a brand new production, full of music and laughter.

This epic nautical adventure story, full of swashbuckling sea shanty singing characters, will have all the saltiness of the original 19th century setting with the added flavours of Miracle humour and seasonal fun.

The performances coincide with the beautiful Christmas Tree Festival in the Gyllyngdune Gardens near the Princess Pavilion. Arrive early and look at the twinkling trees in the garden which will have a Treasure Island theme and have been decorated by local community groups.

Book online for Treasure Island at miracletheatre.co.uk or call the Princess Pavilion box office on 01326 211 222. The grand switch-on for the Christmas Tree Festival is 5.30pm on 13 December. The trees are on display until 6 January.




Colwith Farm Distillery near Lostwithiel has introduced a jovial event to get revellers in the festive spirt. On two Saturday evenings they will be opening the distillery doors for Christmas at Colwith. Visitors will be welcomed by mulled gin followed by a tour of the facility and the chance to see how the plough to bottle distillery takes potatoes grown on the family farm and turns them into award-winning spirits. There will be a tutored tasting, including sampling limited edition Christmas pudding vodka and gin, accompanied by a selection of warm festive nibbles from the family's favourite local bakery.

Tickets are £25 and can be booked online at colwithfarmdistillery.co.uk




Children and grown-ups alike are fascinated by steam trains, and there are two opportunities to enjoy Christmas on the tracks in Cornwall with journeys in the company of Father Christmas himself on the Bodmin and Wenford Railway and Lappa Valley Steam Railway.

The Santa by Steam events on the Bodmin and Wenford Railway start at the station in Bodmin with mince pies, hot drinks and carols before joining Santa and his Elves on board for an hour-long journey by steam train when children can meet Santa and get an early Christmas present. The services run at weekends from 30 November to Christmas Eve.

New for this year is a winter steam service on Friday nights with mince pies and mulled wine.

At Lappa Valley Steam Railway, the Santa Specials are being held on 14 and 15 December and 20-24 December. Meet Father Christmas in his grotto, where he has a present for every child followed by a steam train ride through the wooded valley into Lappa.

There are hot refreshments, children's entertainment including a balloon magician and Christmas music from a fairground organ. Book online at bodminrailway.co.uk or lappavalley.co.uk




The National Maritime Museum in Falmouth shines a light on Christmas with their theme of Lanterns and Lights which has a typical nautical twist - even the traditional Cornish wooden dinghy, Daisy Belle, gets in on the act when she is decked out with lights and decorations to become a Christmas tree.

After appearing in the Falmouth Christmas Lights parade, the specially commissioned paper packet ship lantern will join the flying flotilla in the Main Hall to light up the Christmas workshops which begin on 21 December when you can learn how to make macramé lanterns. After Christmas you can help create a platoon of lit paper boats to display in the Main Hall with one to take home. Each boat will hold a wish for the year ahead.

There's also sea life spotting from the giant underwater windows in the Tidal Zone, panoramic views from the top of the Lookout Tower, the Treasure Island Play Zone and 15 fascinating galleries - plus a seasonal light trail children can follow to win a prize.





Trerice, a Tudor mansion near Newquay, is pulling out all the stops with lots of family activities in the run-up to Christmas. On 30 November and 1 December you can join a Willow Wreath Workshop to make a green Christmas decoration for your home (£4 each on top of the admission fee). During the weekends in December there are craft workshops to make Christmas decorations and carols performed by local choirs (2-4pm in the Barn Restaurant). Father Christmas - this year dressed in red rather than the traditional green - visits on Saturdays and Sundays from 7 December to tell stories and give presents to the children (additional payment -

book online).

Adults can also go back in time to 1573 and join Sir John Arundell for a three-course meal, live entertainment and music on the evenings of 29 November and 14 and 20 December. Visit nationaltrust.org.uk for details




At the heart of Christmas celebrations at the National Trust's Cotehele near Saltash is the magnificent garland which has hung in the Great Hall for more than 60 years. The tradition began in the 1950s and each year gets bigger and better.

All of the flowers in the garland are grown at the estate on the banks of the River Tamar and are picked daily during the summer, stripped of leaves and carefully hung in the potting shed to dry. It's a long process because around 32,000 flowers are needed this year.

In early November the gardeners start with a 60ft-long piece of rope, and attach small bunches of foliage as the backdrop to the dried flowers which they add one by one. The whole process of constructing the garland takes about ten days.

For the first time ever, the mill at Cotehele will be open at Christmas, decorated in traditional Victorian style. You'll be able to discover how families like the Langsfords, who lived here, celebrated Christmas in Victorian times and there are lots of family activities including dressing up and festive crafts.

There is a restaurant, tea room and gift shop during Christmas opening hours. Mother and Father Christmas will be visiting too. The garland in the Tudor Great Hall at Cotehele has 32,000 dried flowers.

Check timings online at nationaltrust.org.uk




Multi award-winning Rogue Theatre return to the wilds of Tehidy Woods' North Cliffs near Camborne this December with their enchanting winter celebration, Winter Wood. This immersive

and highly visual experience features

new stories for 2019.

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 wonder comes to life. There will be live music, festive stories, free warming drinks, sparkly face painting and the chance to make your own winter decoration to take home. There are three performances daily.

Details and booking at roguetheatre.co.uk




The Christmas lights at Mousehole have been delighting visitors to this Cornish fishing village for more than half a century. It was in 1963 that local artist Joan Gillchrest organised a campaign to brighten up the harbour at Christmas. This year the Mousehole lights will be turned on at 6.30pm on 14 December by Brian and Avis Martin. It takes place during an open-air carol service at the entrance to the North Quay with the Carolaire Choir, made up of members of the Mousehole Male Voice Choir, Mousehole Methodist Church and friends from the community together with the Pendeen Silver Band. The lights are on from 5pm every evening until 4 January but will be dimmed on 19 December between 8pm and 9pm, as they are every year, to remember the 16 people who died during a 1981 storm, including eight volunteers of Pendeen lifeboat the Solomon Browne.

Visit mouseholelights.org.uk for details




The beautiful Lanhydrock estate near Bodmin is dressed up in all its Victorian finery throughout December and you can join in the party by discovering how the Agar-Robartes family would have celebrated Christmas in 1893 with a Masked Ball theme.

You can pose for a photo in the Victorian Christmas carriage and follow the Masked Ball children's trail through the garden or see the spectacular costumes and play parlour games in the kitchens. Father Christmas will also be paying a special visit to Lanhydrock (check online

for details).

At Lanhydrock you can discover many of the Christmas traditions that entertained Victorians - Santa Claus, Christmas trees, cards, crackers, stockings and public holidays all emerged during

Queen Victoria's reign.

Visit nationaltrust.org.uk for details. The house is open daily from 30 November except Christmas Day and Boxing Day.




The wonderful Trelissick Estate near Truro will impress visitors inside and out this Christmas. Inside the house will be festooned with decorations, twinkling lights and autumnal floral displays with music echoing through the rooms. You will find festive refreshment in the tearoom including eggnog, mince pies and mulled wine.

When the sun sets, the gardens and grounds become an illuminated wonderland of colour and light. No Christmas is complete without a visit from Father Christmas and at Trelissick you will find him in the stables telling stories (book online).

Buy homemade gifts at the Craft Fair on 1 December. Christmas decorations and Father Christmas will be available from 6-23 December.





The Mike Moyle Memorial Swim takes place on Christmas Day in memory of a stalwart of the Bude Surf Life Saving Club to raise money for the organisation which was founded in 1953 and is one of the oldest SLSC's in the country. Around 500 swimmers take part without a single wetsuit in sight, and several thousand line the waterfront at Crooklets Beach in Bude to watch. There is full lifeguard cover and hot refreshments for participants. If you raise more than £30 in sponsorship you get a free souvenir T shirt.

Download a registration form online at budeslsc.co.uk.




During the winter months, the knowledgeable guides at St Michael's Mount near Penzance will host guided winter tours. Visitors can stoop through ancient doorways, glimpse at the castle's changing faces, from priory to fort, iconic castle to family home, wander century-old corridors, unravel the history of the St Aubyn family, who have lived here since the 17th century, and discover treasures from the Mount's past - from religious roots to times of siege and conflict. There will be plenty of time for winter warmers in the Sail Loft restaurant and Christmas shopping in the courtyard shop.

Full details at stmichaelsmount.co.uk.




The wonderful Sugar and Spice Grotto is back for the sixth year when youngsters will get the chance to help Father Christmas find missing parts of his sleigh after it crash-lands at the Bedruthan Hotel on the North Cornish Coast. Meet the friendly elves and loveable reindeer in before entering a candlelit wood to decorate beautiful wooden Christmas tree decorations and Father Christmas himself.

Families will first join Tomte, Astrid, the friendly elves and loveable reindeer in Tummetott village, before entering a candlelit Festlig Wood to decorate beautiful wooden Christmas tree decorations. Then it's onto the snow cavern to meet the coolly composed Ice Queen, before finally wandering through the frozen forest to find Father Christmas's Sugar and Spice Grotto, to meet the old man himself and help to fix his sleigh and save Christmas.

The Sugar and Spice Christmas Grotto is at the Bedruthan Steps hotel. Book online at bedruthan.com/grotto.

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