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Over 20 Magical Christmas Devon Days Out this Festive Season

The nights are long and dark and the days are sometimes gloomy so we all need a big dose of Christmas cheer to brighten our days and evenings. Devon’s Top Attractions are aglow with festive lights, fabulous grottos, friendly Santas, nativity scenes, animals warm in deep straw-lined stables, busy elves, festive food and drink in cosy cafes, fun-filled indoor play and some unique gifts on offer at our award-winning county-wide attractions. Heading to one of our award-winning sites is a great way to enjoy a wonderful seasonal family day out, with or without the snow!

Christmas is a special time of year to spend with family and friends and our unique variety of attractions have pulled out all the stops to give families a magical day out to spend together over the holidays!

What’s On in South Devon

Paignton Zoo are ending their centenary year in style with their biggest ever festive event! Join them after dark for an immersive light experience featuring a variety of beautiful, interactive light installations, entertainers and a silent disco. There will be giant lit up trees and tunnels, a magical wishing well, playful lit up creatures and much more. Running on selected dates through to January, be sure to secure your tickets before they sell out!


Babbacombe Model Village See their illuminations with lots of Christmas sparkle and festive lighting on selected dates in December. Enjoy all that the Model Village has to offer along with some delightful miniature seasonal scenes as their little folk celebrate Christmas. A Christmas character spotter sheet will add some extra fun during the daylight – will you be able to find all the miniature Santas?

Bygones, in Torquay, are celebrating and getting in the Christmas spirit with a visit back in time to the Victorian era. From 1st December their life-sized Victorian street and rooms are transformed into a traditional Christmas setting!  A wonderfully festive atmosphere for all the family – included within the admission fee.

Breakfast or lunch with Santa at Bygones

The spectacular ‘Bay of Lights’ is returning to the English Riviera  from 1st December to 2nd January and it promises to be even bigger and better than last year. Residents and visitors alike are invited to explore Torbay during the festive period and enjoy a variety of events and illuminated attractions including the ‘Illumination Trail’ in Torquay, Brixham’s ‘Lanterns, Lights & ‘Luminations’, the ‘Train of Lights’ in Paignton, and seasonal illuminated events at popular local destinations.

Pic of Glow illuminations at RHS garden RosemoorA truly magical festive experience awaits you at Kents Cavern, which is also part of the English Riviera Bay of Lights. Winky the Naughty Elf has been up to all sorts of mischief: he’s taken Santa’s Magic Key which opens the door to Santa’s Workshop, and Christmas is almost here. Noel Elfmonds wants to create the perfect Christmas, but nothing seems special enough! Will you join Noel, Fairy Poppins and Merry Berry on a quest through the grotto to discover the true meaning of Christmas and see Santa?

 Kents cavern Xmas

Get ready for a festive and exciting adventure at Haldon Forest Park’s Zog activity trail. Find sticker clues as you make your way through the Zog Christmas code adventure. You’ll uncover hidden letters revealing a Christmas word. Once you’ve cracked the final word, return your completed leaflet to the Info Pod to claim your Zog decoration that will add a touch of magic to your Christmas tree.

On various dates throughout December experience the Magic at Pennywell – the perfect Christmas experience for all the family! At this time of year, the Farm is transformed into a magical winter wonderland with twinkling lights, hundreds of Christmas trees, and plenty of Christmas sparkle. A truly magical Christmas experience awaits.

Pennywelll pigs at Xmas

The Polar Express is back until 23rd December at the South Devon Railway with its sleek black steam engine. Billowing steam, your authentic steam train ride will last around an hour, and you’ll be entertained meeting the Conductor and his crew. All the while the train steams towards the North Pole! Here you’ll meet Santa and one of his friendly elves. He’ll climb on board the train to meet you all. The Conductor will even clip your Polar Express tickets just like in the film!

 Polar Express SDR

The Woodlands Christmas Grotto Experience is bigger and more magical than ever before and runs until 23rd December! Meet your elf guides and adventure through the magical forest meeting all of Santa’s festive friends before arriving at his toy workshop. Sneak a peek at where magical Christmas toys and gifts are made!

Santa at Woodlands Family Theme Park ..

From 2nd to 22nd December you can enjoy a special ‘Breakfast with Santa’ in The Box Kitchen & Bar in Plymouth on selected dates. Tickets include a sausage/vegan sausage bap, bacon bap or pancakes with tea, Americano or hot chocolate. All children’s tickets include a gift. Book your tickets now. On 22nd December start your festive celebrations at The Box with their special family-friendly late! Explore the galleries by night, listen to seasonal stories, decorate delicious cookies and dance to some Christmas hits. You’ll also be able to make the most of the chance to do some last-minute Christmas shopping!

The Box Xmas

What’s On in Exeter and East Devon

Visit Royal Albert Memorial Museum (RAMM) in Exeter to do some great Christmas crafts. On 19th December light up your life and create your own magical festive lantern to take home. Let RAMM’s magic inspire your festive scene. On 20th December decorate your own wooden bauble featuring one of their animals in a seasonal setting. Let your imagination go wild and create a decoration to hang on your tree and on 21st/22nd December get into the festive spirit by meeting some characters of Christmas past. Meet a Roman soldier, a WWII warden or seek out the Victorian Lady Collector as she explores the origin of trees, lights and many of the other traditions. Their historical friends will be wandering RAMM’s galleries throughout the day.

Christmas at the Castle is back at Powderham Castle! See the castle and gardens beautifully lit up and visit the Christmas grotto, a mile-long trail within the grounds illuminated with an abundance of lights and festive decorations, creating a breathtaking experience for kids and adults alike. Check with website for details and booking.

Xmas at the Castle Powderham

Tis the season to Sail with Santa with Stuart Line Cruises on various dates in December! Meet Santa in his enchanting on-board grotto where the children receive an amazing, handpicked gift and grownups can enjoy a glass of mulled wine and locally baked mince pie. Plus, from 24th December to 1st January hop aboard for a River Exe Cruise and explore the beautiful scenery and fascinating wildlife of the Exe Estuary. Enjoy a warm welcome, a glass of homemade mulled wine and a minced pie whilst you sit back and take a breather from the busy Christmas season.

Festive Special River Cruise

Enjoy late night openings with rides in the dark & winter light displays at Crealy Theme Park & Resort. Join them on selected dates in December for their Winter Twi-Light Fest, race round your favourite rides in the dark and enjoy Winter light displays across the Park including a light tunnel and festive illuminations. Plus, it’s Christmas at Crealy with festive celebrations on selected dates between 2nd & 23rd December. Enjoy their seasonal Christmas attractions, cozy live shows and entertainment and see the Theme Park lit up with lights and decorations.

Crealy Christmas lights

Relive your favourite Christmas film at Seaton Tramway on THE POLAR EXPRESS™ Tram Ride. Families will enjoy the magical tram ride to Santa’s home at the North Pole in one of the specially decorated single deck tramcars, enjoy a hot chocolate, a delicious treat, speak to Santa and admire the awesome lights as you walk around the North Pole. Children will also receive the first gift of Christmas – a silver sleigh bell – from Santa himself. Upon the return journey, enjoy singing along to Christmas carols. For the grown-up kids too, this is a trip down memory lane to a traditional Christmas of old.

Polar Ex

Discover the spirit of the sanctuary this winter at the Donkey Sanctuary now until the 8th February. Find the Adoption donkeys’ favourite toys and treats hidden around the sanctuary, all their donkeys love to forage for treats and play with their toys. Follow the trail around the heart of the sanctuary to find each toy and treat and match it with one of nine of the Sidmouth adoption donkeys. Combine family fun, exercise and brainpower for just £5 per trail, including a prize when you complete the trail.

Donkey sanc xmas

Bicton Botanical Gardens have a festive filled night on the 8th December for their Christmas Craft Fair. Enjoy browsing over 30 different local craft stalls while listening to the Budleigh male voice choir singling carols and enjoy the special Christmas light display accompanied by the Lister engines puffin away.

What’s on in North Devon

It’s a magical time at Clovelly on 3rd December, the Christmas lights turn-on starts at 3:30 pm with a local brass band leading the procession down to the harbour with festive carols sung along the way. A hog roast, grog and other refreshments are available at the harbour and Lifeboat Station and Father Christmas will make a surprise visit. At 5pm the switch is thrown and the entire village and harbour are lit up and there’s a grand finale of fireworks to finish off. Then, after Christmas, the Boxing Day Barbecue should make the perfect follow-up to Christmas day with FREE entrance to Clovelly village all day. Take a walk and explore the village then go on down to the quay to enjoy a lunch barbecue with live music running from 1pm to 3 pm.

Clovelly xmas

The Magic of Christmas is coming to the Milky Way at dates from 9th to 23rd December. Journey through the magical snowy forest to Buzzlewick’s Elf Emporium, where all children will get to meet Buzzlewick the Elf and friends. Have a go at gingerbread decorating, write a letter to Santa and make reindeer food, then venture into Santa’s cosy Christmas Cottage to chat to the jolly fella himself and collect your special festive gift. Plus, you can visit the garland festooned train station made jolly with festive music and giant Christmas tree for a hot chocolate to enjoy on the Festive Train.

santa & elf tree smaller

Visit Quince Honey Farm’s Festive Workshops on Sat 2nd and Sat 9th December and learn how to craft your very own natural and rustic Christmas Wreath to take home with you. Led by their Head Gardener, Rebecca Flay, the workshop will use seasonal fresh foliage collected from the Nectar Gardens and grounds as well as natural and reusable decorations. Plus on 16th December Christmas Table Centrepiece Workshop 10am – 12pm. Spend a morning getting crafty and creative and learn how to make a stunning Christmas Table Centrepiece by hand!

The Big Sheep Farm and Theme Park are holding their Christmas Farmers Market on Saturdays from 2nd to 23rd December. There’ll be plenty of fresh produce including free range turkeys, organic meats, sprouts on stalks, cheeses, cakes, fresh fish plus Christmas trees – just some of the delights which will be on offer! The Christmas Toddler Takeover is on from 1st to 4th December with festive fun dedicated to toddlers and babies with lots of parent-led crafts to make and take home. On 16th & 17th December an exciting and magical pop-up Panto of Peter Pan will be there including free admission to Ewetopia Play Zone. Fly away on the adventure of a lifetime this Christmas as Peter Pan swoops into town.

Big Sheep - sheepdog in a hat

Head over to RHS Rosemoor where there will be festive events for all. Get into the seasonal spirit with a Christmas party and panto for little ones, their annual winter sculpture exhibition and magical Glow illuminations as well as some great Christmas gifts in the Rosemoor Garden Centre – they’ll help you make this a festive season to remember! See the website for dates and details.

Glow illuminations at RHS Garden Rosemoor.

If you believe in the magic of Christmas make a day out with your family really special this festive season at one of our quality-assured attractions, after all, ‘Tis The Season to be Jolly!’

To find more information and ideas for a festive day out, check out the Devon’s Top Attractions website and their What’s on pages here