Home to dozens of award-winning pubs, restaurants and food producers, South Devon is quite simply a haven for foodies....
There are so many Christmas things to do in Devon! This year in particular, the festive season is firmly anchored by a celebration of love, spending quality time with our family and friends.
During your Christmas getaway in Devon, expect to enjoy empty beaches bathed in winter sunshine, crisp winter walks, an abundance of twinkling lights and even icy sea swims for the brave and bold!
At Coast & Country Cottages we’re on hand to help plan the perfect Christmas break, which is why we’ve created a guide that highlights our top Christmas things to do in Devon.
Looking for what’s on this Christmas? Use our quick links below to navigate the content, or read on for the full lowdown on Christmas things to do in Devon…
Devon positively thrives through the Christmas period, and you will find the region pulsing with festive cheer and activity. From carol singing to Christmas wreath making, there really is plenty of Christmas things to do in Devon…
Dates: 29th November, 1st & 6th December
Boringdon Hall have teamed up with local award-winning florist Hannah Burnett to bring the ultimate festive evening, wreath making.
You’ll spend the evening making your own decorative and natural festive wreath in magnificent surroundings. Hannah will teach participants how to make a wreath using festive florals and greenery and you’ll take home your finished creation to enjoy throughout your Christmas holiday in South Devon.
This workshop lasts 1.5 hours with mince pies and refreshments included. Places are limited, please visit Boringdon Hall’s website to book your space.
Dates: 1st, 2nd & 3rd December
Riverford Field Kitchen are hosting the ultimate festive feast this December. Sit back and relax. Sip mulled wine and indulge in mince pies as Riverford’s chefs demonstrate some nifty tips and tricks to make your Christmas feast exceptional.
Make your veg the star of the Christmas plate with inspiring recipe ideas from industry professionals. Learn how to make the crispiest roast potatoes, braised sprouts with almonds, mulled wine desserts and much more.
Get inspired to create your own festive feast whilst enjoying a Riverford Field Kitchen Christmas feast. Pre-booking is essential, please visit Riverford’s website to book your demo and dine ticket.
Dates: 4th – 19th December
Join Percy the Park Keeper and his animal friends for some winter fun in the garden at Coleton Fishacre. Participants are invited to join Percy to navigate the adventure trail, so expect to spend your time following the clues, solving puzzles, and discovering more about woodland creatures.
The price of the trail costs £2 per child, and booking is essential, so check the venue’s website to lock down your timed entry slot. Book your winter wander trail ticket here.
Devon is also home to three further National Trust properties; Overbeck’s in Salcombe, Greenway in Galmpton and Saltram near Plymouth. Greenway and Saltram are also hosting Christmas events including the Percy the Park Keeper Trail.
Dates: 2nd, 9th & 16th December
Fun for all the family, carols by candlelight is back for another year in the underground world of Kents Cavern. A not-to-be-missed Devon Christmas event.
This unique festival experience is suitable for adults and children and includes amazing acoustics in the Vestibule Chamber followed by an immersive walk around the caves in candlelight. The experience finishes with your preferred winter warmer (mulled wine or hot chocolate) and festive treats in the Great Chamber.
The festive experience lasts 2 hours and pre-booking is essential. Book your tickets here.
You will find a strong sense of community throughout the entirety of Devon, and as you would expect, Christmas is a time of year when this sense of unity really rings true. You will find many towns and villages celebrating Christmas, and you will find beauty at almost every corner you turn.
Enjoy magical light trails in the villages of Thurlestone, West Alvington and Malborough, and the beautiful Christmas lights in the harbour towns of Salcombe and Dartmouth, not forgetting the twinkling lights of Totnes high street.
Totnes also boasts a vibrant Sunday food market that is a well-regarded foodie mecca – it’s the perfect place to indulge in mulled wine, mince pies and lashing of local cheese and chutney. It also seems to be an attraction for buskers and live music, and sometimes, you will find people enjoying a much-needed dance in the high street if the mood takes them!
The Shops at Dartington often have carol singers and barrels of chestnuts roasting, but the icing on the cake is their beautiful old fashioned toy shop, perfect for picking up heirloom presents.
Devon has a fantastic reputation for sumptuous food, so it’s no secret that the festive season is heavily focused on decadent dining. Geographically, with a long stretch of coastline surrounded by thriving agricultural farmland, the region is perfectly placed for producing an abundance of year-round food.
If you want to hunker down and enjoy the comfort of your holiday cottage, then how about ordering a luxurious food hamper, delivered straight to your door. Christmas Day falls on a Saturday this year, so be sure to stock up on food to enjoy throughout the extended bank holiday weekend!
With so much food on offer, it can be difficult to know where to shop first, so to help you navigate the Devon food scene, below (in no particular order!) you will find a selection of companies curating the most wonderful Christmas hamper deliveries that are jam-packed with goodies. Be sure to place your order in advance of your holiday to avoid disappointment…
A traditional family business with shops situated in both Loddiswell and Modbury, Aune Valley are offering a click & collect and free local delivery service. Locally sourced with full traceability, it’s the perfect place to buy your Christmas meat – all of the Christmas turkeys and Geese are sourced from nearby farms.
Vegetables and also an array of cheeses, pickles and pates are also available, and you could even order a Christmas hamper for your arrival, full of delicious goodies.
Jane Baxter, founder of Wild Artichokes, is a renowned Devon chef and food writer – most widely recognised from her regular appearances on BBC1’s Saturday Kitchen and her food column for the Guardian.
The popular based food and events company Wild Artichokes operates from a trendy industrial unit in Kingsbridge, and this bustling eatery is a haven for those that love grazing boards, juicy salads, and honest food in a friendly environment.
Every moment with family and friends will be precious this year, and Wild Artichokes are on hand to help you make the most of that time – let them do the cooking so you can enjoy a feast without the hassle.
It’s such a simple process, simply visit their website, fill your basket, select your collection date and make your payment.
Operating a click and collect service from their shops in Staverton and Yealmpton, Ben’s Farm Shop is home to a wide selection of locally sourced meat, vegetables and all the trimmings and treats you could possibly want for a yummy Christmas feast.
Browse their Christmas shop for inspiration, but be warned, your basket will be full to overflowing once finished.
A traditional butcher established in 1898, the Lloyd Maunder Butcher and Deli is as ‘pedigree’ as a butcher can be. With years of experience under their belt, they sure know how to choose an excellent cut of meat from the average, and pride themselves on maintaining consistently high-quality produce.
After last year’s success, you can order your produce online and either collect from your local butcher, or for orders over £25, have your goods delivered straight to your door.
Delimann specialise in delivering ‘gifts from Devon to your door’ luxury hampers that are bursting with award-winning food and drink, and so as you can expect, these make for the most decadent Christmas treat!
This year, their Christmas gifts and hampers range is extensive – from the traditional Christmas cream tea to a movie night country Christmas box, and even a Devon Christmas feast (to name just a few). With gluten free options available too, there really is something for everyone.
Throughout the region you will find a wealth of pubs that serve seasonal, fresh, and local produce.
These cosy inns all boast a warm and welcoming atmosphere, and some even have roaring open fires, which provide the perfect bolthole to get cosy and tuck into a hearty meal following hours spent exploring the great outdoors. Be sure to read our guides to finding the best pubs in Salcombe and the best pubs in Dartmouth to learn just a few of our favourites!
Pubs in Devon are very much open, even on Christmas Day, making for a great opportunity to share some festive cheer. Regardless of whether you want to hunker down in the gentle folds of the countryside or be beside the sea, you’re positively spoilt for choice.
If the idea of not cooking Christmas Day lunch this year appeals, then read our Christmas Day lunch in Devon: Our festive favourites – but do hurry and book soon!
Pubs aside, the local towns and villages are positively brimming with restaurants, cafés and shops offering Devon food and drink options. From popular Devon fudge to famous local gins and Devon clotted cream, perfect for smothering on fluffy scones or on the side of Christmas pudding (delicious!), be sure to try a local delicacy or two.
No Devon Christmas is complete without a tree of some variety, so jump in the car and take the easy drive to Avon Mill Garden Centre, located between Kingsbridge and Loddiswell, just off the B3195.
As well as picking up a tree you can get everything else you need to turn your holiday cottage into a cosy home for Christmas – their stock includes lights, stands, baubles, candles, crackers, holly, ivy, mistletoe and wreaths.
Alternatively, for a hands on authentic experience, head to Ashburton Christmas Tree Farm, situated on the edge of Dartmoor and pick your tree to be freshly chopped, just make sure it’s not too big to fit in the car!
Please note, booking may be necessary so be mindful to check each farm or centre’s website before you visit, you most certainly don’t want to be disappointed.
If you would rather opt for a festive decoration that’s a little smaller than a tree, perhaps something that you can also take home with you, then look no further than the traditional wreath.
Usually, these are made from an assortment of flowers, leaves, fruits, twigs or various other materials used to construct a ring, but modern wreaths are varied and now incorporate foliage such as eucalyptus, dried flowers and even garden herbs!
Wreaths have so much history and symbolism associated with them, so we couldn’t think of a more perfect decoration to celebrate a Devon Christmas this year.
Seasonal bouquets bursting with an array of red spray roses, thistles, eucalyptus and foliage are also available locally, and always brighten up a festive winter retreat – these can be purchased and delivered by a variety of local florists, including Bearded Florista and Pepperberry Florist.
Everyone has something that speaks ‘Christmas’ to them, whether this is a simple decoration, a favourite box of chocolates, or granny’s homemade Christmas cake. There is no reason why your Devon Christmas break can’t be a home from home experience, so don’t forget to pack your favourite festive trinkets, bring the board games and prep the playlist (Slade and The Pogues included!). Whilst mistletoe and mulled wine are optional, these additions are highly recommended!
Devon is an independent retailer’s powerhouse, so when it comes to choosing where to carry out a spot of Christmas shopping, you’re well and truly spoilt for choice.
The towns of Salcombe, Dartmouth, Kingsbridge and Totnes are jam packed with boutique stores, and you will find a selection of gifts ranging from simple presents such as locally made clotted cream fudge, to something a little more luxurious such as a personalised clutch bag – regardless of what is on your shopping list, you won’t be disappointed.
Should you want to shop from the comfort of your self catering holiday cottage then look no further, because we’ve curated the ultimate South Devon Christmas gift ideas guide providing absolute convenience.
Although many people associate the great British outdoors with long and balmy summer days, the Devon coast and countryside is equally as popular during the winter months, especially with visitors who want to make the most of fewer crowds, emptier beaches, and stunning scenery.
Time outside regardless of season, rain or shine is paramount for optimum wellbeing, and is especially luxurious when you are returning to a cosy self catering holiday cottage, even better if it’s a cottage with an open fire or hot tub to rest aching limbs!
In typical British fashion, at Coast & Country Cottages we believe there is no such thing as bad weather, just the wrong clothes – so wrap up warm, don your wellies and join in the fun, the options really are extensive…
A Devon Christmas is all about embracing local traditions and making them part of the fun.
An icy Christmas Day swim has long been the post breakfast burn off, and you will find the beaches peppered with both locals and visitors alike braving the chilly plunge. If you’re keen to join in, read about our favourite beaches for a Christmas Day swim in South Devon.
It goes without saying that cold water swimming is not just reserved for Christmas Day, so if you’re a keen water enthusiast, then read our blog post on local wild swimming spots to learn about some of our favourite year-round swim locations.
Watersport enthusiasts in particular tend to use the winter period to maximise the quieter waters and so you can often spectate (or join!) individuals surfing, sailing and also kite surfing when conditions prevail.
In calmer conditions, both adults and children alike enjoy paddleboarding and
kayaking, just be sure to wrap up warm, bobble hats being the essential item! The ultimate natural playground when it comes to watersports, read our guide on things to do in South Devon for more information.
If an icy sea swim seems a little too adventurous, why not head out for a crisp winter walk instead.
Devon is home to an abundance of walking routes that crisscross the region, taking in a myriad of coastal paths, woodland trails, riverside rambles and rolling countryside. A designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, this corner of Devon is a walking wonderland and enjoys an abundance of wildlife, historical landmarks, secret coves, and hidden nooks and crannies.
Winter is the perfect time to explore the region by foot, and not only will you find yourself far from the summer crowds, but it will significantly boost your mood and allow you to soak up the goodness of vitamin D.
At Coast & Country Cottages, we love taking a flask of hot soup and freshly baked bread in search of the perfect winter al fresco picnic spot, and we strongly encourage you to do the same.
Devon’s coastline is extensive and varied, and you will find a wide range of beaches, from the expansive stretches of sand such as Bantham Beach and Bigbury-on-Sea, to the shingle shores of Slapton Sands, Hallsands and Beesands and the more secret, secluded coves, including Mattiscombe Beach and Gara Rock Beach. With so much choice, you will always find somewhere to suit, especially in the winter months when you may want to shelter from an onshore wind.
Contrary to popular belief, the beach can (at times!) be relatively warm in the winter sun, and as such, you will find the shores of Devon a hive of activity throughout the winter period. With activities ranging from rock pooling, sandcastle building, kite flying and beach cricket all underway, there is something for everyone to enjoy.
Beach barbeques are extremely popular, as are beach fires, especially when smores and sausages are on the agenda! If this does take your fancy, then please read our beach bible for more information, or if you are hankering after a more private Christmas beach celebration, then find your way to one of the few secret Devon beaches – but shhhh, don’t tell a soul!
Our self catering holiday cottages in Devon provide the ultimate home from home environment, so it comes as no surprise that you will want to spend a little time hunkering down over the Christmas break enjoying some serious rest and relaxation.
Should you want to enjoy the warmth of the indoors, why not do some Christmas crafting, read a book, play a board game or even take an afternoon nap – the options are endless!
One of the many positives about a self catering Christmas break is having the flexibility to cook for yourself, so if you do have a favourite festive recipe, be sure to cook up a feast. With state of the art cooking equipment and centrepiece dining tables, our self catering holiday cottages really do provide an enjoyable bolthole from which to get creative in the kitchen.
There are plenty of Christmas things to do in Devon this festive season, offering a wonderful base for couples, groups and families looking for a truly magical Christmas break.
Our self catering Christmas cottages are perfect, regardless of whether you want to stay in a secluded coastal cottage and enjoy a winter beach holiday, or you would rather a property in the heart of Salcombe or Dartmouth’s bustling centre. We are certain you will find something to suit, just be sure that wherever you choose to spend it, to deck the halls with holly and gather together for stories, laughter and silly games.
If you haven’t yet booked your Christmas self catering break then not to worry, we still have availability. Hurry though, our remaining properties are likely to be snapped up quickly…