It’s hard to believe that the festive season is almost upon us, but I know the count down has officially begun when my six year old starts belting out her Christmas favourites in the car on the way to school. And to be honest, I do get a hint of excitement knowing that soon I’ll be compiling pressie wish lists, digging out my granny’s glazed ham recipe and picking out a tree. But the thing I look forward to most in the build-up to the big day is visiting a fantastic Christmas market. There’s something enchanting about the stall lined lanes, and the smell of cinnamon and spice permeating the air really seems to get me into the Christmas spirit.
Luckily for me the South West has some of the best Christmas markets in the country so picking a favourite is a tough ask, but if I were to choose my top five they’d definitely be…
1. Exeter’s Christmas market
Saturday 16th November 2019 to Thursday 19th December 2019
A finalist at the 2018 Exeter Living Awards for ‘Best Event’, Exeter Cathedral Christmas Market is a complete ‘must’ for getting you into that magical festive mood.
Running for the past seven years the market has a distinctly Bavarian style with its traditional wooden chalets featuring delicious food stalls, high-quality handmade crafts and unique gifts. In the heart of the city and with Exeter Cathedral as a backdrop the event attracts over 600,000 visitors over its 34 day period which means there’s a wonderfully vibrant atmosphere which I think will have you circling it on the calendar for 2020.
If you’re thinking of visiting this fab market why not treat yourself to a stay at South View Lodges. These beautiful properties have private hot tubs and, although they are set in the countryside, they are just a few miles from Exeter city centre.
2. Totnes late night Christmas shopping
Tuesday evenings on the 3rd, 10th and 17th of December 2019
Totnes is a vibrant market town that has been thriving since the twelfth century.
Best known today for its music, art, theatre and natural well-being, the town has a bohemian feel which is characterised in many of the small shops and eateries that line the cobbled streets. As with previous years, the town’s market square will once again play host to a diverse and eclectic mix of Christmas stalls with local bands, community choirs and delicious food and drink creating a positively electric atmosphere. So if you’re looking for an experience leading up to Christmas this year – this is the place to be.
If you’re looking for a unique luxury break just a short drive from Totnes, you may wish to consider Vane Tower Penthouse in Torquay. A Grade II listed Italianate villa, this home has the most stunning views and is oh so elegantly furnished and decorated.
You can read more about Vane Tower Penthouse here.
3. Plymouth Christmas market
Thursday, November 28 to Thursday, December 2019
If fresh donuts, hog roasts, bratwurst and mulled wine sound enticing, you’re in for a treat. The German-style Plymouth Christmas Market is a hugely popular event with a range of food and drink stalls on offer. Fairy light adorned log cabins are packed with Christmas decorations and gifts including jewellery, clothing, artwork and homeware from both local and international traders. The event will also feature the big Christmas Lights switch-on which will take place on 14th November.
If you’d like to pop along to this wonderful event, why not make a weekend of it with a stay in one of our gorgeous Elliot Terrace properties right on the Plymouth Hoe.
You can view properties at 1 Elliot Terrace here.
4. Padstow Christmas festival
Thursday 5th to Sunday 8th December 2019
Not to be missed, the Padstow Christmas Festival is the premier festive event in Cornwall for showcasing the best of the area’s food, products and gifts from a variety of West Country artisan companies and producers.
Pop-up street food stalls and culinary demonstrations from some of the country’s best-known chefs are just a few of the highlights you can expect to enjoy. Running for the past eleven years the festival has a well-established reputation for delighting visitors with a range of cakes, sweet treats, cheeses, preserves, craft beers and locally produced ciders, gins, brandy and vodka. So before you start your Christmas shopping, make sure you save some pennies for a visit to this amazing event where you’ll be sure to pick up a few unusual and unique gifts for the even the fussiest of family members.
If you’re planning a festive break near Padstow, Hill Head View is a quirky cottage that even has its own paddock.
You can read more about Hill Head View here.
5. Wells Christmas market in Somerset
Saturday 14th December and Saturday 21st December 2019
This fabulous festive market takes place in the Bishop’s Palace Green in the historic town centre. With over 100 traders offering loads of indulgent seasonal food and drink as well as locally made gits and decorations there will also be live music from various bands and choirs to get visitors in the Christmas spirit. I love that this year’s event will feature a decorated arch of recycled plastic – a great message of respect for our environment and perfect for a festive selfie!
If you fancy a visit to Wells, I recommend a stay at one of the Strawberryfield Park eco lodges. These homes are simply stunning and have private hot tubs and a gorgeous countryside setting.
View the lodges at Strawberryfield Park here.