The name of Lostwithiel itself stirs up all sorts of images that only an old Cornish town possibly could and this beautiful medieval town really pulls out all of the stops for its annual Lostwithiel Dickensian Evening which takes place in the middle of December.
It should be noted that the Lostwithiel community is admirably active and there always seems to be something going on in the town and the surrounding area can only be described as stunning, so it stands to sense that the Dickensian will turn out to be something pretty special.
Everyone joins in
One of the first things that you notice about the evening itself is that the whole town seems to be joining in with the fun. It all starts off at around 6pm and there is usually that lovely winter chill in the air which means you have to wrap up warm to make the most of the evening.
Walking into the main street you could be forgiven for thinking that you have stepped back in time, the local shop keepers are dressed in period costume and the whole atmosphere is probably unlike anything you will have witnessed before.
Celebrate with a hymn or two
Before the main part of the evening actually starts there is a church service at around 5pm with the Bishop of Truro in attendance. Even if you are not a church goer as such, it would still be worth arriving in Lostwithiel a little earlier to attend this service. It basically puts everything to do with Christmas in prospective and sets the tone perfectly for the evening ahead.
Usually on nights like this it is advisable to spend an hour or so having a look around and then heading off somewhere for a drink and perhaps a bite to eat. On this night in Lostwithiel though the preference would have to be to eat and drink on the go. There are offerings of mulled wine wherever you look, hot chestnuts and baked potatoes are all you really need and with the Dickensian carols playing in the background you really couldn't get more into the Christmas spirit if you tried.
Even the buskers join in
Credit should definitely be given to the buskers who are in attendance because the vast majority of them are also dressed in theme and singing appropriate songs. You must have a soul made of ice if you don't feel tempted to give them a smile and drop a coin or two into their collection hat.
As well as all of the shops staying open for the evening there are also market stalls selling mainly craft foods but it is the ideal opportunity to pick up some last minute gifts. When the Dickensian Evening is over the merriment only pauses as the pubs in the town then take over with some brilliant live bands keeping everyone entertained.
The Lostwithiel Dickensian Evening really is a one off and if you ever get the chance to visit then you really should go along. I'm not sure if it is their intention or not but spending some time in Lostwithiel really does make you value what you have got, the simple things in life are often the most important and being transported back in time in this way over the Christmas period really could be described as being magical.
There can't be many other nights like this anywhere else in the UK, that is of course, unless you know better?