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Christmas in Plymouth

Plymouth is the ideal destination for enjoying Christmas shopping, theatre breaks and family get-togethers both before and during the Christmas season.
Christmas celebrations in Plymouth officially start on 22nd November 2012 with the annual switching on of the Christmas Lights at around 6:00pm. Families flock into the city centre to see the chosen celebrities perform the official lighting ceremony which takes place at the top of Cornwall Street.

This year’s celebrity guests remain a closely guarded secret, but just to whet your appetite, in 2011 the event was led by Ronan Parke and Michael Collings from Britain’s Got Talent, along with Royal Marine hero Mark Ormrod, and Hannah Nicholas who was in the city preparing for the part of Cinderella at the Theatre Royal.

The switch-on also marks the start of the Winter Festival, sponsored by Radio Plymouth, Plymouth College and Plymouth City Centre Company. Festival fun includes the ice rink on the Piazza, Santa’s Grotto and the Christmas Market which is held along Armada Way.

Christmas shopping whatever the weather is hard to beat in Plymouth’s Drake Circus Shopping Centre. It has over 70 top UK stores from Animal to Yo! Sushi spread over two floors with ample parking. At the other end of Cornwall Street the covered market has traditional stalls offering bargains in all departments.

Devon’s Royal Naval city is well known for its cultural events. The Theatre Royal leads the way in attracting top entertainment along with the Plymouth Pavilions. December starts with Chicago 2012 in the main theatre, followed by Radio Times The Musical starring Gary Wilmot and Olivier award-winner Sara Crowe. From 14th December until mid-January Christopher Biggins leads the cast of Dick Whittington, along with TV-star Basil Brush.

The adjoining Drum Theatre entertains with The Hare and the Tortoise and the harmonious Barbershopera The Three Musketeers, described as “Blackadder meets Gilbert and Sullivan”. For more hip entertainment, Jools Holland will be appearing at the Plymouth Pavilions on 14th December and the event is sure to be a sellout.

The historic Barbican is a wonderful place to shop for unusual arty gifts for hard-to-please family and friends. The Barbican Theatre has the most appropriate Christmas production with The Greatest Story… Never Told. This unique version of the Christmas nativity portrays the incredible journey to Bethlehem in a festive frolic that combines a donkey ride with clowning, live music and festive fun.

The Plymouth Philharmonic Choir and Orchestra will perform a seasonal concert in the historic Plymouth Guildhall on Royal Parade in Sunday 2nd December. Get in the spirit of Christmas by attending an evening of seasonal music and readings at the Church of the Ascension in Crownhill on 14th December. This event will be led by the Sir Joshua Reynolds Choir and they will also be performing at Harewood House, Plympton on 15 December.

Enjoy boat cruises around Plymouth Sound and the Dockyard, strolls along the Hoe and scenic walks along the coastal path to Wembury. Visitors can also hop on the Cremyll ferry to Mount Edgcumbe House and Country Park and attend the Christmas Fayre on 8th – 9th December 2012. It highlights local produce with inspirational cookery demos from some of the country’s leading chefs. The weather is still nice enough for a round of golf at Sparkwell Golf Course or Elfordleigh, which offers winter warmers including coffee, a bacon roll and 18 holes of golf.

The salty sea air is sure to sharpen your appetite. City centre pubs and outlying rural inns pull out all the stops to provide warming winter food, making Plymouth a top destination for visitors before, during and after Christmas!

About Gillian Birch

Born in Cheshire, Gillian Birch moved to Cornwall at her earliest opportunity and never looked back. After 20 years, her ongoing discovery of popular attractions, quiet footpaths and local eateries has made her a fount of knowledge as she entertains readers with her informative articles on the hidden gems of Devon & Cornwall from a local point-of-view.

Find Gillian on Google+, and Twitter.

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