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Go ice skating, crafting or carolling in Cornwall in December

If you hanker for traditional pastimes in the days leading up to Christmas, you need to join in some of the organised events taking place throughout Cornwall.
If you hanker for traditional pastimes in the days leading up to Christmas, you need to join in some of the organised events taking place throughout Cornwall. Make Victorian Christmas cards, join a Lantern Parade or feast on a decadent Christmas lunch when you spend a week in a cottage in Cornwall.

Christmas at Eden

The award-winning Eden Project gets full marks for making December a magical time to visit. Fancy ice skating? Get your skates on, come on down and bring the kids. There are general and special skating sessions such as Parent and Toddler Ice Play and Junior Penguin Play with instructors so there’s something to suit all ages and abilities.

Booking is advisable and skaters need to have a valid admission ticket to Eden. Even if you don’t want to join in the action, it is great fun to watch. The rink is open from 20th October to 24th February 2013, so it covers school half terms and the Christmas holidays!

On a more specific Christmassy theme, Eden hosts a Winter Festival on certain evenings with Lantern Parades through the gardens, live music, spontaneous entertainment and storytelling. It’s magic!

Seasonal music is performed in the Mediterranean Biome by Cornish Choirs along with the Eden Choir and the Eden Ensemble. Look out for the Laughter Booth, see candles glistening in the pond and buy gifts that don’t “cost the earth” from the Gift Shop.

Paradise Park

The bird and animal attraction at Hayle always has plenty to see and do with owls, birds of prey, otters, penguins and a farmyard of smaller animals wanting some fuss and attention. Animal feeding times and bird displays are always amazing to see. Santa hangs out in the grotto at weekends during December when there is discounted entry to the park and JungleBarn indoor play area.

Parents can tuck into warming savoury snacks such as the turkey and cranberry hot Panini rolls in the Otter Pool Café while the Gift Shop offers free entrance for Christmas shopping.


There’s always plenty going on at the National Trust estate at near Bodmin. Throughout December it puts on a Victorian Christmas fit for His Lordship. There is a decorated Christmas tree in the Outer Hall, the dining room is laid for a lavish family Christmas spread and evidence of Victorian fun and games can be seen in the male entertaining rooms. Visitors are invited to take part in the family trail and make your own Victorian themed crafts to take home. Events take place at weekends in December and daily from 17th – 23rd December 2012.

Father Christmas drops in on several dates to pick up children’s wish lists and deliver small gifts. If you want to polish up your carol singing, join local music groups in the beautiful St Hydroc’s Church in the gardens on Saturday and Sunday afternoons for traditional carols.

Last but not least, Christmas lunch is served in the historic licensed restaurants on Sunday 9th and 16th December. This decadent three course lunch is enhanced by the setting in the wood panelled Old Servants’ Hall.

Lost Gardens of Heligan

puts on a splendid Cornish Christmas Night on 3rd December with a lantern lit tour of the Northern Gardens illuminating the Italian lily pool, glasshouses, grottos and walkways with flickering candles. Finish your evening ramble in the tearoom with a freshly baked mince pie and lashings of Cornish clotted cream – the only way to eat them thereafter! Carollers and local choirs will serenade while mulled wine is served to ward off the evening chill.

Take the opportunity to stock up on locally reared meats and deli items for your Christmas feast from the Lobbs Farm Shop, and Heligan Bakery is the place to buy your Christmas pudding or cake.

On 5th December visitors are invited to make traditional Christmas decorations and wreaths from seasonal foliage gathered from the garden itself. With the shopping done, you can join the Head Gardener, Mike, on a one-hour guided walk through the Jungle or Northern Gardens as he gives an insight into the gardens from his 15 years’ experience. These take place on 18th and 20th December.

Finally, in the generous spirit of Christmas, Heligan is open for charity on Boxing Day. Entrance is free and requested donations go to nominated charities. Walk off your Christmas indulgences and help make a difference to others by participating in this festive event. With trees bare for the winter, it is easy to spot wagtails, black caps, red wings and perhaps the odd woodpecker, nuthatch or kingfisher. End your stroll with tea and cakes around the wood burner in the bakery.

All these events are sure to put you in a relaxed mood for enjoying the very best Christmas ever!

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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