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South Devon has Christmas all wrapped up!

The scenic county of Devon has plenty of activities, great food and things to do at any time of year, and Christmas is no exception.
There’s so much going on in South Devon over Christmas and into the New Year, it’s hard to know where to begin. How about aboard the Polar Express , the first year for this novel train journey at the Dartmoor Railway?

The Polar Express now departing from Okehampton Platform 1

Young passengers take their seats in pyjamas on The Polar Express train at Okehampton station for a circular tour. They can relive the Chris Van Allsburg story and well-known film as it is read aloud on the magical journey to the North Pole. Golden tickets, dancing chefs and the doubting hobo will all be onboard. Hot chocolate will be enjoyed on the journey and Santa will be onboard giving children a special gift – a silver sleigh bell!

Dickensian Evening in Tavistock

Christmas always evokes a sense of nostalgic tradition so a trip to the Dickensian Evening in Tavistock will set just the right tone for Christmas shopping. This takes place the last Friday in November and streets are closed to traffic for the evening. Shop keepers dress up in Victorian costume and welcome shoppers to browse their premises with a complimentary glass of mulled wine. Jewellers, gift shops, boutiques and food shops all stay open late and offer great gift ideas.

In addition, many stalls are set up along the street selling wreaths, locally produced food, candles, decorations and more, creating a unique atmosphere. Live music is provided by brass bands playing carols and children are entertained with stilt walkers, street entertainers and a fun fair. Be there are 5:45pm for the switch on of the Christmas lights and stay until the shops close around 9pm.

Exeter’s Christmas Market

A Christmas Market will be staged on Exeter’s Cathedral Green for the first time. Traditional wooden stalls decorated with fairy lights will sell Christmas gifts, handmade crafts, decorations and food items making this a wonderful place to browse. The market will run from the last week in November until mid-December and is open from 10am to 8pm Mondays to Wednesdays, until 9pm on other days and 11am to 5pm on Sundays.

Inside the Cathedral will be just as festive with carol services, concerts and a nativity while the Exeter Festival Chorus will take part in an evening of Christmas Jazz.

Dartmouth by Candlelight

Santa certainly gets around and on the first weekend in December he will be enjoying a visit to the event, arriving in style by boat. Music, carols and the Christmas tree lights will be switched on at 5:50pm. A lantern-lit procession through the streets completes this very traditional weekend.

Nativity at Pennywell Farm

Other events taking place near your holiday cottage accommodation include Totnes Christmas Festival and a nativity with real animals and snow at . All children are invited to join in (costumes provided at Pennywell) and adults can be part of the carol-singing “choir”. The event runs from 1st December until Christmas Eve and includes seasonal refreshments. Booking is required.

Finally, visit the Tourism Information Centre on the waterfront of Plymouth’s historic Barbican and see a wonderful display of local Christmas photographs prepared by .

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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