Cosy cottages, wind-swept beaches, stormy seas and evenings by the fireside – there’s reasons enough to visit Cornwall in December. But we’ve found a host of seasonal events and things to do while you’re here – here’s our top 10 things to do in Cornwall in December…


Christmas lights in Mousehole

The delightful harbour village of Mousehole never looks prettier than when the fishing boats and harbour are lit up with coloured lights. The sight attracts locals and visitors from miles around and is well worth seeing if you’re staying nearby.

Stroll down one evening in mid-to-late December and see this magical traditional spectacle. You’ll get a warm welcome and some tasty food at the Ship Inn (home of Stargazy Pie) and the King’s Arms.

Be aware that the lights "go dark" between 8 and 9pm on 19th December in memory of the Penlee Lifeboat Disaster.


Santa by Steam

The mild Cornish climate means there’s not a lot of snow for Santa’s sleigh, so he tends to get around by steam train. Departing from Bodmin General Station, this heritage steam railway offers scenic Santa-themed rides on select dates in December. But it’s not just for kids, as you will see.

Santa’s elves will help you aboard and youngsters are encouraged to write their letter to Santa. They will then hand deliver it to the "man himself" back at the station. The trip includes a gift and souvenir photo for little visitors while adults get to enjoy the nostalgic 13-mile return trip aboard this authentic steam train.

Highlights include crossing the viaduct over the Fowey River and Charlie’s Gate – the point where the Royal train stopped overnight for the royal family (including Prince Charles, Duke of Cornwall) to get a good night’s sleep.

On arrival at Bodmin Parkway, steam enthusiasts can watch the engine uncouple and reconnect to the opposite end of the train for the return journey.


Only in Cornwall…

Hang around until 21st December and you can join in the Montol Festival in Penzance. As quirky as the name suggests, this Festival of Light is rooted in Cornish Tradition. It celebrates the shortest day as part of the Winter Solstice.

Join in lantern making workshops in the preceding days and then watch the lantern-lit parade and lighting of fire beacons on the big day.


Winter Wander at Trerice

The National Trust property of
Trerice offers Winter Wander Trails for all the family
. Purchase a Trail from reception and set off on the hunt prepared by Percy the Park Keeper and his friends. Wrap up warm and see what you can find as part of the winter walk through the beautiful gardens and parkland.

With autumn in full flow and the year hurtling towards winter you could be forgiven for wanting to venture out into the garden a little less. Visiting a garden and a house could be the answer, get the botanical fix and then head inside, step back in time and warm up. Trerice, a National Trust property and garden near Newquay offers plenty of interest inside and out throughout these cooler months.


If you fancy getting hands-on and creating the ultimate Christmas souvenir, book a place at a local wreath-making workshop in Cornwall. You’ll be guided through the project by a professional florist and the price includes all the cones, moss, fir, dried oranges and cinnamon sticks you can manage to cram onto your creation!

You’ll find these fun activities at various places throughout Cornwall including the Seed Home Designs Studio in Redruth,
Bedruthan Hotel and at St Mary’s School in Penzance. All classes are led by a qualified florist and are light-hearted and fun.

When it comes to Christmas decorations, your outdoor festive decorations are just as important as the ones you hang up inside. Christmas wreaths are a classic and easy way to instantly up the ante when it comes to your festive trimmings.

Ice skating

If winter just isn’t winter without some of the white stuff, visit the Eden Project which has a covered pop-up ice rink throughout December. There are various sessions including General Skating, Family Fun Skating and private lessons. Strap on your skates, grab your partner by the hand and glide off smoothly around the ice. Well that’s the theory anyway.

Of course, Eden has so much more to offer, even in winter. The gigantic biomes maintain tropical temperatures year-round to keep those lush jungle plantings healthy. It’s an inspiring place to explore the plants, learn where our food comes from and celebrate the natural world. Its eco-environmental message has never been more on-topic than right now!


Visit the Headland

The Headland Hotel is Newquay’s leading luxury hotel. While a week’s stay might set you back a small fortune, a session at the Day Spa is very affordable. This 5-bubble rated spa has a range of treatment rooms and a breathtaking lounge with sweeping coastal views.

For the ultimate Spa Day in December, book a Couples’ Spa Experience. Look forward to lying side-by-side for the best massage ever. Spa facials and signature body treatments such as Seaweed Wraps will leave you glowing from head to toe. Visit the Cornish salt steam room, hot tub and aromatherapy showers before relaxing together in the steamy warmth of the hydrotherapy pool. Prices include a two course lunch and a glass of bubbly. Yes please!


Walk in the woods

While the Coast Path might be a little too exposed, a breezy walk in the fresh air in Cardinham Woods is an exhilarating winter experience. Located near Bodmin and close to everywhere, these Forestry England-managed woods have miles of nature walks and cycling trails to explore in a traffic-free environment. Take the 2.8 miles Wheal Glynn Walk beside the river before climbing up past the old silver and lead mine. It’s a step back in time for Poldark fans!

For an easier hike, follow the Lady Vale Walk, offering a gentle ramble upstream to Lady Vale Bridge where a 12th century chapel once stood. Finish up at the Woods Cafe (open Wednesdays to Sundays) that has a play area and a Dog Wash. They think of everything!


Cornish Christmas shopping

Lemon Quay Truro will once again be buzzing with life as part of the BIG Christmas Market in December. It offers all the sights, sounds, smells and tastes of a true Cornish Christmas experience to set the mood for seasonal festivities.

Organised by TruroBID and Truro Farmers Market, you can be sure of plenty of tasty treats from small producers and talented artisans. Boscawen Street will be lined with street food and drinks stalls (think spicy mulled wine!) for late night shopping on Wednesdays and Saturdays.

Discover sustainable fish and shellfish, grass-fed free-range meats, artisan dairy products, ciders, craft beer and award-winning wines. They make a wonderful Cornish hamper gift! Pick up handmade jewellery, home accents and handmade soaps from over 80 traders. It’s a laid-back, hassle-free way to get your Christmas shopping done as part of your December getaway in Cornwall.


Camel rides

Well, not quite. Rent bicycles and explore the Camel Estuary along the former railway known as the Camel Trail. It’s an energetic way to stay warm as you pedal from Wadebridge to Bodwin along the 18-mile multi-use route. Along the way, spot rabbits, birds and wildlife on a breathtaking journey with views across Rock and Dayner Beaches.

Stop in Padstow for a well-earned fish-and-chips lunch and pause for refreshments at the historic Borough Arms that once serviced the China Clay trains. Drop in at Bodmin Jail (just visiting!) and the Military Museum along the way.

We’ll see you in Cornwall

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Have you booked your holiday cottage in Cornwall in December yet? It’s a great time to enjoy a visit to this beautiful attraction-packed county, as you can see.

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Holiday Cottages in Devon & Cornwall is brought to you by the Jetset Boyz