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Where to find Santa having fun in Devon

December in Devon can be a magical time for families and those looking to do something different before Christmas. Most of Devon's major attractions also get into the festive mood and put on some cracking treats.
December in Devon can be a magical time for families and those looking to do something different before Christmas. Villages are bedecked with twinkling fairy lights, country pubs offer a roaring fire and a hearty welcome and market stalls are laden with Devon fare. Most of Devon’s major attractions also get into the festive mood and put on some cracking treats.

Christmas in Kent’s Cavern

Who would have thought that a prehistoric cave could get into the spirit of Christmas? in Torquay is a great place to visit in December, and it is definitely a good attraction to visit on a cold or rainy day!

Take a guided tour through the prehistoric caverns with their eerily lit formations, then see where Santa hangs out with his gang of elves in his decorated underground grotto. Join in the interactive pantomime tour in search of Santa, test your skills in the Mince Pie-Making Race in the Bear’s Den or how about Wrapping Against the Clock in the Inscription Chamber? Events take place throughout December on weekends, starting Sunday 9th December 2012.

Seaton Tramway

Santa may prefer to use reindeer-power to get around, but the electric trams at are a more practical way to enjoy a trip along Devon’s coastline. The heritage trams run along narrow-gauge lines through the gorgeous Axe Valley between Seaton, Colyford and Colyton in East Devon. December is a great time to see the abundant bird life along the estuary as the trees are bare and many migratory species enjoy the milder climate.

On Sundays throughout December, there is a special visit from Santa. Tickets include a return tram ride, live entertainment, seasonal refreshments, a visit to Santa’s grotto and a present for the children.

If you are still looking for the perfect Christmas gift, why not give that “special someone” the experience of driving one of the trams from the driver’s cab? It makes a memorable gift and the driver gets a souvenir certificate to remember the experience.

Those keen to join the swimmers at Seaton Beach for a Boxing Day swim can arrive in style by tram. If you visit between Christmas Day and New Year’s Day, riders get a free glass of bubbly to put them in a celebratory mood.

Kristmas at Killerton!

Visitors to the 18th century National Trust property of in Broadclyst will know what an excellent all-round attraction it is. It has a costume collection, gardens and excellent circular walks through the parkland with winter leaves scrunching underfoot.

Christmas adds another dimension as the property decorates the house in Victorian fashion so it looks at its most festive. Make sure you book a Christmas lunch for your visit, which commences with a pre-dinner drink in the Music Room warming yourself by the roaring log fire. Sit down to a delicious chef-prepared three-course meal made with local seasonal produce – Devon’s best! The homely setting of times-gone-by make this a charming and nostalgic day out and the award-winning estate produce such as cider and chutney make great last minute gifts.

Finally, look out for Santa’s sleigh parked on the driveway signifying Santa is giving out gifts to young visitors. He wears his special green Santa suit for his visit to Killerton – a Victorian tradition.

Santa by Steam

Take a ride through the Devon countryside in the company of Santa as his grotto train departs throughout December. Make sure of your seat and gift (Santa hates anyone to be disappointed) by booking ahead of time for this popular seasonal tradition.

The runs along a 7-mile stretch of former Great Western Railway branch line between Buckfastleigh, Staverton and Totnes. The smell, sound and rattling wheels of the heritage rolling stock are hard to beat and the scenery along the Dart Valley is delightful in winter. Combine the journey with a visit to one of the attractions in the area: the Totnes Rare Breeds Farm, Dartmoor Otters and Buckfast Butterflies.

Another great gift idea is the Steam and Diesel Footplate Experience. The driver needs to wear stout shoes and old clothes, although a dustcoat and gloves are provided. Up to 6 guests can ride the private train free as part of the gift experience.

The offers a similar Santa Steam Service at weekends throughout December. Tickets include a return trip from Paignton to Kingswear. Adults are served mulled wine and a mince pie while children get a homemade biscuit. Santa comes through the carriages to chat to everyone during the trip. Back at the Head of Steam Café in Paignton there are seasonal winter snacks, meals and stocking-filler gifts.

With so much to enjoy in Devon in December, you will certainly not want to leave!

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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