Cornwall LivingIssue #116
With just a month to go until the big day, preparations are well underway in the Duchy to make this the best Christmas ever. Following the disappointment of last year’s restrictions, we are ready to embrace the festive period with open arms and here at Cornwall Living there is already much excitement as we look forward to some festive fun.
Deck the halls with boughs of holly
When it comes to feeling festive there is nothing quite like a woodland walk, with leaves crunching underfoot and the prospect of a hot coffee and a mince pie at the end. Add to that, the Christmas spirit you’ll find inside some of Cornwall’s grandest houses and a day out with the National Trust (nationaltrust.org.uk) ticks all the yuletide boxes. Trelissick, near Truro, will be playing host to Father Christmas who will be telling a festive tale, after which children can enjoy a Christmas trail, while adults partake in some seasonal shopping and a warming glass of mulled wine. Head further north, and Cotehele will once again be upholding its 60-year-old garland tradition, which sees the Great Hall bedecked with the most beautiful swathes of foliage and flowers. Admire this incredible spectacle before enjoying a frosty walk around the grounds, stopping to listen to some seasonal music from one of the choirs or performers who will be entertaining visitors by the bowling green.
Let there be light
When it comes to feeling festive, there’s nothing quite like some Christmas lights to bring joy to the faces of both young and old. There’s always a pretty display in our hometown of Porthleven, as the lights reflect over the water with the iconic clocktower silhouetted in the distance – best enjoyed from a ringside seat at the Mussel Shoal, where you can warm up in front of a log burner with a hot toddy to hand. Head west, and Mousehole’s famous display of harbour lights is back for 2021. There’s even a webcam (mouseholelights.org.uk), so no-one has to miss out. Cornwall’s capital, Truro, will be hosting a sparkling display above its city streets this winter, or for something quite unique, watch Santa arrive by boat into St Ives harbour (stivesindecember.co.uk).
Beach strolls for the soul
Whether it’s a Christmas Eve tradition with the family, or you need to walk off all that turkey and Christmas pudding, a walk along one of Cornwall’s beaches really is the best way to embrace the elements at this time of year. One of our favourites has to be the three-mile stretch of sand from Godrevy to Hayle Estuary, or if you prefer something a little more tranquil, then the paths that follow the waters of the Helford offer some prefect peace before the big day. Further north, and the wild waves of Watergate Bay offer a bracing backdrop while Widemouth Bay’s expanse of beach is the ultimate winter playground. Whichever stretch of sand you find yourself on, it’s a great way for children (and dogs) to expend some of that festive energy! We love nothing better than to wrap up warm and embrace the elements before
returning home to a roaring fire and some Christmas cheer.
Take a dip
Cold-water swimming has seen a huge surge in popularity over recent years and for good reason. It’s great for both mind and body and the perfect antidote to all that festive feasting. There are plenty of organised Christmas and Boxing Day swims across the Duchy; from Polzeath to Bude and Coverack to St Ives this popular tradition can be fun for all the family – if you can brave the cold. Beware, some even have a wetsuit ban….brrrrr! It’s a sensible option to join an organised swim as sea conditions can be challenging at this time of year, search social media for one local to you and embrace the waves this Christmas.
Mooch around the markets
Not all festive fun has to be adventurous, so for those who prefer a more mellow moment of yuletide tradition, then a wander around one of Cornwall’s Christmas markets is just the ticket. Truro Farmers Market (trurofarmers.co.uk) will be joining in with the magic of Christmas throughout December with the sights, smells and flavours of Cornwall all in one place, on Lemon Quay. This open-air market allows safe browsing and showcases so many treats, from food to drink, and crafts to jewellery, that you are sure to leave with something special. Cornwall’s famous cyder farm, Healeys (healeyscyder.co.uk) will be returning with a fairytale world full of cyder, songs, food and crafts. The scent of spruce and spice will be filling the air on select weekends this December, with
pre-bookable time slots available online.
The swish of the curtain
The magic of Christmas is really brought to life by some of Cornwall’s finest theatre companies. Rogue Theatre’s Winter Wood (rogueotherworld.co.uk) is a festival of wonder like no other. Journey through the woods, meeting magical creatures and Old Man Winter in this incredible immersive experience. Cousin Jack’s also returns to the stage this winter, with Cornwall’s classic tale of The Mousehole Cat (cousinjacks.org). Combing puppetry with live action, the performance takes place in the heart of Mousehole and is brilliant for both the young and the young at heart.
Twas the night before Christmas
Cornwall has a plethora of attractions across the county where festive fun can be had. Eden Project (edenproject.com) is a very special place at this time of year. From twinkling biomes and enchanting light displays, to the much-loved Eden ice rink, a visit here always makes us feel festive. This year Newquay Zoo (newquayzoo.org.uk) will be welcoming Santa to its grotto, before he hot-foots it on his sleigh to Dairyland (dairylandfarmpark.com). The man himself will also be boarding the Bodmin and Wenford Railway (bodminrailway.co.uk) in his own special Victorian coach.
The big day
When it comes to festive foodie fayre and a splash of Christmas cheer, Cornwall is at the forefront of yuletide produce. With sustainability in mind, we would urge you to try and shop local this year. Not only will you be supporting the Duchy’s best producers, growers, distillers and brewers you will also ensure that your Christmas table is groaning with the tastiest food and drink possible. We would also urge you to adopt the same ethos when it comes to gifting this year (turn to page 60 and 68 for more inspiration); by supporting Cornish artists and artisans, boutiques and galleries and gifting a little piece of Cornwall this year, you’ll be putting a smile on everyone’s face. Many of the activities and attractions mentioned require pre-booking, so it’s always best to contact the venue in advance of your trip. Please note, details are correct at the time of going to press, but with Covid restrictions still fluctuating these may be subject to change. Again, it’s always best to check online or via social channels prior to a visit and please adhere to the latest government guidelines when enjoying Cornwall at Christmas. Whatever you choose to do this festive season, we hope yours is the best ever….all that leaves us to say is from all of us at Cornwall Living…