Things to do in Cornwall this Christmas

Christmas in Cornwall is undeniably magical with cosy pub fires, a feeling of excitement in the air and stretches of frosty coastline overlooking stormy waves. Even without the heady heat and longer days of summer, there are countless activities to partake in across the Duchy that let you make the most of the Cornish festivities. From braving the icy waters to curling up inside a castle, we have some festive inspiration for your Christmas by the coast.

Be dazzled by Christmas lights

Christmas Lights

Cornwall is full of beautiful quaint villages that come alive at night with proud Christmas trees and twinkling lights strung from house to house. If you take a trip to Mousehole, you’ll even get a glimpse of bobbing boats and a sea creature peeking out from the surface of the water while the surrounding display glistens in the reflection. Don’t forget to stop in Newlyn on the way down or, if you’re in the area, head to Mevagissey for an equally magical display 

Visit Father Christmas

What could be more festive than going to see the jolly man himself? He is journeying across Cornwall, spreading Christmas joy in several locations before the big day and will be waiting to listen to all of your Christmas wishes.

Trevena Cross

Santa’s Grotto returns on 2nd December every weekend until Christmas from 9:30am to 4:30pm for the first time since 2019 at Trevena Cross, which will be transformed into a winter wonderland over the festive period.

Newquay Zoo

Book a meet and greet to enjoy a delicious breakfast or dinner with Father Christmas, receive a special gift and take part in Christmas craft activities at the zoo.

Autism-friendly grotto

Father Christmas will also be making a special visit to Lanivet Parish Community Centre in Bodmin on Saturday 9th and Sunday 10th December. All are welcome, and this grotto is autism-friendly – making the experience magical for children with additional needs. 


Be part of an audience with Father Christmas at Trelissick as he tells the special story of a Cornish Christmas at the stable yard complete with gift-giving. He will be flying in on 2nd, 3rd, 9th, 10th and daily between 16th and 23rd December to spread some Christmas cheer.


Come and pay Father Christmas a visit during a one-night stay at the cosy, coastal Bedruthan Hotel where the halls are decked, the fire is lit and the air is filled with the smell of cinnamon. He can often be spotted in the Sensory Spa Garden with his feet up enjoying a festive drink before welcoming you to his wonderland workshop!

Steam railway

Running every weekend in December, experience Santa by steam as he steps out of his Victorian carriage to join you on your train ride at Bodmin General station. Write a wish list as he makes his way down the train to greet you, jingling away and gifting presents to all who say hello. Step back onto the platform, adorned with wreaths and garlands while the sound of a brass band playing carols echoes around the station.

Ice skating at the Eden Project

Ice skating at Eden Project

Lace up your skates and jump on the glittering rink at the Eden Project for a session of ice skating. All abilities are welcome with options to book general skating, family fun skating for those with young children, or parent and toddler sessions. If you’re particularly keen to learn you can even get in touch to discuss skating lessons on the rink.

Boxing Day swim

Boxing Day Swim

Run into the chilly water with your fellow swimmers and plunge beneath the surface if you’re feeling brave this Boxing Day! Each year crowds in their hundreds can gather for the festive ritual; visit your closest swimming spot whether it’s Poldhu, Gyllyngvase beach, or one of many other locations across Cornwall, before rewarding yourself with a hot chocolate and heading home for an afternoon in the warmth.

Lights at Lost Gardens of Heligan 

Lost Gardens of Heligan

Journey through the magical garden trail, exploring woodlands and gardens illuminated by installations and lanterns. Following an extended one-mile journey, explore at your own pace, toast marshmallows by fire bowls and take in a truly festive backdrop amongst stunning displays of flora and fauna. 



Visit the Hall for Cornwall this Christmas for an evening of entertainment watching the pantomime, Peter Pan. Get swept away in the magic of Neverland with Tinkerbell and the lost boys not to mention pesky pirates and Peter Pan himself. Recommended for all ages, make your Christmas special with a trip to this brilliant show with the whole family.

Late-night shopping

Late night shopping Truro

Head to Truro, Wadebridge, Newquay, or Falmouth for a spot of late night shopping where you can peruse local artisans, makers and creators offering unique gifts for your loved ones. Indulge in delicious food from a nearby stall, a warming tipple, or even a gift for yourself while the shops remain open later. 

Christmas afternoon tea at Camelot Castle

Christmas Afternoon Tea at Camelot Castle

Escape to Camelot Castle this winter and step into a world of enchantment amidst its grandeur and history. Overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, this beautiful property offers the perfect seat by the fire to enjoy a Christmas afternoon tea after a blustery walk on the coast. With a selection of finger sandwiches, scones with jam and cream, macarons and much more, this has to be the ultimate indulgent Christmas treat.

Christmas walks 

Winter Walks in Cornwall

Make the most of Cornwall’s breathtaking scenery by going outside and taking in the wintry landscape. Stroll across breezy beaches watching the waves roll in, explore the beauty of the Cornish countryside, or wander across the coast path taking in those breathtaking winter sunsets with a hot flask in hand.

Whether you’re a keen explorer of the colder Cornish landscape or you prefer to stay tucked inside by a cosy fire surrounded by food and drink, Cornwall has something on offer for everyone this festive season.