Cornwall celebrates Christmas in grand style and among a packed calendar of events in the run up that brings the spirit of the season – and of the county with its strong traditions – alive are these:
Made in Cornwall Christmas Fair brings together some of the finest Cornish artisans, artists and locally produced food and drink under a large white marquee on Lemon Quay, Truro, so you can browse and shop the range. With products approved by Cornwall Council as being ‘genuinely made in Cornwall’, take home some super souvenirs to keep or give as gifts.
November 28th to December 1st
Fowey Christmas Market sees the picturesque port go to town! The 2-day event starts with a BBQ on the seafront and festive music, Santa arrives by boat and leads a procession to the parish church for the switching on of the Christmas lights around 7pm, and a hog roast follows nearby. Next day, the market opens with locally made food, drink and crafts in the main marquee on Town Quay, while smaller traders offer handmade cushions, slate clocks and driftwood Christmas trees among the gift ideas set out in the Town Hall. Fowey’s narrow streets with their mix of individual shops and delis throng with shoppers as many retailers offer special discounts.
December 1st and 2nd
Padstow Christmas Festival is a must for lovers of fine food as the recipe for this event includes much more than a soupçon of celebrity chefs and culinary delights, along with bags of festive fun. Watch out for Rick Stein, whose restaurant has given the town its nickname Padstein, and his son Jack; 2 Michelin starred Nathan Outlaw who has a restaurant in Rock; famous face Brian Turner CBE; TV’s Phil Vickery and Michelin starred Angela Hartnett – and more! Demonstrations and a cookbook with recipes and tips from the participating chefs are available for under £10 from this non profit event. Trade market on the quayside.
December 7th to 9th
Penzance Montol is a festival where you can watch and experience ancient Cornish tradition at play. The six days arts and community event with its lantern and mask making workshops, strolling bands, carols, arts and craft fair, storytelling and late night shopping, culminates in a special event. On the 21st, locals light fire beacons and carry out the chalking and burning of the Mock – the Cornish Yule log on which a stickman or woman is drawn as a symbol of the old year and birth of the new. There are torchlit processions and Guise dancing – a celebration of mischief, topsy-turvy and role reversal – wearing masks and mock formal costume as disguise. Visitors are welcome to join the parades by donning masks, mock finery, ribbons and formal hats and have themselves a ball!
Historical note: Of old, guise dancers, led by the Lord of Misrule figure, might enter a house uninvited and rearrange the furniture to disorientate the owner…
December 16th to 21st
It’s virtually impossible to visit Cornwall at any time of year, especially around Christmas, without finding something authentic on the calendar showcasing local artists, musicians, crafts and ancient customs. Staff at CLC Trenython Manor – which overlooks St Austell Bay and makes an excellent base for exploring the county – are rightly proud of all things Cornish and will be pleased to help and advise you so you can make the most of your stay; in our restaurant and bar you will also find locally produced drinks and dishes for you to enjoy a true taste of Cornwall.