The 12 days of (a Cornish) Christmas | Simply Marcia

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The 12 days of (a Cornish) Christmas

We’re loving life here in south-east Cornwall and so excited for our first official Christmas here! We have some serious exploring to do though as there’s loads going on and the kids want to join in with everything … budget limitations mean nothing to kids ha! So, anyway, I thought I’d jot down 12 fabulously festive fun days out and activities to help you celebrate a Cornish Christmas:

1. Eden Project – for a full on day out – think amazing botanical domes, lots of exploration and hands-on activities, ice-skating and Father Christmas and, if you go after 5pm, the stunning Festival of Light and Sound.

2. National Trust – If you have good old National Trust membership there are some fab places for festive fun this year: The ‘Time for Bed’ nature trail through the woods at Cotehele or Fairy tales from Father Christmas and reindeer feeding at Trelissick look brilliant for littlies.

3. Christmas Tree picking – if a real Christmas tree is a must for your family head to Cedar Croft nurseries, Bodmin. Turn up, walk the family-friendly trail chose your tree and reserve it with a ribbon for cutting down and taking home!

4. Christmas Markets – where do I start? We’re so lucky in Cornwall to have a choice of so many brilliant Christmas Markets but for us, whilst it’s going to be crazy busy, the Padstow Christmas Market is our must-do. It runs from 7th – 10th December and is the perfect place for foodie and artisan, locally-produced lovers.

5. Callington Santa Dash – great for all the family, a dress-as-Santa, money-raising fun run, is great for burning off loads of energy (and mince pies ha!).

6. Truro Reindeer & Father Christmas Procession on 29th November will certainly get you in to the festive spirit! My kids love reindeer so this is on our to-do list!

7. Christmas Panto – the festive season has to involve a good, old fashioned panto! And a local village panto is always the best as far as I’m concerned – I love. We’re supporting our local Calstock panto this year: ‘Dwain and Mildred’s Big Adventure’- a traditional one then!

8. Santa steams in – my kids love trains so we’ll be heading to the Bodmin and Wenford Railway for Santa by Steam! This looks like a real treat for all the family – carol singers, mince pies, mulled wine, gifts for the kids and a festive, scenic, sit-back-and-relax trip to boot!

9. Christmas Lights – one of the joys of living near the coast is the beautifully Christmassy lit harbours dotted all around the coastline. Even better, bar having to shell out for a bag of chips, it’s free to wander around the warming glow of Christmas lights – we’ll be heading to Looe for the annual Christmas Lights switch on and to meet Santa – he turns up by train! More importantly, and perfect for grown ups, a new rum distillery, Sims Distillery, should be open just before Christmas – yay!

10. Christmas Carols – I LOVE Christmas Carols so the Big Sing at Truro Cathedral on 15th December is definitely my kind of thing. I’ll be dragging the kids for a sing off (there may be bribery in the form of burgers at Sams Diner).

11. Pre-Christmas Beach Clean – Cornwall is all about the seaside – the amazing coastline, beaches and sea. A brilliant way of giving back and helping to protect our beaches and the ocean is to help out with one of the many beach cleans. I’m planning on getting us to the Watergate Bay beach clean on 9th December followed by hot chocolate at the Watergate Bay Hotel – perfect!

12. Cornish Christmas produce – ok, so this isn’t strictly a) a day out or b) for the kids, but, buying delicious Cornish food and drink based gifts for family and friends is on the list because, quite frankly, I could make a day out of it. We’re so lucky to have so many small, independent producers in this part of the world. However, the brilliant The Cornish Food Box Company have done all the leg work for me! It’s the go-to website for all things local, scrummylicious and Cornish. So sit back, grab a cuppa / mulled wine / mince pie and get browsing …

What do you love most about Christmas in Cornwall? Is there a must-do to add to this list? Let me know!


Oh! we do like to be beside the seaside (or park, or garden or umm, living room (indoor picnics happen A LOT in our house)!) enjoying a lovingly prepared picnic of top-nosh scrumminess! I love, love, love browsing through lifestyle magazines (and quite frankly, even supermarket summer mags) with their beautiful picnic scenes … Fantasising – this could be me. This could be us. Our picnics could look like this. Everything looks so perfect. So co-ordinated. So very Cath Kidstonesque, Joules and Boden and I want some! I want the handmade cloudy lemonade being decanted from a frosted glass (glass!!!) jug into pretty glass bottles with stripy straws. I want the bunting. I want the pastel throws and squishy luxurious cushions. I want the homemade EVERYTHING!

In my experience however, what I usually get picnic-wise is last minute shop-bought EVERYTHING (we pretty much hot-foot it to Lidl or Aldi and grab anything vaguely picnicky); squash decanted in to a couple of old 1L water bottles; an angry wasp (or two); a confused bee (the yellow stripe in our picnic blanket is not a row of sunflowers confused bee), a random dog (not our own) peeing on the cool box; grumpy, hot,”I’m bored” (what?! the?! actual?!) children; and a localised weather event the forecasters forgot to mention (rain, wind, sand storm …).

However, even though my fantasy picnic has never materialised, I totally love our real version – low expectations help. As do:
– access to toilets
– ice-cream vans
– a football (my two boys + football = lots of random boys joining in and playing en masse)
– a wind-break (it will be windy, you may need shade (if you’re lucky) and a small child near you (not one of your own – even more annoyingly) will probably create a mini sand-storm effect by digging a hole right next to you and fling sand everywhere – brilliant – think of your wind-break as potential sand-flinging protection (note to self to invest in more wind-breaks))
– wet-wipes (not so good with sand but great for sticky situations!)
– layers (it will probably get cold at some point)
– more towels than you think you’ll need
– spare clothes (one child (not in swim wear) will insist on not getting in to the sea, river, pool … only to get in to the sea, river, pool … emerging 30 seconds later rocking the bedraggled drowned rat look).

And due to a serious case of every-child-in-our-house-likes-different-things and daily changes as to who eats what and who now doesn’t like this or that (ANNOYING), we’ve gone down the purely buffet-only picnic route, with the kids completely helping themselves (no pre-made sarnies or soggy egg rolls on our picnic blanket!) – that way everyone eats what they want (the only rules are that there must be some bread-type substance plus some form of protein and veg/fruit before any naughty stuff) – it works.

Happy picnicking days obviously!