Exploring Devon: winter festivals and events

Heading to Devon this winter? Lucky you! This county looks absolutely gorgeous at this time of year, with the winter landscape looking crisp and dramatic, and the Christmas lights adding a little festive cheer to the local villages, towns and cities. I think the various seasonal events help to make visiting at this time of year feel extra special too, though, so that’s what I’ll be focusing on today.

If you’re planning on booking a last-minute break here, by the way, I’d recommend visiting¬†Sykes Cottages¬†and looking for a nice, cosy holiday home, rather than booking into a hotel. This is just because doing so gives you plenty of space for the whole family, while it also makes it easy to spend a few lazy days indoors if the weather’s bad or you fancy a rest. After all, holiday cottages are a real home from home, so if you stay in all day you won’t feel cooped up in a single room like you would in a hotel.

But before I get completely sidetracked talking about accommodation, let’s take a look at a few of the upcoming events.

Christmas-themed events

If you’re going to be travelling with the family, one of the best things to do is visit Winter Wonderland at Babbacombe Model Village, which is in Torquay. This event sees the tiny world of Babbacombe kitted out for Christmas, complete with fake snow and, after dusk, twinkling festive lights.

Come here and you can not only enjoy the scenery, but try to spot the Christmas characters hidden through the village, as well as take part in a host of other events. For instance, on selected dates children can meet Santa (and, if they’re under 10 years old, receive a present), while there are also mini Christmas pantos.

Alternatively, head to one of the local Christmas markets. Exeter Christmas Market is a particular favourite, being located in the pretty setting of Exeter Cathedral. Come here and you can browse stalls selling all kinds of festive decorations, while you can buy a host of seasonal snacks and warming drinks to keep you going while you look around. This is also the perfect place to do any last-minute Christmas shopping you might have!

Other events

Not all winter events are about Christmas, so if you’re not a particularly festive person then you needn’t worry about having nothing to do. One of my favourite options is going on a steam train ride in Paignton between Christmas and new year.

Usually, the steam train at Paignton doesn’t run at this time of year, but this December it will do so for the first time. From December 27th to 31st, it will offer journeys every day, giving you something a little bit different to do – after all, most of us usually end up slumped on the sofa watching Christmas TV shows back to back during this period!

Instead, you can go for a ride on this historic train and see some of the most beautiful views in the Devon countryside.

Another fun thing to do is take part in Walk Out the Old Year at Arlington Court. A lovely way to say goodbye to 2013, this guided walk will take you across Arlington estate and give you a chance to see some of the wonderful local scenery.