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The Ultimate Guide to Christmas Events in North Devon

15th November 2019

Categories: Visitor News

The Ultimate Guide to Christmas Events in North Devon

Yep, we’re already at that time of the year. The days are shorter, colder, but the Christmas countdown is officially on, and the festive season will soon be in full swing here in North Devon - and what better to cheer up a gloomy winter’s day than that?

Here in North Devon, we go all out at Christmas, and this year is no exception. From Christmas markets to Christmas light switch-ons, Santa’s Grottos to pantomime, here’s your complete guide to all of the most unmissable events taking place this year, sorted by location for your convenience. Go ahead, have a read, and pencil some dates in the diary to get yourself and the family fully involved this Christmas!

Christmas Events in Bideford

Bideford is always a town to count on when it comes to getting into the Christmas spirit, and this year doesn’t disappoint. 

The festivities kick off this year on the 30th November, over at Affinity Devon, where the Bideford Christmas Market will be held. Showcasing approximately 100 stalls with the very best local arts and crafts, there will also be an opportunity for late night shopping in the Shopping Centre. Plus, games, rides, street food and bars packed out with mulled wine and cider will make it way more fun than your average Christmas shopping spree.

Want some more local Christmas markets? Head to The Big Sheep on the 7th, 14th or 21st December. Stock up on anything from free range turkeys to Christmas trees, handmade gifts to cheese and fudge, and pick a gift that’s a little different. 

Bideford’s Christmas lights switch-on will take place on the 1st December this year on the Quay, with fair rides, stalls, hot food, Santa, and live music - plus an ever-spectacular firework display to complement the beautiful lights.

The Big Sheep is always great for kids, but especially at this time of year, with Woolly’s Winter Wonderland taking over the park. Alongside the usual attractions, there will be opportunities to meet Santa (and even have breakfast with him on select dates) and a magical light show that’s sure to dazzle and delight. 

Christmas Events in Westward Ho!

Just up the road in Westward Ho!, they take the Christmas season seriously. In fact, they’ve got their third annual lights switch-on coming up on the 7th December, and the whole village is invited to get into the spirit of things - things meaning the lights, food, music, and the incredible Christmas Conga.

On the 23rd of December, the real celebrations kick off with Westward Ho! Ho! Ho!, a day of family celebration on the village green. Beginning with the Sandy Santa 5k run which is new for this year, it’s followed by an afternoon of street entertainment and food, alongside live music, a Christmas fair, the Christmas Conga (again), a big village Christmas carol singalong, and an appearance from Santa himself. 

Christmas Events in Appledore and Instow

Another opportunity to grab some unique gift inspiration (and try some delicious local eats) arises at Johns of Instow. Visit on December 1st between 10am and 4pm for a festive food and gift extravaganza, featuring free samples of local and premium producers, and get some great festive entertainment tips.

Across the water at Appledore, the main Christmas showdown is on 6th December. Their Christmas lights switch-on will be accompanied by a visit from Santa, carol singing on the quay, as well as plenty more on offer throughout the afternoon. 

Don’t worry though, you’ll have a similar opportunity to gain gift inspo and taste some winter treats in this village too. Johns of Appledore are hosting a festive evening on December 13th from 5pm, which promises winter cheer and a sensory shopping experience. Featuring mulled wine, mince pies, deli delight samples AND 10% off most produce, it won’t be one to miss. 

Christmas Events in Ilfracombe

Combe Christmas is back for another year in Ilfracombe, and as always, it’s looking to be a fantastic event. Spanning over three days, there’s absolutely something for everyone, from Christmas carols to community entertainment. 

November 29th will see the Lighting of the Lights, North Devon’s biggest Christmas lights switch-on, which will see the town buzzing with festive entertainment. The next day, there will be an artisan Christmas Market, featuring crafts, quality creations and delicious food - it’ll be perfect for stocking up on unique Christmas gifts (or treating yourself), with acoustic live music from local musicians throughout the day. In the evening, some of the area’s best local bands will be getting you in the Christmas party spirit!

Finally, 1st December will be the Combe Community Day, featuring a wide selection of Ilfracombe’s community groups coming together. There will be live music, food stalls, entertainment for the kids, and Santa may even make an appearance. 

Christmas Events in Woolacombe

Credit: Woolacombe Tourist Information Centre

The Red Barn in Woolacombe are holding their Beer, Cider & Music Festival between the 6th and 8th of December, which will feature plenty of drinks, live music and a village disco presented by DJ Starbuck. 

This ties in perfectly with Woolacombe at Christmas on the 7th December, a date where the whole village gets festive. Gathering around the village Christmas Tree, there will be carol singing, a treasure hunt, and plenty of local businesses will be getting involved too. Expect:

  • Fairground rides at The Red Barn
  • Christmas films and mince pies at Brundles
  • Carol-oke at The Beach House
  • Kids Christmas crafts at The Tides Inn
  • Christmas coffee morning at St Sabinus Church

Finally, get some fresh sea air on Sunday 8th December - it’s Santas on the Beach 2019! Get suited up for the festive season, and raise money for the fantastic North Devon Hospice at the same time.

Christmas Events in Braunton

The North Devon Christmas Market returns to Braunton on the 7th December! Quickly becoming the largest and best known market in the area, the event is expected to once

again pack out the village centre with over 150 traders and stalls. They’ll be stocking bespoke Christmas gifts, beautiful crafts and of course, plenty of tasty eats to keep you going while you explore.

It’s not just about shopping though, there’s something for everyone with locally made beers, mulled wine, live music and dance, as well as rides, games and Santa in his sleigh for the littlies.

Christmas Events in Lynton & Lynmouth

Expect plenty of festivities from these two twinned villages. Light Up Lynton will take place on 1st December this year in the town hall, with the Christmas lights being switched on and Santa showing up to collect letters from the children. On the 7th, it’s time for Lynton’s late night Christmas shopping event, supporting local shops in the area, with plenty of entertainment to keep the family occupied, from festive food to music and more.

Lynmouth in Lights follows from 11am on December 14th, with a festive Christmas market featuring Santa’s Grotto, market stalls, and children’s activities. 

Alternatively, meet Santa in a different setting at Woody Bay, where the Lynton & Barnstaple Railway will be offering Santa Specials through various dates in December. 

Christmas Events in Barnstaple

Credit: @dpk.photos on Instagram

Barnstaple will be getting spirited from the 28th November, where their festive fun evening will take over the Pannier Market. Featuring the first night of late night shopping and of course, the Christmas lights switch-on, it won’t be one to miss. From the same date, Santa’s Grotto will also be open in Green Lanes for the little ones to meet the big man himself.

The pantomime is always a big part of the Christmas season, and this year at the Queen’s Theatre, ‘Snow White & The Seven Dwarfs’ will be showing from the 13th December. Get your tickets now! 

Christmas Events in Torrington


Dartington Crystal will be holding an extra special Father Christmas weekend this year, on the 7th and 8th December. Santa will be waiting to meet the kids in his Frozen themed

grotto, and there will be creative Christmas activities for the whole family to enjoy, as well as live music and indulgent food. Plus, stock up on presents with 10% off everything in store!

Meanwhile, on the 14th and 15th, Rosemoor Gardens will host their Magic of Christmas Food & Craft Fair, where you can purchase goods from the best artisan traders from around the South West. Additionally, enjoy the sights of the gardens in winter, or take advantage of their spectacular Glow Illuminations on the Saturday evening. 

Christmas Events in Clovelly & Hartland

Image Credit: James Robinson

Clovelly’s Christmas lights switch-on is always a magical day, and this year it falls on the 1st December. Head down to the village at 3.30 for a brass band procession with carols sung along the way, before an evening of warm food, festive refreshments, an appearance from Santa, and the main event; the Christmas lights. The evening ends with a mesmerising firework display, and all proceeds go to the RNLI.

Speaking of Father Christmas, he’ll be setting up shop over at The Milky Way too, with Santa’s Grotto and Buzzlewick’s Elf Emporium returning for another jam-packed year. As well as meeting the kids and taking letters (on various dates, booking in advance is essential), they’ll be assisting with gingerbread decoration, making environmentally friendly reindeer food, alongside all the usual events that make a visit to this park so special. 

Christmas Events in South Molton

South Molton Winter Wonderland takes place on Friday 29th November this year, from 6pm onwards, and promises a whole evening of festive fun. The Pannier Market will be brimming with traders selling seasonal gifts and produce, while some of the shops in the South Molton’s centre will be open late - plus, other entertainment, including fairground rides, will be on offer. 

And there you have it - our Christmas calendar is already full to the brim, but luckily, you’ve got plenty of time to finalise those plans! If you’re planning on attending any of these, let us know on Twitter or Facebook, and if you get any beautiful Christmassy photos, tag us on Instagram so we can see! 

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