18th October 2021

Your Christmas guide for Devon

As the days get shorter and colder during the coming winter months, we know it can get a little bit dismal.

However, as the countdown to Christmas has finally arrived, here in North Devon we love to go all out on the festive season and this year is no exception. From Christmas markets to light switch ons, North Devon is always full of festivities during the Christmas period.

Below we have put together a bunch of events and things to do in and around the towns of North Devon all in preparation for the holiday season!


Where to see the best Christmas displays?

Around North Devon, there are multiple garden centres and Christmas displays that attract many locals and visitors during the Christmas period. St Johns Garden Centre on Strand Lane and on St Johns Lane Barnstaple are popular for the dazzling Christmas displays within their stores as well as being full of local produce and gifts to buy. BJ's Value House in Barnstaple is also another popular centre for its Christmas displays and decorations, you'll be able to buy local produce and gifts from the store as well. These garden centres are definitely worth the visit when you are around Barnstaple. 

Where to see Santa?

Father Christmas will be making multiple appearances around North Devon before his big day so we are sure you will be able to find him somewhere. In Barnstaple, he will be based for a few weeks in Green Lanes shopping centre in his beautifully decorated Grotto with his elves. The white-bearded man will also be making special appearances in his sleigh with popular festive tunes blasting to get you cheering for Christmas around Barnstaple streets in the evenings of December so you can say hello to him right from your door!

Where to do your Christmas shopping?

Late night shopping is always an exciting sign that the Christmas season is upon us. This year is no different than others as late night shopping will be taking place in many towns across North Devon. Exeter City will also be open during the evenings for late night shopping which is just an hours drive from North Devon. Bideford, Barnstaple, and Ilfracombe will all be open till late during December so that you will be able to do some Christmas shopping to get gifts for your nearest and dearest.

Taking place in The Pannier Market, Barnstaple Christmas Market will be making a return with festive gift stalls and scrumptious food. Beginning Sunday 5th November there will be three Sunday markets leading up to Christmas as part of their "Welcome back to Barnstaple this Christmas" campaign. They will also be holding evening markets on the 9th, 16th, 23rd December alongside the late night shopping. 

Bideford town is also getting into the Christmas spirit by hosting a local Christmas Market taking place at Affinity Shopping Outlet on 13th and 14th November where over 40 Christmas themed stalls will be set up as well as the local choir singing your favourite festive carols, and a festive gnome trail! 

In Exeter, there will be multiple shopping activities for you to do to help you find the perfect gifts for your family and friends. The city will be holding its very own Winter Wonderland with exciting rides and attractions for the whole family including an ice rink. Festive food and drink stalls will also be set up to keep you warm and full during your shopping experience, as well as a giant Grotto for the little ones to visit Santa and get them excited for the special day. At Exeter Cathedral, there will also be a service where you can sit back and watch the local choir sing Christmas carols. 

Where to see the best Christmas attractions

The theme parks around North Devon always go big for the festive season, and this year is no exception. The Big Sheep, The Milky Way, and Crealy Adventure Park all have exciting events happening leading up to the festive season to keep you entertained whilst staying in Devon. The Big Sheep is hosting their Christmas market which is the largest market in the South West. With turkeys, organic meats, and Christmas trees for sale, these are only some of the delights which will be sold. The park will be decked out for Christmas for the family to enjoy as well as being able to hop on the rides and see the farm animals. 

Crealy Adventure Park is going all out with the festive celebrations, the theme park is being lit up with dazzling lights and decorations. Enjoy the attractions and rides as well as watching the Christmas On Ice Show and cosy live entertainment.

Barnstaple Christmas village 

This year Barnstaple will have its own Christmas village taking place at Tarka Tennis on Severn Brethren Bank. This magical event will have so much for you to enjoy including a real ice rink, festive food stalls from local traders as well as entertainment, and a DJ booth playing music the whole day and evening, so get your dancing shoes on!  Santa will also be making an appearance in his Grotto and giving special Christmas gifts to the little ones. They can also have a walk down The North Pole Trail as well as make reindeer food and write their own letter to Santa. 

Find out more 

Christmas charity events

Around Devon there will be multiple charity events taking place during the holiday period, the community always pull together to help those in need. There will be a sponsored swim taking place on Christmas day at Crooklets Beach, Bude. They are raising money for the Northern Hemisphere's oldest Surf Life Saving Club. The organisers are aiming for their biggest turnout and it is rapidly growing as a spectator event. Bude seafront will see thousands of well wishers lining the beach and cliffs on Christmas day. 

There will also be a Christmas toy bank based in Barnstaple, North Walk. They are accepting new toys to be donated to children across North Devon. They will also be accepting donations through Amazon vouchers so they are able to purchase the toys to donate.

With all these events and activities going on during the festive season, where else would you rather spend your holidays than North Devon?

We can't wait to welcome you!