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10 festive things to do this week

Nine sleeps and counting until the Big Fella comes down the chimney! Here's Muddy's pick of Yuletide fun around the county this week.

Winter Wonderland Chalet, Lloyds Lounge, until March 2021

Add some sparkle to late night shopping in Exeter by booking a Winter Wonderland Chalet at Lloyds Lounge, just off the High Street. It’s heated and has Bluetooth so you can play Micheal Buble to your heart’s content. The chalets are just for your family bubble but there is also an extensive outside seating area with heaters where you can knock back mulled wine, cocktails and delicious food. Plus, here’s 10 local eateries with heated undercover spaces to safely meet five of your mates.

See the Christmas lights

Get your 10,000 steps and entertain the kids for a win-win evening out in the fresh air by booking into one of these 10 Christmas illuminations and light trails, including Rosemoor Glow (above) where the tree silhouettes and lakes are stunningly lit by the RHS garden’s artistic team.

Book your seats at a panto (oh no you won’t, oh yes…etc etc)

If it’s not Christmas until you’ve laughed at fat man in drag, then don’t delay! Book one of these 10 fab pantos around the county, including Exeter’s fave funny men Le Navete Bete and their swashbuckling production of Treasure Island at Exeter Northcott.

Order take-away Christmas lunch. Yes really!

The upside of our marvellously entrepreneurial restaurants doing take-away is that some are even taking the slog out of the Big Day itself, including the Muddy-approved Duck at Yeoford from super-talented chef James and also Bovey’s Home Farm Cafe. All you need do is book asap and then collect the goodies on Christmas Eve.

Plus, the fabulous Salutation Inn at Topsham are offering a DIY Christmas Dinner Kit for £70pp with local suppliers and a Kentisbeare free range bronze turkery and all the trimmings for local delivery or collection. If that’s simply too lazy for you, just order your home-made Duck at Yeoford pud (above) from James instead – small £4.95/large £8.95. Call 01363 85273 to place your order and arrange collection.

Become a Kitchen Goddess

Learn to make impressive gingerbread, good enough to give away, by going on a half-day Festive Food Gifts Course with the new Devon Cookery School. Based at Piper’s Farm at Cullompton, it’s owned by Jazzi Curley, previously of the now sadly defunct Exeter Cookery School (and previously Jamie’s Cookery School) so you’re in safe hands. Or how about something more tricky, like a Buche de Noel (okay, Yule log) with new online cookery school, Larks Live, at 4pm on Saturday 19th. All you need is to buy in the ingredients, then the appropriately-named chef Valeria Suppa will digitally teach you how to make a festive showstopper.

Swing by The Shops at Dartington

Want easy parking, a hot takeaway toddy and music while you shop? Hoof it to The Shops at Dartington just outside Totnes, where you can pick up locally produced foodie gifts, local art, artisan glass, outdoor gear plus great toys and covetable local crafts, all while being soothed by the sounds of the Swing band, The Riviera Ramblers. Lovely leafy walks abound on all sides too, or carry on to Totnes for more indie shopping joy, a takeaway coffee or warming soup from The Hairy Barista or if you want to take the weight off, check out the winter lunch menu at the award-winning eco hotel The Bull Inn, including butterflied devilled mackerel or potato gnocchi with a sticky pudding for afters. Mmmmm.

Learn the joy of self-gifting with a fashion re-boot

Want a new look for Christmas 2020? Go see Deni at Identity Fashion on Plymouth’s Royal William Yard for a spot of personal styling. It’s a fab indoor option to do with a friend and I promise you will come away with loads of wardrobe ideas (and probably gorgeous urban and edgy clothes). Then, celebrate your purchase by nipping into Bistrot Pierre next door for a Christmas cream tea by the marina. With fizz preferably.

The Great British Pop Up, John Lewis, Exeter

Head to the third floor at John Lewis, where in a bid to never knowingly under-support local, they’ve cleared out the homeware dept to host an indie pop-up. There are six lovely local businesses to shop with, including Oddfellows and their Artisan Mulling Syrup, created as a solution to hundreds of litres of mulled syrup that was destined for their bar at Exeter Christmas Market. Instead of lemonade from lemons, they’ve gone one better and created a simple syrup to spice up your wine and cider. Plus, you can find jewellery from Mantis and Esme Cooper, plus lifestyle stuff from Pygmalion & Funck.

A Christmas Carol, Plymouth Arts Centre, Weds 16 – Fri 18 Dec

There’s only so much Netflix we can take, so it’s off to Plymouth Arts Centre for a re-imagining of A Christmas Carol with Martin Freeman and Andy Serkhis as Marley’s ghost. It depicts a Victorian family preparing a paper theatre for a performance of the Dickens classic. The audience enters the imagination of one of the children and quickly, the cardboard stage transforms to reveal a magical world containing real dancers and stylised sets. It looks fab and more importantly, very Christmassy.

Car Park Panto, Horrible Histories, Exeter Racecourse, Fri 18 Dec

What better way to celebrate ‘school’s out’ than taking the youth to what’s been billed as the world’s first drive-in panto? It’s a typically horrible journey through the history of Christmas via its most famous characters, and one boy battling to save Christmas for the world. Two showings (limited tickets left now, so be quick) at 4.30pm and 7pm.

Not festive enough for ya? Check out Christmas ideas for light trails, wreath making workshops and gift ideas at The Indie Store.

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