Festive Food & Gift Extravaganza, John’s Deli, Instow, 10-4, Sun 1 Dec
Not been to the Muddy-award-winning foodie heaven that is Johns Deli yet? Go this Sunday for their annual extravaganza, free tastings with 12 local festive producers, new launches from Pull the Pin rum, hamper ideas and John’s personal pick of the best local.
XMAS MARKET: Festive Good Food & Craft Market, Royal William Yard, Plymouth 1,8,15 Dec
Activities in the Royal William Yard take a festive turn this month with Santa arriving on 8 and 15, and kids can get their letter to Santa done as part of a range of Christmas crafts in the Melville Building. The talented barbershop choir, Kingsman Barbershop Chorus, with be there on 8 December from 1:30pm. The popular Native Makers Market makes its return on Saturday 7 and Sunday 8, a chance to get your mitts on incredible handcrafted, bespoke wares and meet the talented peeps who make them.
EXHIBITION: VR Show: Cirque Du Soleil, University of Plymouth, Sun 1 – Sun 8 Dec
Explore the surreal world of acclaimed circus troupe, Cirque Du Soleil, as three new Virtual Reality films by Liminia transport you to a world of whimsical, water dwelling characters, an epic adventure of two warring families clashing in breath taking acrobatic combat and a journey through an imaginary Mexico suspended between dreams and reality, all made possible by Plymouth University’s all new, cutting edge Immersive Visualisation Lab.
XMAS: The Adventure of the Christmas Pudding, Greenway, Galmpton, until Tues 31 Dec
Follow the troublesome Christmas Pudding on his adventures through Greenway, meeting Old St Nick on the way. Based on Agatha Christie’s classic of the same name, Mr Pudding promises you and the kiddos a fun and interactive experience all while exploring the grounds of Greenway and its decadently decorated rooms.
MARKET: Exeter Christmas Market, Cathedral Green, until Thurs 19 Dec
Done your Xmas shopping yet? Exeter’s annual Christmas market arrives just in time to save the day. Treat yourself to a handmade necklace or grab a bag of fudge for the perfect stocking filler. A quality, totally tat-free zone.
PANTO: Beauty and the Beast, Exeter Northcott, until Sun 5 Jan
A tale as old as time, now a panto! Things get romantic, things get magical and things get hairy as Belle, her sister Souffle and Dame Betty Bonbon fight to free Prince Valentin from the curse of the Evil Enchantress. Will they succeed in time to save Belle’s love and the family business? You’ll just to have go along and find out,
XMAS: A Victorian Christmas, Knightshayes Court, Sun 1 Dec onwards
Gorgeous gardens, captivating Christmas trees, illuminations and Father Christmas: a Xmas without a visit to Knightshayes Court is surely not nearly festive enough? Celebrating Yuletide throughout the ages, experience the richly decorated rooms for yourself for a certifiably festive day out.
XMAS: Santa in the Caves, Kents Cavern, Torquay, Sun 1 – Tues 24 Dec
Looking for a Santa Claus with a twist? Look no further than Kents Cavern: confined spaces have never looked so inviting! Join a very merry Father Christmas and his band of rosy cheeked elves for a panto-adventure with minced pies (and a cheeky mulled wine for the big people) to top it all off.
SHOPPING: Plymouth Christmas Market, Plymouth Piazza, until 19 Dec
More than 50 traditional cabins including the Bavarian Bar, with bling, homeware, artwork and clothing on sale, and once you’ve had your fill of those cherry-bakewell favoured Retro Shotz, you can get go your festive selfie at an illuminated bauble.
XMAS: Storytime with Olde Father Christmas, Buckland Abbey, 1, 7, 8, 14, 15, 21, 22 Dec
Bring the kiddies along for a very special day at Buckland Abbey to hear the original story of Old Nick and his traditional Victorian green gear. Each child will be gifted with a very special Christmas pressie, if they’ve been good of course.
WORKSHOP: Taste of Sculpture Day, The Sculpture School, Bondleigh, Mon 2 Dec
Join fellow budding sculptors on a one-day course in the brand-new purpose-built Sculpture School as you get your hands mucky learning the basics of moulding, shaping and morphing your very own clay face. This will then be available for you to take home at the end of the day before placing it on a pedestal, you talented thing.
MARKET: Totnes Christmas Festival, Totnes, Fore Street and High Street, Tuesdays 3,10,17 Dec
Let the retail therapy commence! It’s only once a year we get to experience the festivities of Totnes high street and market at our Christmassy pleasure, after all. An array of all our favourite shops and an eclectic mix of food stalls, art and craft available to peruse at your leisure.
THEATRE LIVE: Kenneth Branagh: The Winter’s Tale, Dartington Hall, Barn Cinema, Weds 4 Dec
Kenneth Brannagh Theatre Company’s live production of Shakespeare’s ‘The Winter’s Tale’ is back. by popular demand. With an impressive cast (Dame Judi Dench anyone?) and an inventively beautiful re-imagining of the tragic tale, this show’s last live cinema run is not one to miss.
JAZZ: Exeter Phoenix Bridge Jazz Club, Gandy St, Exeter, Weds 4 Dec
What’s better than some smooth tunes from Exeter’s jazz scene to make your week 10 times more interesting? Start the evening watching the house band, drink in hand, followed by a jam session from saxophonist Pete Canter and pianist Tom Ball. Smokin’.
THEATRE: Les Gloriables, Theatre Royal Plymouth, Weds 4 – Mon 30 Dec
Legendary French actress Gloria Delaneuf brings you Les Gloriables, inspired by Les Mis. Expect a story for the whole family incorporating socialism, audience participation, comedy, a whole lotta singing and above all, extreme silliness. Vive La Revolution!
EAT OUT: Foodie Folly Club, The Pig at Combe, Gittisham nr Honiton, Thurs 5 Dec
Peter Grieg from award-winning Piper’s Farm is popping up at The Pig to deliver a low ‘n slow supper of meat and veggies from the wood oven. A talk from Peter, plus welcome drink and a light supper for £35pp. (Pssst – he’s also offering 10% off Pipers Farm goodies if you’re yet to order your turkey.)
MARKET: Butcher’s Hall Christmas Market, Tavistock, Fri 6 and Thurs 19 – Mon 23 Dec
A curated Miss Ivy event, jam-packed with perfect gift ideas for everyone on your list with a range of artisan traders selling a wide range of festive prezzies; from food and drink to unique trinkets. It’s free entry from 9:30 until 4:00, so shop your heart out.
COMEDY: Torquay Comedy Club, Riviera Hotel, Fri 6 Dec
Another fantastic night of top-notch comedy from some of the best comedians on the circuit at Torquay Comedy Club. Your Muddy prescription for anyone feeling the pre-Xmas fidgets – a dose of local comedy talent to laugh the night away.
EXHIBITION: Torsten Lauschmann: War of the Corners, The Gallery, Plymouth College of Art, Fri 6 Dec – 8 Feb
Lauschmann’s exploration of humour, politics and abstraction through gorgeous projections, light, sound and sculptural instruments to create a landscape of thought and poetic art, first having been shown at Glasgow School of Art in 2018.
CONCERT: Victorian Christmas Concert, Minster Church of St Andrew, Plymouth, Sat 7 Dec
We’re dreaming of a very Victorian Christmas this year! Top off your festive schedule with a night of traditional Xmas hymns including some of Queen Vick’s favourites, Vom Himmel Hoch and Watching over Israel, performed by the University of Plymouth’s Choral Society in the breath-taking Minster of St Andrew’s.
KIDS: Children’s Festive Foodie Gift Workshop, Exeter Cookery School, Sat 7 – Sun 8 Dec
Kick off the celebrations for any budding young foodies in the family. They’ll be learning how to cook gingerbread, chocolate ganache and be making some lovely truffles and edible decorations to bring home for you and the family to scoff on. For 11-14 years.
MUSIC: All Jazzed Up @ Ocean Christmas Market, Ocean, Exmouth, Sun 8 Dec
Forget those overplayed Christmas tunes, how about some jazz to get you in the spirit? All Jazzed Up will be playing from 12 at Ocean’s annual Christmas Market which will also be home to over 50 festive stalls to peruse, while you listen.
KIDS THEATRE: The Curious Tale of Jack Frost, The Soapbox Theatre, Devonport Park, Sat 7 – Tues 24 Dec
Children’s theatre Soapbox bring you two shows: a gentler version for under 5’s and a family version with plenty of boo-ing and hissing to discover Jack and the mysterious fern-like patterns he leaves behind.
XMAS: Santa by Steam at South Devon Railway, Buckfastleigh, 7,8,14,15 18-24 Dec
All aboard the Crimbo express at Buckfastleigh, decked out with twinkling lights and festive decs to set the mood in your traditional train compartment (yes, like the ones in Harry Potter!) before making your way to Father Christmas’ Grotto where every child gets a Xmas gift.
CONCERT: Christmas with the Cathedral Choir, Exeter Cathedral, 7, 12, 13 Dec
Carols, gorgeous architecture, the renowned Cathedral Choir and due to popular demand, there will be three performance dates this year.
COMEDY: Harry and Chris, This One’s for the Aliens, Exeter Phoenix, Sun 8 Dec
Harry and Chris, The Guardian’s pick of the Fringe 2018, land in Exeter with their own invention: a comedy-rap-jazz hybrid with awards a plenty for wordplay and the absurd, bromance and unashamed joy – all to do one thing, spin Planet Earth.
MUSIC: Dartington Community Choir: Winter Concert, Dartington Hall, Sun 8 Dec
What’s better than a festive choir? A festive choir in the divine Dartington Great Hall, of course. Dartington’s Community Choir perform Elgar’s ‘The Dream of Gerontius’, based on a story of death, divine judgment and redemption (the perfect holiday sentiments) accompanied by the Dartington Sinfonietta.
WORKSHOP: Natural Christmas Wreath making, Coastal Craft, Seaton, Sun 8 and Thurs 12 Dec
Jazz up your doors and get crafty this Christmas with a very festive natural wreath making course. With all materials provided, learn how to decorate a pre-made willow circle with all kinds of flora and foliage to make this year’s wreath totally unique. Check out my Muddy round-up of other Devon wreath workshops here.
RUN: Santa’s on the Run, RHS Garden Rosemoor, Sun 8 Dec
So cute! Don your tinsel and Santa costume, grab the kids and your S. O’s/parents/in-laws and jog, walk, skip or run your way through RHS Garden Rosemoor on the annual Children’s Hospice 2K festive fun run. Under 15s go free.
TALK: ‘How the Villanelle Novels became Killing Eve’ with Luke Jennings, Exeter Custom House, The Quay, Weds 11 Dec
Calling all fans of strangely likable psychopaths! Quay Words welcomes Luke Jennings, author of the ‘Villanelle’ books, AKA the source of our favourite show at the moment, Killing Eve. Luke will be exploring the dynamics between his two famous characters and how his novels became the critically acclaimed show it is today (yay!).
The Velveteen Rabbit, Exeter Phoenix, Gandy St, Exeter, Weds 11 – Sat 28 December
Quirk Theatre’s rendition of Alice and the unwanted Chrimbo gift she comes to love with deeper themes exploring what it means to love and be loved *and what to do with all those unwanted socks/hankies/cookbooks.* (Also on at the Plough Arts Theatre in Great Torrington from 4-7 December.)
WORKSHOP: Clovelly Soap Company Seaweed Workshop, RAMM museum, Weds 11 Dec
From bladderwrack to oarweed, seaweed is packed full of nutrients and vitamins perfect for making that skin glow. Clovelly Soap Company will teach you how to harness the magic of natural, homemade soap with a chance to make your own seaweed bath bombs and salts, perfect for an Xmas gift or a little treat to yourself.
XMAS: Wonder Nights, Mount Edgcumbe Country Park, Torpoint, Thurs 12 Dec – Sun 5 Jan
In an enchanted wooden barn, a spectacular Crimbo treat in aid of St. Lukes Hospice is waiting. With dazzling light shows, gorgeously illuminated gardens, a chance to meet Father Christmas and top quality nosh.
SHOPPING: Planet Christmas: Outfit Exchange, Ocean Studios, Royal William Yard, Thurs 12 Dec
Sick of all the Crimbo consumerism? For just £3 and a donation of 5 unworn garments, you can shop till you drop, without the guilt of buying new! Items will be valued in four bands and will enable you to swap one for a completely new item. Nifty, huh?
THEATRE: Humbug! St Nicholas’ Priory, Exeter, Thurs 12 – Tues 24 Dec
Join Scrooge and his miserly misadventures on an atmospheric and immersive trip around Exeter’s oldest building, incorporating live music and projection for a theatrical reimagining of Dickens’ festive tale. There’s nothing better than a story of redemption for drumming up some Christmas cheer.
THEATRE: Treasure Island, Barbican Theatre, Plymouth, Thurs 12 – Sun 5 Jan
Ho, ho, ho and, er, a bottle of rum. X marks the spot this Christmas, with the four lads from Le Navet Bete delivering a swash-buckling comedy aimed at littlies from 6 and up.
THEATRE: A Grimm Christmas, Barbican Theatre, Plymouth, Thurs 12 – Mon 23 Dec
A spin on the Grimm fairy tales of yesteryear, before Hollywood got its evil mitts on them. For anyone who prefers uncensored and menacing tales over gooey Christmassy sugariness. Not for littlies obvs, 16-plus.
YOGA: Symphony for the Soul: Candlelit Yoga with Live Cello and Sound Bath, Powderham Castle, Weds 18 Dec
Candlelit yoga and a live cellist to soothe your Xmas-tattered soul. Surely it can’t get much better? Oh wait, it does. Following a mind and body session the class will be given lavender eye pillows and blankets, ready to soak up Oliver Jenkins’ sound bath. Sounds like heaven to us.
EAT OUT: Foodie Folly Club, The Pig at Combe, Gittisham nr Honiton, Thurs 19 Dec
Don’t miss the cheese and wine pop-up, the last of this year’s popular foodie clubs in The Pig’s beautiful garden folly. Expect a talk/workshop, a welcome drink and a light cheesy supper washed down with an excellent vintage, no doubt.
Cinderella, Theatre Royal, Plymouth, Fri 20 Dec – Sat 18 Jan
No staying at home sweeping the hearth, you shall go the panto to see Brian Conley (no, it’s not Bradley Walsh) in what the theatre says will be laugh-out-loud comedy, stunning songs and jaw-dropping effects. You can’t go wrong with Theatre Royal, so it’s bound to be bibbidy-bobbidy-boo.
CONCERT: Jules Holland and his Rhythm Blues Orchestra, Plymouth Pavilions, Fri 20 Dec
It’s only Jules and his Rhythm & Blues Orchestra, accompanied by the superbly talented Ruby Turner and her gorgeous gospel, soul and blues vocals, singer. Plus BRIT award winner Eddi Reader, Pauline Black, Gaps from The Selector, and Gilson Lavis from Squeeze on drums.
FAMILY: A Long Long Time, Studio 1, Dartington Hall, Fri 20 – Mon 30 Dec
Teensy-bit bored of the usual Santa grottos that dominate the holiday season? Take the kiddies somewhere out of this world instead, exploring the intergalactic Zodiac wonders of the sky on an interactive and unique story-telling bonanza.
WORKSHOP: Xmas Wreath & Table Arrangements, Ocean Studios, Royal William Yard, Plymouth, Sat 21 Dec
Join Ocean Studios’ Fiona Chivers for a last minute Festive Botanical Workshop and create your own wreath or table settings, something unique to keep or if you can bear to give it away, as a special gift.
KIDS THEATRE: Hansel and Gretel, Exeter Northcott Theatre, Sat 21 Dec – Sun 5 Jan
Follow the mischievous Hansel and his equally naughty sister Gretel as they navigate their way through a world of winding woods and trailing breadcrumbs to find the magical Christmas Market-but there’s more than just sweets waiting for them in the snowy forest. Paddleboat Theatre Company bring you and the family an interactive and musical retelling of the classic fairy-tale; the perfect first theatre experience for the littl’uns.
FOOD: Boxing Day Barbeque at Clovelly Village, Clovelly, Thurs 26 Dec
Skip the cooking on Boxing Day and head down to the Red Lion in Clovelly village (admissions to the village will be totally FREE!) for a captivating coastal walk and festive feast with a twist. The Australians do it, so why can’t we!?
NEW YEAR’S EVE: Boringdon Hall’s Masquerade Ball, Tues 31 Dec
Upgrade your New Year’s Eve celebrations: go on, you deserve it. Boringdon Hall hosts a black tie evening of glittering NY celebration for you to dress up-to-the-nines for; masquerade masks a must! Glitz, glam and a divine five-course meal prepped by Head chef Scott Paton.
KIDS: Bubblicious New Year’s Eve Baby and Family Rave, The Soapbox Theatre, Devonport Park, Tues 31 Dec
A baby rave, you say? Soapbox Theatre are throwing an afternoon family dance party, celebrating New Year’s on a whole different time zone! Enjoy fabulous UV décor, bubbles and smoke, walk-about performers and of course, parachute games. Plus, each ticket includes a free UV glitter makeover. Who knew babies could be so much fun?
NEW YEAR’S EVE: River Cottage New Year’s evening meal, River Cottage HQ, Axminster, Tues 31 Dec
Arrive at River Cottage HQ in style by tractor and trailer to begin your day of New Year’s festivities, feasting, drinking, toasting and dancing your way into 2020 as well as being treated by the River Cottage Chefs with a four course meal of the finest produce money can buy. A lively band will provide the music for the evening as you countdown to midnight.
Words by Molly Grogan.