What’s on this weekend
FRI 1 - SUN 3 DEC 2017
The Cast Made Pop-up Shop returns to Totnes High Street, Until Christmas
Hurrah! This shop, run by super-talented Lucie Cast of gorgeous bag fame, is returning for the festive period, which is good news if you’re after some truly lovely gifts made by indie designers and makers. Or one of Lucie’s bags, of course.
Open Weds – Sat, No9 High street, Totnes, TQ95NN. castmade.co.uk
Thelma Hulbert Present Makers, Honiton, Until Sat 23 Dec
This one is billed as a vibrant selling exhibition, where you’ll find the work of emerging talent from the region, in the form of lovely Christmas gifts. Expect ceramics, jewellery, art, textiles and lighting at the former home and studio of the artist Thelma Hulbert.
Exeter Christmas Market, Cathedral Green, Starts Thurs 16 Nov
Expect the continental markets to start popping up everywhere this month. But this one, on Exeter’s Cathedral Green, sounds especially pretty. Expect plenty of food, crafts, gifts and festive cheer. And there’s gotta be mulled wine somewhere, right? Top tip: seek out the lovely team from Amanda Marsden Exeter between Nov 25 – 1 Dec. They’ll be offering stress fix Christmas shopping rituals, Aveda cinnamon and gingerbread-infused tea, as well as selling some special gift sets. Oooohh.
Visible Girls: Revisited, Exeter Phoenix, Until Thurs 21 Dec
Wow, I love the sound of this! In 1981, photographer Anita Corbin set about capturing pivotal “coming of age” moments in the life of 56 young women – all members of different subcultures. From Skins, to Mods, Punks to New Romantics, the result was an extraordinary collection of portraits against a backdrop of heightened social, cultural and political change. Now, 36 years on, Anita has managed to re-photograph most of the original girls for a new exhibition that will feature the old, alongside the new, using tape recordings and interviews from both parts of their lives. Where are they now? And what happened to their dreams and beliefs?
Make 2017: Contemporary Crafts for Christmas, starts Sat 18 Nov
It’s not just Tavistock getting in on the festive action. Bovey Tracey’s Devon Guild of Craftsmen launch their annual Christmas selling exhibition this month, showcasing over 50 designer-makers from across the UK. With prices to suit all budgets, this is the place to find those lovely one-off pieces for somebody special.
Christmas at Killerton: Wind in the Willows, starts Sat 25 Nov
Aw, you’ve gotta love a good old classic at Christmas, haven’t you? Step into the world of Toad, Rat, Mole and Badger at Killerton House this Christmas and discover rooms transformed into scenes from this lovely old tale. This is lots of other festive fun to be had.
nationaltrust.org.uk, Open daily
Two Shorts Nights, Exeter Phoenix, Thurs 30 Nov – Sat 2 Dec
Film buffs rejoice! The annual Two Shorts Nights event in Exeter shines a light on the very best in short film and homegrown filmmaking talent. Expect must-see shorts from across the globe, emerging local talent and special events with leading industry professionals throughout the weekend.
Final exhibition of the year, Artizan Gallery, Torquay, Until Sat 23 Dec
It’s the biggest exhibition of the year for the Torquay gallery. Over 50 artists will feature paintings, mixed media, photography, sculpture and ceramics. It’s a chance to see some of the years solo exhibitors, as well as some new talent. Go see and support this fab gallery.
Lucy and the Lost Ones, Plough Arts Centre, Great Torrington, Wed 29 Nov – Sat 2 Dec
The season of brilliant kid’s theatre has begun and this one is billed as a touching, hilarious and thought-provoking rollercoaster ride through the space-time continuum. It tells the story of Lucy who’s always wanted to be a scientist. She already has a telescope of her own, an observatory (garden shed), and last Christmas she asked for a radio receiver (and a signed poster of Brian Cox). Every night, Lucy comes out to look at the stars and listen to the universe. And not very much happens… until one starry night, she hears something. Something from outer space. Sweeeeeeeeet!
Suitable for ages 5+, tickets £7 – £9, theploughartscentre.org.uk
Dickensian Evening, Tavistock, Fri 1 Dec
Fancy travelling back in time to a Christmas from a bygone era? The annual themed Dickensian evening in Tavistock will give you a festive injection, for sure. Around the town, shopkeepers dress themselves and their shops in appropriate attire, you’ll smell chestnuts roasting on steam engines, the lights will be switched on and kids can visit Santa and real reindeer, while you stock up on gifts as the shops stay open until late. Someone hand me a mulled wine and I’m set.
Lights will be switched on at 5.45pm.
Scripts for Supper at Windout Farm, Tedburn St Mary, Fri 1 – Sun 3 Dec
It doesn’t all have to be about Panto and popcorn at this time of year, you know. For something very special, check out Scripts for Supper, coming to the fabulously rustic setting of Windout Farm near Tedburn St Mary. An idea conceived by Masterchef 2016 semi-finalist Annie McKenzie, this is a theatrical dining experience where actors double up as waiters and food and theatre collide. It’s a Christmas feast, based around The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe. Follow the gang through the wardrobe and expect tea and cake with Mr Tumnus, hot chocolate and Turkish Delight with the White Witch, pan fried fish and hot buttery potatoes with Mr and Mrs Beaver and of course, marmalade roll. Expect music, singing, merriment and a little winter magic this Christmas. Sounds awesome!
£55 includes 4 courses, a welcome cocktail and the show. scriptsforsupper.co.uk
The Enormous Turnip, Theatre Royal, Plymouth, Until Sat 13 Jan
Stuff and Nonsense theatre company deliver every year with a sweet and captivating take on a classic tale. This year’s offering focuses on Mr and Mrs Chickweed, living in their tiny shed, squeezed amongst the garden tools. Their prize-winning vegetables have taken over everything but before they retire, they can’t resist planting one last seed, try for one more champion vegetable and one more trophy! Well, you can guess the rest. Smalls are invited to pull together to get this enormous turnip out of the ground before it takes over the planet. And they can meet the characters and puppets after the show, too. We took the Mudlet to last year’s show and highly recommend a visit.
For seedlings aged 2-8 and all the family, Running time: 1hr approx. theatreroyal.com
Enchanted Christmas 2017 at Saltram, Plymouth, until 30 Dec.
You can’t fail to feel warm and fuzzy after a trip to Plymouth’s Saltram House at Christmas – they do like to spoil us with a generous dollop of festive cheer. This year, stroll around the enchanted illuminated gardens and marvel at the magically decorated house. Spot the inspiration from some best-loved fairytales as you wander around. And that’s just for starters; make the most of the twinkly cafe, book in a story time session with Father Christmas (grown-ups can get in on the fun too, this year, with a special adults-only version!).
Brad Faine: Big Screen Spectacular, Brook Gallery, Budleigh Salterton, Tues 28 Nov – Sun 7 Jan
If you only see one exhibition before Christmas, make it this one. The small and perfectly formed Brook Gallery, based in beautiful Budleigh Salterton, is hosting internationally acclaimed Brad Faine: Big Screen Spectacular right through the festive period. For those yet to eyeball his visual explosions of colour and fun, expect a glittery display of memories and rhetoric from the film set, where large-scale diamond-encrusted celebrities will adorn the gallery walls. Book it in and bling it on! Read more about this fab gallery, by the way, in our Little Black Book.
Family friendly Christmas workshop, Plymouth Arts Centre, Sat 2 Dec
A dose of cuteness dished up at Plymouth Arts Centre. In this Christmas crafty fun workshop, you’ll get to learn how to design, draw and print your very own personalised Christmas gift wrap set, while spending some quality famleeeee time together. Christmas treats provided too!
1.30 – 4.30pm, £5 per family, plymouthartscentre.org
Santa Express, Paignton to Kingswear various dates throughout December
There is no better time of year to embrace the railway and win mega brownie points with the littlies because this years festive rail trip features the Sleeping Beauty – squeak! Climb aboard and you’ll be entertained by a two-part mini pantomime. Father Christmas will of course pay a visit at your seat with his sleigh and band of merry helpers. Help The Fairies and you might just receive a gift from Santa. And of course there will be mulled wine and a festive mince pie. Can’t say fairer than that.
Adults £19, children over 19 months £12.50, dartmouthrailriver.co.uk
Christmas Farmers Market, The Big Sheep, Nr Bideford, Saturdays from 2nd – 23rd Dec
Sack off the supermarket shop this year and instead, get yourself along to the South West’s biggest indoor Farmers’ Markets. The Big Sheep will be serving up everything from free range turkeys and organic meats, to sprouts on stalks, cheeses, cakes, puddings, as well as Christmas trees. Plus, apparently the on-site Sheepy Shop is a bit of an Aladdin’s Cave full of ideas for last-minute gifts. Christmas. Sorted.
9am – 1pm, free entry to the market, thebigsheep.co.uk
Huge Annual Tasting, Jaded Palates, Ashburton & Chagford, Sat 2 Dec
I popped along to the Chagford branch of this brilliant wine merchant this week and was bowled over by the knowledge of thoroughly lovely owner Ian. Plus, he’s on a mission to see you chill out when it comes to wine-buying anxiety. So I highly recommend you try and get yourself along to either of the two shops for this mega-tasting event. You’re guaranteed to come away with the Christmas wine selection sorted, a few new bottles to try, plus maybe a gift or two.
Nkuku Lifestyle Store, Festive Event, Harbertonford nr Totnes, Sat 2 Dec
Nkuku is definitely my Achilles Heel when it comes to parting with pennies. This festive event will celebrate the best of the season in-store and promises to turn up the Christmas atmosphere a notch (without Shakin Stevens and Slade blasting out). You just know you’re in for a treat…and that you’ll drool over the table decorations. And the cake.
9am – 6pm, nkuku.com
Kingsbridge Celebrates Christmas, Sat 2 Dec
I love it when a town embraces the spirit of a good market and that’s exactly what this ever-growing annual festive event is all about. The street closes to traffic and just about every corner of town gives itself over to something Christmassy. Expect a farmers market, crafts, a visit from the Big Man himself, a Christmas disco, workshops and just about anything else you can think of. If you don’t have even the faintest tingling of festive cheer in you after this super family-friendly event, I’m totally out of ideas.
Etsy Made, Plymouth Guildhall, Sat 2 – Sun 3 Dec
You know all about Etsy, right? Well, this year Plymouth is hosting a fab Etsy Made Local event, giving you the chance to support local artisan and craft makers and buy independent and bespoke. Great idea, yes? Great venue? Indeed. Not least because of the brilliant bakery onsite.
10am – 4pm, devonportguildhall.org
Sprout + Shed Pop-Up, Exeter Guildhall, Until Sun 3 Dec
If you went to the pop-up launch of this rather cute and clever marketplace at Darts Farm, then you’ll already know that this festive pop-up is one not to miss *taps nose*. For savvy shoppers who want to find a few bargains for their small people and support some brilliant local makers, make sure you pay a visit to the little and large log cabin over the weekend.
North Devon Christmas Market, Caen Street, Braunton, Sat 2 Dec
Each year the centre of this lovely North Devon town is transformed, as it hosts over 150 traders and stalls, packed full of gorgeous Christmas gifts, making it apparently the biggest Christmas Market in Devon. Wash it all down with mulled wine and local beers. And relax, there will be a visit from Santa, natch.
3 – 11pm, gingermonkeyevents.com
Woolly’s Winter Wonderland, The Big Sheep, Bideford, Sat 2 Dec
Trust the Big Sheep to push the festive err, sleigh, out. They’ve employed a whole army of elves to help bring the magic alive for visitors. So get yourself along to the annual opening of Woolly’s Wonderland and let the small people have fun with your small people. Take in Santa’s Magical Light Show, give your best Torvill and Dean effort on the ice skating and let them burn off some energy at the Ewetopia Indoor Playground.
Connect and Create Fest, Barnstaple Pannier Market, Sun 3 Dec
Back for its third year, this is North Devon’s fastest growing festival independent marketplace festival. Lots of creativity in one hub makes for a marvellous day of mooching, methinks.
10am – 6pm, facebook.com
Festive Foodie Gift-Making Courses, Exeter Cookery School, Sun 3 Dec
Now this sounds like a fun way to pass a Sunday…and productive to boot. Get stuck in to one of these (or both!) festive half-day workshops led by the brilliant Exeter Cookery School, where you’ll learn the art of making (and wrapping) some delicious edible gifts. Gingerbread, marshmallow, honeycomb? All in half a day’s “work”. Guaranteed presents made with love. If you can stop yourself from scoffing the lot.
9.30am – 12pm / 2 – 4.30pm £65 pp, exetercookeryschool.co.uk