Christmas in Cornwall offers up a veritable stocking full of Christmas events and experiences. For us to sit and unwrap each and every one of the festive happenings in this creative and unique county the Queens Hotel calls home would take well into the New Year.
So, instead, we offer up a small tasting platter of festive fun and spectacle. The events are listed with those closest to us at the top and those a bit further away at the bottom. Regardless of how much travelling you want to do, there’s something nearby for everyone who spends Christmas in Penzance to enjoy.
Mousehole Christmas Lights
Mousehole is an iconic seaside village beloved by tourists and locals alike. Just a few miles around the corner from the Queens Hotel, Mousehole is a great place to visit at any time of year, but becomes even more legendary at Christmastime.
The village is brought alive by the Christmas lights display, that stretches from the waters of the harbour itself right up through the town and the hills beyond. Look out for the classics, such as the spouting whale, the sea monster, and the church.
Mousehole has even more to celebrate at Christmas than many places in Cornwall, as the 23rd of December is Tom Bawcock’s Eve. The legend goes that at some point in the 16th century a particularly stormy winter meant that none of the village’s fishing boats had been able to go out.
With supplies running out, famine descended upon the town. As Christmas approached, Bawcock, desperate to alleviate the suffering of his fellow townspeople, set sail in his fishing boat and headed out into the storm.
He eventually returned, his haul bursting with fish; enough to feed the starving people and see them through the rest of the winter. Look out for the Stargazy Pie lights, representing the traditional Tom Bawcock’s Eve meal, complete with fish heads poking out the top.
Rogue Theatre’s Winter Wonderland, Tehidy Woods
Rogue Theatre’s Winter Wonderland showcases the kind of innovation and creativity that the landscapes and folklore of Cornwall inspire in the local artistic community.
Set in the beautiful Tehidy Woods, the Winter Wonderland is an immersive journey through the trees, bedecked with lights and inhabited by faeries, woodland sprites, and Old Man Winter himself. Hear songs and tales before gathering in the central performance tent with free hot chocolate for live music, festive stories, face painting and craft.
The Winter Wonderland has twice been voted one of the Guardian’s top ten Christmas walks, and won Best Theatre Show 2017 Award from What’s on Cornwall. Performances are held at b1pm, 4pm and 6.30pm most days in December.
Sleeping Beauty Pantomime, Hall for Cornwall, Truro
Pantomime embodies many of the trappings of Christmas – the bright lights, the glamour, being over-the-top, and having a jolly good time. Fun for all the family, Sleeping Beauty at the Hall for Cornwall is a festive treat for the whole family.
You can expect the usual mixture of songs, jokes, and spectacle. Featuring Cornwall’s very own resident comedian Kernow King, a classic narrative and a fearsome dragon, Sleeping Beauty is a must-see show.
Charlestown Boxing Day Swim
Most people think of Christmas as a warm and cosy time, where you can retreat inside and enjoy creature comforts. The classic songs conjure images of hiding from the worst of the winter weather in front of open fires, but some embrace the climate – throw themselves in head-first, in fact.
Hosted by Charlestown Rowing Club, the Boxing Day Swim is exactly what the name suggests; the chance to throw yourself into the icy waters of the town’s harbour with a bunch of strangers to raise money for charity. It’s not only a refreshing and memorable experience, but the fact it’s for a good cause lifts the spirits after a day of indulgence on Christmas Day.
Ice skating at the Eden Project, St Austell
Cornwall’s iconic Eden Project is also home to the county’s only indoor ice rink. Set against the backdrop of the enormous biomes deep within the disused quarry where this stunning eco-attraction resides, the rink offers a magical and memorable experience for all.
The Eden Project offers a comprehensive programme of icy events on their rink, so whether you are a couple down a romantic Christmas getaway or a family looking to some festive fun that wears the kids out, there will be something for you to do.
Tiny tots (18 months to 5 years) and accompanying adult will of the parent and toddler ice play sessions; 40 minutes of fun on the ice rink – no skating involved – that are sure to create a memorable treat full of laughter.
Kids aged 6 to 12 years old who can skate will love the chilly junior sessions, that include races and games on the ice.
General skating sessions are open to all. For more information and prices, and to book your session on the ice, check out the Eden Project website.