Christmas in Torquay on board the Train of Lights, Devon

There is so much to do in the build up to Christmas here on the English Riviera. We've done the hard part for you and listed the festive happenings not to be missed. Take a look at our festive cracker of a countdown here:

Day 1 - Step back in time with Bygones’ Victorian Christmas

The Victorians created many of the Christmas traditions that we know today. From Saturday 1st December, Bygones, an independent attraction and eccentric treasure trove of nostalgic treats housed in a former cinema in St. Marychurch, Torquay, is transformed into a Victorian Christmas wonderland with a spectacular real 12 ft tree. Stroll down a life sized Victorian street and enjoy the festive season as you take in three floors of fun with 100 years of history, interactive displays and unique curiosities on display. Take part in a St Nicholas’ workshop, Gingerbread Decoration weekend or a special breakfast/lunch with Santa.

Day 2 - Torquay’s Christmas Lights Switch-on and Carnival Procession

The highlight of Torquay’s festive calendar for families has to be the switching on of the Christmas lights and the carnival procession which begins at Lymington Road coach station at 4.45pm, arrives at Castle Circus at 5pm and travels through the main shopping area to the clocktower on the harbour. All monies raised through collections on the night will be donated to local charities. Taking place on Saturday 17th November this is a not-to-be-missed treat for the whole family and look out for Santa who will be making a special appearance.

Day 3 - A Winter Wonderland at Coleton Aglow

Wrap up warm, bring along a torch and explore the house and grounds at National Trust’s Coleton Fishacre during the annual Coleton Aglow evening spectacle from Friday 30th November onwards. There’s a truly magical feel in the air with hundreds of pretty lights illuminating the trees and route that leads you around the formal terraces and woodland of this RHS accredited garden.  An opulent party atmosphere with live music played on the piano in the Saloon inside this grand country retreat, once owned by the D'Oyly Carte family, will transport you back to the decadent, roaring 1920’s. Check out the Christmas Carols, Cocktails and Canapés events on Thursday 6th & Wednesday 12th December for a chance to dress up in 1920s attire.

Day 4 - Torre Abbey Museum’s Winter Fest

This popular museum attraction in Torquay hosts an enchanting two day indoor craft and gift fair, which has already become a festive favourite in the Bay. Wander through the majestic, historic Abbey setting and browse the 30 stalls selling unique handmade gifts and local crafts for great Christmas present ideas.  You can expect seasonal music, a Christmas trail for the children and some indulgent nibbles and beverages including the traditional mulled wine. Saturday 1st and Sunday 2nd December, 10am to 5pm.

Day 5 - Puttin’ on the Glitz at The Holly Ball

One of the longest running and hottest social events on the English Riviera calendar for adults. The Grand Hotel, Torquay hosts this sparkling extravaganza each year, with top quality food on sale, great live bands covering many music genres and some of the sharpest dressed people in town. Friday 21st December will be a night full of glamour and sophistication with ladies adorned in stunning ball gowns and suave tuxedo dressed gents dancing the night away. Join in as the crowds gather together for the traditional midnight Christmas carol singing. The Holly Ball promises to be an evening of pizzazz and festive frivolity with a complimentary glass of fizz included in the ticket price. Organised by Torquay Rowing Club all proceeds support a local charity, but be warned this is guaranteed to sell out quickly!

Day 6 - The Rotary Christmas Grotto at Fleet Walk, Torquay

Santa’s little helpers from the Rotary Club of Babbacombe and St Marychurch run this charming Cinderella themed fully animated winter wonderland on the gallery level of Fleet Walk shopping precinct. Each year Santa welcomes about 12,000 children and their families into his spectacular sparkling grotto, which is open every weekend from Saturday 17th November and daily the week before Christmas. All proceeds raised go to local Rotary charities.

Day 7 - Panto comes to town - oh yes it does!

Christmas just wouldn’t be the same without a trip to the theatre during Panto season. With slapstick comedy and custard pie throwing, ugly sisters and pantomime horses, there’s plenty of fairy tale stories and theatrical fun for all generations of the family. The English Riviera’s top class theatres offer a range of Christmas shows from locally produced productions to professional touring companies featuring famous names and amazing theatre sets, this is the ultimate feel good experience. Audience participation is optional but who can resist booing the evil villain or shouting ‘It’s behind you!’ You’ll find Mother Goose at the Palace Theatre, Paignton; Jack and the Beanstalk at Brixham Theatre as well as Christmas Crackers, a yuletide show featuring a comedy magician and a master of illusion at Babbacombe Theatre, Torquay plus much more on offer.

Day 8 - Travel on the Train of Lights and Santa Express

Brand new for 2018 is the simply stunning Train of Lights, a spectacular illuminated journey starting at Queens Park Station, Paignton travelling towards Churston Station, through Greenway tunnel and onwards to the charming hillside town of Kingswear. You’ll be dazzled by this extraordinary light show with its thousands of sparkling lights decorated inside the vintage carriages as well as outside. This is the ultimate magical Yuletide experience with the chance to upgrade and travel in the Devon Belle observation carriage. For children a ride on the Santa Express is a great chance to tell Santa how good they’ve been all year and their Christmas wish list!

Day 9 - Brixham Lanterns, Lights and ‘luminations

The quaint fishing town of Brixham will celebrate its Christmas Lights Switch on with a spectacular ‘Lanterns, Lights and ‘luminations’ parade with street entertainment and food outlets offering local produce and scrumptious Christmas delights. Organised each year by Brixham Town Council this much anticipated local parade on Saturday 24th November will process along The Quay, Middle Street, Fore Street, Strand and Kings Street. The festive merriment continues with the Brixham Christmas Market at Scala Hall.  

Day 10 - Artisan Crafts Christmas Shopping at Cockington Court

You’ll find Christmas spirit aplenty at Cockington Court as you countdown the days to Christmas on the English Riviera. If you’re looking for that extra special gift visit Cockington Craft Centre and the forge where you’ll find resident artists and makers creating and selling unique handmade items including leather goods, jewellery, chocolate, traditional wooden toys, ceramics and glass and much more. Every weekend in December there’ll be pop-up festive family activities while you browse the shop, galleries and craft studios within this stunning country setting, as well as a range of wonderful winter warming dishes and drinks to purchase from the tea room.   

Day 11 - Getting Christmas Crafty at Occombe Farm

Down on the farm in December you’ll find plenty to keep the children entertained with weekend workshops with a crafty theme. Occombe Farm’s  Cookery School in Paignton is the location for the Kids’ Christmas Cookery workshop, a hands-on baking day where festive foodie treats like reindeer poops, angel’s snowdrops and gingerbread hearts and stars to hang on the Christmas tree are made; as well as a Gingerbread House decoration workshop for children and families. Adults can get creative too with a Christmas Hamper workshop to learn how to make a selection of delicious sweet and savoury delights including everyone’s favourite, the Christmas pud to give as gifts to loved ones and friends.

Day 12 - Boxing Day Walk in to the Sea  

Paignton Lions Club Boxing Day Walk into the Sea is a tradition that began in 1976. This wonderful event takes place on Paignton Beach and is open to anyone willing to put on their bathers, brave the elements and take a midday dip. This is a firm favourite in Paignton’s festive calendar bringing the local community and seasonal visitors together, with spectators very welcome to cheer on the hardy swimmers. There’s a modest entry fee to take part in the dip with all money raised going to local good causes.

Related

Devon Train of Lights
Christmas
Train of Lights in Devon aerial with smoke

For the very first time in the UK, and possibly the world, you are invited to take a trip on our brand new, magical Christmas Train of Lights! This truly spectacular illuminated journey starts at Queen's Park Station, Paignton, where our train with vintage carriages await you - decorated with thousands of lights. Fifteen minutes later, once you've had time to settle back into your seat, you will arrive at Churston Station where the dazzling show begins. As the anticipation builds and mere moments after leaving Churston, you will be propelled through the 450-metre technicolour Greenway tunnel that leads you onto the enchanted forest which is transformed by a multitude of lights and feature displays into a nocturnal extravaganza.

Coleton Aglow - Coleton Fishacre
Participatory Event
Coleton Aglow - Coleton Fishacre

Discover Coleton Fishacre in a new light; the house and garden are lit for an opulent 1920s Christmas party. The illuminated route leads you around the garden and inside to see the festivities of the house decorated for a 1920s Christmas party. You'll be able to try on your party outfit in the handling room, listen to party music playing in the Saloon, and soak up the opulent atmosphere. In the garden you'll be able to see the house, trees and exotic features bathed in festive light as you follow the circular route. Please dress warmly as there is so much to see in the garden. Don't forget to bring a torch as the car parks will be dark.

Winter Wonderland Grotto
Participatory Event
Winter Wonderland Grotto

Winter Wonderland Grotto ROTARY’S grotto welcomes visitors of all ages to Fleet Walk Shopping Centre for a spectacular sparkling festive wonderland. Experience this amazing display which every year welcomes thousands of visitors through its door and equally raises thousands of pounds for local Rotary charities.  The grotto is run entirely by volunteers from the Rotary Club of Babbacombe and St Marychurch, Tormohun. Please don’t miss Torquay’s traditional festive attraction, delighting generations of families year after year! We are incredibly proud to help Father Christmas meet as many people as he can whilst he stays in Torquay. the grotto can be found in Fleet Walk (the upper walkway), Torquay.

The Holly Ball
Participatory Event
The Holly Ball

One of the hottest social events on the calendar. This years Holly Ball is being held on the 21st of December 2018 at The Grand Hotel, Torquay. Guaranteed to be a sell out event, you need to be quick off the mark to secure your tickets. Promising a night of glamour, stunning ball gowns, sharp tuxes, grandeur and sophistication. The best Live bands and music will have you dancing the night away! General tickets go on sale first week of September 2018.

Winter Fest - Torre Abbey
Fete/Fair
Winter Fest - Torre Abbey

Following the huge success of last year's inaugural Winter Fest, we will be again hosting this craft and gift fair in the historic setting of the Abbey. Torre Abbey will be filled with stalls (thirty!) selling truly unique crafts and Christmas gifts. You can expect seasonal music, a Christmas trail and some indulgent nibbles and beverages. This promises to be a charming event in the heart of Torquay and the perfect opportunity to dig out those Christmas jumpers and get into the Winter Fest spirit.  Entry price includes entry to the Abbey. 10:00 to 17:00 Suitable for all ages Tickets - £2.00 1196 Club members - Free

Mother Goose
Christmas
Mother Goose

Paignton’s wonderful pantomime is back with the family favourite tale of Mother Goose.  Book early for the best seats! Dates: Thursday 20 December at 7.30pm Friday 21 December at 7.30 pm Saturday 22 December at 1 pm and 5 pm Sunday 23 December at 1 pm Wednesday 26 December at 2.30 pm Thursday 27 December at 7.30 pm Friday 28 December at 7.30 pm Saturday 29 December at 1 pm and 5 pm Sunday 30 December at 1 pm Tuesday 1 January at 2.30 pm Wednesday 2 January at 7.30 pm

Jack and the Beanstalk
New Year
Jack and the Beanstalk

Wonder Productions are pleased to be returning back to the Palace Theatre to close this years’ 6 week national tour of Jack and the Beanstalk. Times are hard for the Trott family; they have no money which means they can’t afford to pay the rent. The only thing they have of any value is their beloved cow, which they decide they have to sell. But when Jack is sent to market to do the terrible deed, he comes home with nothing but a handful of moldy old beans – and that’s when the magic really begins! Join Jack on his GIANT adventure as he climbs the beanstalk to an enchanted land of excitement and adventure, where he must rescue his friends and family from the ‘Fee-Fi-Fo-Fum’ of one very hungry giant!

Christmas Crackers
Seasonal
Christmas Crackers

How do you make Christmas Crackers? It’s essential you have something colourful, preferably with some sparkle to wrap them with, jokes and trinkets to insert, and lastly but most importantly that little something that goes pop! The Babbacombe Theatre has all you will need, to ensure this yuletide season, your festive celebrations include the very best box of Christmas Crackers for you to enjoy with your family and friends. Now you have the necessities, let’s crack on with putting it together. Some of the best comedic one liners and funny stories will be a part of our Christmas Crackers - no silly jokes in sight. Andy Oakley returns as the ever-popular headlining act with even more side-splitting sketches that will make you laugh

Lanterns, Lights and ‘luminations
Show/Display
Lanterns, Lights and ‘luminations, Brixham, Devon

Brixham will celebrate its Christmas Lights Switch on with a ‘Lanterns, Lights and ‘luminations’ parade. Venue: The Quay, Middle Street, Fore Street, Strand, Kings Street. Brixham Christmas Lights Switch On Event.  10 am to 1 pm - A FREE Lantern Making Workshop will be held in the Scala Hall 1 pm -  6pm family entertainment, street food and music  *5 pm - Lantern parade.  6 pm - fireworks display and the official switching on of the Brixham Christmas Lights *Please note, NO lanterns are released during this event. Only battery powered lights are permitted.

Christmas at Cockington Court
Christmas
Christmas at Cockington Court, Cockington, Torquay, Devon

In the lead up to Christmas, every weekend in December there will be pop-up family activities to enjoy while you browse our galleries and craft studios to find unique, handmade gifts and enjoy delicious treats in our tea rooms. Come and shop at your leisure and select your gifts from hundreds of luxury handmade products from jewellery, chocolate, slate gifts, traditional wooden toys, hand crafted leather goods, ceramics, mosaics there is something for everyone.

Torbay Coast and Countryside Trust - Christmas Hamper Workshop
Workshop
Torbay Coast and Countryside Trust - Christmas Hamper Workshop

Come along and create your own Christmas Hamper, filling it with delicious treats on a truly festive day. Learn how to make a selection of both sweet and savoury treats to share with family and friends. 10.00am - 4.00pm Meeting point: Occombe Farm Cookery School Price: £75 Suitable for: Adults Additional information: Booking essential. Please inform us of any dietary requirements prior to booking.

Paignton Lions Club Walk into the Sea
Charity
Paignton Lions Club Walk into the Sea

Our Boxing Day "Walk in to the Sea" started 26th December, 1976 and from what was a "one-off" it has been a major Christmas Holiday attraction ever since. Numerous charities benefit from the events and only once have we had to cancel due to weather warnings and concerns from the Coast guards. See separate page for details THE WALK IN THE SEA IS ALWAYS HELD AT 12.00 AM ON BOXING DAY. Entry is £5.00 for under 18s £10.00 for Adults all money raised is used to support local good causes Sponsorship forms are available if you wish to obtain sponsors for your brave efforts on the day

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