December in Cornwall is rugged, romantic and occasionally stormy, making it perfectly matched with open fires, red wine and plenty of coastal exploring. The fishing villages are putting on their best displays – bejeweled in Christmas lights that twinkle on the water. Miles of sandy beaches stretch ahead with a few dog walkers as your only company and the Christmas markets are abuzz with the best local produce.
Contrary to what many people believe about Cornwall in winter, there is so much going on that’s not to be missed! We’ve put together our early picks of the key events that you’ll want to experience.
1.Padstow Christmas Market
Running from Thursday 5th – Sunday 8th December, the Padstow Christmas Festival is a foodie haven. This famous Christmas market is full to the brim with some of the best Cornish food and drink producers from across the county. Find your perfect Christmas cheese, or charcuterie selection for the festive table (that’s if you can keep your hands off it until you get home). Take the opportunity to saunter around the pretty harbour or book yourself in for lunch at one of the renowned restaurants (Prawn on the Lawn, Paul Ainsworth’s No. 6 and Rick Stein’s The Seafood Restaurant to name but a few) – just make sure you book ahead!
2. Mousehole Christmas Lights
Famous throughout Cornwall and beyond, the Mousehole Christmas lights delight spectators, bringing them from far and wide to see the harbour-side display. Lights adorn both buildings and boats across the harbour, reflecting on the water to magical effect.
Saturday 14th December will see the Mousehole lights switch-on event, and they will continue to shine each evening between 5pm and 11pm from 15th December 2019 until 4th January 2020 (aside from the 19th December between 8-9pm).
3. Take a Spa Day
Sometimes the tolls of winter and anxieties around creating the perfect Christmas can be remedied with a bit of time out. Spa days and breaks are the perfect way to take a little time away, regroup and refresh ready to take in the festive the period. The Scarlet’s Coccon Spa Day begins with a cleanse and soak in our beautiful copper tub filled with softening and detoxifying salts, to get you perfectly ready for a luxurious oil massage. Of course, if you are staying with us you can choose a number of Ayuvedic-inspired treatments tailored to you. If you’re not sure which treatment to choose, just ask the team who will be able to recommend the perfect treatment for how you are feeling there and then.
4. Coastal walks and drives
We’ve already mentioned the sunsets, but did you know that one of the most romantic places in Cornwall to watch the sun go down is just minutes away? Take the coastal path with dramatic views over the ocean until you reach the majestic Bedruthan Steps, then just sit back and enjoy the breathtaking view. We’ll even make you your own flask of tea to take with you.
Of course, in our beautiful county there is no end of romantic walks and drives where you can take in everything nature has to offer. The reward of a roaring log fire in a cosy pub at the end of a long walk can’t be beaten.
Considered to be one of the most scenic drives in the UK, the road that runs from St Ives to Sennen (B3306) enjoys magnificent sweeping views across the West Cornish Coast and beyond, and at this time of year you may even get it to yourself. En route, you can stop off at Zennor, visit the historic 13th Century Church, and then take a pew by the fire at the historic Tinners Arms that dates back to 1271.
Or continue the drive through the Penrith Heritage Coast, one of Cornwall’s Areas of Outstanding Beauty, until you reach The Tinners’ Way, a public footpath across the countryside that will take you all the way to Cape Cornwall. There are plenty of stopping places on this part of the road to sit and soak up the atmosphere, and then there’s always the stunning Coastal Path over cliffs rising 60m above the crashing waves…
Another great place a bit further on to unwind by a blazing fire is the Gurnard’s Head.
And it’s not only humans that can have fun at this time of year. If you’ve brought your dog with you, why not let them have a day out too? Salty Sea Dogs will not only come and collect your furry friend from the hotel, he or she will be taken to a secure paddock for a romp around, make some new friends, and return exhausted and fulfilled with a bag of homemade dog treats and a stocking!
5.Festive magic at the National Trust
With a number of National Trust properties around Cornwall putting on festival displays you will be spoilt for choice. From the magnificent dried flower garlands at Cotehele, to the decked halls of Trelissick house, the drive will be worth it.