Exeter Christmas market has been identified as one of the top five Christmas markets in the UK in 2018 putting Devon firmly on the map this festive season. Dartmoor is located close by, and also has a number of wonderful offerings for all the family this Christmas. It doesn’t just offer a Christmas market, it also has a Christmas express train, llama walks and a huge choice of Christmas trees.
Ride the Christmas express
The Train to Christmas Town departs from Dartmoor Railway Okehampton Station and is an adventure for all the family. It is based on the children’s book by Peggy Ellis. Once aboard the train, the cast of the book will join you, including Bumblebee the bear and Wabash the squirrel. You can book tickets now and classes vary from premium, where a keepsake mug is included, or standard. Both include a visit from Father Christmas and hot chocolate.
Try Llama walking
If you wrap up warm and fancy doing something totally different with the children, then try a hot chocolate llama walk. Dates are available throughout December at Dartmoor Llama Walks. Alternatively, there are numerous Christmas Tree festivals throughout Devon where ‘trees’ may be made out of literally anything. In the past this has included drainpipes and sweet wrappers, so anything goes and provides spectacular viewing. The Tavistock festival runs until 9 December at St Eustachius’ Church.
National Trust visits
On the edge of Dartmoor is the National Trust treasure of Lydford Gorge, near Tavistock. Take a winter walk to the highest waterfall in South West England, the Whitelady Waterfall, and then reward yourself in the café after.
Other Christmas treats
Children can also meet Father Christmas at the historic House of Marbles pottery making site in Bovey Tracey. There are no tickets available to book in advance, but he will be in his grotto every weekend until Christmas and 20 and 21 December. On 8 December Newton Abbott will be hosting it’s annual Chrsitmas Fayre at the racecourse, offering stalls, music and miniature pony rides. You can’t beat the pine scented wonder of a real Christmas tree. Choose a tree or wreath from an award-winning selection and make it a family day out. Norway Spruce is the traditional Christmas tree, but you can also opt for a Noble, Fraser or a Nordman fir, which all differ slightly in appearance, smell and durability.
Where to stay
If you want to enjoy a family Christmas and let someone else do the cooking then you can stay at the Moorland Hotel or Bovey Castle which offer somewhere to eat, drink and be merry over the Christmas period. Alternatively, if you’re not local and you don’t fancy a hotel then you could try a cosy holiday cottage where you can eat when you want, stay in your pajamas and let the children help with the cooking.
Whether you are Dartmoor local resident or a visitor, there’s plenty to entertain the family this Christmas. There’s options to meet Father Christmas on or off a train and different National Trust locations. There’s no excuse not to get into the festive spirit this December.