As we rapidly approach December it is time once again to get excited about Christmas in Cornwall!
With the dark nights drawing in early at this time of year, whether you are already staying with us or living locally, there’s nothing better than getting out with friends and family and exploring the Christmas festivities in and around St Ives!
St Ives is always beautifully decorated with Christmas lights which light up the pretty harbour seafront, but my favourite part is wandering along the narrow and winding cobbled Fore Street at this time of year. Every year Christmas trees are put up above the many small independent shops, galleries, pubs, cafes, and restaurants, lighting up their Christmas window displays, it truly is a feast for the eyes as you walk along and look up at the brightly illuminated lights which transform the pretty shopping area of St Ives into a festive wonderland.
St Ives town runs an annual Christmas window competition, where many of the shops around the town compete to see who can win the coveted prize for the best dressed windows. So, you will have a visual feast while exploring all the wonderful shops that St Ives has to offer.
While exploring St Ives over the festive season you must visit one of the St Ives Christmas Markets,which run between 2nd to 4th December where you can shop for gifts from over 30 different artisan stalls, selling art, crafts and many other locally produced festive goodies, with live music too! There will be festive drinks and food on offer too, it’s full of Christmas cheer!
The festive lights and Christmas fun doesn’t end in St Ives though! There are many other wonderful Christmas lights to see – both nearby and further afield, so make the most of December and jump into your car with family and friends to explore these other fabulous events.
Mention Christmas lights in Cornwall and most of us immediately think of Mousehole. This stunningly beautiful seaside village situated on the pretty headland over looking Mounts Bay, is just a 15 minute drive from St Ives.
Mousehole is synonymous with Christmas lights. In past years there was an annual ceremony, which could see visitor numbers surpass 30,000! So, this year the organisers are doing their best to manage the large number of visitors by operating a staggered switch on over a few days.
Monday 12th December will see the first switch on, and further displays will be switched on daily until 17th December at 5pm, transforming the village, harbour and hillside into a festive wonderland for the next few weeks.
As Mousehole village is small with limited parking available, it will be a great idea to stagger your visit in conjunction with the switch on timings, or simply visit after 17th December when it should be less busy!
There are a handful of lovely shops, delis, cafes, restaurants and galleries to visit and of course, after all the excitement, why not finish the evening with a festive drink in the Ship Inn on the harbour front?
For more info visit: https://www.mouseholelights.org.uk/
A slightly less commercial venue, but equally impressive, you simply must visit the small hidden gem of Angarrack village, just on the outskirts of Hayle, a 10 minute drive from St Ives.
The annual incredibly impressive display of festive lights makes this a very special place to visit in December. Hugely popular with locals and visitors alike, the Angarrack lights are inspired by the twelve days of Christmas, with many to the lights being designed and built in the village itself.
The village residents create beautiful displays in their gardens for all to see, my personal favourite has always been the illuminated underwater display in the small stream flowing through the village by the bridge, a real treat!
Although the Eden Project is at least an hours drive from St Ives, it is well worth a visit this December.
In celebration of the festive season the Mediterranean Biome will feature live music with a festive orchestral experience featuring modern versions of well known Christmas tunes.
The Rainforest Biome will provide a festive enchanted Wonderland with brand new light displays featuring sparkly fairy lights, twinkling orbs and fibre optic illusions. The outdoor gardens will be beautifully dressed for the festive season to greet you as you arrive. And why not make your Christmas visit even more fun for the children and see Father Christmas and his newest helper Elfie!
To round off the perfect day take the family for some guaranteed fun onto the Eden project ice rink!
Please note: when planning a trip to the Eden Project it is best to book ahead and check the timings for the music, light shows, Father Christmas experience and Ice Skating
Penzance is only a short hop from St Ives, just 10 minutes by car. This year it has it’s “Christmas Lights Switch on” on Saturday 26 Novemberat 5pm, the lights will be switched on by Towns Mayor, and has the very appropriate theme of “By The Sea”.
Pop over earlier in the day to explore and embrace the Christmas spirit, with the Christmas Market open between 10.30am and 7pm. You will be able to browse an array of local artisan stalls for some inspiration whilst searching for that special Christmas gift.
Street entertainment and music will feature all day, and after the switch on there is a family friendly silent disco if you are feeling energetic. Keep an eye out for the popular entertainment the “Bash Street Kids” who will be out & about entertaining the crowd too!
There will also be a Christmas window competition which will see the town’s businesses competing to create the best festive window display, with a £250 first prize to the winner, so come and visit Penzance this Saturday.
Why not enjoy all these amazing Christmas Lights in Cornwall on a festive getaway this winter. It is not too late book yourself a Christmas holiday in one of our cosy fisherman’s cottages, luxury apartments or fabulous large family friendly houses, we have something for everything this Christmas & New Year!
Author: Tim Petersen 24/11/22