Temperatures are dropping, the woolly scarves are coming out and mince pies are lining supermarket shelves: Christmas is just around the corner.
In the coming weeks South Devon will get well and truly into the festive spirit, with a calendar jam-packed with events – from a Christmas vintage fair to the opening of a giant ice rink.
So whether you’re looking for family fun, ways to celebrate the Christmas countdown with friends or just somewhere to do your shopping in style, South Devon has it covered.
Santa Steam Train
Meeting Santa is the highlight of Christmas for the little ones, but why not make it extra special by making the journey by train?
This December you can climb aboard a Santa Steam Train at Paignton, and travel to Kingswear. Mums and dads can enjoy a mince pie and a glass of mulled wine along the way, while the little ones have a biscuit.
Santa will then make his way around the train, handing a gift to each and every child.
There’ll be children’s rides at Paignton, and you can pick up some last-minute presents at the gift shop.
Santa Steam Trains will run on December 8, 9, 15, 16, 22, 23 and 24. Organisers warn Christmas Eve will sell out quickly, so book early to avoid disappointment.
South Devon Railway is hosting a similar Santa train - visit www.southdevonrailway.co.uk.
Christmas at Pennywell Farm
Christmas has, in the view of many, become too commercialised. So if you’re looking for a way to celebrate what Christmas is all about, this event is for you.
Between December 2 and 24 Pennywell Farm will be transformed into real life Nativity scene. There, little ones (and mums and dads) can dress up and star in a performance of Nativity plays.
And after the snow has fallen at the end of the performance, children can meet Santa in his grotto and receive a present. They can even see Santa’s reindeer, Dancer and Prancer.
A Christmas film will be shown in the Farmyard Theatre between performances, enjoyed with home-made Christmas biscuits and squash. For mums and dads there’ll be warm mince pies and mulled wine.
Booking is essential – go to www.pennywellfarm.co.uk or call 01364 642023.
Hang your Christmas decorations with pride this year by making some yourself.
In South Devon there’s no shortage of workshops where you can get into the festive spirit and take home gorgeous decorations with which to deck your halls.
With the help of experienced artists, learn how to craft glass and ceramic decorations at Hannahs Seasonal Workshop: Bells & Baubles on November 17.
The workshop, which runs from 10am to 12pm, costs £25 to attend. All materials will be provided, and refreshments will be available. To book, call 01626 325800. Visit www.discoverhannahs.org.
Alternatively, learn how to make a glass hanging decoration and a piece of jewellery at Devon Guild of Craftsmen on November 17.
The session, held by Guild Member Kim Atherton, runs from 10am to 4pm. Click here.
The Christmas Boat
If you’re looking for a festive day out with a difference, this could be just for you.
Sit back and enjoy a one-hour cruise from Dartmouth aboard a festive heated Christmas Boat, passing Kingswear, Britannia Royal Naval College, the village of Dittisham, Sir Walter Raleigh’s Boathouse, Greenway Quay and the Agatha Christie Estate of Greenway.
And why not treat yourself to a complimentary sherry and mince pie along the way?
Tickets cost £4. Click here for more information.
All Things Vintage and Lovely Christmas Fair
If you’re looking for gifts with a twist, why not head to the All Things Vintage and Lovely fair on December 1?
There you can peruse more than 60 stalls selling vintage, retro and handmade gifts and vintage fashion. There’ll also be carol singers, mulled wine and mince pies, and fashion shows.
Hosted by vintage furniture and accessories emporium Miss Ivy, this fair promises no shortage of gift ideas.
Admission to the fair, held at Imperial Hotel, Torquay from 10.30am until 4.30pm, is £1.50. Under-16s go free.
Alternatively, why not lend your support to Help for Heroes while doing some Christmas shopping by heading to the All Things Lovely fair on November 22?
This fair boasts more than 20 stalls selling unique handmade gifts, mulled wine and mince pies. There’ll also be a charity raffle for Help the Heroes.
The fair will take place at Bickley Mill between 5pm and 9.30 pm. Entry is free.
Brixham Christmas Light Switch On and Fireworks
Nothing says ‘Christmas’ quite like the warm glow of lights, so watching the Brixham switch on is a must.
On November 24 the Quay will be full of Christmas cheer, with family entertainment from midday. As the night draws in the streets will be illuminated, and a magical firework display will bring in Christmas with a bang.
Lupton giant ice rink
Whatever your age, ice skating is a must over the festive season. And where better to take to the ice than Lupton giant ice rink?
Set in the rolling grounds of Lupton House, this is an ice rink like no other. Snow machines ensure it’s a white Christmas whatever the weather, and you can warm up after an icy glide with turkey and stuffing baps with all the trimmings, mulled wine, and more.
The ice rink is open on December 21, 22 and 23. Tickets are £10. Visit www.discoverlupton.com.
Teign Artists Christmas Fayre
Christmas is the perfect time to show your loved ones you care, and what better way than with a unique gift they can treasure?
From November 17 to 23, peruse a wide range of paintings, sculptures and photographs, textiles, jewellery and cards, crafted by local artisans.
Held at the TAAG Art Centre, Northumberland Place, Teignmouth, the fayre is the perfect place to find a gift that says ‘I love you’.
Find out more here.