Whether it’s a spot of Christmas shopping, festive music or delicious food and drink, there are many ways to get into the spirit of things in Devon this year. Sidmouth itself has a lovely, laid back elegance and more than a hint of old world charm, while visitors will also find some brilliant events and some of the best Christmas markets in Devon within just a short drive.
Nor is it too late to take a well-earned break. Naturally, as much fun as it involves, Christmas preparations can also involve some stress. A timely escape before the main rush can be just the tonic however, to bring you back to your best before all the fun starts. Here at The Bedford Hotel. We still have somespecial offers and availablility in November and December, to make the most of the local highlights at this magical time of year:
2015 Sidmouth Christmas Lights Switch On & Late Night Christmas Shopping:
For anyone visiting Sidmouth as Christmas approaches there are two important dates for the diary. First comes November 14th 2015, which is the official switch-on for the Sidmouth Christmas Lights. The town always makes a lovely, elegant effort and even confirmed Scrooges have been known to get a little misty-eyed.
Sidmouth itself is also a refreshingly different place to do a little Christmas shopping. You won’t find huge chain stores, but it is certainly rich in quality shops that specialise in gifts, arts and crafts. We have some fantastic galleries and artisan craft stores in particular that are well worth browsing.
4th December is probably the best day of all with a really sociable evening of late night Christmas shopping. Many shops not only keep their doors open longer, but are there to dispense mince pies and mulled wine to warm the spirits. There is no friendlier town in Devon and this is a wonderful time for a wander.
Christmas Nostalgia & The Snow Queen at Sidmouth Manor Pavilion Theatre (Various dates):
Another great aspect of Sidmouth at any time of year is the town’s love of theatre and performing arts. The Manor Pavilion Theatre always has a nicely varied line-up of shows to suit theatre fans of all tastes.
You could get your teeth into some drama or comedy throughout November and December, but if you wanted something unmistakably festive, there are some special shows to warm the heart this year. The Snow Queen (17-28th Nov 2015) from Ballet Theatre UK is perhaps the most eagerly anticipated of all. Featuring spellbinding costumes and sets, with a fine troupe of international dancers, it will appeal to dance fans of all ages.
Moving into December, there are also some good old fashioned musical performances too. Christmas Memories (10th Nov) takes a nostalgic look at past times with classic sing along songs, while A Swinging Christmas Evening (3rd Dec) spices the tradition mix up with boogie and swing styles. For prices, show times and ticket details for all performances, see the official theatre site: www.manorpavillion.com
A Classical Soundtrack to Autumn
Also worth a mention in the build up to Christmas is a wonderful performance from ISCA Emsemble, who will be performing a stirring set of pieces in their 2015 Autumn Concert(Sat 28th Nov) at Sidmouth Parish Church. A stirring selection of pieces include favourites from composers Sibelius, Tchaikovsky and Beethoven. Tickets can be bought from Paragon Books (38 High St, Sidmouth EX10 8EJ ) or call 01395 514516. Find out more at the ensemble’s own site: www.iscaensemble.org.uk
Exeter Christmas Market (EX1 1HS) Thurs 19 Nov –Sat 19th Dec 2015
Exeter’s Cathedral Green makes a beautifully festive setting for this festive fair, which takes the best of both local and continental traders. You never know quite what you might find either- from European style street food to artisan gifts. Perhaps the one absolute must is a cup of delicious, if slightly deadly Gluhwein from our German friends. Guaranteed to put some cheer in your heart and colour in your cheeks! There is no admission fee, it is only around half an hour’s drive from Sidmouth and the city itself also has plenty going on, with late night shopping till 8pm every Thursday from the 26th November.
2015 Christmas Shopping Fayre at Westpoint Fri 27-Sun 29 Nov, 9:30am-5:30pm
Also not far from Sidnouth, this growqing event features an impressive 300 stalls all in one place, making it one of the biggest Christmas markets in Devon. From the latest toys to antiques, designer gifts to edibles, there is a lot of variety here too. Admission is £3.50 for adults, but youngsters under 16 get in for free. Well worth a visit for a spot of gift shopping for any fussy relatives who need appeasing! See the official site for more information: www.christmasshoppingfayre.com