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Christmas lights in Devon 2023

Christmas lights in Devon 2023

Want to see the switch on of Christmas lights in Devon or maybe wander through a glittering light trail? This post rounds up all the most sparkling events happening this Christmas.

Please note: it is now the winter season, so some events are weather dependant. Please check the organisers’ websites and social media for up-to-the-minute information.

Looking for more Christmas events in Devon? Check out my big Christmas guide, where to find Christmas Markets in Devon and my round up of festive experiences that are free.

Love Devon? Why not follow me on Instagram, join the Devon with Kids Facebook group and subscribe to my newsletter!

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Christmas light switch ons in Devon

Many of Devon’s shopping areas are set to light up during November and December offering a fun way to start the festive season and often free or cheap family entertainment.

You might also spot Santa! Please be aware that where grottos are planned you may need to pre-book, so start planning which events you’re going to attend now!

Here’s where to find Christmas lights being switched on in Devon in date order:

Exeter Christmas lights – 16 November 2023

Exeter’s Christmas lights will be switched on alongside a stunning new Christmas Tree in Princesshay Square. There will also be photo opportunities and a live show from the SPARK WorldBeaters street theatre troupe.

See the troupe perform three times during the evening at 5pm, 6pm and 7pm.

Find out more about Christmas in Exeter.

Plymouth City Centre Christmas lights switch on – 16 November 2023

The City Centre’s Christmas lights switch-on takes place in Amarda Way and includes family-friendly entertainment on the Piazza stage. Santa will also be making an appearance.

The event starts at 4pm with the lights due to be switched on at 6.20pm.

Find out more about what’s happening during the evening.

Drake Circus lights switch on in Plymouth – 16 November 2023

Drake Circus will also be switching on its Christmas lights on 16 November too.

From 3pm there will be mischievous street performers and a snow flurry before the big light switch on at 5pm. 

Find out more about the Drake Circus lights event.

Barbican Christmas lights – 18 November 2023

The Barbican Christmas lights sign
Picture credit: Plymouth City Council

There will be an afternoon of family fun ahead of the switching on of the Barbican Christmas lights in Plymouth.

Enjoy free entertainment and activities between midday and 6pm.

Dame Darcey Bussell DBE, Santa and nominated community heroes will switch on the Christmas lights at approximately 5.30pm.

Find out more about what’s on at the Barbican.

Topsham Christmas lights switch on – 24 November 2023

Head to Topsham for an evening of entertainment as the Christmas lights are switched on. There will be a samba band, puppetry to entertain the children and a festive procession.

The entertainment starts at 4.30pm and the lights will be switched on at 5pm.

Find out more about Topsham’s event timings.

Crediton Christmas lights event – 24 November 2023

Expect live music and entertainment as part of Crediton’s event to kick off Christmas.

Details will be available on the Facebook event page soon.

Find out more about Crediton’s Christmas lights.

Combe Christmas lights switch on in Ilfracombe – 24 November 2023

There will be music, entertainment and stalls around the War Memorial and High Street in Ilfracombe as the town prepares to turn on its Christmas lights.

The event takes place from 6pm to 8.30pm.

Find out more on the Combe Christmas Facebook page.

Dawlish Christmas lights switch on – 1 to 3 December 2023

There will be a Christmas light switch on event and Christmas markets on the Lawn and Strand in Dawlish.

Check the Dawlish Town Council Facebook page for the latest information about this year’s Christmas lights.

Exmouth Winter Festival and light switch on – 2 December 2023

This year’s Exmouth Winter Festival theme is ‘Fire and Ice’. This free event on The Strand starts at 3pm with music theatre on stage and walkabout performers.

The Christmas tree lights will be switched on at 7.30pm followed by late night shopping, a lantern parade and a fire show! 

We really hope you will join us for the start of what is promising to be a very festive season here in Exmouth.

Find out more about the programme for Exmouth Winter Festival.

Light Up Axminster parade and light switch on – 25 November 2023

Axminster’s Christmas lights will be lit as part of a lantern procession taking place between 4pm and 7.30pm in South Street.

There will be food stalls, children’s entertainment and live music.

The Christmas lights are due to be lit at 7pm.

Find out more on the Light Up Axminster Facebook page.

Newton Abbot’s Christmas lights – 25 November 2023

There will be daytime entertainment and street food in Courtenay Street before Father Christmas does the honours turning on the town’s lights at 5.30pm.

Find out more about the Christmas lights in Newton Abbot.

Lanterns, Lights and Luminations in Brixham – 25 November 2023

This popular event in South Devon returns in 2023 with a magical lantern parade, a firework display, live music, street entertainment, and a market.

This event is free to attend. Check the Brixham Town Council Facebook page for the latest event timings.

Find out more about Lanterns, Lights and Luminations in Brixham Habour.

Barnstaple Christmas lights switch on – 30 November 2023

Barnstaple will be combining its annual light switch on with its Christmas fayre. There will be an appearance by Father Christmas and his elves as well as carolling and more live music.

The event begins at 5pm and the lights will be switched on at 6pm.

Find out more about the event in Barnstaple.

Tavistock Christmas lights – 1 December 2023

A very Victorian Christmas lights switch on awaits visitors to Tavistock. Expect Dickensian costumes and roasted chestnuts as well as vintage entertainment throughout the evening.

The event begins at 5pm and the lights are due to be switched on at 5.45pm.

Find out more about what’s planned for Tavistock’s Lights switch on.

Bovey Tracey Christmas lights switch on – 2 December 2023

There will be carolling, festive food and entertainment in the run up to the lights being switched on in Bovey Tracey. Santa’s grotto will also be open.

The event starts at 2pm and the lights will switch on at 5pm.

Find out more about the switch on event in Bovey Tracey.

Bideford lights switch on – 3 December 2023

Head to Bideford Quay for an afternoon of festive fun before the lights are switched on.

The event with fairground rides, stalls and music starts at 12pm.

Find out more about what’s planned in Bideford.

Clovelly Village Christmas lights – 3 December 2023

Head to Clovelly to see the local brass band procession down to the harbour where there will be carols, a hog roast and other festive refreshments.

Don’t miss a visit from Father Christmas himself and seeing the entire village and harbour lit up.

The grand finale is a firework display to add even more sparkle to this opening event to the Clovelly Christmas season.

Entrance fee: £10 per car at the Visitor Centre after 2pm. All proceeds to RNLI.

Clovelly Christmas Lights, Clovelly Village, 3 December 2023.

Christmas light trails in Devon

Visiting a light trail is a favourite Christmas tradition for my family. Here’s where you can find them around Devon this year:

Winter-Fest Light Trail at Crealy near Exeter – 16 November to 23 December 2023

A brand new light trail is happening as part of Crealy Theme Park & Resort’s festive events.

Explore the park’s rides in the dark alongside magical winter light displays.

Find out more about Winter-Fest Light Trail at Crealy.

Glow at RHS Rosemoor – 16 November to 30 December 2023

Glow illuminations at RHS garden Rosemoor
Picture credit: RHS Garden Rosemoor

Make memories this festive season by exploring RHS Rosemoor’s magical trail of light and colour with six uplifting soundscapes to guide you through the garden rooms, woodlands and open spaces.

There will also be family entertainment every night.

Find out more and book tickets for Glow at RHS Rosemoor.

GloWild at Paignton Zoo – selected dates from 17 November 2023 to 2 January 2024

GloWild promo graphic

Paignton Zoo will be ending its centenary year in style with its biggest ever seasonal event. 

GlowWild is an after-dark immersive light experience that will feature a stunning array of giant illuminated animals, light tunnels and a silent disco.

Booking is essential and group rates are available.

Find out more about GloWild at Paignton Zoo.

Bay of Lights illuminated trail, Torquay – 1 December 2023 to 2 January 2024

Torquay waterfront during Bay of Lights illuminated light trail

The Bay of Lights light trail is returning to Torbay this winter and its free to do.

Enjoy a 1.5 mile route along Torquay seafront with glittering and unexpected surprises along the way including a light tunnel, prisms of light and a 12m high Christmas tree.

Find out more about the Bay of Lights in and around Torquay.

Christmas at Powderham Castle 1 to 31 December 2023

Powderham Castle illuminated with rainbow lights

Powderham Castle’s light walk returns this Christmas along with indoor festive displays.

See the Castle’s state rooms transformed for Christmas, wander the Christmas trail around the grounds and book after dusk tickets to experience the light trail.

Powderham Castle is in Kenton near Exeter.

Find out more about Christmas at the Castle.

Christmas Wonderland Illuminations at Babbacombe Model Village  selected dates from 2 to 31 December 2023

Illuminated small town models at Babbacombe Model Village
Illuminations at Babbacombe Model Village

Enter a magical miniature wonderland of festive lights at Babbacombe Model Village this Christmas.

There will be miniature seasonal scenes, a Christmas character spotter sheet and crazy golf. The Christmas lights are on from 3.30pm.

Find out more about Christmas at Babbacombe Model Village in Torquay.

Zooluminate light trail at Dartmoor Zoo – 8 December 2023 to 1 January 2024

Zooluminate returns bigger and better this winter. Take a wintery walk around the zoo site to see magical illuminations designed by JHAV, the team that brought you The Atlantic Project and Illuminate Festival of Light.

Dartmoor Zoo Supporter members can visit for free.

Find out more about Zooluminate at Dartmoor Zoo in Sparkford.


That’s all the Christmas light events I’ve spotted in Devon.

Know of an event I can add to my monthly guides? Submit a listing!

You might also like to take some Christmas present inspiration from my Devon gift guide. And here’s some very Devon stocking fillers!

Child's hand picking up one of the Devon with Kids colouring books
£5.95 each +P&P

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