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Twixmas in Devon: Things to do between Christmas and New Year 2023-24

Twixmas in Devon: Things to do between Christmas and New Year 2023-24

Twixmas – that most awkward time of year. Christmas has come and gone with a bang and you’ve now got a whole week or more to fill before the kids go back to school. What is a family to do? Well, let me be your slightly off season fairy godmother as I share a few ideas for transforming these lacklustre days into something special. Here’s my guide to things to do in Devon between Christmas and New Year 2023-24.

Please check full details with organisers and venues as some may not be open on bank holidays or have reduced opening hours.

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Cheap and FREE things to do between Christmas and New Year

Children playing with wheel on playground at Decoy Country Park

Christmas is expensive – fact! That’s why Ive put together a guide of free things to do this Christmas.

But if you are watching the pennies after the big day here’s some ideas for cheap and free ways to entertain the kids and work off some of that Christmas pudding:

Here’s some more outdoor activities to check out and, of course, my big round up of free things to do in Devon.

Please check what’s open before you travel as some places have seasonal opening times and may require booking in advance.

Pantomimes: what’s on between Christmas and New Year

Pantomimes are still putting on a show around the county. Oh yes thy are!

Five Children and It at Exeter Phoenix Theatre – selected dates until 28 December 2023

This Christmas, join the Psammead and five children for a fresh, festive take on a childhood classic, as E. Nesbit’s beloved children’s book is retold by Quirk Theatre.

Find out more and book tickets on the Exeter Phoenix website.

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs at Pavilions Teignmouth – selected dates until 30 December 2023

Join the Teignmouth Players for this traditional pantomime with slapstick, songs, dances, and humour.

Find out more and book on the Pavilions website.

Jack and the Beanstalk at Barnfield Theatre in Exeter – 30 to 31 December 2023

Join Jack on his GIANT adventure as he climbs the beanstalk to an enchanted land of excitement and adventure, where he must rescue his friends and family from the ‘Fee-Fi-Fo-Fum’ of one very hungry giant!

Find out more and book tickets on the Exeter Northcott website.

Beauty and The Beast at Princess Theatre, Torquay – selected dates until 31 December 2023

The cast of Beauty and the Beast pantomime at Princess Theatre in Torquay

This Festive season panto magic will be sprinkled in abundance at the Princess Theatre in Torquay as it welcomes a new, multi-award-winning pantomime production company to the venue.

The cast of Beauty and the Beast includes Sue Holderness as Malevolent, Katy Ashworth as Fairy Formidable, Michael Neilson as Dame Derriere, Kevin James as Potty Pierre, Hannah Everest as Belle, and Benjamin Purkiss as Prince/Beast.

Find out more and book tickets for Beauty and the Beast.

Sleeping Beauty at Queens Theatre, Barnstaple – selected dates until 31 December 2023

Be transported to a land far, far away. A land of enchanted castles, handsome princes, wicked fairies and fire breathing dragons. 

Sleeping Beauty is a magical tale where dreams really do come true, but there is nothing sleepy about this panto as you will be laughing all the way to a happy ever after. 

Find out more and book tickets for Sleeping Beauty.

Aladdin at the Palace Theatre, Paignton – selected dates until 1 January 2024

Paignton Pantomime Productions will be back on stage this year with Aladdin this Christmas.

It’s set to be a spectacular traditional pantomime full of colour, song, dance, wit and audience participation.

For more information and to book tickets, see The Palace Theatre Paignton website.

Beauty and the Beast at Exmouth Pavilion – selected dates until 1 January 2024

Trio Entertainment return to Exmouth Pavilion for this year’s Magical Christmas Pantomime Beauty and the Beast.

In a tale that’s as old as time, it’s time to discover what it takes for true love to conquer all! 

Find out more and book tickets.

Sleeping Beauty at Exeter Corn Exchange – until 1 January 2024

Following a wild and wacky record-breaking performance of ‘Cinderella’ in 2023, Exeter Corn Exchange is going for the classic ‘Sleeping Beauty’ this Christmas.

The show stars regular favourites, Matt Finegan and Will Trafford, who will be joined by the fabulous singing star Rachel Modest from BBC’s ‘THE VOICE’ who Tom Jones described as ‘the greatest singer the show ever heard’.

Set in an enchanted fairytale world, with dazzling costumes and the traditional panto magical scenery this festive show will put you in the perfect mood for Christmas with laughs for all the family!

Find out motor and book tickets on the Exeter Corn Exchange website.

Born to Sleigh with Paulos Circus at Greendale Farm Shop – selected dates until 7 January 2024

Promotional image for Paulos Circus at Greendale Farm

Enter Paulos yuletide big top this winter for an experience stuffed fuller than a Christmas stocking.

With gravity-defying aerialists, breathtaking acrobatics and plenty of laughter, ‘Born to Sleigh!’ promises to be more christmassy than Father Christmas’s lucky Christmas underpants. At least that’s what the promotional material says!

Find out more and book tickets on the Christmas Circus website.

Dick Whittington at the Northcott Theatre, Exeter – selected dates until 7 January 2024

Following the record-breaking smash-hit Robin HoodExeter Northcott and Le Navet Bete are teaming up once again to bring you an unmissable family panto for this Christmas – Dick Whittington!

Expect plenty of laughs, great music, amazing special effects and full-on-fun for every generation with this fabulous rags-to-riches tale.

Book tickets on the Northcott Theatre website.

Goldilocks and the three Bears at Theatre Royal Plymouth – selected dates until to 13 January 2024

Goldilocks and the Three Bears written in gold on purple and red background

With sets and costumes from The London Palladium, this promises to be a spectacular pantomime you’ll not want to miss.

This festive extravaganza is packed with riotous comedy, extraordinary special effects, hair-raising stunts and international circus acts!

Find out more and book tickets for Goldilocks.

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Events happening between Christmas and New Year in Devon

Wondering what’s on in Devon between Christmas and New Year?

Here’s some festive events that continue over Twixmas:

Bubblicious family raves with the Soapbox Theatre, Plymouth – 31 December 2022

Join The Soapbox Theatre for a special family-friendly dance party to celebrate New Year’s Eve.

There will be a session for families with babies and for older kids with music lowered for little ears. Both events take place earlier in the day with the clocks reset so children can see in the New Year at their own ‘midnight’!

Guest DJ’s will play an eclectic mix of dance music from old skool to new skool. There will also be glow sticks, UV face painting, bubbles, walkabout performers, an arts and crafts chill-out area and lots more to keep everyone entertained.

For adults there will be a licensed bar.

Bubblicious, The Soapbox Theatre, Devonport, 31 December 2023.

Plymouth Winter Wonderland – until 1 January 2024

Plymouth’s brand new winter wonderland will continue into the New Year.

This event in Central Park has a real ice rink, fairground rides, food stalls and live entertainment.

Find out more about Plymouth Winter Wonderland in Central Park.

Bay of Lights – daily until 8 January 2023

Family walking under tree wrapped in fairy lights at Bay of Lights illuminated trail event

A brand new and free light trail is happening along the seafront in Torquay this winter.

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.

Here’s a snapshot of what to expect at the Bay of Lights illuminated trail:

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Attractions open this Twixmas in Devon

Check out my full guide to Devon attraction winter open times and things to do. Lots of places are ready to welcome you for walks, family fun and indoor activities to help you work off some of your Christmas indulgences.

And here’s some attractions that have special events running between Christmas and New Year too:

Train of Lights at Dartmouth Steam Railway – selected dates until 30 December

Girl in front of Train of Lights

This magical illuminated journey through the South Devon countryside is a special Twixmas treat that all ages will enjoy.

Board the vintage train carriages decked with thousands of fairy lights at Paignton and take a round trip to Kingswear. Along the way there will be a festive show at Churston Station and plenty of sparkle along the track.

Tickets must be bought in advance.

Read about our experience of the Train of Lights.

Find out more about the Train of Lights at Dartmouth Steam Railway, Paignton.

Glow at RHS Rosemoor, Great Torrington – selected dates until 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 about Glow at RHS Rosemoor near Great Torrington.

Christmas at Powderham Castle – until 31 December 2023

Powderham Castle illuminated with rainbow lights

Powderham Castles light walk continues between Christmas and New Year along with indoor festive displays.

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

Find out more about Christmas at the Castle, Powderham Castle, near Exeter.

Christmas Wonderland Illuminations at Babbacombe Model Village – selected dates until 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 which opens between Christmas and New Year.

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 visiting Babbacombe Model Village in Torquay.

Zooluminate light trail at Dartmoor Zoo – selected dates until 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.

GloWild at Paignton Zoo – selected dates until 2 January 2024

GloWild promotion image

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

GlowWild is an after-dark immersive light experience 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.

Santa Escape room in Bovey Tracey – until 7 January 2024

Frosty is dreaming of a white Christmas so that he can see all of his friends and family during the festive holidays. Can you and your team help his dream come true?

Tackle this festive escape room as a family for a unique Christmas experience. This activity us is designed for children aged seven and over.

Find out more about Santa Escape – Frosty’s Christmas Wish at Escape the Game, Pottery Road, Bovey Tracey.

Toys and Treats Trail at Sidmouth Donkey Sanctuary – daily until 8 February 2024

Donkeys in their barn at The Donkey Sanctuary Sidmouth
Picture credit: The Donkey Sanctuary Sidmouth

Sidmouth Donkey Sanctuary’s winter trail is themed around Toys and Treats giving visitors the chance to find out about the adoption donkeys’ favourite kind of enrichment.  

The sanctuary’s 200 resident donkeys love to forage for their treats and play with their toys which helps to exercise, excite and entertain them.

Trail sheets cost £5 each and include a prize on completion.

Sidmouth Donkey Sanctuary is free to visit and also has a play area, daily talks, engaging hands-on exhibits, a maze to explore and miles of walkways.  

Find out more about the trail on the Donkey sanctuary website.

Devon National Trust places to visit this Twixmas

Festivities continue at Devon’s National Trust places which always make a great place for a wintery walk. Please note that properties routinely close on Christmas Day and may be closed on Christmas Eve and Boxing Day. Check the National Trust website before you travel.

Here’s what’s open and where you’ll find winter trails to entertain the kids:

Arlington Court near Barnstaple – open daily between 18 and 31 December 2023

Stable decorations for Christmas at Arlington Court and the National Trust Carriage Museum, Devon
Picture credit: National Trust, Hannah Burton

See Arlington House decorated in all the splendour of a Victorian Christmas, from the sumptuous dining room and the Ante Room to the White Drawing Room, where the family traditionally opened their presents, to the Staircase Hall with a 16ft real Christmas tree and decorated balustrades.

Next head out on a wintery adventure and take part in the free festive family fun activity trail to discover 10 of of the team’s favourite trees from its ‘200 trees for 200 years project’.

There’s also a Christmas Carol walk on selected dates in December where you can walk around the lake to find the giant ’12 days of Christmas’ baubles.

General admission is free for National Trust members.

Christmas at Arlington Court, near Barnstaple, Saturday to Monday from 18 November to 17 December and daily between 18 and 31 December.

Saltram in Plymouth – open daily from 24 November 2023 to 2 January 2024

Saltram House in Plymouth
Saltram House

Saltram’s 18th century pleasure garden will be brought to life within the walls of its luxurious house this Christmas as the National Trust brings the outside in.

Each room will transport you into a beautiful festive landscape, with wow moments around every corner and some woodland friends to lead you on your Christmas adventure. 

There’s also a Christmas family trail for kids.

Find out more about winter opening at Saltram.

Greenway near Galmpton – 25 November to 31 December 2023

Visitor looking at map beside decorated tree at Greenway
©National Trust Images – James Dobson

Agatha Christie’s former holiday home will be hosting an outdoor trail with the theme ‘The Twelve Wreaths of Christmas’.

The house will also be decorated in a traditional Christmas style and there will be free festive crafts.

Admission to Greenway is free for National Trust members.

Find out more about visiting Greenway this Twixmas.

Coleton Fishacre near Brixham – open daily from 20 to 24 and 27 to 31 December 2023

Baubles on a traditional christmas tree
Picture credit: National Trust / Lauren Hutchinson

Embrace a chilly winter’s day with a magical experience at Coleton Fishacre this Christmas.

Inspired by the South Devon coastline in winter, the house is being dressed for ‘Winter Tide and Time’. There will be sparkling lights, interactive features and seasonal selfie stations.

Outside take a bracing walk around the coastal garden with its wonderful sea views and warm up with a treat at the cafe.

Admission is free for National Trust members.

Find out more about Twixmas at Coleton Fishacre

Knightshayes near Tiverton – selected dates from 2 December 2023 to 1 January 2024

Knightshayes Court Great Hall decorated for Christmas
©National Trust Images, Tony Cobley

Discover Victorian Christmas traditions as you explore the ground floor of Knightshayes house this Twixmas.

Each room will celebrate a different Christmas tradition from gift giving to ghost stories.

On selected nights the gardens are being lit up for a light trail.

General admission is free for National Trust members.

Find our more about visiting Knightshayes.

Buckland Abbey near Plymouth2 to 31 December 2023

The Great Barn at Buckland Abbey, near Plymouth opens its doors for Christmas with over a hundred twinkly trees and watery light illuminations.
Picture credit: National Trust

Step back in time at Buckland Abbey at its Tudor Frost Fair. The barn will be filled with trees and twinkling lights to create a beautiful and frosty display. 

Choirs will perform in the Great Barn throughout December and the Abbey will also be dressed for a very frosty Christmas. 

Please note that this is a historical and Christmas tree display, all stalls will be displays and will not have goods for sale. 

Admission is free for National Trust members.

Find out more about the Great Tudor Frost Fair at Buckland Abbey near Yelverton.

Heddon Valley Christmas trail – 16 December 2023 to 7 January 2024

Enjoy the great outdoors this Christmas and take part in the Heddon Valley Christmas trail. The route goes to the beach and back and is suitable for an all terrain pushchair. 

Unfortunately wheelchairs are not suitable for this route, however Trampers are available to hire. 

The trail is free to do and does not require booking.

Find out more about the Heddon Valley Christmas trail, near Parracombe.

Winter visits to Killerton near Exeter – open daily until 2 January 2024

Visit Killerton this winter to see the house decorated for a traditional Christmas. Outdoors there’s a festive activity trail as well as games in the garden.

In the Chapel you’ll find Christmas trees decorated by the local community.

Find out more about winter visits to Killerton.

Get ready for 2024!

What's on in Devon in January button

Can you believe that 2024 is just around the corner?! I know from experience that January can be a tough time to find things to do. But don’t worry! I’ve got your back with my guide to what’s on in Devon in January 2024.

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

If you know of an event or activity not in this guide to things to do between Christmas and New year or my guide to Winter in Devon, get in touch. It’s free to be listed!

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