Our favourite Christmas days out

Over the past 6 years, I have enjoyed some fab Christmas days out with my little ones and I thought I’d pop a few below to inspire you in the lead up Christmas. In the world of social media, it’s so hard to see other people’s feed and question if you’re doing enough (I do it too) and this list is not supposed to add to that weight that we all feel, but instead give you some ideas to choose from that might work well for your family this year… remember there’s always next year too…

Cutting our Christmas tree at a Christmas Tree Farm

I have such fond memories of choosing the Christmas tree with my Daddy, we would go to the local florist and other sellers and keep searching until we found the perfect one… looking back my mum had probably insisted that we were out the house for a few hours, but back then I loved the excitement and the chase of going to multiply shops to find the perfect spruce for our home. I am so pleased to have discovered last year, our own new family tradition for here in Devon (that doesn’t involve lots of shops!). Wandering among the growing acres of Christmas trees is so exciting. The views of trees going on for miles and the Devonshire hills beyond is amazing. And playing hide and seek is pretty fun too! Some places you get to cut the tree – others they cut it for you. Needless to say the pics are great as it the memory we are creating. We go to Ashburton Christmas Trees.

Marldon Christmas Tree Farm
The North Pole, Totnes Road, Marldon, TQ3 1RR

Ashburton Christmas trees
The nearest postcode is TQ13 7EZ, we are on Google maps.

Christmassy experiences

Cotley Farm

This is on my list every year. We’ve bought Christmas trees from here in the past (now I try to buy my husband’s office tree from here as we love the cut our own tree experience for ours!) There is a nativity scene and the pigs have generally just had piglets and they are very cute. But the best bit has to be feedingsome wonderful real reindeers to feed their special mossy treat! The staff are all fabulous too and one took the time to tell us the secret of how the reindeers use the hill opposite to take off and start their Christmas journey! They have a lovely Christmas shop where we bought some new decorations for the tree and you can order turkeys from them too.

Pennywell Farm

We’ve been for the past two years and absolutely love their Christmas experience. I think I can say it was our favourite experience to do together – perfect for younger children. There’s a nativity narrated and the children (who can dress up if they like) knock on the real stable doors and the real donkey is led round the courtyard. Then, we headed to the barn for Mary to have her baby and sing carols while the children added to the musical experience with percussion! The play barn with cookies and milk and mince pices and mulled wine along with a letter to post in their box to Santa, was lovely and the inflatables great fun. There’s a tractor ride, animal cuddling and a fabulous visit to Father Christmas which was so wonderful. The present (a unicorn in a little carry case) was one of my daughters favourites from all of Christmas! We left in the dark feeling very festive indeed.

Bear town

It’s a fabulous play town perfect for a rainy day and is set up with 12 different role play areas complete with fancy dress to really get in the zone. From hairdressers to a bank vault with gold bars, and a prison with a get away tunnel into the builders yard they really have thought of loads of great playful ideas to help immerse both you and your little ones into play. I love going with my kiddos and they love it too. The Christmas visit is brilliant too as there is no queuing – instead you get given a buzzer which goes off when it’s your turn to see the big man. The grotto was fabulously decorated and during covid had a fun present delivery slide (of a book).

National Trust Property

We often enjoy a trip to Killerton during the festive period to have a walk in the grounds and to see the beautiful house all decorated. In recent years they have decorated the house as a home, with enormous trees and beautiful decorations. There are generally things to spot in all the rooms and a trail to keep little ones interested while walking round the grounds. I love combining a walk and a wander – seems a perfect match, with something for everyone.

Santa at Princesshay Lodge 2022

I’ll be honest – I’ve always overlooked the lodge as a Father Christmas visit, but I was so wrong! The magic starts with Bubbles – one of the elves – who gives the children a wooden counter to then give to Father Christmas so he knows how many children would like presents this year. It continues when stepping into the grotto – beautifully decorated with Christmas trees, baubles spilling out of drawers and baskets, the big man’s sleigh piled high with wrapped presents and of course fairy lights.

But really, the whole visit depends on the magic of Father Christmas and wow did he have it in abundance! He really was incredible – so chatty, lots of anecdotes, and the children (and I!) loved him! (Thankfully he also said that he doesn’t deliver live animals so my little girl has to rethink her gift! 😂) Honestly, I’ve been telling anyone who will listen what great form he was on in the lodge – well worth a visit.

You don’t need to book and I love that there are even makaton signed sessions. More info at www.princesshay.com/Santa


We love wandering among the beautiful lights, and there are lots about, so much so that i’ve created a separate post for it: Sparkling and Glowing Christmas Light Trails 2022. We’ve enjoyed RHS Rosemoor and Powderham and Sidmouth’s Connaught Gardens together which were all great. Check the post out for all the prices and what to expect there. This year we have kindly been invited to all three (previously have paid for them) so keep an eye on socials for videos of what to expect.

Bundle the kids in the car in their PJs and drive round town to find the best decorated houses. Always fun. Myrtle Road in Exeter has previously been great and if you’re wanting to go during the day then the gingerbread house in Chantry Meadow, Alphington is amazing.

Garden centres- lots of people love a visit to see the lights and the Christmas decorations at local garden centres, espeically Otter Nurseries, which has a fabulous display and great place to go if you need to buy things. I however found this stressful when my oldest was younger and was constantly saying ‘no – don’t touch!’ but so many people recommend it, I thought I’d put it here! If you’ve got an easy going child then this is a great one to do!

Christmas keepsakes

When my youngest was born we were lucky to be invited by Em to her newly opened pottery studio Something Lovely Pottery in Sidmouth. We made a Christmas bauble with both my children’s hand prints on and it’s such a beautiful and special one to hang on the tree. I have one for both my children’s first Christmases. The first year for my daughter, we just used paint at home but the paint is starting to chip so we have to be super careful, the glazed gifted bauble from the pottery studio with both my children’s handprints on has no risk of chipping. Em has kindly offered a Little Devon discount – so be sure to mention it if you go or join us on November 28th 2022 for our Pottery Painting Meet up.

There are lots of other wonderful traditions too, where you cut a piece of ribbon the height of your child and pop it in a fillable bauble like these along with the year or maybe a drawing they did that year.

I’ve made Christmas cards with green footprints and then decorating to look like a tree, we’ve also done this with wrapping paper but the stress of leaving it to dry and trying not to crumple it only to find when you wrap the presents that lots of the decoration gets hidden means that I wont be doing it again!

Instead, I’ve recently discovered the beautiful Festive Fingerprints award winning fingerprint card and gift wrap kits – much easier and so very gorgeous. I also love Casey’s idea of writing a letter to your children each year on one of her cards. She’s also made this super cute free download for your little one to write a letter to Father Christmas.

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Author: Little Devon

Enter your email address below to receive occasional updates on Days Out, Classes and Groups and everything little people related.

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