Mulled wine, mince pies and plenty of local produce for sale… It can only be the Exeter Christmas Market, an annual festive tradition in the Devonian capital. And this year, for the first time ever, the market has been organised by the Cathedral, meaning that a real emphasis has been placed on promoting local businesses from Exeter and other places around South West England.
2021 Exeter Christmas Market Dates: Thursday 18 November – Saturday 18 December 2021
- Will the Exeter Christmas Market take place in 2021?
- Introducing Exeter
- Exeter Christmas Market: Feeling festive in Devon
- Christmas Activities in Exeter: What else is on?
- Enjoyed reading this guide on how to visit Exeter Christmas Market? Pin this article now, read it again later:
Will the Exeter Christmas Market take place in 2021?
Please note that, while the majority of big Christmas Markets across Europe (such as in Switzerland and Germany) have been cancelled, they are currently set to go ahead as planned in England. As such, the Exeter Christmas Market is set to actually take place.
Due to the ongoing health crisis, the 2020 Exeter Christmas Market was unfortunately cancelled. The last time the Christmas market was held in the British town was in 2019.
Home to plenty of Harry Potter inspiration, a quirky and award-winning museum and a surprising amount of Roman history, Exeter has been inhabited for thousands of years. The city of Exeter lies along the River Exe and has a population of just under 130,000- making it perfect for a weekend getaway.
One of the city’s oldest buildings is Exeter Cathedral, which dates all the way back to the 12th-Century. The green in front of the ecclesiastical building is known as the ‘Cathedral Green’ and is the location for the annual Christmas Market, which is free to visit.
Exeter Christmas Market: Feeling festive in Devon
At the end of every year, on Exeter Cathedral Green (and very close to the door that inspired the Room of Requirement in the Harry Potter series), an annual Exeter Christmas Market is held. Each seemingly outgrows the last and the Christmas extravaganza only gets bigger as the years go on.
For just over a month, from mid-November to mid-December, the green space is transformed into a winter wonderland. Admission is free and a visit is perfect for getting you in the holiday mood. Up to eighty Bavarian style chalets are installed on the Green (after all, the tradition of Christmas markets literally began in Bavaria).
Covered in twinkling fairy lights, once at the Exeter Christmas market you’ll find a variety of products on sale. This means that if you’re doing your Christmas shopping, you’re sure to find plenty of options on offer in terms of gifts! Many of the products are produced locally, while others are sourced internationally, ensuring a huge range of things on offer.
Of course, as well as hats, scarves, snowglobes, stuffed toys (and pretty much every other artisanal gift you could imagine) on sale, there’s also a whole load of food stalls and drinks stands.
Personal favourites of mine include Flaming Good Pizza (fresh wood-fired pizza), Norcotts Cider (locally produced cider from Honiton), Figg’s Christmas Puddings (award winning Christmas puddings handmade in Devon) and Tabby Rabbit (illustrated/ handmade gifts made in Devon).
If there’s one thing Christmas markets across Europe are known for, it’s the delectable smorgasbord of treats on offer, of both the sweet and savoury variety. So if you’re looking for even more drool worthy foodie inspo, be sure to check out our Christmas market food guide, as much of the food listed can be found at the Exeter Christmas market!
Christmas Activities in Exeter: What else is on?
Enjoy the Christmas decorations
Elsewhere in the capital, you’ll find plenty of Christmas trees dotted around the city. Twinkling lights shine brightly every night in the run-up to Christmas on all major shopping streets. The official Christmas light switch on in 2021 is on Thursday the 18th November in Princesshay.
Some of the most extensive Christmas decorations in Exeter can be found in Princesshay pedestrianised shopping centre, at the Guildhall Shopping centre, and of course, at the Christmas Market itself. Head a little off the beaten path to Gandy Street for a truly magical illumination experience.
Late night shopping
If you’ve left your Christmas shopping ’til the last minute, not to worry because, throughout December, plenty of stores offer late night shopping each Thursday evening! Late night shopping is until 9 PM every Thursday from the 18th November in the lead up until Christmas day.
Enjoy a coffee (or hot cocoa) with friends
Coffee culture is alive and well in Exeter, and there is no better time to catch up with friends and loved ones than over a hot drink on a cold winter’s day. Some of my personal favourites when it comes to coffee shops and cafés in Exeter include March Coffee (87 South St), The Glorious Art House- read our full review here (120 Fore St), and EXE coffee roasters (19 Heavitree Rd).