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.
Home to plenty of Harry Potter inspiration, a quirky museum and oodles of Roman history, Exeter has been inhabited for thousands of years. The city lies along the River Exe and has a population of just under 130,000- making it perfect for a weekend getaway. One of its oldest buildings is Exeter Cathedral, which dates all the way back to the 12th-Century and is the location for the annual Christmas Market.
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, here 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 artisinal 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).
Christmas Activities in Exeter: What else is on?
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.
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!
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.