Last Updated on 21st November 2022 by Sophie Nadeau
Mulled wine, mince pies and plenty of local produce for sale… It can only be the Exeter Christmas Market, an annual festive tradition which is held in the heart of the Devonian capital. The Devonian market is now 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.
2022 Exeter Christmas Market Dates: 18th November – 18th December 2022
Market opening times: 10am to 7pm, Monday to Wednesday, 10am to 9pm Thursday to Saturday, and 11am to 5pm on Sundays.
- Will the Exeter Christmas Market take place in 2022?
- Introducing Exeter
- A history of Exeter Christmas Market
- Exeter Christmas Market: Feeling festive in Devon
- Bars at the Exeter Christmas Market
- Christmas Activities in Exeter: What else is on?
- Where to stay in Exeter
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Will the Exeter Christmas Market take place in 2022?
Due to the world health crisis, the 2020 Exeter Christmas Market was unfortunately cancelled. However, the Christmas Market took place as schedule in 2021 and will almost definitely take place once more in 2022. Just be sure to wrap up warm as the weather can be cold and rainy at this time of the year in England!
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.
A history of Exeter Christmas Market
The Exeter Christmas Market was founded in 2013 and has taken place almost every year, growing in popularity and size as the years go by. It is now the largest Christmas Market in Devon and over 100 traders attend the event. It’s estimated that up to 600,000 people attend the market during the month that it’s held.
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!
Bars at the Exeter Christmas Market
One of the biggest changes when it comes to the Christmas Market is the addition of two bars. The biggest and main bar will be called Cathedral Tavern and, as you can imagine, will be located on the Cathedral Green.
It will be run by Exmouth-based brewery Crossed Anchors and will sell a large selection of local and German-brewed beers. The ambiance will be ‘après ski’ and there will even be a special beer created called ‘Cathedral beer’ for revellers to test.
The other bar will also be located on the Cathedral Green and will be run by Dr Inks Curiosities, who actually run a permanent cocktail bar at Exeter Quay. As well as the bars, there will be more live entertainment than ever before, including live singing by Exeter Cathedral Choir.
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 26th November at 6 PM 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).
Where to stay in Exeter
Thanks to its status as the capital city of Devon, there are a number of places to stay in Exeter to suit almost any budget and taste. Here are some of the top places to stay in Exeter based on web-reviews and location:
Budget: This no-frills hotel offers free Wi-Fi and has a restaurant onsite. Check prices and availability here.
Mid-range: This 15th-century public house is just steps away from Exeter Cathedral in the very heart of the city. Cosy rooms come equipped with amenities such as free Wi-Fi, TVs, and tea and coffee making facilities. Check prices and availability here.
Luxury: For the crème de la crème when it comes to staying in Exeter, you’ll want to book a room in this 200-year-old former paper mill overlooking the River Exe. Some rooms have river views. Check prices and availability here.
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Sophie Nadeau loves dogs, books, travel, pizza, and history. A fan of all things France related, she runs solosophie.com when she’s not chasing after the next sunset shot or consuming something sweet. She currently splits her time between Paris and London. Subscribe to Sophie’s YouTube Channel.