RideOn’s Christmas Hit List

Fowey Christmas Market & Switch On

Friday 2nd December, 5.30pm – Sunday 4th, 4pm

Fowey Christmas Market is one of Cornwall’s most magical festive events, attracting tens of thousands of visitors to the quaint harbour town of Fowey, which comes alive with festive merriment, Christmas shopping, seasonal music, and more local food and drink than you can shake a candy cane at! 

Festive activities will take place throughout town, with fabulous performances from Samba Kernow, Jump Out Jazz and Georgia d’Arcy-Roden. Fowey River Singers will lead a singalong carol session in front of the church, with free song sheets provided. Santa will arrive on the tug at Berrill’s Yard to lead the Christmas light parade, with Winter Fawn, Elves on stilts and the mesmerising Snow Queen Living Statue adding to the spectacle.

The Christmas Market will spread across Fowey Town Quay, Albert Quay, Webb Street and Town Hall venues, with close to 100 quality regional traders! 

Find out more here

Angarrack Christmas Lights

From Saturday 3rd December 

Angarrack village, near Hayle, is renowned for having one of the best Christmas light displays in Cornwall. Their main display tells the story of the twelve days of Christmas, with many other animated displays to find throughout the village.

Angarrack village is situated in a steep valley tucked beneath an eleven-arch granite viaduct that carries the Cornish main line railway between Hayle and Camborne. The Christmas Lights started in 1986 and have grown in popularity over the decades. One of the largest installations is 20m long and over 10m high, so big it has to be positioned in a field on the outskirts of the village. All the lights are designed and built in the village, and supported by the generous donations of visitors. 

Rather than cause traffic congestion in the small village, the locals request that drivers park their cars at Marsh Lane Industrial Estate and follow the circular walk around the village on foot. Or why not visit the village by e-bike instead? Rent one here, we have e-bikes for all abilities.

The lights will be switched on from Saturday 3rd December and will be on from 5.:30pm – 8pm daily up until January 5th. There isn’t a big switch on this year, but you can make an evening of it any day of the week by making a stop at the Angarrack Inn. Visit on a Sunday and tie it in with their weekly pub quiz that starts at 8pm!  

Angarrack Christmas Lights father christmas santa reindeers

Newlyn Harbour Lights, Switch On & Mini Markets

Friday 9th December | Mini Markets 9th, 10, 16th & 17th December

Newlyn Harbour is Cornwall’s biggest fishing port, and one of the largest in the UK. This year their Christmas Switch On event promises to be bigger and better than ever before. The event kicks off at 6pm with a special display by Pendeen Pilot Gig Club and Father Christmas arriving in style aboard the Penlee Lifeboat ‘Ivan Ellen’.

There will be stalls on the quayside and Penzance Silver Band playing festive tunes. Every child can collect a free raffle ticket and the winner gets to help Father Christmas switch on the lights. Following the switch on there will be a spectacular firework display launched over the harbour.

Newlyn is full of fantastic places to eat and drink. Popular locals’ pub The Red Lion on Fore Street has fantastic views across the harbour and a Christmas menu which is available to enjoy in, or take away. Seafood restaurant Argoe will be open from 5pm for the switch on, selling posh Newlyn fish finger sandwiches on home-baked bread, with £1 from every sale going towards Newlyn Harbour Lights. Duke Street Cafe has organised a series of mini markets that run from 5pm with different artisan sellers every night, and many local stores staying open for late night shopping. 

Heligan Night Garden

Running until 2nd January

The stunning Night Garden event returns to the Lost Gardens of Heligan. Explore the woodlands and the gardens as they are beautifully illuminated by a variety of installations and lanterns, and discover a breath-taking display of flora and fauna.

The Lantern Company, leading UK outdoor arts organisation, holds up a nocturnal magnifying glass to the often-overlooked beauty of the natural wonders on our doorstep. From badgers and fungi to bees and butterflies, the illuminated seasonal trail creates a treasure-filled space to explore at your own pace. Festive refreshments and meals available.

Due to the outdoor nature of the event, sturdy footwear, torches, and warm clothing are recommended. The route is suitable for wheelchair users and pushchairs, and alternative routes are provided where the pathways become more challenging. Manual wheelchairs and mobility scooters are available to borrow.

Booking essential.

Falmouth’s Festive Weekend

10th & 11th December

Great fun and festivities are to be had in Falmouth. Hop aboard the festive land train, go ice skating, try your hand at curling and take a Christmas photo inside a giant snow globe. There will be fairground attractions, a choir, stalls and a live nativity performance! Local bands will be performing at The Moor and Events Square, as well as various locations all around town. 

Santa father christmas elf elves falmouth festive weekend

Miracle Theatre have lent their iconic pink van to Santa, and there will be a Christmas Grotto for children. You can also donate an unwrapped gift to help Father Christmas share some joy with families less fortunate this winter. Donations of toys and non-perishable foods will be distributed to various charitable centres including Falmouth Children Centre, The Food Bank, Dracaena Centre & Simon House.

We’re working with Beryl Bikes, an e-bike rental programme that has just launched in Falmouth. You simply download the app, find the nearest e-bike and start your ride! You can pay for a one-off trip, a day-long adventure or buy a bundle of minutes to use whenever you want. 

Exploring Falmouth by e-bike will allow you to see and experience so much more. Give it a go!

Find out more here.

Father Fishmas’ fish giveaway in Newlyn

Friday 16th December, 1pm – 3pm

If you love cooking fish at home, this event is for you! Newlyn fish merchant Cornwall Fish Direct have their very own Father Fishmas giving out portions of free fish! Get yourself down to Wesley Place and follow the snowy footsteps to get in line for a free fish dinner.

“We know a lot of people are pinching the pennies right now, so we wanted to give something back to the community we call home this Christmas.” – Saul Astrinsky, Company Director

Rumour has it, there will be lots of favourite white fish up for grabs. All fresh or recently frozen, and carefully prepared by their team of skilled filleters. You may even see some of the filleters in action if they need to prepare more fish on demand!

Find out more here.

Shipwreck Treasure Museum’s Tunnel of Lights

3rd December – 8th January 2023

Explore the Shipwreck Treasure Museum  as it’s transformed into a festival wonderland this Christmas! Journey through every imaginable Christmas setting, from the snowy winter wonderland of Narnia’s frozen forests, to a room filled with giant baubles of every colour imaginable! Walk through an entire world of beautifully wrapped glittering presents, wander through Candy Land, explore our Shipwreck as snow falls all around you and take a pit stop at their very own mini German Christmas Market.

Step inside their new Giant Snow Globe to take a festive photo with your friends and family, and follow Santa’s footsteps through the North Pole to walk amongst thousands of twinkling lights in the UK’s longest tunnel of indoor festive lights!

Photograph by Emily Whitfield-Wicks

The Shipwreck Treasure Museum is located on the south coast of Cornwall, in the heart of the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Charlestown, with excellent public transport links to the nearby town of St Austell.

Booking essential.

Mousehole Harbour Lights

From Saturday 17th December 

Mousehole Harbour Lights are probably the most famous Christmas lights in Cornwall. 

They began back in 1963 when Mousehole artist Joan Gilchrest hung a string of coloured bulbs along both quays to brighten up the village at Christmas. Her creativity inspired a couple of local carpenters who built some structures, and from there it grew every year. The displays are installed all over the village, in the surrounding fields and even in the water, rising up and down with the tide. The floating whale, a family favourite, was humbly inspired by a fridge magnet in 1989!

Their signature bucket lights, made with real beach buckets, line the harbourfront, and the roads are joined with coloured festoon lights that guide you whimsically through the picturesque village. Book a table at 2 Fore Street, The Old Coastguard, or the local pub, The Ship Inn, and make an evening of your night in Mousehole. The village is home to many great shops, cafes and galleries, tucked away down narrow streets and winding roads, waiting to be stumbled upon.

mousehole harbour lights cat

Every year on the 23rd of December the village celebrates Tom Bawcock’s Eve, the legendary tale of a local fisherman who saved the village from starving by braving stormy seas to bring back 7 types of fish. The fish were baked into a Starry Gazey Pie, which is served in the Ship Inn, by a local man dressed as Tom Bawcock. 

Parking is very limited in Mousehole and driving through the tiny village can be challenging, particularly with so many pedestrians and young children exploring on foot. It’s much more enjoyable to walk or cycle the coastal path, or hop on one of the buses leaving from Newlyn or Penzance – this way you can enjoy Newlyn Harbour Lights as well! Watch a video of our ride to Mousehole in Autumn, it’s a beautiful ride all along the coast path.

National Trust’s Trengwainton Christmas Lights

Running until Sunday 11th December

Trengwainton Garden in Madron has been in the ownership of the National Trust since 1961. The word ‘Trengwainton’ (Cornish: Tredhigwenton) translates to ‘farm of eternal springtime.’ The gardens are now closed until early February, but they are opening for an after-dark Christmas lights experience. For the first time you can stroll through the Elizabethan walled gardens and orchard by night, under the warm glow of fairy lights.

Along the route there will be illuminated structures made by local schools, artists and partner organisations. You’re invited to make a Christmas wish by hanging a bauble on the wishing tree, and finish your evening with a visit to the café or shop.

Booking essential.

Santa Surf at Towan Beach, Newquay

Friday 23rd December, 1.30pm

Surf or observe as Santas surf the wintery seas! You can take part by simply popping on a festive costume over your wetsuit and joining them. If you need a wetsuit or a surfboard they can be provided by Escape Surf School for a suggested donation of £5 to their collection boxes for the RNLI, Wave Project or Surfers Against Sewage.

Afterwards you can hop in a hot shower and Belushi’s will be providing free hot drinks to everyone who took part. They will also be offering 20% off food and drink for participants.

Safety notice: Please consider your own surfing ability when entering the water. Surf coaching is not included, so you must be confident in the water. The event is dependent on surf conditions.

Find out more here.

Montol Festival, Penzance

Wednesday 21st December

Montol Festival is a celebration of mischief to welcome the winter solstice, the longest night of the year. People flock to the streets in disguise, wearing animal costumes, ribbons, feathers, skulls and mock formal wear. The festivities begin with a sundown procession on Causeway Head at 4pm, followed by a main procession, a midwinter bonfire and Christmas carols, before a final late night procession on Chapel Street at 10pm.

The theme is ‘Light and Darkness’, you are invited to celebrate the longer days and shorter nights that follow after Montol. The organisers would love as many people as possible dressed up in mock formal and masks to partake in this annual event. Montol Festival is also a great night of the year to eat or drink in one of the many bars and restaurants on Causeway Head or Chapel Street. Consider popping into Pocketful of Stones on Causeway Head for a Cornish gin, or grabbing a table at Blacks, The Union or the Turks Head on Chapel Street. 

Find out more and get costume ideas from the Montol Festival website.

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