Things to do in Exeter for Christmas

Things to do in Exeter for Christmas

In this article, you'll learn the following:

Christmas in Exeter is a sight to behold. The streets are lined with fairy lights and filled with cheer. The cathedral is a hub of entertainment, and there’s something for the whole family to enjoy throughout December!

From Christingles to Christmas markets, here are some of our top things to do in Exeter for Christmas.

Exeter Christmas lights

Christmas lights

9 Catherine St, Exeter EX1 1QA

Exeter’s Christmas lights are undoubtedly the star (atop the tree!) of its festive celebrations. Walking through the bustling city centre to shop for last-minute gifts or explore the markets is like walking in a winter wonderland, the streets aglow and full of festivities. Princesshay has unveiled a brand-new light display this year, illuminating the city centre throughout Christmas. It promises plenty of Insta-worthy photo opportunities and its ‘greenest’ lighting scheme ever.

Price: Free

When: Thursday 16 November – Saturday 23 December

How to get there: It’s an 8-minute walk from Exeter Central to Princesshay. Or, ride the H/F/UNI bus from Central Station Stop 27 to High Street.

Christmashay & The Antler Inn

Child looking at a shop window

9 Catherine St, Exeter EX1 1QA

Exeter’s best shopping centre, Princesshay, is bringing the city’s biggest festivities this year. It’s teamed up with In Exeter and Barnova Events for a new Christmas experience in Princesshay Square.

Christmashay Market features 10 Christmas Chalets hosting over 45 local businesses. It will be open Monday through Saturday from 10 am to 5 pm, with extended hours until 8 pm on Thursdays and until 4 pm on Sundays.

Head to The Antler Inn for this year’s Christmas drinks! Enjoy mulled wine and food platters in a warm atmosphere surrounded by friends, family and festive decorations. The Antler Inn will be open 11 am – 7 pm Monday – Wednesday, 11 am – 10 pm Thursday – Saturday and 11 am – 5 pm on Sundays.

Price: Free

When: Thursday 16 November – Saturday 23 December

How to get there: Walk 8 minutes from Exeter Central to Princesshay.

Exeter Cathedral Christmas Market

Exeter Cathedral Christmas market

Exeter Cathedral GreenCathedral CloseExeterDevonEX1 1HS

Exeter Cathedral is, in many ways, the heart of the city – and it’s at the heart of this Christmas market. Exeter Cathedral Christmas Market is an eagerly anticipated annual event on the Cathedral Green. Follow fairy lights and the scent of mulled wine and get lost exploring the pop-up chalets. Get your fill of festive food and drink, soaking up the bustling atmosphere with the iconic cathedral towering over the market stalls.

Stock up on last-minute gifts at one of the many craft stalls or fill up on hog roast baps and Christmas pudding. Alongside your festive favourites, there’s a host of global street food to choose from.

Price: Free

When: Friday 17 November – Sunday 17 December

How to get there: It’s a 7-minute walk from Exeter Central to Exeter Cathedral.

Meet Santa on Bedford Street

 

Bedford St, Exeter EX1 1GJ

Santa Claus is coming to…Exeter! Don’t miss this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to meet the man himself in his Princesshay Christmas Lodge. Stop by his Winter Workshop to watch the elves in action and let the little ones experience the magic of Christmas. Entry costs £10 per child and includes a gift from Santa delivered by hand!

Price: £10 per child

When: Thursday 30 November – Sunday 24 December

How to get there: It’s a 10-minute walk from Exeter Central to Bedford Street. Or, ride the H/F/UNI bus from Central Station Stop 27 to High Street Stop 1 and walk two minutes from there.

Magdalen Road Christmas Fair

A woman drinking a hot drink at a Christmas market

Magdalen Road, Exeter EX2 4TA

Magdalen Road Christmas Fair returns to Exeter in 2023, offering a fun afternoon of festive cheer. The road is closed to traffic and occupied by 50 market stalls owned by local businesses selling various products and services. Expect plenty of street food, drink and gifts, fairground rides, live music and entertainment.

Price: Free

When: Saturday 2 December

How to get there: It’s a 17-minute walk from Exeter Central to Magdalen Road. Or, catch the H/UNI bus from Central Station Stop 27 to Mount Radford and walk two minutes from there.

Viennese Spectacular at Exeter Cathedral

Ceiling view of Exeter Cathedral

1 The Cloisters, Exeter EX1 1HS

Candlelight Concerts is stopping at Exeter Cathedral on its global tour. Witness this spectacular venue transformed into something even more magical. The cathedral glows with warmth thanks to thousands (yes, thousands!) of candles, setting the stage for the London Concertante’s celebration of Viennese classics by Tchaikovsky, Strauss and Brahms.

Price: £19-£45

When: Friday 22 December

How to get there: Walk 7 minutes from Exeter Central to Exeter Cathedral.

Cathedral Christingle Service  

1 The Cloisters, Exeter EX1 1HS

This Christian festive tradition tells the story of Jesus Christ using an orange decorated with sweets and a lighted candle. The service lasts 30 minutes and features a choir singing popular hymns. What better way to engage young children at Christmas than with a fun interactive service at Exeter’s spectacular cathedral?

Price: Free

When: Saturday 25 November

How to get there: As outlined above.

Places to stay around Exeter

There are endless things to see and do if you’re spending 48 hours in Exeter at Christmas. If you’re staying overnight, there are plenty of places to rest your head after enjoying the festivities.

Holiday Inn Express Exeter – City Centre offers a comfortable stay at an affordable price. Premier Inn Exeter City Centre is another budget-friendly hotel with large rooms perfect for families, while Premier Inn Exeter Central St Davids is ideally located just a stone’s throw from Exeter St David’s station.

If you plan to fill up on mulled wine and mince pies at one of these markets, leave the car at home and hop on the train to Exeter. Find cheap train tickets by travelling off-peak, and save even more with a Railcard. If you’re travelling in a group, you could benefit from GroupSave or a Family and Friends Railcard.

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