Visit Exeter this Christmas
Visit Exeter this Christmas for the wonderfully atmospheric Christmas Market on Cathedral Green, open from 16 November until the 17 December. Browse for unique and artisan gifts from local retailers housed in traditional wooden chalets, and enjoy festive food and mulled wine while listening to local bands on the bandstand at the foot of the magnificent West Front of Exeter Cathedral.
From Thursdays to Sundays in Castle Street and the Guildhall there will be festive market stalls with local independents showcasing their wares in the run up to Christmas. The Guildhall Street Food Market will also be running daily from 30th November - 23rd December, keeping Christmas shoppers well fuelled!
Exeter’s Christmas lights will be switched on in Princesshay on Thursday 16th November. Live music and family-friendly entertainment will lead up to the switch on of the city-wide festive illuminations, kicking off the first of six Thursdays leading up to Christmas, when shops will stay open until late.
Wander the streets to admire the spectacular Christmas lights, enjoy mesmerising street theatre shows and displays in Princesshay on 30th November and 7th December, then head to the Christmas Market on Cathedral Green for mulled wine and festive food, open late every Thursday to Saturday.
Join the Exeter Philharmonic Choir and the Cathedral Choir for candlelit carol concerts in the Cathedral in the run up to Christmas, a truly magnificent spectacle. The Cathedral opens its doors for free on the 7 and 8 November for its Winter Fair, with over 60 stalls laid out in this beautiful building, home to the longest stretch of unbroken Gothic roof vaulting in the world.
All of the city’s historic attractions are open year round. Escape the hubbub of Christmas shoppers to explore beneath the city’s streets on a guided tour of Exeter’s Underground Passages, built in medieval times to house the fresh water pipes serving the residents of the city. The Passages are dark and very narrow - not for the claustrophobic!
Join a free guided walking tour of Exeter with the Red Coat Guides to discover more about this fascinating city and its 2,000 year history. Tours run daily throughout the year, except 25 & 26 December, and there is no need to book, just turn up at the West Front of the Cathedral.
Exeter’s compact city centre makes it ideal for Christmas shopping. An eclectic mix of shops can be found within easy walking distance of each other, from the big names in the High Street and Princesshay, such as John Lewis and Debenhams, to independent and vintage fashions, jewellery, crafts and gifts in the cobbled Gandy Street and quirky West Quarter.
On Saturday 2 December the independent shops and restaurants of Magdalen Road spill out onto the street for the annual Christmas Fair, with the best of Westcountry street food, drink, Christmas shopping and live entertainment. When you’re shopped out, cosy up with a real ale in one of Exeter’s historic pubs, such as the Ship Inn, reputed to have been frequented by Sir Francis Drake, or seek out one of the city’s speakeasy-style cocktail bars for a seasonal concoction. This should get you in the mood for a festive sing along to this year’s pantomime performance of Cinderella at the Exeter Corn Exchange, presented by a top-class West End cast from 9 December – 1 January.
Excellent road, rail, bus and air links mean Exeter is within easy reach of the rest of the UK, and the city is an ideal base for exploring the rest of Devon.
Go to www.visitexeter.com/christmas to find out more about visiting Exeter this Christmas.