We’re officially in the run up to Christmas which means starting to plan and buy gifts, dusting off decorations and playing our favourite festive music on repeat. While some of us don’t like to even mention the word ‘Christmas’ until at least 1st December, many can’t wait to celebrate the most wonderful time of the year – and there’s plenty of festive things to do in Britain’s Ocean City if you’re already in the holiday mood.
From Christmas markets to a special Santa appearance taking place this November and in early December, there’s something for everyone to enjoy in and around Sutton Harbour. So, if you’re looking to embrace the holiday spirit and step into Christmas, here’s a breakdown of what’s on along Plymouth’s historic waterfront over the next few weeks.
Barbican Christmas Lights Switch-on
On Saturday 27th November, watch the harbour light up for the holiday season and enjoy a day packed with fun activities and entertainment at the Barbican and Sutton Harbour lights switch-on.
Brought to you by the Plymouth Waterfront Partnership, the day will start at 12pm with family-friendly activities including Santa’s Grotto in Quay Square on the harbourside, face painting, crafts, and rides as well as a range of entertainment and performances all throughout the day. The event will end at 6pm following the Christmas parade at 4.30pm and the light switch-on at 5.20pm.
This will also be the first day of the Christmas Trail, running until 1st January 2022, where you can walk or cycle along Plymouth’s waterfront to find the ‘12 Displays of Christmas’. This year there will be 12 winter wonderland LEP displays dotted along the waterfront for you to find. Download the free Plymouth Trails app and follow the map.
Christmas at the aquarium
Dive into Christmas at the National Marine Aquarium at the venue’s late-night Christmas market. The aquarium will be opening its doors on Wednesday 8th December from 5.30pm until 9.30pm for a late-night Christmas market full of ocean-friendly gifts. Visitors will receive a goody bag and drink upon arrival and will have a chance to explore the ocean world after hours. There will also be a plastic-free workshop where you can try your hand at making a reusable wax wrap.
The late-night opening is for adults only.
Enjoy an exclusive dining experience at the last Dine at the Aquarium event for 2021 on Friday 19th November. Tuck into a delicious al a carte menu in front of world class exhibits and explore the aquarium after hours. The evening starts at 7pm with a glass of prosecco on arrival. Find out more and book here.
Wine & luxury goods fayre
HonkyTonk Wine Library has teamed up with a range of independent Plymouth businesses for this year’s HonkyTonk Christmas Fayre. On Sunday 12th December, the wine lounge will be showcasing a range of luxury products from international wines to local chocolates. Tickets are £10 per person and include entry into the V.I.P Christmas Raffle, offering you the chance of winning one of the famous HonkyTonk sharing platters and a bottle of wine. Find out more and book your tickets here.
Festive meals and Christmas parties
Sutton Harbour is home to some of the best food and drink venues in Plymouth, many of which have already announced their special festive menus. Whether you’re looking for a venue for a works do, a gathering for friends or a pre-Christmas family meal, there’s a great variety of options available along the historic harbour.
At Miller & Carter Steakhouse, not only are a scrumptious selection of steaks on offer, but the restaurant is also serving up a traditional turkey roast with all the trimmings, plus vegan and vegetarian options.
The Plymouth Stable also has its festive menu on the go, with pizzas including the Festive Full Monty, The Veggie Mary and Miso Love Christmas, as well as a selection of salads and puddings.
If you’re just looking for a tasty treat while on a day out along the waterfront, visit one of the fantastic cafes or takeaway venues along the harbourside offering homemade cakes. Why not warm yourself up with coffee and a homemade treat Daisy’s Tea Rooms and Coffee Shop? Or grab some freshly made donuts from Louise’s Coffee and Donuts?
For those looking to enjoy an evening along the harbour with and drink or two, visit HonkyTonk Wine Library for an extensive range of wines, as well as beers and spirits, with a few festive specials on offer.
There’s a fantastic range of independent boutiques, art galleries and gift shops based both in the harbour and the adjacent historic Barbican quarter. The waterfront is the perfect place to find something special and unique for friends, family and loved ones as well as supporting local, independent retailers in the process.
RWY Festive Late Night Market
For a unique Christmas shopping experience, wander around the late-night market at the Royal William Yard featuring a selection of independent traders including Barbican Botanics, The Devon Fudge Company and Nook Houseplants. The market will be held in the Melville building on Wednesday evenings in December with locally sourced goods and handcrafted gifts on offer.