The top 10 places to feel festive this Christmas

Exeter’s city centre is a hive of festivity and a magical place to be during the Christmas period.

To ensure that you engage with the best bits of Exeter’s seasonal joy and get the ultimate festive feeling, here’s your guide to the Christmassy things you can’t afford to miss in this wonderful city.

Gandy Street’s Countdown to Christmas

On Thursday November 23 Gandy Street is turning into a snowy winter wonderland as part of their Countdown to Christmas. There will be free samples galore, tastings of prosecco, champagne, mince pies and scrummy bites from the restaurants, bars and chocolatiers. Expect fabulous acts from the Music In Devon initiative, the effervescent Victorian Fairy, Betty Twinkle on her Giant Robin and the magical twists of Oz Symons Man of Magic. There will also be a charity raffle in aid of Children’s Hospice South West. Make your way there between 5:30pm & 8pm to experience the festive magic. 

The Festive Fore Street Flea

Fore Street is the place to be if you’re on the hunt for something quirky and unique. The Festive Fore Street Flea market is being held on Sunday 26th November from 12 – 4pm, and will be a fantastic opportunity to find exquisite Christmas gifts as well as supporting local, independent businesses. Showcasing an array of delicious seasonal nibbles and mulled wine, The Fore Street Flea will be sure to fire up that festive feeling whilst you scout around for Christmas treasures.

Artigiano Espresso and Wine Bar

Artigiano is Exeter High Street’s café and bar with a deluxe feel, yet an affordable price. Throughout the season the wine will be mulling, festive lunch treats will be served and the bar will be decked with Christmas sparkle. There are also weekly jazz nights each Monday which will heat things up on a cold winter’s evening. Artigiano is the perfect place to chill in the evening after a long day’s shopping.


Princesshay is at the heart of the city, and in the build up to Christmas, as always, it is undoubtedly going to be radiating with a festive buzz. With so many celebratory events to witness and get involved in, from the annual Christmas Light Switch On bringing the city to life at night on November 16, to a showcase of marvellously decorated trees in a Charity Christmas Tree festival from November 17, festive joy is inevitable in Princesshay. Of course, being home to over 70 restaurants and retailers who will be bursting with Christmas spirit, just a simple stroll through Princesshay will enable you to imbibe the festive atmosphere and fill you with cheer.

Festive Street Performers

Festive street entertainers will be scattered throughout Exeter Business Improvement District (BID) during November and December. There will be mischievous bouncing elves, flying carpets and Christmas fairies out and about spreading festive joy – so keep your eyes peeled.

John Lewis

There is something extremely magical about the John Lewis department store at Christmas, when it’s decorated from top-to-toe, inside and out, and bustling with festive shoppers. If all you do is take a nose around John Lewis this Christmas you will be sure to leave feeling with more of a festive giddiness than you did before you stepped inside.

The Bike Shed Theatre

The Bike Shed Theatre is hosting a variety of exciting seasonal productions in the build up to Christmas. The eccentric theatre located on Fore Street is the ideal place to indulge in a festive beverage whilst soaking up the cosy atmosphere and enjoying the fantastic performances.

Festive Workshops at Exeter Phoenix

As one of Exeter’s most dynamic centres for modern art, The Phoenix is no different when it comes to Christmas. The Phoenix will be presenting a diverse range of festive-themed workshops throughout November and December, for children and adults alike. If you’re looking to draw upon your creativity this Christmas, you can enjoy crafting a personalised gift for a loved one, (or a gift for yourself!), with the assistance of an experienced tutor. From a festive mug to a Christmas wreath, there are so many opportunities to get interactive with Christmassy crafts at The Phoenix.

Festive Kiosks at The Guildhall

In a celebration of local, independent retailers, each Thursday – Sunday from the 16 November, The Guildhall Shopping Centre will be home to lots of festive kiosks for shoppers to enjoy. Feel excited about Christmas and enjoy shopping local!

Exeter Cathedral’s Christmas Market   

The annual Christmas Market on the Cathedral Green is an exceptional continental celebration of all things Christmas. Packed full of superb food, drink and gift stalls from 16 November onwards, it is the perfect place to fill yourself with festive cheer any day of the week. Located at the foreground of Exeter’s breath-taking Cathedral, the market provides the ultimate essence of Christmas.


It’s safe to say that chocolate and Christmas go hand-in-hand, and Gandy Street’s independent chocolate house should be your number one-choc-stop this year. With a seasonal collection of  luxury hand-crafted chocolates, the taste of Christmas will flow from Chococo. Whether you’re looking for a personalised chocolatey gift, a luxury advent calendar, or simply a selection box to dip into on a chilly winter evening, you can find exactly what you’re searching for at Chococo

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