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We recently ran a competition on our social media to find out what people who actually live and work in Exeter think is great about the city at Christmas.

There’s no doubt that Exeter is a fantastic place to be during the holidays, with loads of events, markets and charity activities happening throughout December, but we thought it would be good to boil these down into a top ten.

So, starting with number ten, here it is:

10. Exeter Cathedral

From concerts and exhibitions to traditional services, the Cathedral is both the spiritual and cultural heart of Exeter, particularly at Christmas. The highlight of the season is undoubtedly the popular Christmas carol concerts on the 19th, 20th and 21st of December directed by Timothy Noon (Director of Music), and accompanied on the mighty Cathedral Organ by James Anderson-Besant (Assistant Director of Music).

9. Exeter Quay

As one person noted, a highlight for them was:

“an autumnal walk along the stunning quay which is dotted with various independent gift shops for finding that unusual Christmas gift.”

8. Santa’s Grotto

An opportunity to meet the real Santa at Northenhay Gardens, Exeter!

7. Santa Fun Run

A great festive family event raising money for charity with two distances, 2.5k family run and 5k run.

6. Round Table Santa drive by

Delivering Christmas to the streets of Exeter, you can follow the path of Father Christmas on the Round Table Facebook page. In the word of one resident:

“I remember running down the road as a small child and now I hold the hands of my children as we rush to see him”

5. Christmas shopping experience

Late night shopping in Exeter is a perfect way to prepare for the day and experience the sights and sounds of the city centre.

4. Christmas Shopping on Gandy Street

The inspiration for Harry Potter’s Diagon Alley, Gandy Street comes alive at Christmas with and array of independent shops.

3. Exeter Winter Wonderland with its ice skating

In Northernhay Gardens in Exeter from 17 November 2021 to 2 January 2022, the heart of the city, you can enjoy a range of exciting rides and attractions.
As one Exeter resident comments:

“the lights, the entertainment, the food, it’s my favourite time of year to come into the city, we can’t wait to see it all come to life again this year, the kids are especially excited to go ice skating!”

2. Christmas lights

Adding to the atmosphere of the city centre, the Christmas lights turn the streets into a spectacular Wonderland of colour and illumination. It’s worth a visit for them alone.

1. The Christmas Market

It was always going to be number one! Just read the comments:

“Has to be the Xmas Market with the backdrop of our stunning Cathedral!”

“I love going to the markets and supporting small businesses and eating all the Christmassy foods.”

“It has the fabulous Christmas market which is situated in front of our beautiful and majestic cathedral.”

Back in all its glory, the array of food, crafts, gifts and decorations is second to none in the city.