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Friendly stall-holders selling unique gifts, lights twinkling in the frost and heady aromas of mulled wine and mince pies; these are the sights and smells of South West Christmas markets!

Escape the crowds of the high street this year and saunter on down to the West Country to get your Christmas shopping wrapped up with plenty of time to spare.

“Maybe Christmas, he thought…doesn’t come from a store. Maybe Christmas, perhaps…means a little bit more!”

Dr Seuss, How the Grinch Stole Christmas

Read our list of the best Christmas markets in Devon, Dorset, Somerset and Cornwall which will fill even the biggest of Scrooges with festive sparkle…

Christmas markets in Devon

Exeter Cathedral Christmas Market

Exeter Cathedral Christmas market

This amazing Christmas market in Devon is back for 2021, new and improved!

Exeter Cathedral Christmas Market will have over 90 traders spread across the Cathedral Green, enjoying a new layout to improve foot flow.

This Devon Christmas Market has everything from local craftspeople selling unique gifts, to global cuisine, to its award-winning Cathedral Tavern bar, now with table service.

When: Thursday 18th November to Saturday 18th December

More information and opening hours: Exeter Cathedral Christmas Market

Plymouth Christmas Market

Hosted in the city centre Piazza, this Devon Christmas market is the perfect excuse to enjoy some mulled wine and Christmas food!

The Lost Sound Dartmoor Folk Choir will make appearances to get you in the festive spirit, along with Celebrity Reindeer and plenty more.

When: Thursday 2nd December to Sunday 19th December

More information and opening hours: Plymouth Christmas Market

Christmas Celebration Craft Fair at RHS Rosemoor

Lights illuminating the trees at Rosemoor

This Devon Christmas Market on a smaller scale is a new venture for 2021 at RHS Garden Rosemoor.

Showcasing some of the best crafters in the West Country, this Christmas Celebration Craft Fair is the perfect opportunity to pick up a one-of-a-kind gift for a loved one.

When: Friday 3rd December to Sunday 5th December

More information and opening hours: RHS Garden Rosemoor

Christmas Shopping Fayre, Exeter

Seeking a Devon Christmas market with everything you need under one roof? Look no further!

For three days Westpoint is transformed into an Aladdin’s cave of amazing crafts, gifts, clothing, food and drink and much more.

There are hundreds of stalls at this South West Christmas market, with retailers displaying their goods from all over the world.

When: Friday 26th November to Sunday 28th November

More information and opening hours: Christmas Shopping Fayre

Christmas Markets in Cornwall

Artisan Market at Truro Cathedral

This Cornwall Christmas market is hosted within the main body of Truro Cathedral and will over 30 stalls.

Entry is free for this South West Christmas market and there are stalls with gifts to suit every budget.

Purchase beautiful, handmade jewellery, or find a lovely scented candle for that special someone!

When: Saturday 6th November

More information and opening hours: Artisan Market

Big Festive Cornwall Shop Small Market

Duchy Fairs have a arranged a special two-day event on Lemon Quay in Truro for the Big Festive Cornwall Shop Small Market!

Make your way around over 60 trading stalls, with Truro Farmers Market also on the Quay too.

The markets will coincide with Festive Friday when the city’s Christmas light switch-on with take place.

With everything free to attend, it’s a fantastic festive outing to enjoy while in Cornwall!

When: Friday 19th November to Saturday 20th November

More information and opening hours: Big Festive Cornwall Shop Small Market

Truro Farmers Market – BIG Christmas Market

Another Cornwall Christmas market hosted on Lemon Quay, Truro Farmers Market presents BIG Christmas Market.

This local shopping experience will host local farmers, small food producers and talented local craftspeople.

When: Wednesday 24th November to Friday 24th December

More information and opening hours: Truro Farmers Market BIG Christmas Market

Made In Cornwall Christmas Fair at Truro Cathedral

Nearly 100 local businesses, all of which have been awarded the prestigious ‘Made In Cornwall’ status, will display their wares at this Cornwall Christmas market.

From jewellery to clothing to gourmet hampers, you’ll find a range of top-quality products.

We defy the hardest heart not to be seduced by the beautiful, local crafts and delicacies on offer from the Cornish artisans.

When: Monday 29th November to Thursday 2nd December

More information and opening hours: Made In Cornwall Christmas Fair

Mount Edgecumbe Christmas Fayre

This wonderful Christmas market in Cornwall is back for its seventeenth year!

Set within the stunning Grade I listed grounds of Mount Edgecumbe, it’s a beautiful showcase of local businesses.

Mount Edgcumbe is magnificent at any time, but in its Christmas finery it’s truly stunning.

When: Saturday 11th to Sunday 12th December

More information and opening hours: Mount Edgecumbe

Fowey Christmas Market

This long-standing Christmas market in Cornwall opens with a Father Christmas and Lantern Parade through the town of Fowey, with live music on each day!

Almost 200 hand-picked traders will be selling their wares, offering a one-stop-shop for all your festive purchases.

This Cornwall Christmas Market is one of the region’s best known, hosting around 10,000 visitors to the beautiful, historic harbour town.

When: Friday 26th to Sunday 28th November

More information and opening hours: Fowey Christmas Market

Christmas markets in Somerset

Hestercombe Gardens Christmas Market

This beautiful Christmas market in Somerset rests near Taunton and is set within the idyllic Hestercombe Gardens.

Festive stalls with be overspilling with locally sourced gifts and unique items, while the Stables Restaurant and Bampfylde Hall will host festive food and drink.

Your Christmas market ticket will also include admission into the magical gardens, grand house and contemporary art gallery, offering a great day out!

When: Friday 19th to Sunday 21st November

More information and opening hours: Hestercombe Gardens

Virtual Bath Christmas Market

Aerial view of Bath Christmas market

Although this Somerset Christmas market won’t be going ahead physically this year, there will be a chance to shop locally online.

The Virtual Bath Christmas Market 2021 will be taking place throughout November and December.

Over 160 artisan makers from the South West will be showcasing their crafts online, so you can purchase amazing Christmas gifts from the comfort of your home.

When: Monday 1st November to Friday 31st December

More information and opening hours: Virtual Bath Christmas Market

Christmas Gift Market in Frome

New for 2021, this Somerset Christmas market will be hosted in Cheese and Grain.

This cultural hub in Frome will be transformed into a festive affair with stalls of all different kinds from local businesses.

Entry is free to this Christmas market in Somerset too, perfect whether you’re just browsing for inspiration or seeking to sort all the gift shopping.

When: Saturday 4th and Saturday 18th December

More information and opening hours: Christmas Gift Market

Christmas markets in Dorset

Handmade for Christmas, Sturminster Newton

This beloved Dorset Christmas market has an emphasis on showcasing only handmade and hand-crafted products and gifts.

The Workhouse Chapel is transformed into a wonderful Christmas shopping venue selling handcrafted work from over 60 of the West Country’s finest makers and artists.

Enjoy a drink beside the open fire and browse the tempting treats, from handmade baskets to jewellery to leather and metal work. You will probably come away with a few presents for yourself too!

When: Saturday 16th October to Friday 31st December

More information and opening hours: Handmade for Christmas

Dorset Food & Drink Christmas Fair at Athelhampton

View of Abelhampton House on a sunny day

This popular Christmas market in Dorset is back, this year running a slightly smaller fair but still packed with over 40 amazing stalls.

Hosted in the spectacular Athelhampton House and Gardens, this is a Dorset Christmas market you don’t want to miss!

Expect everything from delicious food and drink, to homewares, to locally produced honey, cider and beer, and of course artisan crafts.

When: Saturday 4th to Sunday 5th December

More information and opening hours: Dorset Food & Drink Christmas Fair at Athelhampton

Christmas Market at Mapperton

Join everyone at the Mapperton Estate for their debut Christmas market in Dorset this November!

Experience the magic of Mapperton Estate in the festive season, browsing a wide range of stalls with products including macrame, baked goods, jewellery, English wines and plenty more.

When: Sunday 28th November

More information and opening hours: Christmas Market Mapperton

Poundbury Christmas Market

Falling every year on Small Business Saturday, the first Saturday in December, is the Poundbury Christmas Market.

This Dorset Christmas market has been a festive season staple since 2015, inviting visitors every year to Buttermarket in the town of Poundbury.

Bring your little ones to Santa’s Grotto and tuck into delicious hot food, or get some gift shopping sorted for those special people in your life.

When: Saturday 4th December

More information and opening hours: Poundbury Christmas Market

Dorset Team Winter Fair

This Christmas market in Dorset brings together some of the best makers, designers, vintage sellers and craft suppliers from across the whole of Dorset.

Dorset Team is a community of makers all selling their wares on Etsy, so if you can’t make it in person, you can check out all of the makers online too!

When: Saturday 6th November

More information and opening hours: Dorset Team Winter Fair

Christmas at Kingston Lacy 2021

View up to Kingston Lacy with path lined with lights

Although not a Dorset Christmas fair, Christmas at Kingston Lacy 2021 is sure to be an unmissable event!

Enjoy experiencing their Christmas After Dark attraction, following the mesmerising trail around the illuminated and festive gardens.

Children will love Percy the Park Keeper’s Winter Wander trail, giving nature a helping hand with winter tasks, activities and games, with a prize at the end!

When: Friday 3rd December to Saturday 8th January

More information and opening hours: Kingston Lacy

Recharge your energy levels before the whirl of the holiday season with trips to these brilliant South West Christmas markets. Bring a shopping basket, browse top-notch goodies, enjoy an evening or two relaxing by an open fire and head home with a smile and a car full of presents.

We have cosy cottages of all styles and sizes available in the run-up to Christmas – take a look at our collection of fantastic holiday cottages and reserve your home-from-home for a fun, festive break with the family. Happy Holidays!

Article adapted from original content written by Christine Phillips for Helpful Holidays.

Image credit: Alison DayCC BY-ND 2.0; Andy MilhamCC BY 2.0; Derek HarperCC BY-SA 2.0; Andrew GustarCC BY-ND 2.0; Patrick MackieCC BY-SA 2.0; Andrew BoneCC BY 2.0; Lets Go Out Bournemouth and PooleCC BY 2.0