Your What's On Guide To Christmas In Torbay | Go See & Do This!
Not long to go now! Count down the days until Christmas with our guide to the fabulous festive goings-on in Torbay.
Like an advent calendar of fun, our ‘windows’ will keep you and the family entertained from 1st December right up until Christmas Eve and into that well deserved time off with the family. So let’s get started!
What could be more magical than a spectacular illuminated steam train ride? The Train of Lights adventure starts at Queen’s Park Station, Paignton. You'll be taken on a colourful journey around Torbay and beyond with a breathtaking show; the first of its kind in the UK. Adult tickets £18.50, child £11.50. Suitable for all ages. See dsrrbchristmas.co.uk
Bah humbug? Well, head to Paignton Palace Theatre for the last night of Who Killed Santa Claus? A seasonal thriller said to be the perfect antidote to sugar-coated festivities. Adults and children aged 12+. Tickets from £10. See palacetheatrepaignton.co.uk
Young kids will love Santa’s New Sleigh, a fast-paced production on at Paignton’s Palace Theatre today. Help the hapless Sprocket and Dibs find a new sleigh for Santa in time for Christmas. There’s even a meet and greet with the Big Man himself. Great for pre-school aged kids and those up to 8+. Tickets from £12. See palacetheatrepaignton.co.uk
Go visit Torquay Museum; they’ve got trails and craft activities, as well as their permanent interactive exhibitions, including a look at world-famous explorers and Ancient Egypt. There is also a good museum shop too if you want to sneak some stocking fillers. See torquaymuseum.org
It’s all aboard again today, this time for some steam and carols. Galmpton’s Male Voice Choir and the Salvation Army Band will be providing the musical backdrop to a very special train ride from Paignton via Churston and back. Tickets are £10 for adults and £5 for children, with all profits going to Rowcroft Hospice in Torquay. See facebook.com/events/galmptons-male-voice-choir
Last chance this year for your little ones to enjoy some imaginative play at Torre Abbey with Doorstep Arts. Sessions are tailored for early years children aged two to four and focus on imaginative play, creative movement, fun games, songs, and stories. The event is £3.50 and includes free entry to the Abbey. See torre-abbey.co.uk
Join Jack and his mother Dame Trott for some old-school panto action in this performance of Jack and the Beanstalk at Brixham Theatre. Feel good fun for all the family pretty much guaranteed. Tickets are £10. See brixhamtheatre.org.uk
Sing, play, move and laugh and join in with the Choral Engineers today. This creative community choir meets every week at Torre Abbey to make new songs, performances and friendships. Everyone welcome. Sessions are £5. See facebook.com/thechoralengineers
Singing voice still in tune? Head to Paignton’s Palace Theatre and join in with some seasonal music and songs. The Winter Concert, organised by Wren Music, sees local groups performing a superb selection of festive folk songs and tunes. Tickets are £8. All ages welcome. See palacetheatrepaignton.co.uk
Run, run as fast as you can – there are gingerbread making workshops on at Occombe Farm today. They’re popular, so book your place early. Tickets are £22.50. Suitable for all ages. There is also a festive craft workshop running here all day for creative types of all ages. See countryside-trust.org.uk
Check out an eclectic collection of arts at the Artizan Winter Open Exhibition on Fleet Walk until Christmas Eve. Features art inspired by Torbay as the UNESCO Global Geopark too. Free to enter and you might just pick up a gift too! See art-hub.co.uk
Walk in the footsteps of Torquay’s most famous resident and take on the Agatha Christie Mile today. This fascinating (and flat-ish) guided walk will show you the places where the world famous crime writer liked to rollerskate and swim, plus the landmarks which inspired her writing. Pick up a trail guide from the Tourist Information Centre in Torquay Harbour.
The oldies are the best at this time of year, and we don’t just mean the relatives. Sing along to classics such as White Christmas, Silver Bells and The Christmas Song at Paignton’s Palace Theatre. The venue is hosting a special Christmas at the Ritz event, a celebration of the golden age of Hollywood. Tickets are £12 for adults, £9 for children. Suitable for all ages. See palacetheatrepaignton.co.uk Tonight, Bay Brass will ALSO be performing a festive programme of songs at Torquay Museum. See baybrass.co.uk
Listen to carols and show songs by candlelight deep below the surface. The prehistoric Kents Cavern in Torquay is the setting for this rather unique Christmas event. Mulled wine and treats await, as well as some pretty good harmonies. Tickets are £16. Suitable for all ages. See
TV presenter Melinda Messenger is part of a glamorous all-star cast for this year’s panto at Torquay’s Princess Theatre. Sleeping Beauty has it all with laughs and a classic story at its heart. And it’s pyjama Friday today. Audience members are free to dress down and turn up in their sleepwear. Any excuse! Tickets from £10. Suitable for all ages. See atgtickets.com/shows/sleeping-beauty/princess-theatre-torquay
Support your local artists and have fun at the same time. Pay a visit to Cockington Court today and pick up a few handmade products in the artisan galleries and studios – that's our Christmas shopping sorted! There will also be a special pop-up market, along with some family entertainment. Free to visit and suitable for all ages. See cockingtoncourt.org
Later this afternoon, it’s the Christmas Concert at Torre Abbey. The Spanish Barn will be filled with the wonderful music of Sufjan Stevens' festive repertoire, performed by the Choral Engineers and the BSO supported Unidentified Family Orchestra. Tickets are £7, £1 for children. Suitable for all ages. See torre-abbey.org.uk
Toddlers can explore the great outdoors then enjoy some festive storytelling, a Christmas trail and a craft session at Occombe Farm’s Tots Go Wild event.The session costs £5 and booking is essential. Suitable for children aged up to five years old. See countryside-trust.org.uk
Be the envy of all your neighbours and make your own show-stopping wreath at Torre Abbey. The craft session is being run by head gardener Ali Marshall, who certainly knows her holly from her ivy. Suitable for adults and teenagers. The cost is £10 per wreath. Also at Torre Abbey, tonight, catch Soprano Donna-Marie Broomfield (nee Hughes) and Tenor Matthew Wilding. Belle Voci: A Christmas Celebration includes solos and duets from the world of opera, sacred, art song, musical theatre and more. Suitable for all ages. Tickets are £12. See torre-abbey.org.uk
Turn super sleuth and take part in a festive ‘whodunnit?’ at the Princess Theatre in Torquay. The Candlelight Theatre Company is hosting this event, which includes a three-course meal. Just keep an eye on your dining partners… One for the grown-ups, this. Tickets are £38. See atgtickets.com
It’s opening night for the Palace Theatre’s egg-stravaganza, Mother Goose. Prepare to be rolling in the aisles for this Paignton production, which involves a live five-piece professional band, fabulous costumes, great dance routines and a top-rate cast. Suitable for all ages. Tickets are £11. See palacetheatrepaignton.co.uk
Oooh, it’s really nearly Christmas now. Distract the more excited members of the family and take them off on Torbay’s Blue Plaque Heritage Trail. Try to spot the signs detailing the Bay’s famous residents and visitors. Did you know that Rudyard Kipling spent two years at Rock House in Torquay? Or that the popular hymn Abide With Me was written at the Berry Head Hotel in Brixham? Pick up a trail leaflet from the Tourist Information Centre, Vaughan Parade, Torquay. Free. Suitable for all ages.
Get some family and friends together and take a trip across the Bay. See our incredible landscape, geology and wildlife from the sea with the crew at Paignton Pleasure Cruises. Ring them in advance to book a boat. See paigntonpleasurecruises.co.uk
Intense family get-together looming? It could be worse. Go and see Season’s Greetings at the Little Theatre in Meadfoot, Torquay and marvel at a proper dysfunctional Christmas. In what is widely considered to be Alan Ayckbourn’s funniest play, peace and goodwill does not last long with perfect storm of squabbles, too much alcohol and some annoying mechanical toys. For adults and older kids. Tickets are £13. See toadslittletheatre.co.uk
Have breakfast with Santa today and make presents for some penguins. No, you haven’t been at the gin, this is a family event organised by Torquay’s Living Coasts. Children and their grown ups can head to the Terrace Café, where they can enjoy decorating and eating breakfast pancakes with Santa and his happy elf. Kids can then make some gifts for the Living Coasts penguins. Tickets cost £15. Suitable for all ages. See livingcoasts.org.uk
Over at Torquay Museum, the Devon-based Pocket Watch Theatre Company is taking part in a series of interactive performances for audiences of all ages. The Grinch Story returns to Torquay Museum this Christmas. Tickets are £7 per adult and £5 per child (including entry to the museum). There will also be running a craft session between performances, where visitors can decorate a "Who-shoe" or a "Who-house" Christmas tree ornament to take home. See torquaymuseum.org
Fill the s-l-o-w-e-s-t 12 hours of the year with a festive frenzy at Torquay’s Fleet Walk Shopping Centre. Santa is in residence at this suitably light, bright and glittery grotto, guaranteed to get everyone in the mood for the big day TOMORROW! Entry is £4 and includes a gift. Money raised goes to Children’s Hospice South West. See chsw.org.uk. The grotto is run entirely by volunteers from the Rotary Club of Babbacombe and St Marychurch. After all that sparkle and shine, take a stroll along the seafront and enjoy a sense of calm before the storm. Torbay is a pretty magical place to be all year round…
When the Big Day is out of the way – now what? Here’s a quick round-up of what’s happening in Torbay for rest of the festive hols:
Now’s the time to get to the panto, if you haven’t done so already. Oh yes it is! Take your pick from Sleeping Beauty at Torquay’s Princess Theatre (on until 6 January) Mother Goose at Paignton’s Palace Theatre (on until 2 January). Jack at the Beanstalk is on at the same venue on 6 January.
The year is 1897 and Christmas is still very much in the air at Bygones, Torquay. Join in this special celebration of all things Victorian until 31 December. There will be trails for the kids, special lighting displays and the chance for your granny to spot blasts from her past in the incredibly well-stocked historical exhibitions here. This place is a real treasure trove – and open every day. See bygones.co.uk/pages/whats-on
Keep the magic going, albeit on a very small scale. Babbacombe Model Village’s (full-sized) doors are open every day after 25th December. Tiny festive displays and lights will make the kids feel like seasonal giants. There’s also a labyrinth to wind your way through. See model-village.co.uk/christmas-at-the-model-village
Bring your leftover tins of sweets (a rare thing, I know) and cosy up in front of classic crime thriller at a pop-up 1950s cinema at Greenway House.
Agatha Christie’s former home is hosting a series of special screenings to celebrate the golden age of cinema. Guest curator and crime writer Sophie Hannah has selected the films, including Manhattan Murder Mystery(PG) on 31 December and North by North West(PG) on 28 December.