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The Devonian Lapland

By Serene Park
25th September, 2011

If your name features on the top ten ‘naughty list’ and your ticket to Lapland has been black listed by Santa, Plymouth may just be your perfect location to see in the Christmas period.

Famous for Sir Francis Drake’s game of bowls, this coastal city transforms from ice-creams by the sunny sea to a winter wonderland as the festive season begins.

One trip into the town centre in December is enough to convert even the biggest Scrooge into one of Santa’s elves, with the Christmas market dominating any empty space available on the city streets right up until 24th December. This one-stop market, coated in the smell of roasted chestnuts, offers unique presents from local traders, artists and companies, alongside continental gifts and foods hosted from wooden huts that wouldn’t look out of place in Father Christmas’ own empire.

With all the selfless gift buying complete, it’s time to ensure your list is secured with ‘the man at the top’ and Santa sends many of his helper’s to this Devonshire city, keeping them warm in the two major department stores; Debenhams and Dingles, while overlooking from his headquarters at the Ice Palace close to the Christmas market.

Shopping and St.Nick visit ticked off your list of Yuletide preparations it’s time to don that Christmas hat and take to the ice on the outside Christmas skating rink, located next to the Plazze big screen during the mistletoe months (visit www.plymouth.gov.uk for more details and booking including listings of Christmas films free to view on the Plazza).

Energy levels depleting it’s time for food and a walk along the Barbican, lit with simplistic, yet beautiful lights is just what’s required. This street offers a range of choices starting with freshly made cocktails in the Gin Distillery, before dining on Chinese, French, Italian or in the luxury of the Tanner Brothers second Plymouth restaurant - the Barbican Kitchen (set menus and offers available).

With over 40 bed and breakfasts on offer within walking distance of the Barbican, you won’t have far to travel for the nearest bed. For a more luxurious kip book a night or two in the Copthorne Hotel with prices starting at £62 a night and rest within the same four walls that home the famous on their visits to both the Theatre Royal and Plymouth Pavilions (full details available at www.millenniumhotels.co.uk).

Feeling adventurous? Why not have a trip over the Tamar bridge and visit the Eden project, transformed over Christmas time into a winter wonderland with inside ice skating rink and a variety of festive themed activities available daily. 

More locally take a drive round Plymouth judging the various houses all competing for the local Christmas decoration competition, with some even opening their doors (and garages) as grottoes. Or save the petrol as the National Aquarium, Barbican arts centre, Cremyll ferry trips to Mount Edgecumbe, pottery painting, and bowling are just some of the city centre attractions available without even having to get in a car (log on to www.visitplymouth.co.uk).

However you decide to fill your days in Devon’s Lapland just remember be good Santa’s watching and a glass of Plymouth gin on Christmas eve may just be the deciding factor between a lump of coal or the keys to that new sports car (actually gifts may vary)!

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