Totnes Christmas Market: the Best in the UK?30 November 2022
We'll just go right ahead and say it: Totnes Christmas Market is the best Christmas market in the country right now.
Sure, Manchester's market wins on sheer size. Birmingham's boasts a vibrant Oktoberfest vibe. And Edinburgh pulls out all the stops with an honest-to-goodness amusement park.
But if you're looking for the perfect mix of small-town charm and big-hearted family fun… no contest. Totnes wins, every time.
Best of all, Totnes is just a short drive from our South Devon holiday cottages. So you can spend the day sipping mulled cider and hunting for last-minute gifts, then warm up in our indoor heated pool before bed. Ahh…
Feeling festive yet? Good. Let's start with some key facts.
Totnes Christmas Market 2022: dates, times and directions
When does it take place?: 3pm to 9pm on Tuesdays 6, 13 and 20 December.
How do I get there?: tap 'TQ9 5AL' into your sat nav. This will take you to the town's main long-stay car park, which is just over the river from the high street. Or, if you're travelling from our holiday cottages, you could park up at Newton Abbot railway station and take the train. The journey only takes about 12 minutes.
What about parking?: Totnes has a mix of short-stay and long-stay car parks (go here for details). There's also metered street parking in the town centre.
What makes Totnes Christmas Market so special?
Totnes is special, for a start…
We'll get onto the Christmassy stuff soon enough. But we can't talk about Totnes Christmas Market without mentioning its very special surroundings.
No exaggeration. Totnes is quite unlike any other town in Devon – or any other town in the UK, for that matter.
It's got historic buildings. It's got winding mediaeval streets. It's got beautiful natural scenery and a charming quayside park. And – to top it all off – it has oodles of character, reflected in its medley of independent shops, quirky bars and artisan restaurants.
Totnes is worth a visit any time of year. Throw in some wintry wonderment, courtesy of Totnes Christmas Market, and 'must-see' quickly becomes 'unmissable'.
You'll bag presents you can't find anywhere else
Totnes is full of creative folk – and many will be selling their unique creations at Totnes Christmas Market.
This year, the market will host more than 70 stalls across five locations. They'll offer everything from spicy street food to handmade jewellery to original artworks.
Looking for kids' gifts? Grab an educational craft kit or a funky patterned hair scrunchie. Need stocking fillers for friends and family? Go for a soothing scented candle, an artisan body scrub or a pair of colourful polymer clay earrings.
You'll even find special gifts for the furry friends in your life, such as dog collars and catnip-stuffed mice. Our favourite? A doggy painting kit that lets your pooch create their own abstract masterpieces.
Honestly, there's too much choice to cover everything here. But one thing's for sure: this isn't your typical Christmas market fare.
You can shop into the evening hours
With so many treasures on offer, how can you possibly peruse them all?
Don't worry. Totnes Christmas Market is open until nine o'clock in the evening, so there's plenty of time to fill your (reusable) shopping bags and soak up the twinkly, festive spirit.
And the stalls are just the start. Many of the town's most beloved local shops are also open late. Better make an itinerary…
There's plenty for kids to do
We know what it's like trying to keep kids entertained on a shopping day. Sooner or later, the cries of 'I'm bored' will begin and they'll drag their feet like they're traipsing through quicksand.
Not at Totnes Christmas Market. There's so much to do that they'll forget to be bored.
Start by asking them to spot the gnomes. That's right – there'll be more than 40 tiny gnomes hidden across the town in December, ready to discover and snap for a selfie.
Do they like a puzzle? Find the six big gnomes, collect their letters and unscramble the anagram. They'll have tonnes of fun playing along and they'll even bag a small prize!
There are lots of crafty activities to enjoy, too – like the free pom-pom-making workshop at the Royal Seven Stars, where they can make their own cute robin decorations.
Did we mention face painting? And a carousel? And a bona fide, unicycle-riding clown?
Yes, boredom is most definitely off the agenda.
There's lots of all-ages entertainment too
Adults, are you feeling left out? That's because we haven't mentioned all the fun stuff that's in store for you. This year's Totnes Christmas Market promises a packed programme of performances that are suitable for all ages.
There's choral music at St Mary's Church. There's Morris dancing at Rotherfold Square. There's cake tasting at Dartington Book Shop. There's too much to list, honestly.
Fancy stepping inside for a cheeky pint? You can't go wrong with the Barrel House at the top end of Totnes High Street. As well as serving its usual selection of locally brewed beers, it's also hosting open-mic nights and jam sessions throughout the Christmas market season. Tell them Long Barn sent you.
The vibe. Just the vibe.
You know what we mean. Every Christmas market has its own special vibe – and Totnes Christmas Market is no different.
It's hard to sum it up in words. How about 'magical'? 'Wondrous'? 'Awe-inspiring'? 'All of the above'?
Visiting Totnes Christmas Market is like stepping into a festive fairytale, right here in South Devon. With its twinkling lights, colourful stalls and equally colourful locals, it truly feels like no other place on Earth.
There's no getting around it – you have to experience it for yourself. And if you do, we'll be ready with some cosy beds and a welcome pack of tea and biscuits. You know you want to…