Sea foam flying off roaring waves, a winter’s dip in icy cool water, mugs of hot cocoa warming chilly fingers. With your lungs full of the freshest ocean air and your cheeks turned pink from a blustery coastal walk, warm up in your very own beach retreat this December.

The Christmas season in Cornwall harbours its own kind of festive feel. From light displays mirrored in ocean water, markets rich with the scents of local winter produce and unique traditions such as the imperative Christmas day sea swim, there’s no better place to spend the final month of the year. Here’s our top things to do in December.

Trelissick in December

Join in the festive spirit in the lead-up to Christmas at Trelissick House and Gardens in Truro this December. The garden is transformed into an enchanted wonderland which is illuminated after dusk while the house is decorated with twinkling lights. Children can enjoy an audience with Santa and visit live reindeer in the stables. Warm up with mince pies and mulled wine.

Santa holding presents.

Christmas Markets

Seek out one of the unique Christmas markets dotted around Cornwall during the festive season. From homemade chutneys, fine wines and one-of-a-kind crafts, a Christmas market is the go-to place to pick up some last-minute gifts or indulge in some delicious food and drink. Our favourites are the Winter Gift Fayre in Truro’s Lemon Quay and Bude’s Christmas Beach Hut market. Or head to Padstow for their annual Christmas Festival.

A group of people in a tented market.

Winter walks

Pull on the wellies and wrap up warm to experience Cornwall’s long low-tide beaches at their best. With the waves whipped back by the wind, sea foam flying, a cool mist setting over the horizon and the moody December weather lighting the sand silver, a Cornish beach in winter is a sight to behold. All of our retreats are within walking distance of the beach, or stride out further along the South West Coast Path to explore the nearby shores. Plus, there’s a good chance you’ll have the beach to yourself.

Dog and owner walking along the shore.

Take a winter dip

It’s tradition to take a Christmas Day dip in Cornwall, but we suggest taking the plunge any day of the month. Take a deep breath and immerse yourself in the icy water, and then wrap up warm and head home for a well-deserved hot chocolate. We suggest finding a safe and sheltered swimming spot, such as a local harbour, and always checking tides, weather conditions and safety advice before heading in.

A woman walking along a beach.