Christmas In Cornwall

Christmas is sneaking up fast! This year we’ve swapped our Winter Wonderland ice rink for the magic of real reindeer and lots more fun so we’ve got plenty going on to keep the little ones (and big ones!) smiling. Christmas in Cornwall is an enchanting time so we’ve also rounded up the best local events for you to explore. Nadelik Lowen! That’s ‘Merry Christmas’ in Cornish.


Where To Meet Santa

Retallack Resort & Spa
11th, 18th, 21st, 22nd, & 23rd December
Our Kid’s Club has a very special visitor this year! Santa is stopping off for a holiday at Retallack before his world tour on Christmas Eve. He’ll be bringing some special elf friends, Mrs Claus and his amazing real reindeer. Visit the big man himself and have fun at our festive Kids Club activity sessions.

21st November – 20th December

The Tudor manor house of Trerice is pretty enough to grace any Christmas card and is just 9 miles from Retallack. Discover old festive traditions, get creative with craft activities and meet Tudor Father Christmas. 

Trelawney Garden Centre
A local favourite, from 21st November Santa arrives ready to meet all the littles and find out what they want for Christmas.


Fun for Littles

Retallack Resort & Spa
From 27th November
There is so much festive fun! Meet our gorgeous animated reindeer in The Driftwood Lounge, make a festive wish on our Wishing Tree, test your skills with our Colouring Competition, help Santa find his helpers on our Elf Hunt or follow the clues around Santa’s Woodland Trail. Enjoy tasty treats from the Winter Cafe while the kids let off steam in our playground and marvel at our Winter Scene. Get in the mood when the resort lights up at dusk and cosy up in front of the log burner in The Green Room with a winter warmer.

Retallack Resort & Spa
19th December – 24th December
Santa’s furry friends will be stopping by before they fly off on Christmas Eve and help him deliver all the Christmas presents. Come and meet the real reindeer, have fun with some free festive craft sessions for kids and warm up with some tasty treats from our Winter Cafe. Meet real reindeer from 19th -24th December or visit our animated reindeer in the Driftwood Lounge from 27th November

Eden Project
28th November – 3rd January

We’re not having our synthetic ice rink this year but just 14 miles from us is the famous Eden Project and their Winter Festival includes a real ice rink! Let Eden add a wonderful sprinkling of sparkle to your Christmas by meeting Father Christmas, walking through the Enchanted Rainforest, ice skating, listening to Christmas choirs and festive storytellers and joining in with Christmas craft workshops.

4th – 21st December
The beautiful riverside gardens of Trelissick just outside of Truro will be lit up after dark, ready for you to explore. Our top tip – visit on Sunday 6th December when there will be the real Santa’s reindeers! Get up close and even stroke their fur before they rush off to get ready for their busy deliveries on Christmas Eve.

Mousehole Lights
12th December – 2nd January
A little further away but totally worth the hours’ drive to visit the world famous Mousehole Lights. Wrap up warm, grab a hot mulled wine and stroll through the dark streets and narrow alleys of this pretty harbourside village. The hills, streets and houses are decked out with amazing lights and the harbour is full of floating illuminated creations. There are plenty of little shops open through the evening for last minute gift buying and cafes, restaurants and the pub are there to keep hungry belly rumbles at bay.

Christmas dinner

Foodie Fun

Retallack Resort & Spa
We’ll have a Winter Cafe serving lots of tasty treats, the Bar will have special winter warmers flowing or you can take time out from Christmas shopping with our set lunch menu – two courses for £12 or three courses for £14.  For a spot of festive indulgence join MasterChef winner and Executive Chef James Nathan for his 7 course Taster Menu served every Thursday evening.

Padstow Christmas Festival
3rd – 6th December

Set on the harbourside and one for all you foodies. Its jam packed with local produce, cookery demonstrations and celebrity chefs. Don’t miss the fireworks display on Friday night and Santa arriving by horse drawn Victorian bus.

Fowey Christmas Market
5th & 6th Decembe
See Santa arrive by boat, join in the lantern parade and shop until you drop around the shops of Fowey and the market on the quayside. You are sure to find some unique handmade gifts and it’s a great chance to stock up on delicious local food and drink for Christmas.

Truro Victorian Christmas Market
8th -13th December
Experience a Dickensian Christmas as you wander through this market and past the stallholders dressed in Victorian costumes. A magical market filled with the scent of spiced mulled wine and the sound of carol singing.

Firework Displays in Cornwall 2015

Firework displays Cornwall 2015

Wrap up in woollies, pull on those wellies and get out and watch the sparkle of fireworks light up the sky!

Near Crealy – Thursday 5th November, fireworks at 7pm
Closest to us are the fireworks near Crealy Adventure Park. Just a few minutes drive up the A39, take the Crealy turning and its about half a mile down the road on the left. They’ll have hot food and drink on sale. Entry donations to local charities.

Newquay – Thursday 5th November, from 6pm
A fab free fireworks display at The Mermaid Inn, Porth. Wander down to the beach and watch the fireworks which are spectacularly let off from  Porth Island. 

Bodmin – Thursday 5th November, from 6pm
Head down to Priory Park for something a bit different – the fireworks will be let off to the music from the Bond movies. Adults £5, Kids £3

Trebarwith – Friday 6th November, from 6pm
Lots of fun at this Festival of Fireworks. They’ll have a hog roast, BBQ, live music and a fancy dress competition with a superhero theme! Adults £2, Kids £1

Rock – Friday 6th November, 5.30pm
A fun laser and fireworks show at St Minver School. £3

Wadebridge – Saturday 7th November, fireworks at 7pm
10 minutes up the road from Retallack you’ll find Wadebridge Rugby Club’s fantastic firework display right by the River Camel. They’ll have a BBQ, music and bar but save your sparklers for back at your lodge as they don’t allow them.

Port Isaac – Saturday 7th November, 7.30pm
A beautiful spot on Porth Gaverne beach to watch the fireworks whizz and bang over the sea.

What’s On in Cornwall for October Half Term

October half term in Cornwall is all about the spooky and the magical. There is plenty going on for littles and fun for the big ones too! We’ve hunted down our favourite places and happenings for half term to share with you. Enjoy.

Spooky Trerice

Trerice House, 30th & 31st October

Explore the beautiful Tudor manor house by candlelight and discover all things that go bump in the night!


Retallack Resort & Spa Fireworks, 21st & 28th October

Two huge firework displays to celebrate half term! Gather in our top car park at 6.30pm and watch the night sky burst into colour and sparkle.

Halloween Crealy

Crealy Adventure Park, 24th – 31st October

All the fun of Crealy with some added Halloween fun – visit the witch in her grotto, get creative in the pumpkin carving competition, get up close with some slithering reptiles, watch magic shows and tuck into hot pumpkin soup, taste toffee apples and spicy gingerbread.


The Lost Gardens of Heligan, 24th October – 1st November

Heligan’s magical and mysterious woods will play host to a spooky Halloween Trail. Brave adventurers are challenged to creep along the trail and discover the spooky goings on that may give you either a fright or a delight! Discover storytellers by the fire, get hands on with crafts and make your own magical willow wand and frightful pumpkins.


Coastal Capers

Wrap up in woollies and explore long stretches of empty beaches, paddle brave toes in crisp waves and uncover critters in crystal clear rockpools. Once the littles have let off steam head off to the nearest café and warm chilly fingers around mugs of steaming hot chocolate.

Zoo Boo

Newquay Zoo, 31st October

Frightful fun at the Zoo Boo Halloween party – get your scariest fancy dress on and join in all the fun from a trick or treat trail to witches brew and gruesome gruel!


The Eden Project, 24th October – 1st November

There is so much going on at Halloweden from potion making to ice skating, face painting, meeting owls, exploring the rainforest biomes and braving the tunnel of terror!

Sticky Toffee Pudding Recipe

Sticky Toffee Pudding

Autumn has arrived bringing with it a chill in the air, darker evenings and a hankering for all things sugary and warm. This weekend sees the return of the Sticky Toffee Pudding Competition in Padstow with amateurs and top chefs competing to win the coveted best pudding award! Our own Executive Chef and MasterChef winner, James Nathan, will be taking part along with other celeb chefs such as Nathan Outlaw and Paul Ainsworth. 

To celebrate the competition and the return of all things cosy this autumn, James has added his (hopefully award winning!) sticky toffee pudding to The Green Room menu and we’ve also managed to get him to share it with us so you can have a go making it at home. Enjoy. 

175g whole dates
300ml boiling water
1tsp bicarbonate of soda
50g softened unsalted butter
80g caster sugar
80g dark brown sugar
2 eggs, beaten
175g flour
1tsp baking soda
Pinch of ground cloves
75g chopped walnuts
cream or custard to serve (optional)
For the toffee sauce:
115g butter
75g caster sugar
40g dark brown sugar
140ml cream

1. Firstly make the toffee sauce by combining  the ingredients in a pan and heating gently until it combines to form a delicious toffee sauce.
2. Pour half of the sauce into the bottom of a baking tray and place in the freezer.
3. While the sauce is freezing, soak the dates in the boiling water and bicarb.
4. Beat the softened butter and two sugars until soft and fluffy.
5. Add the beaten eggs a little at a time.
6. Stir in the flour, baking soda and cloves until smooth then add the dates and the liquid they have soaked in as well as the chopped walnuts.
7. Remove the baking tray with the frozen toffee sauce in from the freezer and pour over the cake batter. Bake at 180c for 30 minutes or until golden and firm to the touch.
8. Once cooked, prick holes all over, pour over the remaining toffee sauce and pop under a hot grill before serving.

James Nathan at Camp Bestival – Lemon Sole Salad Nicoise Recipe

    James Nathan Lemon Sole Salad Nicoise If you are lucky enough to be at Camp Bestival this weekend then you can see our very own MasterChef James Nathan cooking up a storm at the Hotpoint Festival Kitchen. He’ll be showing the Bestivalers how to cook a beautiful summer dish – Lemon Sole Salad Nicoise. We grabbed a few minutes with him to get the yummy recipe before he packed up his cooking gear and wellies and headed off to the sunny fields of Dorset. Of course James is a super chef and MasterChef winner and his Lemon Sole Salad Nicoise recipe has some fancy bits, so we have two versions – his original and an adapted one with easier to find ingredients. Although the easier version might not look quite so stunning on the plate it will taste the same and still look very pretty. You can often find samphire in bigger supermarkets now and edible flowers can be gathered from your garden (carefully!) such as nasturtium, scented geraniums and borage. Both recipes will serve four people.

James’ Lemon Sole Salad Nicoise Ingredients:

  • 2 lemon sole, filleted
  • 50g brown shrimps
  • 8 small Vitellote potatoes
  • 8 quails eggs
  • 16 french beans
  • Punnet of heritage cherry tomatoes
  • 12 black olives
  • 10 anchovy fillets
  • Handful of wild samphire and sea purslane
  • Handful of wild mustard leaves and flowers
  • Sachet of squid ink
  • Micro basil
  • Nasturtium flowers
  • 8 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 4 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • Sea salt
  • Caster sugar
  • Lemon juice

Easier Ingredients List:

  • 2 lemon sole, filleted
  • 50g brown shrimps or prawns
  • 8 small new potatoes
  • 2 hens eggs
  • 16 french beans
  • Punnet of cherry tomatoes
  • 12 black olives
  • 10 anchovy fillets
  • Handful of samphire
  • Fresh basil
  • Edible flowers (optional)
  • 8 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 4 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • Sea salt
  • Caster sugar
  • Lemon juice

Lemon Sole Salad Nicoise Method:

  1. Cook the potatoes and French beans and then refresh in ice.
  2. Cook the eggs until they are soft boiled.
  3. For the easier recipe go to step 4. If you are following James’ Masterchef recipe then make an emulsion from the wild mustard leaves, 1 tbsp Dijon and 2 tbsp olive oil by popping in a blender until smooth. Keep to one side.
  4. Blend together anchovies, black olives, 1 tbsp Dijon, 2 tbsp olive oil and white wine vinegar to create another emulsion.
  5. Cut the tomatoes in half and sprinkle with a tiny bit of salt and sugar.
  6. Pan fry the lemon sole fillets by placing them skin side down in a frying pan. Put a saucer on them to weigh them down for 20 seconds to stop them curling up. Cook for two minutes and then remove the pan from the heat and let the fillets sit in the pan until they are cooked through, this will stop them overcooking. Squeeze a little lemon juice over the fillets.
  7. If you are doing James’ version then brush an artistic swipe of squid ink on the middle of the plate.
  8. Arrange the fish, potatoes, French beans, tomatoes and eggs on the plate (along the back of the squid ink line if using).
  9. Decorate with samphire, basil and edible flowers.
  10. Dot with the emulsion (two emulsions for James’ recipe).

The Lemon Sole Salad Nicoise is currently on the Thursday night 7 course taster menu at The Green Room Restaurant if you fancy trying James’ version. James Nathan Lemon Sole Salad Nicoise Recipe Camp Bestival 2015