Discover Devon for fun-packed half term breaks and traditional family Christmas celebrations

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Fun family breaks, haunting Halloween fun, beachy adventures, cute festive traditions and jolly Christmas markets, are just a few reasons to love Devon this autumn and winter.

Soar Mill Cove Hotel celebrate their 40th Anniversary on the gorgeous Devon coast this year, and they’re as excited as ever about bundled-up-warm beachcombing, cosy afternoon teas, blazing November sunsets, and local Christmas traditions.

Can they persuade you to discover the delights of Devon in all its seasons?

Have a look at what’s happening over the next few months and decide for yourself.

Halloween is thrill-filled in Devon this half-term

Tucked between the rolling South Ham Hills and the sea, Soar Mill Cove Hotel seems like an escapist fantasy, yet it’s only a few minutes from Salcombe.

If the real Halloween atmosphere is what kids are after this October, you’ll be very interested in the hotel’s near neighbour, Overbeck’s.

Once the seaside home of eccentric inventor, Otto Overbeck, Overbeck’s house and garden are now managed by the National Trust and, as every chill-seeking child knows; nobody puts the spook into Halloween better than the National Trust.

Haunting garden trails, witchy arts and crafts, and possible sightings of Fred the friendly house phantom, are planned at Overbeck’s on Friday 27 and Saturday 28 October.

Which fits Halloween fun neatly into the school holidays, and gives you the perfect excuse to think about a half-term break at Soar Mill Cove.

October is also brilliantly beachy and good for swimming

October half-term is a great time to give wellies their first annual outing on Soar Mill Cove’s private beach or along the fabulous South West Coastal Path. It’s the longest coastal path in the UK, particularly pretty in autumn, and even the smallest legs can manage some of its length, with a little help from one of the hotel’s hearty picnics.

Cold weather paddling is only for the truly intrepid, but Soar Mill Cove’s indoor pool is a perfect temperature year round and it’s saltwater, so kids won’t miss the sea too much. Of course, if you find yourself with a child-free space in the day, the hotel spa is a refreshing grown-up alternative to splashing about.

Christmas markets, candlelit parades and Santa on a steam train

Searching for festive spirit? You just need to catch a glimpse of Salcombe’s twinkly lights across the bay on a crisp November evening and child-like excitement kicks in instantly. Without a doubt it’s one of Devon’s prettiest towns, but far from the only one packed with seasonal good cheer this winter.

Just under an hour’s drive from Soar Mill Cove, Dartmouth starts its Christmas celebrations with a Candlelit Festive Weekend on 24 and 25 November. Santa arrives by boat for this one, and if that doesn’t completely enchant the kids, Saturday evening’s Lantern Procession should do the trick. It’s a delight that everyone is invited to join in on and carry a lantern, and families are especially welcome, so the parade starts nice and early, at 5.30pm.

Santa by boat is very cute, but Santa by Steam is an entire train journey in a glittering grotto, complete with elves, children’s gifts, meet ‘n’ greets with the old man himself, and treats for parents too.

This little slice of magic is brought to you by South Devon Railway from 9 December until Christmas Eve, and the fantasy begins at Buckfastleigh, less than 40 minutes by car from Soar Mill Cove.

Kingsbridge traditional Christmas market on 2 December is even closer to the hotel, and promises to be as much colourful, family fun as always. And for after dark merriment, gorgeous gifts and stalls laden with seasonal deliciousness, nearby Totnes is holding its atmospheric Evening Markets on 5, 12 and 19 December.

Celebrate family traditions with a four-day Cove Christmas

40th Anniversary celebrations have been going on all year at Soar Mill Cove, and the lead up to Christmas is particularly packed with glamorous, good fun, and very festive events. Everything from charity balls and book launches to kitchen open days and campfire cookouts are planned for October, November and December. If your heart’s set on a charming family Christmas, without having to lift a finger, you can even put Devon on your wish list for the big day itself this year.

Four day long Cove Christmas is filled with lovely traditions like long country walks and fortifying drams at the local smugglers’ inn; pantomimes for the kids; sea shanty sing-songs; fun parlour games and, of course, an endless supply of wonderful food and drink. The hotel’s family suites are extravagantly spacious but comfortingly cosy too, so you won’t miss home. And there’s plenty of room for playing with new toys or just enjoying the peaceful atmosphere that comes naturally to late December on the Devon coast.

Dogs are always welcome guests at the hotel, and apparently, windswept walks by the sea are this year’s must-have gifts for best-loved pets.


Find out more about Soar Mill Cove Hotel’s special offers, exciting events and family celebrations this autumn and winter.

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