“ I have never before, in my long and eclectic career, been gifted with such an abundance of natural beauty as I experienced filming War Horse on Dartmoor.” Steven Spielberg.

The only place to be this Christmas is… Bovey Tracey

While you’re dashing through the shops this Christmas wondering where the festive spirit has gone you might consider setting aside some time for a visit to the merriest place around as Santa really has come to town this year, in Bovey Tracey.

House of Marbles’ annual grotto is one that needs to be ticked off the ‘nice list’ of things to do, with Stumpy the Singing Christmas Tree and a new TOP SECRET grotto theme each year. It is a jolly-time all-round with activities, prizes, discounts and of course that all important time with the big man himself: Santa! Children of all ages are welcome so it’s sure to be magical from start to finish for all the extended family too. At just £6.99 per child it’s also one of the best-priced Grottos around, without any compromise on experience. There’s no booking in advance, just show up on the day, every weekend from Saturday 16th November, 10am ‘til 3pm, until the big day.

Those without children can also partake in the festivities as House of Marbles is a great stop for hassle-free shopping. With a stunning ‘Big Tree’ that’s a feast for the eyes and delicious Christmas lunch menu from the 1st December, you’ll find all your Christmas gifts are sorted while benefiting from free parking, no entrance fees and an ever-welcome free gift-wrapping service to save you a job once you get home. If you’re really strapped for time then visit on the late-night shopping evening on 21st November with a chance for child-free shopping, free fizz, tasting station and even a wreath-making course too (wreath-making sessions have limited spaces so do book in advance).

Next stop is ‘the new North Pole’ situated at The Jolly Roger in Bovey Tracey. As another free to enter attraction, you won’t be disappointed by the many amazing reindeer, elves, Christmas trees gingerbread men and other yuletide characters we all know and love, year in and year out. There are plenty of photo opportunities here with all the entertaining face cut-outs you can ask for – did you ever fancy being Frosty the Snowman? Well here is your chance! Take away a family photo that will be Christmas-card worthy from your visit.

Lastly but not leastly is the most mysterious stop on our magical-mystery-tour at Escape The Game (situated on Pottery Road, opposite House of Marbles). This year’s Christmas theme is entitled “Santa Escape: The Grinch’s Curse”, which fills us with just as much joy as it does suspense about what The Grinch could be up to this time… Ultimately, an opportunity to save Christmas is as heroic a quest as they come, so prepare for the child-within to be thrilled and delighted as you‘ll almost certainly feel just like a you did as a kid on Christmas Eve, with all the same nostalgic anticipation. Pre-booking is a must, and you’ll be pleased to know there are a variety of times and dates to fit in with all your winter-time plans.

All in all, you will almost certainly leave Bovey Tracey feeling like Christmas has come to Devon this year, which of course it has!