Christmas Dining in Devon

Christmas Dining in Devon Picture 1

App for Devon Article of Interest: Christmas Dining in Devon

Written by Emily Stewart, contributor

16 December 2014

At the risk of sounding trite, the Christmas season is truly a magical time in Devon. Diverse flora and fauna paint the landscape in a myriad of greens, yellows, rich browns, and reds. Morning air is crisp with frost lining everything from Exeter’s high-rise structures to seashells on Torquay’s beaches. In recent years Devonians have also enjoyed atypical blue skies in December. The Visit Plymouth website captures the Devon Christmas-time ambience well when it titles its holiday-specific events page, “Plymouth Loves Christmas.” One of the most enjoyable ways to explore Christmas in Devon is via its culinary offerings. From small cafes to massive farms, nearly every food-focused establishment offers something by way of Christmas menus, pricing, and activities.

Christmas in Devon would not be complete without a traditional pub dinner. Menus for these dinners usually include unique offerings like salmon, nut roasts, and risottos. Inevitably, the establishment also offers a traditional plate of turkey or ham with stuffing, gravy, roast potatoes, vegetables (including Brussel sprouts!), cranberry sauce, and other nibbles like bacon-wrapped sausages. Pubs from the city to the country generally begin accepting reservations in September. Reservations are typically required in advance, usually with a deposit and stated choice of menu items. The Christmas dinner is a festive, relaxed affair: guests may be greeted with poppers on their placemats, enjoying drinks as their starters are provided. Servers lay each pre-ordered course with care; it’s the ultimate relaxing dining experience for attendees. The pubs are decorated and Christmas music often plays. A true Devonian will book several dinners as each pub offers its own clever version. If you’re unsure of where to book, here are the 2014 Devon Tourism Awards for Best Tourism Pubs:

-The Millbrook Inn, Kingsbridge (

-The Five Bells, Clyst Hoydon (

-The NoBody Inn, Doddiscombleigh (

-The Swan, Bampton (


Not only do pubs provide special menus and programming during the season, but nearly every restaurant and café offers a separate Christmas menu of seasonal fare, accompanying drinks, and great deals. It’s an opportune time to revisit your favourite cafes, search for new dining options, or plan eating out into your Devon tourism. The 2014 Devon Tourism Awards winners for the Taste of Devon are:

-Northcote Manor Country House Hotel, Umberleigh (

-The Horn of Plenty, Gulsworth (

-Highbullen Hotel, Golf & Country Club, Umberleigh (

-Moorland Garden Hotel, Yelverton (commended) (

-Riverford Field Kitchen, Buckfastleigh (commended) (


Other unique places to dine during Christmas are local and organic farms dotting the countryside. Many of these farms host regular or single-event Christmas dinners that usually last an entire afternoon. They may even invite guests to partake in the sourcing and cooking of ingredients. The vast majority of the meal uses resources available on-site. Search farm listings in the App for Devon ( to visit individual websites and “keep your eyes” open as you drive through the county. If a farm provides a space for the public to shop and eat, they probably provide a special Christmas event/ offering.

An oft-forgotten yet cost-effective, positive, and enjoyable Christmas dining experience is probably provided by your local community centre or church. These dinners are usually cooked by neighbours and held on weekends throughout November and December. They are usually donations-based in support of charity groups or community organisations. Attendees may be invited to read their own poetry and garden-fresh produce. These dinners are such a heart-warming way to connect. Be sure to visit community group’s websites’, pay attention to local notice boards, and visit a church in-person to learn more.

Don’t forget that you can reap the benefits of Devon’s landscape during the Christmas season by ordering local produce and hosting your own dinner parties. The “Local Stores, Farm Shops & Markets” section of the App for Devon ( features Devon suppliers that provide easy-to-order Christmas boxes available for pick-up or delivered directly to your door. Really, App for Devon recommends making an event out of it by visiting the farm directly to hand-pick your produce, choose your cuts of meat, and possibly source your locally-brewed beers and wines. Your local supplier will likely be happy to host you; email or phone ahead to find out if they offer tours.

And, if you haven’t a moment to imbibe one of the more intensive dining options below among your packed shopping schedule, simply visit the local village shop where a morsel of local fudge, sweeties, or a gingerbread cookie. After all, Devon loves Christmas.