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Mousehole harbour Christmas lights display

From lantern parades to floating illuminations, Cornwall has some of the best Christmas light displays in the UK. Several of the villages have now been running displays for decades and for many people the event marks the start of the Christmas season. We’ve picked our favourite festive events to light up your Christmas.

1. Truro, City of Lights

Lantern rhino at City of Lights, Truro

The City of Lights is a truly magical and festive experience. Paper lanterns of all shapes and sizes, handmade by artists, schools and community groups, are paraded through the streets of Truro. Previous creations include horses, lions, elephants and dinosaurs!

The parade starts at the Richard Lander Monument and works its way through the city ending at Lemon Quay. The Christmas Lights are switched on at the same time as the lantern procession moves through the streets.

Wednesday 20th November – 18:45pm – 20:30pm

Further information: City of Lights

2. Falmouth

This is a brilliant event for all the family in Falmouth. The evening starts when school children of the town’s schools, gather on Events Square with lanterns of all colours. They are joined by a  choir and special guest Santa, before parading through the town and finishing on The Moor. The schools perform Christmas songs before the big light switch on.

Thursday 28th November – 5pm lantern parade and switch on 7pm

Further information: Falmouth Christmas Lights

3. Penzance

‘Winter Wonderland’ is taking over Penzance. A festive market runs from 2pm until 6pm with everything on sale from handmade crafts to local food and drink. Children have the opportunity to meet a very famous face at Santa’s Grotto and musicians and bands will be playing at locations throughout the town. The big switch on is due to take place at 5:30pm.

Saturday 30th November – 5:30pm

Further information: Christmas in Penzance

4. Angarrack

Angarrack lights 8 maids a milking

Step into a real life Christmas Carol with this amazing animated recreation of the 12 Days of Christmas. Dotted around the village, on rooftops and in rivers, drummers are drumming, swans are swimming and somewhere there is a partridge in a pear tree. Every year the display grows in size and recent additions include Father Christmas and his reindeer as well as other spectacular illuminations.

Saturday 30th November

5. Fowey

The Christmas Light switch on coincides with the Fowey Christmas Market. Hundreds of stalls display handmade crafts and locally produced food and drink, as well as shops selling high quality items. The market opens on Friday and the lights will be switched on in the evening. Warm up afterwards with a glass of mulled wine or a hot chocolate from one of the many food stalls.

Friday 6th December – 7pm

Further information: Fowey Christmas Market

6. Looe

A spectacular lantern procession will make its way through Looe, accompanied by the St. Pinnock Brass band. This will be followed by a Carol service. Two parades will take place simultaneously, one from the east and the other from the west, and meet at the quayside for the switching on of the Christmas lights.

Saturday 7th December

Further information: Looe Lights Switch On

7. Cadgwith

Christmas comes to life in Cadgwith when the lights are switched on in this small fishing village on the Lizard Peninsula. As well as traditional Christmas sights, the illuminations take inspiration from the village’s surroundings. Expect to see boats, crabs, octopus and other marine life. Father Christmas will make an appearance at the Cove Inn and there will be carol singing with the Cadgwith Singers.

Saturday 7th December

8. Mousehole Harbour Lights

Glowing house and trees at Mousehole light display

The most famous Christmas lights display in Cornwall. This event has now been running for over 50 years and takes a mammoth effort from the volunteers who install and test every one of the thousands of bulbs. Not only is the village Of Mousehole illuminated but so too is the hillside and harbour, with giant boats and sea creatures glowing on the water. 

The Carolaire Choir will begin the evening with an open air carol service before the lights are switched on. The lights will then be illuminated every evening between 5pm and 11pm from 15th December until 4th January.

We expect around 30,000 visitors to attend the switch on this year so it is best to arrive with plenty of time to spare. 

Saturday 14th December at 6:30pm

Further information: Mousehole Lights

If you are thinking of travelling to Cornwall to enjoy a Christmas lights display then take a look at our range of beautiful holiday cottages to stay in.

Image credit: Rod Allday – (CC BY-SA 2.0); Alex Liivet – (CC BY 2.0); Paul – (CC BY-SA 2.0)