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The countdown to Christmas is on!

Posted on: 03 Dec 2021

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Alex Ryley
Site Editor
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December is here and the festivities are in full flow at Royal William Yard as social gatherings return. From markets under the stars and lights on the lawn, to the return of the Christmas party and festive feasts to tempt the tastebuds, there is much to be excited about at the Yard during the countdown to Christmas.

“Whether you fancy a shopping trip to source gifts from our selection of independent retailers, a great place to celebrate with loved ones, or somewhere to soak up the festive atmosphere on a winter walk, we’ve got you covered,” says Hailey Cattle, Regional Marketing Manager for Urban Splash.

“The Yard always feels special over Christmas and this year, perhaps even more so, with family, friends and colleagues able to celebrate together. We’re putting on more festive markets across December than ever before and there’s no shortage of chances to shop at incredible independents. And there’s a massive array of places to eat, drink, and be merry.”

List of must-see and must-do activities for the festive season

Never mind the 12 days of Christmas, here’s the top 12 seasonal selection of activities to keep you thoroughly entertained throughout December:

1. Return of the Christmas party: office parties, social gatherings, family get-togethers are back on this year and there’s plenty of ways to celebrate in style. Whether it’s a group meal at well-known favourites, Wildwood, Prezzo or Bistrot Pierre, the private room at Seco for a festive knees up, or something different like a wine-tasting at Le Vignoble, there’s a range of options.

2. Family fun: Royal William Yard’s newest restaurant, The Club House, is running a series of festive family events on Wednesdays and Sundays through December, so get booking a place. Mulled wine, hot chocolate, sharing nibbles, wreath making, face painting and more. Families are always welcome throughout the Yard, and Saturday mornings see Mini Makers supervised creative sessions keep little ones entertained at Ocean Studios Café.

3. December dining: the Christmas menus have been unleashed and you’ll be spoilt for choice for festive feasting. Each and every eatery at the Yard will be pulling out the stops this Christmas. Wagamama has a whole range of winter warming ramens from its 50% plant-based menu. The Club House, Bistrot Pierre and Wildwood all have both festive menus and drink packages available, and Prezzo and Seco Lounge have festive specials available too.

4. Tasty tipple or two: Microbrewery, Steel Brew Co, have beers on tap plus bottles and gifts to take away. Independent seafood restaurant and rum bar, Hook & Line, has over 40 types of rum, plus new twists on classic cocktails. Prezzo has introduced new festive cocktails, including a Baileys Flat White Martini. And wine shop and library, Le Vignoble has everything from a glass of something special, to gift hampers, and all you need to stock your wine rack for Christmas.

5. Shop small, support local: support talented independent business offering a range of unique gifts. Including hand-picked clothes, jewellery and accessories at boutique,Identity Fashion; fresh handmade chocolates from Domea Favour; an array of locally made gifts in Ocean Studios ground floor shop; and goodies and gift vouchers available right across the Yard.

6. Time for a treat: take a break from frenetic festivities and pop to Enhance Aesthetics and Wellness for blissful beauty treatments, gifts and vouchers. Sustainable hair salon YOKE is on hand to help you look the part for Christmas, and has a selection of haircare gifts on offer, as well as hosting pop-ups from talented local artists and makers.

7. Festive markets: underway already, this month sees more markets than ever before to give visitors the chance to shop safely, with a huge variety of arts, crafts, food and drink to grab as gifts – and it even includes a pop up gin bar by Barbican Botanics. The Festive Good Food and Craft Market is running on Sundays 10:00 - 15:00 and the Festive Late Night Shopping Market is running on Wednesdays 17:00 - 21:00, taking place until the 19th December.

8. Christmas Day and NYE merriment: Bistrot Pierre is throwing its doors open on Christmas Day, for a memorable meal you don’t have to slave over. Relax, celebrate with loved ones and enjoy a five course Christmas dinner. NYE kicks off with champagne, includes a four course meal, and live entertainment – bringing a touch of Paris to Plymouth.

9. Winter walks: enjoy a brisk walk around the South West Coast Path, a leisurely stroll around the Yard, or be brave and jump into cold water swimming at Firestone Bay. Keep snug and warm by stopping for hot drinks at cake all around the Yard, or grab a drink to go. The Bistrot Pierre Rapide offers the perfect hot drink or baguette on the go, and visitors come from all around for freshly made hot chocolate from DomeaFavour.

10. Light it up: revel in the celebrations at Royal William Yard at your own pace.Standing centre-stage on the Yard’s lawn is a stunning Christmas tree, which can’t fail to make you feel festive. The tunnel leading to Firestone Bay, our Grade I listed buildings, and our dramatic staircase leading to the coast path are lit up after dark, making the Yard feel magical.

11. The gift of experience: give something a little different this Christmas with a memorable experience. This could include stand-up paddle boarding sessions courtesy of South West SUP; relaxing and rejuvenating massages and treatments at Enhance Aesthetics and Wellness; and sewing and knitting course experiences, and make-at-home craft kits, from modern haberdashery Make at 140.

12. Seasonal staycation: fancy a night away, or have family and friends visiting? The Yard’s boutique B&B, Rooms by Bistrot Pierre, provides the perfect home-from-home retreat. Royal William Yard serviced apartments are ideal for loved ones coming for a Christmas trip when there’s not enough room at the inn!