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Christmas in Exeter may be a little different this year

Published: 7 December 2020

Princesshay snow dome pods

Christmas in 2020 may be a little different to usual, but there is still lots to look forward to in Exeter. Shops reopened on the 2nd December, to kick off the Christmas shopping season amidst thousands of twinkling lights and festive decorations.  Look out for Chief the stag, the illuminated throne and a huge Christmas tree in Princesshay, plus the return of the Charity Christmas Trees in Roman Walk as well as the Christmas sleigh at Guildhall Shopping.

There is late night shopping every Thursday evening starting from Thursday 3rd December, until Thursday 17th, with many shops across the city open until 8 or 9pm. Visit the websites below to view the individual areas’ opening times:

Princesshay Christmas opening times

Exeter Guildhall Shopping Christmas opening times

InExeter also have a handy guide to opening times across the rest of the city, including M&S, Primark, and John Lewis, who will be showcasing local independents as part of the Great British Exchange.

The Guildhall Shopping Centre’s Alpine Market reopens on the 2nd December, in the Alpine Village against St Pancras Church as well as in Market Square. This outdoor Christmas Market sees 8 very exciting traders move in for the festive period, including a local Devonshire fudge maker, wooden Christmas decorations and home décor, baked goods, Bespoke handmade charms and jewellery, handmade wool clothing, Bubble waffles and the amazing Camper Coffee. It will be open daily from 10am to 5pm until 23rd December, with late night opening on Thursdays until 9pm. They will also have live music on Thursday nights and visits from a variety of festive Characters over the weekends leading up to Christmas, including Squirrel Nutkins, The Grinch and The Bouncing Snowmen!

When you’re ready for a refreshment pit-stop, Exeter’s cafes and restaurants are open and ready to welcome you, with Covid-secure measures in place. Exeter is in Tier 2, so please be aware you can only dine indoors with members of your own household or support bubble. There is plenty of outdoor seating around the city if you prefer to eat alfresco with a friend, including the Guildhall Shopping Centre’s Street Food Market, open 7 days a week.

Princesshay Square has been transformed into a magical Christmas scene with an open-air snow house bar, 7 heated snow dome pods and outdoor seating, a Bratwurst BBQ grill and wooden chalets selling gifts and seasonal food. The whole area will be lit and decorated for Christmas. There are also special dining domes attached to some of the independent restaurants in the city, where you can dine in your own ‘bubble’ whilst watching the world go by!

With social distancing measures in place across the city, reduced capacities in shops and carefully managed queuing systems, Exeter has worked hard to be a safe place to shop this Christmas. If you prefer to shop from the comfort and safety of your own homes, there are still many ways to support local businesses – check out Visit Exeter’s Virtual Christmas Market for inspiration.

If you are stuck for the perfect gift this Christmas treat your loved ones to an independent gift card. The joy of the card is that the gifted amount can be spent across multiple independent retailers, salons, cafes and restaurants, so you really are supporting local with the card. Purchase online at

There is also festive entertainment at the city’s theatres, with swashbuckling family comedy Treasure Island at the Exeter Northcott from the 9th December – 9th January, and traditional panto fun at the Exeter Corn Exchange, with the Wizard of Oz from 19th December – 3rd January.

To find out more about what’s on this Christmas in Exeter, visit

Roman Walk Xmas Trees

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