Our four-day event attracted thousands between 7th-10th December
Visitors from across the UK and beyond flocked to Padstow recently for what’s being described as an “extraordinary” year for our annual Christmas Festival!
Now in its 16th year and named the “UK’s Best Christmas Market’ by National Geographic for 2023, even the wintery weather couldn’t keep massive crowds away from enjoying celebrity chef demonstrations, a huge Christmas market, community events, fireworks and more.
Tina Evans, our Festival’s Founder and Organiser, commented “It’s hard to put into words how thankful I am to everyone who has contributed to the Padstow Christmas Festival this year – it has been truly exceptional. From local school children creating their lanterns for Friday night’s parade, our revered celebrity and local chefs who all donated their time for free, and the army of volunteers who we owe so much, to our market traders, our incredible sponsors, local businesses and of course, every visitor who came along, thank you! We simply couldn’t put on such an incredible event without you all.”
Now one of the country’s most loved Christmas events, we saw a host of well-known faces cook for delighted crowds including Rick Stein, Paul Ainsworth, Valentine Warner, Michael Caines MBE, Emily Scott, Matt Tebbutt, Jose Pizzaro and Richard Bertinet.
Chris McClurg, Jude Kereama, Rick Toogood and Ross Geach were among local culinary royalty, with one of the UK’s best-loved presenters Fern Britton compering for her niece Rose Dann on the Sharp’s Festival Kitchen Stage.
We even had a Hollywood actor here in Padstow – the amazing Alistair Petrie joined Jack Stein, who cooked up recipes inspired by Alistair’s film roles. Another heartwarming moment was watching Alistair bring out a young apprentice from Stein’s Cookery School, praising his attitude towards the hospitality industry and world of work.
Ed Hughes, Beer Sommelier at Headline Sponsor Sharp’s Brewery, commented, “Yet again, Padstow was awash with the very best of what Cornwall has to offer, and what Tina Evans and her group of volunteers have created here is magic. The chef line-up is world-class, the Christmas market is an exceptional showcase and the Festival is an absolute celebration of community; that’s the loveliest thing about it. Everyone at Sharp’s Brewery is so proud to be involved with Padstow Christmas Festival.”
Sharp’s brought their innovative ‘Solar Wave Silent Bistro’ to this year’s festival – a unique sensory experience involving the delivery of specially chosen sounds through headphones whilst guests tasted and experienced beer and food in a new way, gaining new learnings and understandings along the way.
Rick Stein who has been at the forefront of the Padstow ChristmasFestival since it started 16 years ago, was overjoyed with the success of this year’s festival. “We’re very proud of Padstow Christmas Festival and it simply had the most amazing atmosphere this year. It was an honour to cook on stage, and to attend the Big Breakfast at the Harbour Hotel with friends old and new. The Chefs’ Forum was a particular highlight for me – to be on stage with Charlie, Valentine, Tracy and Matthew was hugely inspirational, discussing hospitality as a vocation for young people and what a rewarding choice it can be for the next generation.”
As a not-for-profit event, the Padstow Christmas Festival continues to be financed by sponsorship, with all revenue raised from events held during the Festival. Local charities, schools and community groups benefit from funds raised.
Tracy Hart, Volunteer Business Mentor for The Prince’s Trust, partner charity of the Festival, commented “It was an incredible event and we were able to share the mission of The Prince’s Trust with people from far and wide and showcase some of the young people who have successfully started their own business with the help of the Prince’s Trust. This charity changes the lives of young people, helping them live, learn and earn through multiple programmes and providing opportunities, like attending the Festival, to achieve goals they never dreamed possible. Thank you Tina and all the team!”
We couldn’t be prouder of our Festival. What started as a tiny little event in Padstow Memorial Hall with a couple of small cookery demos, has now grown into a renowned Christmas Festival which attracts the eyes of the world, bringing in countless visitors to our town at a time when the local economy really needs the support.
We are already talking about the 2024 Festival and can’t wait to share more details soon!