Let somebody else do all the work for you this Christmas. Here are some special places to visit for Christmas meals and festive get-togethers
This moorland country house hotel near Tavistock was made for winter glamour. The three-course seasonal menu includes starters such as torched mackerel or seared scallops followed by venison, red mullet or turkey with all the trimmings. Desserts range from pistachio crème brûlée and a cheese course, to handmade Christmas puds.
£52.50 per person. Book online.
This 16th-century manor house on the outskirts of Plymouth oozes atmosphere. Where better to indulge in some delicious food and interesting entertainment than at one of their Murder Mystery evenings on Saturdays in December. Suddenly, it’s 1923 in New York and you are surrounded by gamblers and mobsters. A crime has been committed. Can you help solve it? The festive three-course meal has such delights as Jerusalem artichoke and truffle soup, and a chocolate and Baileys cheesecake.
£57 per person including a welcome drink.
How about something different for all the family with afternoon tea in the Art Deco dining room in this beautiful hotel overlooking the beach at Braunton. Watch the waves crash on the shore as you enjoy a festive afternoon tea with sweet and savoury treats and a glass of prosecco. Children can decorate their own gingerbread man and will receive a festive-themed activity sheet.
£25 for adults, £15 for children, available from 1–21 December. Book online.
The glamorous neo-Elizabethan Bovey Castle on Dartmoor offers a charming backdrop for Christmas or Boxing Day lunch. Start with a glass of champagne and enjoy a traditional four-course lunch, accompanied by a harpist.
Christmas Day prices: £145 for adults, £90 per child 8 to 14 years and £55 per child 3 to 7 years.
Why not hire a private chef to cater for your Christmas party. They will bring the food, kit and expertise to your home, and even do the washing up. The menu can be exactly what you choose, and you can source your own wine which makes a big difference to the cost.
Craig Cowley was the first chef in Devon to receive an AA Rosette award and has many years of experience, including working at the award-winning Cott Inn at Dartington. Craig is based in Kingsbridge where he also has his own venue. This year, he set up Devon Private Dining as a new business to offer private catering for special occasions and holiday lets.
“Business has been absolutely phenomenal and very well received so far,” says Craig. “I’m a big believer in keeping the menu local because it’s a great area for produce. We’ve catered parties for people working in bubbles and families together. We start with canapés and we have a lovely vegan nut roast.”