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Cathedral Christmas Markets Announced and More
You would be forgiven for wondering what was happening at some of our cathedrals this week as many of them are transformed into Christmas markets.
In Exeter and Winchester, hundreds of wooden chalet-style stalls have been erected in front of the cathedrals and decked with festive lights ahead of the opening of their Christmas markets this Friday (17 November) which attract thousands of visitors every year.
Ely Cathedral’s Christmas Gift & Food Fairopens this week from Thursday 16 November to Saturday 18 and looks like will once more be a sell-out. Described by Country Living Magazine as ‘A lovely event to start the festive season’, this annual event is widely acknowledged as one of East Anglia’s exceptional Christmas shopping experiences.
There are over a hundred boutique stalls and designers located throughout the Cathedral’s nave and aisles. This year a super-sized Festive Shopping Marquee, located in the Cathedral grounds, will host a further 100 stalls selling festive produce, gifts and treasures with free entry even if shopping slots are sold out.
Exeter Cathedral Christmas Market opens on Friday 17 November and runs until 17 December. A much-anticipated highlight in the South West’s festive calendar, the market attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors each year. Organisers say this year’s event will be the biggest yet, with 117 local traders offering visitors everything from Christmas decorations, to locally-produced food and hand-crafted gifts in the festive chalets across Exeter’s Cathedral Green.
Visitors to Exeter Cathedral Christmas Market can enjoy free entry into the Cathedral itself, which is currently hosting Light of Hope, a five-metre steel and neon light sculpture by artist, Peter Walker, which is suspended from the cathedral’s medieval stone vault nave ceiling. The piece was originally created during the coronavirus pandemic as part of a project involving several English cathedrals.
This Friday (17 November) the Dean of Winchester will lead the opening Ceremony of the Winchester Cathedral Christmas Market before she hands over to The Salvation Army for an opening festive performance. The Salvation Army will be the opening and closing act on this year’s community stage at the Winchester Cathedral Christmas Market.
The market attracts visitors from all over the world and has been named as one of the best Christmas Markets in Europe.
The wooden chalets, situated in the historic grounds, are inspired by traditional German Christmas Markets. Local groups, schools and organisations will perform throughout the day on the community stage and there are over 100 stalls selling a wide range of gifts from handmade kaleidoscopes to fresh dog food ad ethically sourced and sustainable gifts. The Charity Chalet will change almost every day, supporting and raising the profile of different charities from the Dogs’ Trust to Marie Curie.
Winchester Cathedral Christmas Market runs until 21 December and is open daily with free admission.
Guildford Cathedral has over 50 exhibitors selling an eclectic mix of bespoke Christmas gifts and decorations, spirits, jewellery, accessories for its Christmas Fair this weekend. It opens Friday and Saturday (17 and 18 November) from 10-4pm. The Cathedral Shop too has had a Christmas make-over while Seasons, the Cathedral’s Café/Restaurant, will be selling drinks, snacks and lunches.
Peterborough Cathedral’s annual Craft and Gift Market opens on Friday 17 November and Saturday 18 November. Warmed by the Cathedral’s Victorian Gurney stoves and illuminated by twinkling lights, there are over 100 stallholders expected and special performances lined up over the weekend to start the countdown to Christmas.
Tickets are on sale online here or on the door.
St Edmundsbury Christmas market opens next Thursday 23 November to Saturday 25 November.
Over 50 stallholders from Suffolk and beyond will join to showcase their products and this year the market will also flow through the Cathedral Cloisters to provide an even larger shopping experience.
Stalls will include gifts, jewellery, baked goods and woodcrafts. Visitors will get the chance to browse stalls while also taking in the beautiful setting of the Cathedral. In addition to the shopping experience, there will be daily entertainment for visitors from local schools, and the Haverhill Silver Band will join the festivities on Saturday 25 November. Special Tower Tours will be running during the Christmas Market which are pre-bookable and take visitors for a unique look behind the walls of the cathedral and up 202 steps for an unparalleled view.
“The Cathedral Christmas Market is cementing itself as a highlight in the calendar of festive events in Bury St Edmunds,” James Stark, Head Verger and Events Manager at St Edmundsbury Cathedral said.
The Cathedral Christmas Market is part of a series of events throughout the town and beyond over the Christmas period.
Ripon Cathedral’s traditional Christmas Gift and Food Fair is back again on Friday, November 24 and Saturday, November 25… and this year, among more than 100 independent stalls, will be pottery created by Rebecca Cottrell, wife of the Archbishop of York, and glassware created by Linda Baines, wife of the Bishop of Leeds.
Both are keen to play their part in helping the event beat the £38,500 raised last year for the cathedral’s music, heritage conservation and education programmes.
There is a wide range of unusual gifts and crafts and seasonal food from a pop-up café.
There will be music and singing from the Featherstone Male Voice Choir, choirs from local churches, schools and community groups and children’s festive crafts
The fair opens at 9.30am and closes at 4.30pm on both days. Entry is £5 payable on the door by cash or card or online.
This year, for the first time since the COVID pandemic, there will be free parking and a shuttle bus to and from the event on both days.
Tickets are available here and entry is free for accompanied children.