Last weekend, I took a trip to Chester city centre to visit the small but mighty annual Christmas Markets. Keep reading to discover what’s on offer.
I’m sorry. I know it’s not even December yet. But when the markets are in full swing and the lights are up, how can you resist?! I just wonder how long it’ll take for the guys to let me put on the Christmas playlist in the office…
Chester Christmas Markets 2017
Granted, I probably picked the worst day to visit – the first Saturday of the markets being open. However, it was nice to see Chester so bustling with faces, despite taking an age to get anywhere!
The Christmas tree looked nice in front of the grand Town Hall, although I couldn’t help but think how underwhelming the string lights looked. They probably look better in the dark but a few baubles wouldn’t go amiss.
Update: they look better in the dark (and from a different angle)!
What stalls are there?
So, there are actually over 70 independent wooden stalls at the Chester markets this year. Impressive. Here is a comprehensive list of all the traders you can keep an eye out for:
Amazing Curtains – Barr Humbug! Toasties – Belgian Coconut Macaroons – Bertha’s Pantry Pancakes – Blodyn Teas – Brand Designs – Brewhouse & Kitchen – Caws Teifi Cheese/Da Mhile Distillery – Celtic Spirit Co – Chess & Puzzle – Cheshire Candle Company – Continental Cottage – Craft Squad – Crios – Cwm Deri Vineyard – DCL Leisure – Dr Ziggs Bubbles – Edgesarms – Elegance Natural Skin Care – Flowerdirk- For Me & For You Designs – Garlix and More – Gin & Ale Bar – Gingerbread House Confections – Glassblobbery – Great Orme Brewery – Hog Roast – Ideal Handcrafted Jewellery – Isle of Wight Garlic Farm – Johnson Crafts – Johnson’s Toffees – Keepsakes – Let’s Buy It Today – Llangollen Brewery – Lymm Candle Company – Meyart Coffee – Minifigure Me – Moose and Bear Design – Mouse and Moon – Murano Glassware – NTKL Services – Priya – Roberts Country Fayre – Rubis Luxury Chocolate Wine – Shires Kitchen – Silver Del Sol – Silver Needles – Snowdonia Cheese – The Crusty Pie Company – The Dangerous Food Company – The Festive House – The Great British Cheese Company – The Norwood Coffee House – The Pictorium – The Silk Shack – The Spanish Hamper – Twixie-Pixie – Ultimate Fudge Outlet – Unikalus Vaizdas – Wingers
…aaaand breathe. Yeah, there’s a lot! Unfortunately, I didn’t get to sample/take pictures of/chat to all of the traders as it was far too busy. But I did get a couple of nice snaps here and there.
Deck the halls
In need of Christmas decorations? You will be able to find it all in the markets. From those creepy Santa figurines and stockings to wreaths and cutesy baubles, there’s no end to seasonal decks. They’ve all got that homemade feel and are totally unique to what you’ll find in the shops. Perhaps it’s time to support your local independents and get something a bit different this year!
As well as being a fun day out, you can get your present shopping head on. There’s plenty of quirky and cute gifts available that could be suitable for anyone on your list. Secret Santa? Sorted. Partner? Sorted. Parents? Sorted.
All the crowds and vibrant colours are quite overwhelming. Of course, I had to take a break in the onsite bar and grab an alcoholic beverage. The first bar I found was the amazingly named ‘Bar Humbug’, but the queue was ridiculous! It was cold too, so the pop-up indoor bar seemed a much better idea.
Inside the Gin & Ale bar…
After settling at a table inside the Gin & Ale bar, we ordered a small drink each. A Christmas Pilsner costs £4, as do a small mulled wine or spiced cider. A large version is £6. Top tip: take cash with you as there are no card machines to be found and the nearby cash machines can build up with a healthy queue!
The paper cups aren’t anything to shout about but what’s inside them really makes up for it. The spiced cider is HIGHLY recommended.
Food, glorious food!
Obviously, the markets are full to the brim of delicious food. There’s a hog roast on offer if you’re after hot food, which is always a given at any Christmas markets. Two of my favourite foodie stalls in Chester this year were the Crusty Pie Company and the Gingerbread Confectionery House. Absolutely irresistible!
I mean, just look at this marshmallow/brownie chocoalate-covered kebab. It set me back £3.50 but it was worth every single penny.
Let’s have a close-up.
Okay, now I’m hungry – we know where we’re going at lunchtime!
A winter wonderland
It’s easy to forget the other festive excitements going in Chester at this time of year when there are so many delicacies to try at the markets. If you’re at the markets by night, be sure to take wander around the corner to the cathedral and take a peek at the famous ‘Chestar’. Well, it’s hard to miss really. It’s a sight to behold in the dark!
Let us know your favourite stall at the markets this year and which other Christmassy events we should check out in Chester!