5 things to do at a Christmas Market

I absolutely adore Christmas and love any excuse to start getting into the spirit from early December onwards. The winter months are when I feel UK towns really come into their own – the orangy glow from small Georgian windows invites you in to get warm and breath hitting cold air billows from the mouths of passers by. Gas street lamps stay lit in the dull grey day that seemingly never gets light, creating a Dickensian feel to the town from years gone by.

Beverley is exceptionally beautiful this time of year and I love nothing more than walking around the town and having a nosy at people's Christmas decorations. Am I the only one who enjoys having a little cheeky glance through people's windows at the cosy scenes inside?

Starting this week Beverley is hosting a Makers Market and a Festival of Christmas that promises to enthrall even the most hardened of Christmas grinches. With the promise of twinkly lights, hot mulled drinks and some festive fodder, I was in. 

After enjoying all various Christmas markets have to offer over the years, there are five things that you absolutely must do when visiting a Christmas market.:


This one goes without saying and to be honest, there is rarely an occasion when food doesn't feature in my top spot of things to do. The street food offer was varied enough for most tastes and offered something for the more traditional pie, chips and peas lovers and those of a trendier persuasion. Pulled pork and mac n cheese were firm favourites on the day, with the mac offering gooey, melty cheese smothered in smokey bbq sauce. We left room for some festive snacks too and grabbed some hot roast chestnuts for the road. You can get any number of sweet or savoury options from the stalls and half the joy is just bobbing along each one sampling the delicious tidbits on offer.

2. Drink

Similar to the food options, there were a fair few mobile bars selling festive favourites such as mulled wine, mulled cider and craft beer. There are very few occasions when it's perfectly acceptable to drink in the street in the middle of the day so when one comes along, you make the most of it. The 60,000 or so revellers lining the streets held steaming mugs of festive cheer in their hands, desperately trying to get warm. There are some amazing olde worlde pubs in Beverley that just call out to be enjoyed on such a day but to avoid missing any of the highlights of the festival, we stayed outside with the cold air nipping at our noses. Hot chocolate, with the option of a wee dram of brandy or baileys, were our drinks of choice, and the perfect way to round of our culinary delights.

3. Be merry

Beverley Festival of Christmas entertained us as well as fed and watered us, with a steady stream of acts, music and performers working the town. The Georgian Quarter, just inside the historic North Bar, offered acoustic musicians playing Mumford and Sons songs galore. It was nice to soak up the atmosphere whilst browsing the many stalls and chatting to the other festival goers. There are so many cute dogs in Beverley that they are a real conversation starter with their owners. One little sausage dog in a smart tweed jacket captured our hearts and led us to talk to a lovely couple. Elsewhere there was the traditional string quartet, a birds of prey demonstration and a very odd couple, who I can only badly describe as singing carols very badly whilst being ferried around in a wheel barrow. Some people looked terrified and others laughed raucously.

4. Shop

Other than the food, one of my favourite things at the Festival were the artisan stalls selling beautiful crafts and unique gifts which you can't get on the high street. The great thing about the Xmas festival is that traders travel from all over the UK with their wares and so you get the benefit of different crafts and products without having to travel the length and breadth of the country in a day. Afterall there's only one person who is capable of doing that at Christmas time! I found some lovely decorations for my tree, some gorgeous wooden goods for a lovely couple getting married next year and candles to bring festive warmth to the dinner table. There were so many foodie treats that I even considered making some 'Beverley' hampers for unique Christmas gifts but just wasn't quite organised enough for this year. 

5. Visit the Christmas tree festival

One of the most unique elements of this Festival is the Christmas tree event at Beverley Minster. I love any excuse to go inside this grand old building but I wouldn’t miss a chance to see it in all its festive glory with a large choir singing carols that reverberate around the cavernous walls. The event showcases 120 individually designed Christmas trees all decorated by charities, businesses and schools within Beverley. The previous year the queue snaked around the building, showing its popularity, and when we eventually got inside, a slow procession made its way around each tree. Each one had such a lovely story and design that you couldn't help but spend time appreciating them. I loved the stunning Glenholme Florist tree, the Beverley Hat Company's distinct design which was decorated with teeny tiny hats and the Yorkshire Soap Company's little vintage soap box tree. At the end, you could vote for one favourite... I'll leave you to choose your own or to guess which was mine. Drop me a comment with which one you would have chosen out of this lovely lot. 

All in all it was a lovely day out and when we eventually made it home, we curled up on the sofa in front of the fire, basking in the glow of our very own Scandi inspired tree. 

Have you been to Beverley's Festival of Christmas? What's your favourite way to spend the build up to Christmas? 

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