17 fab Christmas fairs and markets
Feeling the need to start working through that Christmas shopping list? Here, let us facilitate that! Read on for your fill of the best local festive fairs.
It’s Christmaaaaaaaaassss! OK, not quite – but I think we’re allowed to get a leeedle bit excited now. The Christmas parties, carol services and pantos are all to come, but hey, November is already seeing the start of the festive Christmas fairs and markets across Cambs and Suffolk. Ready to shop? Hell yeah!
MUDDY’S PICK OF THE FAIRS: Presents Galore Christmas Fair, Newmarket’s Rowley Mile Racecourse, 22 – 24 November 2019
Christmas shopping – eurgh, two words that are enough to bring most busy adults out in a sweat. The list just gets longer each year and there’s never enough time to buy them all, let alone think of brand new ideas for that notoriously-difficult-to-buy-for-rellie each year. Get it all over and done with, in enjoyable and efficient style at Presents Galore in Newmarket. Not only is it an extremely pleasant way to shop (no extortionate car parking tickets, everything is all in one place including over 100 boutique stalls and there’s a restaurant to refuel in), but you’ll find beautiful local products that aren’t in mainstream shops, and it’s a registered charity, Racing Welfare, supporting people working in the racing industry, so you can feel like you’re spreading some seasonal good will.
Presents Galore kicks off with the ultimate late-night shopping event on Friday evening, continuing throughout the weekend:
- Friday 22nd November; 5:30pm until 8:30pm
- Saturday 23rd November; 10am until 5pm
- Sunday 24th November; 10am until 4pm
6 November 2019: Homemade @ The Barn Christmas Shopping Evening, Bassingbourn
We really love the ethos behind Homemade @ The Barn in Bassingbourn – it’s a place where you’ll find vintage, up cycled, hand-crafted and retro furniture and gifts. For Christmas, they’re running a evening shopping events showcasing the 40+ traders who each have their own style, which makes for rather unique Christmas gifts.
Weekends from 9 Nov – 15 Dec: British Crafts, Blackthorpe Barn, Rougham
Blackthorpe Barn is just one of those places that takes you from muttering ‘Bah Humbug’ to humming Jingle Bells within seconds, it’s just so bloomin’ Christmassy! Not only can you get your tree from here, take part in wreath workshops, visit Santa’s Grotto and shop in the Country Christmas Shop, but every weekend from 9 November the beautiful barn hosts the British Crafts Fair, where you can buy 100% British products for presents, or for yourself!
9 -10 November: Wimpole Christmas Craft Fair
It’s a staple of the Cambridge Christmas scene – a meander around the Wimpole Christmas Craft Fair. It’s set in marquees in the grounds (don’t worry, they’re heated) and the market is filled with gifts and more importantly food – those Christmas pounds aren’t going to put themselves on after all!
14 – 16 November: Christmas Gift and Food Fair, Ely Cathedral
Can you think of a more idyllic setting for a Christmas event than Ely Cathedral? If so, I’m all ears. This fair is now eight years old and keeps getting bigger and better – over 120 stalls takeover the nave, Lady Chapel and a heated marquee in the grounds, there’s a cafe and The Stained Glass Museum will be open throughout. There’s even a park and ride from Sutton due to the popularity.
16 – 17 November: Craft Fair at Christmas, Ickworth House, Bury St Edmunds
Love supporting local craftsmen and women? Us too! And at this festive fair you can fill your stockings to the brim with beautiful handmade gifts from The March Hare Collective, a group of artists from East Anglia. And when you’re done with shopping, the idyllic grounds of Ickworth await (check out an amazing winter walk in the grounds here).
21 – 24 November: Bury St Edmunds’ Christmas Fair
Here’s a fact to blow your mind – Bury’s Christmas Fayre is one of the biggest in the whole of the UK and was even named the best fair in the country in 2016. Lucky us that it’s right on our doorstep! This super fair is a Christmas rite of passage and if you don’t enjoy it then you might as well rename yourself Scrooge. There are over 300 stalls that take over Angel Hill and the Abbey Gardens. There’s an opening parade, fireworks, a cookery theatre and dedicated food and drink area in the Cathedral grounds. And new for 2019 is a Farmer’s Market in the Butter Market on opening day as well as a ‘makers market’ which will consist of local crafts people and include demonstrations. Basically, it’s huge and not to be missed!
22 – 24 November: Huntingdon Christmas Market
Huntingdon put on a slick Christmas fair each year and 2019 looks set to be just as well-organised and festive. You can expect all the usuals – stalls full of stocking fillers, mulled wine, mince pies and local produce as well as kids’ entertainment and live music and dancing.
28 Nov – 1 Dec: Burghley Christmas Fair
Ok, so we’re slightly hopping over the boarder into Lincolnshire for this one, but Burghley House has a Peterborough postcode so it’s technically ours, right? Anyway, it’s worth the drive down the A1, because Burghley is mesmerising at Christmas. The stately home goes all Downton Abbey-esque and decks its halls with over 100 exhibitor stalls, a fine food market and opens up The Orangery Restaurant for delicious Xmas meals. Oh and did I mention they have a dedicated Christmas shop too!
29 November: Sudbury Christmas Fair & Light Switch On
Between 5pm and 9pm on the 29 Nov, Sudbury’s North Street, East Street and Market Hill will turn into a winter wonderland. We’re talking funfair rides, a grotto, a craft fair and the festive light switch on and live music.
29 – 30 November: Clare Christmas Fair
Even if you’re not religious, you can’t fail to be delighted by the magical atmosphere of the candlelit St Peter and Paul’s Church in Suffolk’s smallest town, Clare. There will be stalls to browse and mine pies to munch while you soak up the festive feels.
1 December: Heveningham Hall Christmas Market
They certainly know how to throw a Christmas bash at this majestic listed stately home near the Suffolk Coast… not only will there be a whole host of stalls to shop at, but kids can meet Santa in his grotto from 10am – 12:30pm, see tap dancing turkeys (don’t ask!), and get up close with some real life reindeer. Oh, and there’s also the Santa Fun Run, which is possibly even more entertaining than those turkeys! Find out more here.
1 December: The Granary Estates Christmas Market, Woodditton
One of our favourite wedding venues, opens its welcoming barn doors to a Christmas Market on the 1st – a magical atmosphere to browse the stalls and start the countdown to Christmas with your first (of many) mulled wines.
6 – 8 December: Lavenham Christmas Fair
Can you think of a more picturesque place than Lavenham for a Christmas fair? It’s like walking onto the set of A Christmas Carol with all the beautiful buildings draped with lights and Christmas trees aplenty. The Market Place will be taken over with plenty of tempting stalls and there will be food stalls and the delicious smell of mulled wine everywhere you go.
7 – 8 December: Jimmy’s Christmas Fayre, Jimmy’s Farm
Enjoy a bit of the good life this festive season with a trip to Jimmy’s Farm. The farm and wildlife park is pretty awesome any time of the year, but we particularly love it at Christmas time when you can enjoy the bucolic paradise with the added bonus of mulled cider, Father Christmas’ grotto, a carousel, donkey rides, live music, and over 100 craft and local food stalls. Talking of food, it’s a good place to stretch your stomach in preparation for Xmas lunch as there’s street food, a hog roast, hot chestnuts, hot chocolate and marshmallows, fudge, mince pies and mulled wine as well as the award-winning restaurant! Enough about food, The Farm & Wildlife Park will be hosting their biggest Christmas present hunt to date as well as keeper talks throughout the day including Meet the Pigs, Reptiles, Ferrets and Capybara, Reindeer Roundup, Meerkat Madness, Coati feed, Tapir Tales and Crocodile Creek.
7 December: Mill Road Winter Fair, Cambridge
This fair is organised by a small group of Mill Road residents, so it’s a great one to get behind. It’s a bit like a mini – and much more civilised – Notting Hill Carnival. The road gets closed for the thousands of people that take to the streets to see the parade – floats from local schools and children’s clubs. Not to be missed.
21 December: Christmas Farmers Market, Snape Maltings
You can trust Snape Maltings when it comes to a farmers market, that’s for sure. And their Christmas one is no exception. You can buy all sorts of local produce directly from Suffolk’s artisan producers. It’s essentially a mini food festival (although you might not feel so mini after a trip here) and because it’s so close to Christmas Day you could even do your full Christmas dinner shop here.