Come and join me for a wander round the market and a glass or two of mulled wine.
2016 marks the 10th anniversary of Winchester Cathedral Christmas Market!
Winchester is a must-visit destination for all those wishing to experience a traditional Christmas. The city justly claims to be England’s Christmas Capital and its Cathedral is at the heart of the festivities with a stunning Christmas Market and real Ice Rink dominating its beautiful and historic Close.
From its relatively modest beginnings, the Winchester Cathedral Christmas Market now attracts over 350,000 visitors each year and has achieved a reputation as being amongst the very best in Europe. Within the stunning surroundings of the Cathedral’s historic Inner and Outer Close you'll find over 100 attractive wooden chalets brimming with goodies. The stallholders are individually selected by the Cathedral's in-house team to ensure superior quality, uniqueness and that a wide range of products are available. Each year there's a rotation of stallholders and a good percentage of invited new traders to keep the market fresh. There's a strong emphasis on British and artisan amongst the stallholders. Look out for Hampshire's finest cheese and sourdough toasties - these alone are reason to return regularly!
A large outdoor Ice Rink sits at the centre of activity, providing the perfect winter playground for adults and children alike and, like the Christmas Market, it’s regularly listed as one of the best rinks in the country. With the dramatic medieval architecture as a backdrop, it’s an idyllic setting at any time of day, but it really comes into its own after twilight when the Cathedral is lit up and a warm glow radiates from the market stalls. The Ice Rink continues to operate beyond the Christmas Market into the New Year.
Although the Cathedral’s Close attracts most of the attention, those in the know will be quick to take a detour and visit the Cathedral itself. A majestic sight to behold with a huge Christmas tree reaching up to the gothic vaults of the nave and stunning choral music ringing out during the many Christmas carol services, concerts and rehearsals. All are welcome to attend the services and indeed they are popular, attracting over 10,000 people a year.
Winchester at Christmas is buzzing with excitement, with visitors from all over the country, and from further afield, travelling to experience its festive atmosphere. Retailers, hoteliers, restaurants and bars, all eager to stand out from the crowd, strive to offer the best in a city that sparkles brightly for Christmas. The result is a city proud to call itself England’s Christmas Capital, with the Cathedral and its Christmas Market at the very centre of the celebrations.