Christmas can be overwhelming. Often, the shopping part looms like a big, tinsely hurdle before you’re allowed to enjoy Christmastime itself.
And we’ve all been there. Trying to stick to budgets, being stuck for inspiration, and having to plan your shopping exercise around cake stops and ‘where the toilets are’ can make Christmas shopping a bit of a dreaded task.
Enter the Christmas markets.
These wonderful places have gathered the very best independent sellers together, so you don’t need to venture far between places to pick up gifts for everyone. Not least, you will be supporting independent sellers and small businesses, for whom every purchase makes a big difference. Plus, Christmas Markets are great, aren’t they? They’re possibly the only form of shopping where it’s kind of acceptable to carry a cup of hot, spiced wine around with you as you browse (responsibly, naturally).
This year, there are numerous Christmas markets of all different kinds in Norwich. Here’s our pick:
Modern Country Crafts 2-day Fair - The Forum
7 & 8 December
Modern Country Crafts gathers together a wonderful and exciting selection of local Craft Traders and Artists under one roof. These Craft & Gift Fairs showcase the very best of East Anglia’s thriving craft and gift market, just in time for Christmas!
Norwich Traditional Christmas Market
7 – 23 December
For two-and-a-bit weeks, you will be able to visit this Christmas Market, that brings the best of European Christmas tradition to Millennium Plain (outside the forum). You’ll find over 30 wooden stalls on this market, selling gifts as well as hot food and drink to keep your cockles warm (hot gingerbread, mulled wine and roasted chestnuts, being a few of the festive favourites on offer). As well as the stalls, you can also experience a winter garden (including chalet-style tavern to unwind in) and street entertainment.
The best bit? This market is open practically all day, from 10am until 8pm (10am until 6pm on Sundays).
Pensthorpe Late Night Shopping
Okay, so it's not technically a Christmas Market, but it is a unique shopping experience unlike any other you'll get throughout the rest of the year. Ideal for those who prefer to do their shopping 'after-hours', peruse the wonderful Pensthorpe shop, which is a treasure trove of gifts, toys, jewellery, homewares, books, local food and drink, and items for wildlife watching. This is a great one of you're on the hunt for those last minute, quality gifts, and find yourself stuck for ideas.
The shop is open from 10am - 8pm
FRESH Artisan Xmas Market
14 - 18 December
One of the coolest Christmas Markets going, the FRESH Artisan Xmas Market brings over 50 of the finest creative minds and makers together, in the impressive St Mary's Works on St Mary's Plain. Expect to find some really unique pieces here, sold by the makers themselves. A really enjoyable market, and a great festive atmosphere.
Holkham Hall Festive Food Fair
15 – 16 December
Feast your senses in The Lady Elizabeth Wing at Holkham Hall this festive season! You’ll find a delicious array of food and drink from the best local and regional producers, perfect for stocking up on Christmas treats or ticking off the food lovers on your gift list! Sit and enjoy their cookery theatre with a difference, featuring demonstrations from local chefs who will inspire your culinary skills this Christmas.
Open Mon - Saturday
Norwich Market is open all year, but sparkles extra brightly at Christmastime. You can read all about some of the food stalls on the market here, but for Christmas shoppers, this is a mustn't-miss destination too. There are permanent faces such as Taxi Vintage and The Other Curator, as well as pop ups such as Norwich Pop Up Stars and Bo-Tanical (although we hear they're opening permanent premises in January...). One of the loveliest shopping experiences to be had anywhere, a trip to the market is not to be missed. Especially at Christmas.
COMING TO VISIT?
Greater Anglia has Advance fares from £10 one way between London Liverpool Street and Norwich. Trains run every 30 minutes. Greater Anglia also serves Colchester, Ipswich and Diss on the Norwich line. Direct trains also run from Cambridge.
East Midlands Trains runs services from Liverpool, Manchester and Nottingham. Flights into Norwich served from Edinburgh, Manchester, Exeter, Aberdeen and Amsterdam, and seasonally from Guernsey and Jersey.