Home   Whats On   Article

Shopping: Velvet’s round-up of tinsel-topped Christmas markets

Soak up the yuletide cheer and discover a treasure trove of handcrafted delights at one of these wonderful local Christmas markets. Louise Cummings has her straw jute ready. . .


Where: Blackthorpe Barn, Rougham Estate, Suffolk

When: Arts & Crafts Weekends launch November 4-5 and continue to December 9-10

Blackthorpe Barn arts and crafts, Louise Pettersson ceramics
Blackthorpe Barn arts and crafts, Louise Pettersson ceramics

What: Slip on your best Christmas socks and step into a festive winter wonderland at Blackthorpe Barn. Pick up dazzling baubles, elegant wreaths and lovely gifts from the charming Country Christmas shop, which unveils its seasonal splendour from October 18. Then for six glorious weekends ‘meet the makers’ and bag yourself unique gifts at the Arts & Crafts Weekends. Blackthorpe’s vast 16th century thatched barn will play host to amazing artisan crafts, including metal work and sculptures, ceramics, kiln-formed glass, textiles, fine art, illustrations, paintings, leather items, health and natural beauty products and indulgent tasty treats. Whilst there, why not select one of Blackthorpe’s home-grown Nordmann Fir Christmas trees (available from November 24), try your hand at wreath making and visit the new Roots Café? With more festive delights than Santa’s workshop, you can’t fail to feel the irresistible spirit of Christmas.

More: Visit blackthorpebarn.com


Where: Ely Cathedral

When: November 16-18

Ely Cathedral Christmas Fair
Ely Cathedral Christmas Fair

What: Make sure you’ve had your Weetabix as you’ll need plenty of stamina to meander around hundreds of incredible stalls at this exceptional Christmas fair!

Described by Country Living Magazine as ‘a lovely event to start the festive season', it’s one of East Anglia's most highly anticipated Christmas shopping extravaganzas.

As well as a tempting array of boutique stalls dotted throughout the Cathedral’s magnificent nave and aisles, there will also be a super-sized Festive Shopping Marquee featuring a further 120 stalls selling festive produce, gifts and treasures. When it’s time to refuel, visit the street food vendors offering up culinary delights and hot drinks.

The gift and food fair begins on Wednesday, November 15, with an exclusive evening for ‘serious shoppers’, and continues Thursday to Saturday. Friday morning 9am to 10am offers exclusive entry for ‘shoppers with wheels’ so those using mobility aids or with push chairs can browse unincumbered. Due to restricted numbers, all tickets must be purchased in advance.

More: Visit elycathedral.org/events/Christmas-fair-2023


Where: St Andrew’s Centre, Histon

When: November 25, 12-7pm

Histon Handmade
Histon Handmade

What: There’s so many amazing exhibitors taking part in this – the seventh outing of contemporary design and craft fair, Histon Handmade - we fear for our credit card limit! The exceptional line up of 23 local designer-makers includes jewellery from founder Claire Howieson, Abi Cochran and Melinda LLewdib (AKA Kittiwake Jewellery), ceramics by Daniela Stief, Menna Edwards (AKA Cleiog Ceramics), Amanda MacPhail and Sarah Went, plus glass by Jutta Robinson, Sam Rogers and Katie Lynn (AKA Molten Wonky).

For fabric-lovers there’ll be handmade hats by Sally Wilding (AKA Hedkase), embroidered cushions and textiles from Anna Osborne, and handwoven scarves and shawls from Nikki Grant. Stationery delights come in the form of prints and cards from Sarah Vigliotti, books from children’s illustrator Nicola Killen, handwritten calligraphy cards and gifts from Twyla Holland (AKA The Cambridge Quill), and handmade books from Helen Perry. Also look out for handwoven baskets and decorations from Nadine Anderson, paintings and illustrations from Roxana de Rond, Helena Perry and Sue Smith, and prints from first-time exhibitor Judith Handley.

More: Visit histonhandmade.com


Where: St Andrew’s Street Baptist Church, Cambridge

When: November 23-25

Cambridge Made
Cambridge Made

What: Attracting thousands of visitors over three days, the Cambridge Made Christmas Fair is one the city’s sparkling seasonal highlights. Featuring 50 carefully-chosen designer-makers from around Cambridge and across East Anglia, there’s quirky, unique jewellery, stunning ceramics and wood, on-trend homeware, natural skincare, upcycled treasures, original prints, posters and cards.

Visitors can browse a different selection of stalls each day and chat to makers about their inspiration in a friendly, relaxed – and most importantly festive – atmosphere!

More: Follow @cambridgemade on Instagram


Where: Rowley Mile Racecourse, Newmarket

When: November 24-26

Presents Galore stall
Presents Galore stall

What: Don’t forget to jot down your Christmas shopping list and bring it along as Presents Galore is a veritable one-stop shop for gifts for the whole family. Simply spectacular in size, and set in the stunning surrounds of Rowley Mile Racecourse, this three-day bonanza features all the atmosphere, sights and aromas of Christmas. Peruse more then 100 boutique stalls, spanning homeware and gifts, clothing and footwear, jewellery and accessories, food and drink, pets, outdoor living, children, interiors, stationery, health, beauty and wellbeing. And experience the warm glow of giving, knowing that all proceeds raised by Presents Galore will be split between the Cambridge Children’s Hospital, Newmarket Charitable Foundation and the National Horseracing Museum.

More: Visit presentsgalore.org


Where: Burwash Manor, New Road, Barton

When: December 3

Christmas at Burwash Larder
Christmas at Burwash Larder

What: Burwash Manor and The Larder will be hosting a fabulous Christmas Market, featuring an array of lovely exhibitors including Harry Specter’s Chocolate and Farmyard Meals – plus a visit from Father Christmas! The Larder will be opening for late night shopping until 7pm on Wednesdays in December (6, 13 and 20). Burwash Manor features two charming courtyards of converted farm buildings housing a selection of unique, independent shop, plus a café with indoor and outdoor seating.

More: Visit burwashmanor.com

Advent Calendar

Here’s a few more dates for your diary:

*Mill Road Winter Fair, Mill Road, Cambridge, on December 2; a celebration of the community along one of Cambridge’s most diverse and vibrant roads

*Christmas Craft & Gift Fair at The Atheneum, Angel Hill, Bury St Edmunds, on October 22 and November 19 (over 50 fabulous stalls!)

*Christmas Fayre in The Square, Saffron Walden, on November 19

*Local Makers Christmas Market at Downing Place United Reformed Church, Cambridge, on November 18

*Huntingdon Christmas Market, Market Square, Huntingdon, on November 24-26, with Christmas light switch-on, festive hot food and drink, unique gifts and live entertainment

Read more

More by this author