Last weekend was the Christmas Market in Lincoln and we went on the final day, the Sunday, as part of TravelSupermarket’s Christmas Market Review. It was on for four days Thursday until Sunday, and with over 280 stalls this year it is one of the largest in the country. Lincoln is such a beautiful town with the Cathedral, the castle and the walls and it provided a beautiful backdrop to the Christmas Market, and made it all the more festive with the glowing lights of the buildings.
The roads in the centre of town are closed during the market and so we decided to use the Park and Ride that is put on especially. It cost £14 and the price varies each day, the most expensive being £15 on the Saturday. It did seem quite a lot to me at first but it was a very efficient service, dropping us off and picking us up in very convenient places, and we didn’t have to wait for them at all. You could also have up to 7 people in one car (if you have a big car!), so it would work out very cheaply if you had some family or friends who you were going with. They gave out guides to the market for free on the Sunday too, but they cost £1 on the other days. So Sunday was the perfect day for cheap skate old me to go ;)
Unfortunately, due to a slight mishap involving our car and a double-decker bus (don’t worry, everyone’s ok), we didn’t arrive until lunchtime, but as the market was open until 7pm we still had plenty of time to get around. If we had had longer we would have had a couple more pub breaks to warm up and let the baby escape her pushchair.
I had heard from family that last year was horrendously busy and they spent most of their time there queueing, barely caught sight of a stall and found it impossible to get any food. So I was slightly apprehensive about our visit. However, this year they have extended the market area and we had no trouble at all getting around and didn’t have to queue, nor did we get stuck in any crowds.
On the flip side of that, at times it did feel slightly too spread out with only a few stalls together and then more walking in between. As Lincoln is so lovely to look at anyway, it didn’t really matter but I did prefer the parts where there were lots of stalls together and I suspect they got more custom as people weren’t just missing them out because there was only 1 or 2 stalls.
My favourite area was the cobbled area of Castle Square inside the grounds of Lincoln Castle, with lots of interesting and unique stalls together. Bubble Inc, where Bubbleologists (No, I didn’t know it was a word either) play with bubbles of all shapes and sizes, was fun to look at, and Neal’s Yard Cheese Stall, where you could buy whole wheels of cheese was also a favourite (I heart cheese!), although I just wanted to eat all the cheese. In the courtyard area I had an amazeballs Hot Chocolate with Baileys to warm me up (it was freezing!), and Paul had a pint of Milestone’s seasonal ale ‘Prancer the Dancer’ to warm him up (?!). The German connection to the market was also strong here with stalls selling German Glühwein and lots of lovely crafts and Christmas decorations.
Due to me being like a boy scout (prepared), I had made sure we had plenty of sandwiches, just in case the aforementioned non-existent swarms of people stopped us from getting close to any food (and no-one wants to see what I’m like without food). However, who wants crappy sandwiches when there’s bratwurst and Lebanese curry on offer in the food hall. No siree, not me. Unfortunately bubs didn’t get a choice. It sucks to be a baby sometimes. Anyway, the food hall was pretty decent, if a bit gross from people sitting down and eating all day and the impolite people who didn’t clear their tables. But there was plenty of choice, it was sheltered from the cold and we managed to sit down. And Ava enjoyed being told what a lovely, smiley BOY she is yet again.
As it got dark the whole market and area was lit up beautifully and it became a lot more festive and exciting. I think it would be lovely to go on either the Friday or the Saturday when it is open until 10pm and just go in the evening and enjoy some mulled wine (we did), the lovely Christmassy atmosphere and the lights, and just have a relaxed wander around and maybe a warm up in one of the pubs. And maybe nibble on some cheese.
Santa took a break from resting up before his busiest time of year, and came to meet the kids, have photos taken, raise some money for charity and spread the Christmas cheer to any female adults he could by giving them a kiss (me included). A little bit awkward, a little bit “SANTA KISSED ME”!!! He had a lovely beard though.
There was lots of interesting entertainment on during the four days including a German dance troupe who have apparently appeared on Blue Peter and Britain’s Got Talent! Unfortunately we didn’t get to see any of the entertainment. There was also a Kid’s Craft Tent where , for £2, children aged 4-9 could make crackers, cards and tree hangings. I think that was a really nice idea to entertain the kids for a while, and if Ava was older we definitely would have taken her.
We had a really lovely family day out, bought some lovely gifts and enjoyed beautiful Lincoln and the festive atmosphere. I’m sure we’ll go again next year… if we can find some friends to share the parking cost with ;)
Disclosure: Our visit to Lincoln Christmas Market was provided for by TravelSupermarket. All views and opinions are my own.