Head to a fab festive fair to fill loved ones’ stockings and foodie goodies for you too!
1 December Mill Road Winter Fair
It’s the day when thousands of shoppers and food lovers flood Mill Road, making it a sea of people rather than rush-hour traffic. You’ll find some of the finest local crafts, the tastiest eats, singers young and old, dances, demonstrations, live bands – and you’ll almost certainly run into at least five people you know to boot. Expect to find a bustling food market in the Gwydir Street car park, while most of Mill Road’s excellent shops, restaurants and takeaways will come out on to the street to almost bring the food to you. Simply pick a queue (it won’t be too long) and lick your lips while you wait. There will be an exhibition by local artists in the Drama Centre on Covent Garden and if you want to get involved as a volunteer you’d be most welcome. The fair runs from 10.30am to 4.30pm, with Mill Road closed to traffic all the way down to Coleridge Road.
24 November Histon Handmade
Histon Handmade hosts its fourth event, with 23 leading local designers/makers – all selected by invitation – displaying their work. Established in 2016 by jewellery maker Claire Howieson, the latest fair will include prints and cards, ceramics, glass, textiles, paintings and jewellery. Tasty treats from Histon’s Geographer will keep you going. If you want to avoid the crowds, visit in the second half, advise the organisers (it runs from 12pm to 7pm). It’s a popular event, not to be missed.
15-17 November Ely Cathedral Christmas Gift and Food Fair
One of the most popular festive shopping experiences in the region – now in its seventh year – features a transformed cathedral. More than 120 bespoke trade stalls will be in the cathedral’s nave, its Lady Chapel and also a heated marquee in the grounds. As well as arts and crafts, there will be food traders, a vintage carousel, demonstrations, music, plus reindeer and children’s entertainment on the Saturday.
And if all that’s not enough, take a look at the Stained Glass Museum, which will be open as usual during the fair. If you can’t wait for the 15th, on 14 November there’s a preview evening at 6.30pm, with £6.50 entry that includes a glass of wine. Entry is £4 and those aged under 16 will be admitted for free, with fair and museum tickets costing £7.
November and December Wimpole at Christmas
Travel back in time for a Georgian Christmas at the Wimpole Estate, which is opening its doors for fabulously festive celebrations both this month and next. On 10 and 11 November, pay a visit for the craft fair, where you can pick up all kinds of unique gifts and delicious things to eat, or stop by on weekends on the run-up to Christmas to see this stunning estate dressed in Georgian festive finery and enjoy seasonal food and decorations.
Open Now Christmas at Blackthorpe Barn
A rustic woodland barn just outside of Bury St Edmunds hosts one of the more ‘permanent’ offerings for festive shoppers who want a wide range of everything all in one place.
The Country Christmas Shop is already open, offering a range of decorations, treats and gifts, plus new pet products and more gifts for men this year. From 11 November and over the following six weekends you can meander through the barn, browsing the hand-crafted items on show, all made by the exhibitors themselves – choose from turned and crafted wooden creations, textile and knitwear garments, ceramics, metal sculptures and leather goods. And, most importantly, for younger visitors, there’s a Santa’s grotto, complete with elves and a sense of nostalgia!
23-26 November Bury St Edmunds Christmas Fair
There’s guaranteed to be a huge range of choice at Bury St Edmunds’ big Christmas extravaganza, with a whopping 300-plus stalls to browse and buy from. Local bands, church choirs and school groups will provide live music, with a parade of school pupils with giant puppets getting things underway on Thursday evening. On the first day, there will be late-night shopping offers, free refreshments, discounts on fairground rides and free parking.
On the Friday and Saturday, the fairground and entertainment (including dance and cookery demonstrations) will continue until 8pm. There will be plenty of child-friendly activities, too. On Sunday, there’s a more relaxed vibe that’s perfect for browsers, and a traditional carol service closes the fair in the evening.
30 November-2 December Deepdale Christmas Market
Now in its tenth year, the Deepdale Christmas Market takes place from 30 November to 2 December in the village of Burnham Deepdale on the Norfolk coast. Three large marquees will house more than 120 local artisans and producers, selling everything from wreaths, soaps and homewares to biscuits, chutneys and beer. Food and drinks include pizzas, pies, crepes, mulled wine, hot chocolate, burgers, sloe gin and Christmas punch.
23-25 November Presents Galore, Newmarket
Shop and eat in style, with the home of horse racing beside you, as Presents Galore takes over the Millennium Grandstand at the Rowley Mile course in Newmarket. There’s loads to browse: candles, cashmere, toys, toiletries, food, jewellery, books and much more. For foodies, there’s pies from Lime Tree Pantry, cupcakes from Tout Sweet, salamis from The Real Boar Company, plus drinks from Pinkster Gin and English Spirit Distillery.