I love that we now have a good selection of Christmas markets in our local area. We need as many reasons as possible to brighten up the wintery days, socialise, hear live music and buy delicious food. I am already looking forward to my first glass of mulled wine at the St Albans Christmas market, in the atmospheric Vintry Garden overlooked by the beautiful Cathedral.
The St Albans Christmas Market launch is tonight (5-7.45) in the Vintry Garden. Browse the stalls, listen to live music and look out for the incredible Polar Bear, which was a huge hit with families last year. The market then runs until Sunday 20th December. It is open every day (11-6), with late nights on Thursdays, and earlier opening on the weekend. There is some great food on offer, with plenty of hot options including pork rolls, bratwurst (with rolls supplied by Simmons), sausages, crepes, waffles, duck wraps, hot chestnuts and chips and dips. Outside Inns return with their mulled wine, mulled cider, winter Pimms and beer; ind them in the new bar area located on the paved section inside the Vintry Garden. The Libation Station will be serving beers in the first half of the fair, followed by the Three Brewers in the second half. Look out for Hatch, selling their boozy hot chocolate.
There are some fab foodie gifts and treats to buy, including Drummond’s Cheese from Hertford, The City Market Company, Chocolate Meringue Kisses, Hertfordshire Old Vodka and Mr Olive with his olives, nuts and Turkish delight. The market will change each week, with new traders and acts, so it is well worth popping in a few times to see what is on offer. Young families look out for the craft tent activities and, of course, Father Christmas will be there.
The Redbourn Christmas Market this Sunday (29th November 11-5) sounds lovely. There will be over 70 stalls in the village centre and Father Christmas will be popping over from St Albans to appear in his grotto. Look out for the Fruit for Fun stall who produce gin, jams and chutneys from hand-picked or locally grown produce; all profits go to the Watford Peace Hospice. Redbournbury Mill will be there with their delicious mince pies and stollen. Stock up on Christmas treats from baking and preserve-making experts the Redbourn WI and Harpenden Country Market. Aubrey Park Hotel on the Hemel Hempstead road will be serving a festive afternoon tea, and I suggest you call to book for that. I strongly recommend you look at redbournchristmasmarket.com to find out about parking as it is a small village and it is bound to be very popular. There will be musical entertainment through the day, culminating in the light switch on at 5pm.
Childwickbury Christmas Market is also this weekend (Saturday 28th and Sunday 29th Nov, 10-5), and is set in a pretty 19th century stable block, clearly signposted from the village (between St Albans and Harpenden). Beautiful gifts, including quilts, pottery and fabulous hats will be on sale. Look out for Childwickbury honey, preserves and homemade sweets, and hot food and mulled wine will be available as you explore. Most of the market is covered, and there is free entry and plenty of free parking.