I’m not known for being the biggest fan of Christmas. I don’t hate it, but I’m not a super fan of the actual day it’s self. Or the greed and need for everything to be perfect. It’s all a bit of an anticlimax if you ask me. I’m not ungrateful, I love giving and receiving gifts, in fact present shopping and the run up to Christmas is what I like most about the season.
The season to be jolly, isn’t that just asking for fail, pressured joyfulness.
Don’t worry this isn’t all doom and gloom! I do actually look forward to the festive season, what I enjoy most about Christmas is the preparation. It actually snowed today, and I was out Christmas shopping in my woolly hat, all wrapped up, people buzzing around, festive spirit in the air. That’s what I enjoy, the prep.
For me there’s nothing better to get those festive feelings flowing than a good Christmas market.
For the two years previous to this I’ve been to Bury St Edmonds Christmas Fayre, one of the biggest in the country I’m led to believe (it is epic). It’s definitely the best market I’ve been to, and has now become a bit of a tradition for me. Christmas isn’t started until I’ve been to Bury Fayre, it really does get me in the spirit. So last week, for the third year running I venture to Bury St Edmonds for the annual festivities.
The Fayre, or should I say ‘Christmas World’, as it’s not just your typical fayre, it’s a day out, an mass event, starts on a Thursday evening with fireworks and runs until Sunday night. For the previous 2 years I’ve been on a Saturday, but this year I already had plans to take my niece to the Theatre on the Saturday, so decided to go on the Friday. I am so glad I did! I’ll probably aim for Fridays in the future now. As the event can attract a lot of people, it gets super busy on the Saturday for obvious reasons. Although crowds don’t bother me, I tend to just hold my ground and slowly push on though, it was so much easier on the Friday. I could get to and look at the stalls, taking my time a bit more. There weren’t many children around, as they were mostly at school. There were less queues to buy food or drink (and I needed plenty of tea, with it being cold as an added excuse!) It was just less stressful all round.
The fayre spreads through the whole of Bury centre, from the modern shopping centre, into the Apex Theatre, down the old cobbled streets, all the way to Bury St Edmonds’s Cathedral and Abby Gardens.
The fayre contains your usual suspects, crafts, Christmas decor, gifts, waffles, chocolate, mulled wine, cheese, jewellery, cards, chutneys, fun fair rides, games, hot dogs, hot chocolate and of course the main man, Father Christmas himself.
I want to add here that a lot of the stalls require electricity, and when in the middle of a garden and Cathedral grounds this means cables. A lot of them. Wandering around much of the outside I came across these obstacles.
Totally necessary, but somewhat annoying. I have a sturdy set of wheels so I managed them fine, I did however have to take them easy, a bit like a speed bump for wheelchairs! I would just watch out for them if you have difficulty with bumps.
If you want to see everything, as I always do, a lot of walking/wheeling is involved to experience the whole fayre. I would suggest arriving as early as possible and taking your time, stopping for plenty of tea breaks along the way! This kept me refreshed and energised. Although if like me you travel on wheels Bury can be a little limited for tea/coffee stops. The newer part of town is very modern, and the big stores have easy access. But some of the little cafes are in old buildings with steps and not much space. Also on days during the fayre everywhere gets very busy, so if a table and sit down is what you want then you will need some patience! We ended up in Greggs, not my usual place of choice, I admit to being a bit of a food snob. Beggars can’t be choosers and I really needed a brew and a warm up inside as my hands were getting chilly which can make it difficulty drive my chair. I’d had plenty of tasters around the first look of the fayre anyway, cheese, crackers, chocolate, chutney, honey, you name it. I’d just about had a makeshift lunch. So a brew and snack would suffice anyway!
Speaking of food this is pretty much all I spent my money on! As is usual for me I didn’t get many Christmas gifts for people. (I did get one but can’t be telling you that!). I did however buy myself and the family at home some luxurious treats to devour over the festive season. On our wanders we were offered a taste of a hot ginger drink, the only way I can describe it is a mix between ginger beer and mulled wine. Very tasty! So I got myself a bottle. It can be heated in the microwave or a pan over the hob. I bet it will taste great with a splash of whiskey!
Another passing taster was cheese. Cheese is one of my favourite foods over the festive period, second to turkey. I love that you can have a plate with at least 8 varieties of cheese on and nobody will bat an eyelid. All these cheeses were try before you buy, so obviously I tried a few. I decided on Cheddar with crystallised ginger, Red Leicester with chillis and crushed pepper, and Mature Cheddar with port and brandy (because I had that one last year and it was amazing).
My final purchase were these chocolate dome thingys. I don’t know if they have a proper title, please let me know if they do! I’d had them before as a gift, but hadn’t seen them anywhere myself. They are like giant Walnut Whips minus the walnut and available in many flavours. The centre is gooey mallow, and even tastier than that of your traditional whip. There were 9 flavours in total for sale, I couldn’t decide which to go for, could you?! So I got all 9! I took some photos so that I could remember which were which when sharing them with family. I did actually share. Honest.
Full of tasty drink samples and way too much tea I had to visit the ladies before returning to the car park for the drive home.
There is a small, very modern, Theatre called the Apex not far from the car park that had some indoor stalls inside, finer crafts that might not survive the weather. I had a browse there on my way to the accessible toilet. I say accessible, but I’ll fill you in on it’s actual access here.
So that’s me feeling all festive, join me on the countdown to Christmas, check out my other blogmas posts and exciting advent calendar here.
How do you start Christmas off? Do you have something that gets you feeling festive?