Lancashire is set to be filled with festive cheer from next week, as a raft of Christmas markets and festivals are set to arrive in the county.
Christmas markets were popular in the Victorian era, and present-day festivals often take inspiration from these historical celebrations, as well as from European influences, such as Germany.
Mulled wine, crafts, food, music and winter activities will help get shoppers in the Christmas spirit across Lancashire’s towns and villages, starting with Preston’s Winter Wonderland, which runs from November 19 all the way up to January 4.
There will be an ice rink, handmade gifts and tasty treats filling the flag market. Attractions also include a festive fairground with ‘ice road truckers’ and a big wheel, and a heated indoor ‘Merry Monk Tavern’.
Santa and his reindeers will also make an appearance, as well as carol singers and bell-ringers.
In Chorley, Father Christmas will be at Astley Hall every weekend in December, and the town centre will come alive with festive music and entertainment every Saturday in December.
Plus, a magical, talking post box will be making a return to Market Walk for children to post their lists and letters direct to Santa. A festive Ferris wheel is at the Flat Iron car park with Christmas food stalls nearby.
Lancaster Brewery will host Christmas market evenings on November 26, 27 and 28, featuring live music, carol singing, a mini funfair and Santa’s Grotto. The brewery, based in Lancaster Leisure Park, Wyresdale Road, will also offer mulled wine, hot food, winter cider, and gift stalls.
There will be entertainment and stalls set up along Hough Lane on November 28 for the annual ‘Christmas in Leyland’ event.
The Festival Market in Morecambe is hosting a ‘Spirit of Christmas’ event through the daytime on November 28 and 29, and running into the evening on the Sunday. Santa will arrive on the Saturday and the famous Coca-Cola truck will be parked on Central Drive on Sunday.
The festivities will also include gift stalls, a charity mince pie bake-off, entertainment from choirs and brass bands, Punch and Judy, balloon sculptures, a magician, fairground rides and face painting.
Hoghton Tower hosts the ‘Crafty Vintage’ company for a special festive weekend on November 28 and 29, with food courtyards, a cocktail bar, guest singers and entertainers, and an eclectic mix of over 100 traders selling retro wares and crafts. Entry is £3.
Towneley Hall will be the place to be for the Burnley Christmas Craft Fair on November 29, with stalls selling hand crafted goods and gifts, festive music and entertainment.
Also on November 29, the Colne Christmas Extravaganza at Colne Muni in Albert Road will feature a food festival, stalls, bands, singers, donkey rides, face painting, fireworks, and clogg dancers.
Entertainment will include carousels and children’s rides on the Precinct, Darwen Brass Band, Barnoldswick’s Town Crier, a barbershop choir, the Pendle Jazzmen and the Lancashire Wallopers.
A Dickensian-themed celebration with street entertainment and stalls makes up the Whalley Pickwick Festival in Whalley Village Centre in King Street, Clitheroe, on the evening of December 3. There will be music from pipe and brass bands, live acts on a main stage, children’s entertainment, reindeer, festive foods, and Father Christmas himself.
Meanwhile, stalls, food, mulled wine, Santa’s Grotto and merriment galore will take place at Huntley’s Country Stores in Whalley Road, Preston, for a two-day Christmas Festival on December 4 and 5; open in the evening on the Friday and throughout the day on Saturday.
Hosted by Hawkshaw Farm, Longsight Road on the A59, the Ribble Valley Christmas Fair is a new festive event organised by the coordinator of the successful Clitheroe Food Festival. It takes place on December 4 to 6 and will include seasonal demonstrations from party food, chocolate treats, winter beauty and gift wrapping, to wreaths, Christmas floral displays and cocktails.
Father Christmas will take families on a festive tractor ride to his special barn grotto where he will introduce his baby farm animals, and there will also be street foods, a bar, carol singers, an ice rink, live bands and musicians. Entry is £6.50.
Crafty Vintage late night Christmas markets come to Brockholes Nature Reserve in Preston New Road, Samlesbury, from December 4 to 6. Entry is £2, and it also runs throughout the daytime on Saturday and Sunday.
The Legacy Rainbow House in Saltpit Lane, Mawdesley, will hold its first Christmas Fair on December 5, with carols, a brass band, stalls and food. Father Christmas will be in his grotto to welcome the children and there will be donkeys and a Victorian ice cream barrow, whilst parents can get into the Christmas spirit with a glass of mulled wine.
The grounds of St Catherine’s Hospice in Lostock Hall will be transformed for the Christmas Festival the weekend of December 5 and 6. Attractions will include a giant snow globe, Santa’s grotto, gift stalls, a craft fayre, ice rink, and on the Saturday only, reindeer. The annual fund-raising Santa Dash and Rudolph Rumble take place on the Sunday.
‘Longridge Does Christmas’ on December 5, 6 and 7 for a weekend of festive family fun and Christmas shopping, and the Garstang Victorian Christmas Festival, featuring live bands, singers, stilt walkers, Punch and Judy and Santa’s grotto in High Street, is on December 7 and 8.