Monday, 7 December 2009

Lincoln Christmas Market

Professional and personal interest led to a visit to the 2009 Lincoln Christmas Market, one of the largest in the UK and Europe with over 130000 visitors expected over the four days it ws open.

Timing and certain masochism meant we went by car on one of the busiest days, Saturday. Fortunately, arriving by 10am at the P&R made getting into lincoln relatively painless.

Three things really stood out about the market:
  1. The mass of visitors was so great as to warrant a one way circuit around the stalls and the crush almost hindered stopping for a purchase at peak times.
  2. Whilst a significant proportion of stalls went with the festive theme in terms of content and dressing up, many did not. The uniformity of the canvas stalls also diminished the expectations of a Christmas market people may have gained, for example in Germany.
  3. Go a few hundred yards from the market route and the masses dropped off considerably - making it worth taking refreshments some distance from the market. We enjoyed an afternoon tea with carol singing in St Peter in Eastgate Church.
The location made the venue, with the Cathedral and the castle providing very scenic backdrop - shame the castle walls were not open for access as they would have provided a fantastic view!

Probably the most enjoyable part of the visit to Lincoln for me was actually the Museum of Lincolnshire Life, who were following a Victorian Christmas theme and had lots of interesting exhibits manned by actors in Victorian garb. The Victorian Sweet shop was doing a roaring trade in sugared mice and I spent an informative time with the printer talking about the wonderful man-powered printing machine he was operating.

Trying to return to the P&R stop in town around 5pm, we hit an enourmous queue, at one point 5000 people long, I was told by an official. We delayed our departure till 9pm by having a meal in town - by then the queues were gone.

Photographically, it was a difficult event as you were carried along and buffeted by a sea of people. I used a small portable camera, rather than the SLR. However, the positive Christmas spirit meant that many of the people in costume were happy to be photographed and provided a festive view.

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