A celebration of Dickensian Christmas markets
Across England this Christmas
harles Dickens would have been 200 years old this year and it’s largely thanks to this famous author that the English celebrate Christmas the way we do today. The snowy scenes, turkey, dances, Blind Man’s Buff, Christmas pudding and mulled wine so typical of England’s traditional festive Christmas markets could have been very different if a certain Charles John Huffam Dickens hadn’t picked up a pen…
Festive merriment of any kind came under intense scrutiny under Cromwell in the 17th century and by the start of the Victorian period the celebration of Christmas was in serious decline. After all, in Dickens’ time the Industrial Revolution was in full steam and people had little time to celebrate.
Admittedly, there were already signs of a Christmas revival through the singing of carols and the decorating of Christmas trees, but it was the Christmas stories of Dickens, and in particular A Christmas Carol, that most vividly captured what the English now recognise as Christmas. By describing Christmas as, “a good time: a kind, forgiving, charitable, pleasant time,” Dickens was instrumental in the rekindling of our Christmas spirit.
Christmas markets have flourished throughout England and many today have a distinctly Dickensian theme. Here are just a few:
Lincoln Christmas Market
The first revived Victorian Christmas Market is perfectly set in this contemporary cathedral city with a history spanning some 2,000 years.
A Victorian Festival of Christmas
Watch some of Dickens’ most colourful characters perform sketches and readings of the author’s work alongside market stalls a traditional Father Christmas dressed in green, in the town of Dickens’ birth.
Dickensian Christmas Festival
With 70 market stalls and a traditional family fun fair, the Rochester Dickensian Christmas Festival will feature enough charming Victorian yuletide trappings to make Charles feel right back at home.
Gloucester Quays Victorian Christmas Market
There’s a Victorian carousel, traditional games and free craft activities for the kids, all in the city’s historic docks.
Chester Victorian Christmas Market
As well as the usual sparkling variety of gifts and tasty treats in historic Chester, this year’s market has a new Christmas Toboggan ride, towering above the Town Hall Square.
Truro Victorian Christmas Market
Seventy traders, artisans and producers, all in period Victorian clothing, showcase their wares in a huge heated marquee.
Kelham Island Museum 20th Victorian Christmas Market
Over 100 stalls fill old cobbled streets lined with Victorian gas lamps within the heart of Sheffield’s industrial heritage.
Plymouth Christmas Market
, Armada Way
Mini shops glowing with festive cheer are joined by carol singers, dance troupes, jazz harmony groups, a barbershop chorus and even a family of real, live reindeer!
Worcester Christmas Fayre
More than 100 stalls fill the atmospheric streets of Worcester’s historic heart along with choirs and traders in full period costumes.
Go to Dickens 2012 to discover more about the bicentenary and have a very merry Christmas from everyone at VisitEngland. You won’t hear any “Bah, humbug” here!
Find more Christmas markets in England.
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