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Experiences

It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas…in Market Square

It’s December and the festive holiday is officially taking over. Meaning, it’s the perfect time to visit Nottingham’s Winter Wonderland. Entrance is free! But you may need to book in advance for some attractions (check the official website to see what needs booking).

I allowed my excitement for Christmas to commence on my first visit to the Christmas market towards the end of November. The glistening lights above the pathways and roads all around city centre were guiding my way and luring me into the main attraction.

Wondering around the stalls is what caught my interest the most as each offers their own unique, handmade items, perfect for gift giving. I highly recommend browsing if you’re in need of present ideas, as some items are quite niche, and could make the perfect gift for the right person. These include a range of horn products, glass trinkets, loose leaf tea, hats and scarves, crystal stone jewellery, dream catchers, and much more.

After you’ve eased yourself into the season of giving by browsing the stalls, it’s time to enter the heart of the market. The set up inside the walls includes more interactive stations. The main attractions are generally the big Ferris Wheel and sky skate, an ice-skating track which takes you in a loop around the centre of the market from higher up. There’s also a smaller ice-skating rink, ball games as an opportunity to win a big prize, and smaller rides for younger children.

If you’re wanting to save money, I don’t recommend visiting on an empty stomach as the warm air oozing from the food stools, especially the deserts, is bound to tempt you. There’s a range of stalls selling wintery foods, a Greek food stall if you’re not feeling festive just yet, and opportunities to toast marshmallows and chestnuts on a stick to keep you warm.

If you’ve not worn enough layers and feel a bit too cold, the Sur La Piste is cosy and warm, offering the perfect shelter to hibernate in. This ski-lodge inspired bar has a simple wooden interior, with decorations adding a pop of colour, making it more tempting to stay inside. Upstairs, there’s seats and standing tables facing a large window which looks down onto the centre of the market. It’s peaceful to people watch while being snug with a drink and good company, observing others in the Christmas scenery. But, if you’re wanting to sit closer to the action, they offer seating outside right next to the sky ice-skating, making it the best place to laugh, while watching people fall over.

The Christmas tree, music, lights, and cold air all invite you to embrace the merry season, whether you’re wanting to spend some pennies on the activities, or simply walk through and enjoy the aesthetic. And no matter if you’ve been naughty or nice this year, there’s even a post-box to send your letters to Santa -but be quick, Christmas is coming soon!

Deniz Kalayci-Clow

Nottingham '24

I'm a second year English student at UON. I enjoy exploring Nottingham to find my own space in the city – anything that gives me an excuse to get ready and walk around to feel like the main character. I like doing pilates and art in my free time to slow down busy uni life :)