On Sunday, I had the exciting opportunity of visiting Bath with LitSoc. This gorgeous city is renowned for its Christmas market at this time of year, and its well worth a visit, with the cold, unpromising weather providing a suitably Christmassy atmosphere.
The city appeared larger than Exeter, and the market certainly was – perhaps because it’s clustered all around the gigantic abbey. It stretched into side streets while occupying prime position in the main streets. The stalls themselves were reminiscent of those at Exeter’s market, and were similar in some ways in selling traditional Christmas goods: mulled wine, fudge, handcrafted goods, knitwear and the like.
On the other hand, Bath’s market had some… very interesting stalls! One stall in particular excited a good friend of mine, who felt he had to buy an item from there the moment we reached it.
This of course was the Wooden Tie stall. Ties were available from around £15, and from anyone’s perspective, having a wooden tie as a new fashion accessory is sure to make you stand out from the crowd! An exciting Christmas gift, especially if the lucky guy’s into fashion.
In terms of prices, Bath seemed similar to Exeter, with mulled wine for example selling at £3.50. The sheer size of the market meant that there was an amazing range of goods. The stalls were divided into three categories: charity stalls, catered stalls, and pop up businesses. There was definitely a very South-West feel pervading the market, with unique, handcrafted items in particular made locally. Because of the size of the market, there was much of it we sadly didn’t get to visit – it’s likely you’d need to visit more than once. Stating the obvious, the market was absolutely packed; meaning patience is a must when trawling through hundreds of excited locals!
To a degree, Exeter’s Christmas market is perhaps better in that it opens earlier and closes later. The amazing variety and size of Bath’s Christmas market, by contrast, means it’s surprising that the market opens at 10am (not that early); although it does close at 7pm Monday to Wednesday and 8pm Thursday to Saturday (6pm Sunday). It is also very difficult to perhaps see as much as you want to, as aforementioned, because of the size.
All in all, however, Bath’s Christmas Market is definitely worth visiting if you fancy trying something outside of Exeter’s own. Situated in a beautiful city with plenty to do, you’re sure to find lots of exciting gifts for family and friends.
illustration by Miriam Pick
words by Conor byrne