(AD) Our writer, Olly, headed along to Bishop Auckland last night to check out this event.
Here is his review.
Last night we visited our first festive event of the year, Bishop Auckland’s Christmas Town. This is a Christmas Market with many other activities added in which takes over the Bishop Auckland market place between 24th -26th November.
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We drove down to Bishop Auckland after school and work on Friday and managed to park for free, very conveniently in the North Bond Street car park (highly recommended). On arrival we wrapped up in as many layers as possible and walked the no more than 5 minutes along to the market square.
The market square is transformed into a winter wonderland with a vast array of market stalls, food vendors and activities lining the streets. Our first stop off was St Annes Church which was holding their annual Community Christmas Tree Festival. This was a lovely addition to the evening; the church was full of Christmas trees decorated by school and community groups from the local area. We had fun looking at all the trees and really getting into the Christmas Spirit. The church also has refreshment (for a small donation) available and toilets available for all to use.
Next stop for us was the Christmas Market and the tough choice of what to have for dinner. There are a whole host of local food vendors to choose from, serving sweet treats, wood fired pizza’s ,gourmet burgers and lots in between. We decided to share a delicious pizza and warm up with some nice warm drinks while we browsed the rest of the market stalls.
It was then time to try out the festive attractions: (Keep scrolling to read more)
Santa’s Grotto (£12.50 Kids/£9.50 Adults)
First stop was Santa’s Grotto. We made our way to the entrance and when it was our groups time we were met by Mrs Claus and a friendly elf and taken to our table in a lovely waiting area. We were given some sweet treats and craft materials to make Christmas baubles and write letters to Santa, while Mrs Claus and the friendly Elf went round the room talking to the kids. Each group was then taken in turns to see Santa, the boys absolutely loved it, a lovely Grotto and a really relaxed Santa experience. It was a quick visit and before long the boys were each given a small gift and we were on our way. Overall this was a really nice experience, perhaps slightly expensive for what you get as adults have to pay too.
Ice Skating (£6 Kids/£8 Adults)
Next up was Ice Skating, there is a 10m x 14m Ice Rink located in the heart of the market place. It’s a lovely spot, music in the background and lots of people milling around enjoying the atmosphere. This was our boys first experience of Ice Skating and they absolutely loved it. After waiting for our slot, we quickly got changed into ice skates and spent 25 minutes skating and playing on the ice. There are a number of penguin skating aids for small children and this really helped Oscar. We had a great time doing this, its not the biggest rink in the North East, so if you have older kids or more prolific skaters in the family you might want to go elsewhere, but we thought this was good value for money.
Ferris Wheel (£3.30 in advance / £4 on the day)
Our last activity was the old fashioned Ferris Wheel at the end of the market place. We queued up and were quickly loaded onto the Ferris Wheel, its 2 people per cart, so worth bearing in mind if you have an odd number in your group. This is not the biggest Ferris Wheel you will ever see, but we loved it, the views from the top were great and the speed of the ride kept both Theo and Oscar entertained.
There are a number of other attractions that we didn’t get round too; a snow globe which you can get photos for free in, a giant tipi with a fully stocked bar and lots of more grown up events on over the weekend and of course AGLOW is only a short walk away.
Overall we had a lovely evening at Christmas Town and we’d highly recommend it as a family day out this weekend. Entry to the market is completely free, so if you want to just soak up the festive atmosphere there is no pressure to spend money on all the activities. It was also make a great stop off after visiting AGLOW (combo tickets are available).