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THE FOOD & DRINK OF HEREFORDSHIRE, SHROPSHIRE & GLOUCESTERSHIRE

Christmas in The Marches – 10 fab food fairs to put you in the festive spirit!

Christmas in The Marches – 10 fab food fairs to put you in the festive spirit!

CHRISTMAS IS in the air along the English-Welsh borders and we’ve got the High Towns and low downs of some of the best festive food and drink fairs to visit around The Marches. From Abergavenny to Shropshire, Brecon to Ludlow, don’t miss the awesome artisans and  independent producers of this amazing food region who’ll be selling their gastronomic delights for Christmas.

Here at Taste The Marches we’ve been to some fairs already – we’ve picked up festive fennel and cinnamon salami, craft ciders, flavoured roast coffee, Christmas nougat, gorgeous liqueurs and chocolate gifts. And to keep our spirits up while we shopped we’ve had mouthwatering street food, mince pies and mulled wine. We must admit – we love a Great British Christmas food fair so here are 10 you might want to consider. So get your earmuffs and appetites to the ready and head out for some happy festive shopping!

screen-shot-2016-11-24-at-15-21-311. Abergavenny Christmas Food and Drink Fair (11th December, stalls open 10am-5pm)
Head to the Abergavenny Christmas Food and Drink Fair on Sunday 11th December and you’ll find everything you need to get into the festive spirit. There are over 85 top seasonal producers, signed books by celeb chefs and Christmas recipe demos.
For the kids there are workshops (£1.50 each or £5 to do them all) and a musical procession with festive light display. If you’re in Abergavenny that evening then master mixologist is hosting a tasting of festive cocktails! Entry to Christmas venues is £5 per adult.

2. Brecon Christmas Farmers Markets (Saturday 10th December & Sunday 18th December)
There are many festive fairs taking place around The Marches on the same day this December so food and drink artisans have to choose the best ones to suit their small businesses.

Look out for the wonderful local produce of Walkers Cottage - a Herefordshire-based French artisan making tasty gifts such as sirops, Christmas nougat and biscotti

Look out for the wonderful local produce of Walkers Cottage – a Herefordshire-based French artisan making tasty gifts such as sirops, Christmas nougat and biscotti

Some choose Shropshire, others Herefordshire, but many are choosing to exhibit at Brecon’s two Christmas Farmers Markets. Taking place at Brecon Market Hall on two days in December, they promise to be packed full of the best local food and drink gifts for Christmas. With the cafe run by the popular bakers at Love at First Bake, Santa in his grotto and live music to entertain you while you shop, this sounds like a great day out.

3. Hampton Court Castle’s Magical Christmas Fair (Fri 2nd to Sun 4th December, 10.30am-5pm)
What’s not to love about the thought of a magical Christmas fair in a castle? And when it’s for three days in gorgeous Hampton Court Castle on the way to Ludlow, this one sounds absolutely fab.

A dreamy setting for Hampton Court Castle's Magical Christmas Fair

A dreamy setting for Hampton Court Castle’s Magical Christmas Fair

The owner-organisers are dressing up this beautiful castle with festive decorations, which are bound to wow. You can also buy a wide selection of local produce, gifts and crafts, while Liz in the Orangery Restaurant will be making her famous mince pies to enjoy with a glass of mulled wine. Lush!

4. Hay-on-Wye Winter Food Festival (Saturday 26th November, 10am-4pm)
The famous book town of Hay-on-Wye is hosting a two-day Winter Festival from Saturday 26th to Sunday 27th November. On Saturday there will be more than 50 food, drink and gift stalls around Hay’s Memorial Car Park and Butter Market. With a ‘mini’ Hay book festival and talks by authors taking place in venues around this historic town, there will be a great buzz at this fair – and music. So wrap up warm and make Hay while the (winter) sun shines!

5. Hereford High Town Christmas Markets (High Town/Commercial Street, Thurs 15th, Fri 16th, Thurs 22nd & Fri 23rd December, 9am-4pm)
We thoroughly enjoyed meeting local food and drink artisans with their specially made Christmas gifts in High Town last year and this year promises more of the same. Artisan chocs, festive liqueurs, gifts, world crafts and so much more. Santa will also be on his Big Red Bus with his elves workshops from Friday 16th in Old Market Hereford. Let the festivities begin!

6. Kington Festive Food From The Borders (Saturday 3rd December, 9.30am-3pm)
One of Herefordshire’s five historical market towns, Kington is used to putting on a great fair. With a weekly livestock market near this pretty ‘black and white’ village, an annual summer festival and 11 years hosting a gorgeous Christmas food fair, Kington’s 12th year promises to make this festive event a firm favourite amongst foodies.

Meet awesome artisans from England and Wales at this fabulous Christmas food fest!

Meet awesome artisans from England and Wales at this fabulous Christmas food fest!

Kington has grown from 18 stalls in its first year to over 80 stalls this December. Situated on The Marches border of England and Wales, Kington will draw the best food and drink from both countries – and with live entertainment in the centre of town, we can’t wait for this one!

7. Ludlow Medieval Christmas Fayre (Saturday 26th, 10am-9pm & Sunday 27th November, 10am-4pm)
Already famous for its incredible food and craft beer festivals throughout the year, Ludlow’s ruined castle grounds will be the place to spot knights and maidens – oh, and Santa this weekend. Over 100 stalls will sell food, drink and historical gifts.

Gwatkins Cider team get in the spirit for the Ludlow Medieval Christmas Fayre

Gwatkins Cider team get in the spirit for the Ludlow Medieval Christmas Fayre

Accompanying St Nicholas will be juggling jesters, interactive theatre entertainment and activities for the family. Stalls are inside specially decorated festive marquees and include handmade truffles, French artisan food, local ciders and wines, festive cakes, medieval nuts and spices, and The Tipsy Tart with her quirky alcoholic gifts. What an amazing weekend – we’re feeling merry already!

8. Malvern – The Christmas Shopping Show (Friday 2nd December, 10am-5pm, Saturday 3rd, 10am-5pm, Sunday 4th, 10am-4pm)
Festive shopping, real reindeer, Santa, Mrs Santa and their Toy Workshop await you at the Three Counties Showground for this spectacular three-day Christmas fest. Gift stalls are indoors and set over two floors in the Shopping Mall, and there will live music throughout the show. Entry: adults £4, children £2.

9. Much Wenlock Christmas Fayre (Saturday 3rd December)
Much Wenlock’s Christmas Fayre began in 2001 and has grown to over 100 eclectic Christmas stalls that line the streets and Church Green of this quintessential market town in beautiful Shropshire.

Food, fun and festive animals at Much Wenlock!

Food, fun and festive animals at Much Wenlock!

As well as a wide range of fabulous local food and drink gifts (including delicious Tiggs dressings), you can enjoy brass bands, choirs, street theatre and entertainers. Children can meet Santa Claus, ride a donkey and enjoy carols by candlelight in The Square. Ahhh.. we just love the sound of this festive family affair!

10. Shrewsbury Winter Festival (10th-11th December)
The historical town of Shrewsbury puts on a magical Winter Festival on 10th-11th December with something for all the family. This is one of the largest Christmas festivals in The Marches with over 170 exhibitors. Shop for artisan food and drink, handmade crafts, or make your own festive gifts at special workshops. There will be free activities for the kids, circus big tops, real reindeer, alpaca and donkeys, play-along music and storytelling. If you spirits need reviving after all your Christmas shopping there’ll be steaming hot choc, mulled wine and plenty of festive cheer to keep you going. This one sounds awesome!

Mr Pheasant’s bird-ict: If I leave now I'll get round them all by Christmas. Toodle-pip, I'm off to buy presents for some pheasants!

Mr Pheasant’s bird-ict: If I leave now I’ll get round them all by Christmas. Toodle-pip, I’m off to buy presents for some pheasants!

Well we hope that you find one or two festive fairs in this list to enjoy some great local food and drink, and to buy some lovingly handmade Christmas gifts for loved ones. If you’d like to tell us about your Christmas food fair, large or small, please contact us on the form below or email bee@tastethemarches.co.uk

 

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