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Totnes Christmas Night Market: A very alternative Christmas!

Totnes Christmas Market: An alternative Christmas!
Whilst the organisers of most Christmas festivals that are held up and down the country claim that theirs is unique, the Totnes Christmas Night Markets, which are held on the three Tuesdays before Christmas, is guaranteed to be like nothing else that you have ever seen before.

If you are not familiar with Totnes there is something that you should know about the town before you visit. It is about as ‘alternative’ as it is possible to get and that will become apparent as soon as you start walking up the main street on one of the nights of the festival. From early in the afternoon the main street is closed to traffic and this is when people set up their stalls on both sides of the road.

Totnes Night Market Traders

The Christmas Night Markets are centred around the Totnes Market Square at the top of the hill. If you are expecting the usual kind of fayre to be available from these stalls you will be mistaken. The vast majority of stalls are selling products that are either handmade or the kind of thing that the traders have picked up from their travels whilst embarking on their tours of India and the Far East.

The heady smell of incense is never too far away and the Totnes Christmas Festival can only really be described as a meeting of the alternative and the traditional, which makes it all rather unusual and entertaining.

Music is provided by local school choirs, community choirs, local bands, drummers and lantern parades. There is a Santa’s Grotto, street entertainers and plenty of opportunities to pick up local hot cider and mulled wine to keep you toasty warm.

The local press often report that representatives from shopping centres all over the UK descend on Totnes during the nights of the festival just to experience the event, so they can attempt to recreate the experience elsewhere. It remains to be seen whether they succeed though, as South Devonians will tell you there is nowhere else quite like Totnes.

Arrive Early for the Totnes Christmas Market

The best piece of advice for anyone who is planning to visit the Totnes Christmas Festival would be to arrive early, around 5pm if possible, to ensure that you get a car parking space. The streets are very narrow and these Tuesday nights are so busy you could easily end up parking quite a distance away and not everyone enjoys a brisk winter evening walk!

The restaurants in Totnes are always fully booked up on the nights of the festival so if you do fancy sitting down and enjoying a meal make sure to book early. If you fancy a few slices of hot roast turkey with all of the trimmings served in a fresh roll, make a point of stopping at the butchers half way up the main street. A serving table is set up outside the shop and the turkey which is on offer really is succulent and delicious.

When you are fully fed you can walk through the market and experience traditional carol singers alongside Shamanic drumming circles. Anything goes at the Totnes Festival and as anyone who has experienced it all will no doubt agree, this is what makes these three Tuesday nights in December so very special indeed.

It would be safe to say that there is no other Christmas festival anything like this one in Totnes, that is of course unless you know better?

About Gillian Birch

Born in Cheshire, Gillian Birch moved to Cornwall at her earliest opportunity and never looked back. After 20 years, her ongoing discovery of popular attractions, quiet footpaths and local eateries has made her a fount of knowledge as she entertains readers with her informative articles on the hidden gems of Devon & Cornwall from a local point-of-view.

Find Gillian on Google+, and Twitter.

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