Prepare to be walking in a St Albans winter wonderland

Christmas market chalet

Christmas market chalet - Credit: Archant

Santa and his elves, a special German tipple and gifts galore are just some of the delights you can expect to find at St Albans’ first Christmas market.

In two weeks time on November 28 the grounds surrounding the Cathedral are set to be turned into a magical Christmas village and it all begins with a grand launch night from 5pm.

This will feature a procession including a polar bear called Bjorn, 7ft ice walkers, festive fairies and characters from Jack Frost who will make their way from Christopher Place to Vintry Gardens.

The Merchant Tea and Coffee Company in Market Place will stay open late to serve hot chocolate and The Boot will be selling mulled cider and wild boar sausages by the Clock Tower.

Father Christmas can also be found in his grotto in front of Abigail’s Tea Rooms in Waxhouse Gate where children can visit him until December 21 between 1pm and 6pm Tuesday to Sunday, and until 8pm on Thursday. Tickets cost £5 for youngsters under eight and can be purchased from a nearby ticket office.

While parents wait they can sip on a glass of Gluhwein, which involves melting a sugar cane with flaming rum over the drink and cannot be bought at any other market in the UK.

Or if Bratwurst sausages, gingerbread or chestnuts tickle your fancy then head over to Sumpter Yard where there will be a range of other food and drink chalets.

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And when your belly is full you can browse a further 40 wooden huts selling traditional German Christmas decorations and luxury gifts.

Cllr Beric Read, portfolio Holder for localism and community engagement at St Albans district council, said: “We are delighted to be holding our first German-inspired Christmas market this year.

“We are very proud of our famous ancient twice-weekly market, which attracts thousands of people to the city each week. We have had markets in St Albans for over 1,000 years. Our Christmas market in the grounds of St Albans Cathedral promises to be a magical Christmas experience.”

The 24-day event runs between November 28 and December 21 opening from 10am to 6pm, with extended hours until 8pm on Thursdays.

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Local traders or craftspeople also have the opportunity to hire a chalet for between one and three days rather than the minimum seven days for non-locals. Anyone interested should email

n There will be a “flashing square halo” shining down upon St Albans’ city centre from the top of the historic Clock Tower when the Christmas lights are switched on this Sunday. Festive lights have been placed on top of the iconic structure.