St Albans Christmas market dates extended

St Albans Christmas Market bar with the cathedral in the background

St Albans Christmas Market bar with the cathedral in the background - Credit: Archant

Calls to extend the next St Albans Christmas market further into the festive period have been answered by the district council.

Criticism of last year’s event, which racked up a loss of £53,000, included the timing of the event - people believed it may have been more successful if it had run closer to Christmas.

A Herts Advertiser story in March featured business owner Jeanette Lendon, who echoed opinions that it should have stayed open longer: “The whole experience of a Christmas market is to walk round it at night, with mulled wine, carol singers and have an experience.”

Other criticisms included an isolated location, expensive chalets, and poor signage.

Since it launched four years ago the market has never made a profit, racking up a bill of more than £230,000 since it began in 2013.

The 2017 event will run for four weeks from November 25 to December 23, four days longer than last year. The Christmas light switch-on event will take place on November 26.

As in previous years, the market will take place in the Vintry Garden next to St Albans Cathedral - there will be an opportunity to buy gifts, eat and drink, enjoy entertainment, and visit Santa’s Grotto.

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St Albans city centre manager, Richard Marrett, welcomed the news: “I think it’s fantastic news actually, I think it’s great that the council are obviously listening to comments from the general public who gave constructive criticism of the Christmas market.

“There is a lot of discussion about the Christmas market every year, and whilst comments appear critical they are made with the best intentions - and it’s great the council have listened to that.” He called it “positive action” by SADC.

Portfolio holder for community engagement at SADC, Cllr Beric Read, said: “Visitors will be able to do their Christmas shopping at St Albans Christmas Market almost right up to the big day.

“Open for the last five Saturdays before Christmas, the market is set to attract more visitors than ever to the City, benefitting the retail and restaurant trade.”

The new dates are still subject to planning approval.