I am a freelance writer living in Gloucestershire. I have been writing family style articles in the form of columns for newspapers since 2000 and spent four years presenting an interview chat show on Forest of Dean Radio.
If you would like to be thrown back into the Victorian era, just for an afternoon, go and visit the Victorian Market at Gloucester Quays.
When I first visited The Gloucester Quays at its grand opening in May 2009, the thing that struck me most forcibly (apart from the presence of Gok Wan, who was the guest speaker) and the lovely shopping mall of course, was the beautiful floor. "Do you think they would notice if we swapped it for ours?" I said to 18 Year Old, who, at that time, was 15 Year Old.
That said, this week from 22nd to 25th November, is the Victorian Christmas Market, when actually our Victorian floor tiles would look perfectly in keeping there.
This is an event not to be missed. The main part of the market takes place in the older part of the Quays, just at the end of the modern shopping mall. It's important to know this, because on last year's visit I didn't initially realise that there was such a huge event beyond the shops themselves. The Victorian theme starts from the moment that you set foot into the shopping centre, and so it would be reasonable to not be aware that there is so much more once you get past the modern shops. The thing to do is to keep walking until you get to the end of the mall, and then you will be greeted by a true Victorian market, and more.
This event has a fantastic ambience, with its live brass bands, buskers, and entertainment throughout the afternoon. Its setting by the canal , amongst the historic docks, is the perfect place for a Victorian Market. The retailers all embrace the event, dressing up in Victorian clothes and playing the part of Victorian market sellers. This is enhanced by The Gloucester Folk Museum which provides traditional Victorian games for visitors to play, and opportunities for craft making.
The food treats are delicious. You can have quite a meal walking round and sampling the sausages, the jams and the mince pies. The mulled wine is very welcome and there are local breweries and wine companies demonstrating their wares too. There are lots of lovely different things to buy, with some beautiful gifts for children. You can find pretty little trinkets and traditional wooden toys. The sort of thing which would grace any nursery beautifully. Hubby has always said that such items are possibly more for the benefit of the mums than the children. But, Eldest Daughter for instance had a traditional Victorian style dolls house, which actually Hubby himself made for her when she was 8, and that is still a much loved item in our house. So, if, like me, you rather enjoy the look of the traditional, then this is the place for you.
One of the best features for me last year, was the Merry Go Round. It was a true Mary Poppins style affair, with proper wooden horses which go up and down. What a treat! Or was it a Carousel? Apparently one goes one way, and one the other. I don't know which is which.
My only sadness, is that it is on for such a short time this year. Just four days, starting tomorrow. So, get in quick and get down to The Quays. You won't be disappointed!
The Details: The Victorian Market is on from Thursday 22nd December to Sunday 27th December at Gloucester Quays.
Thursday 22nd November 10am - 7pm Friday 23rd November 10am - 7pm
Saturday 24th November 10am - 7pm
Sunday 25th November 10am - 5pm
Entry is Free.
There is parking at Gloucester Quays and Park and Ride buses to Gloucester Quays.