The Winchester Christmas Market had recently opened, so Shaun and I decided to pop down one chilly Saturday afternoon and check out the latest festivities. We visited the year before together and I have been going ever since I can remember. It is recognized as one of the best in Europe due to its unique location – right outside the historic Winchester Cathedral and always offers a fine selection of quality handmade and quirky items. It’s open from 20th November – 22nd December and attracts close to half a million visitors each year. So plenty of time to visit and experience over 100 chalets of festiveness for yourself! Here are a few that really caught my eye.
From www.synergyjewelly.co.uk: Synergy Jewellery was launched by Clover Norton in 2015. It was inspired by the ethos that women should carry beautiful affirmations with them everywhere they go. Inscribed on each piece are: love, belief, courage, gratitude and happiness – words which helped the designer on her own personal journey. The current collection includes necklaces, bangles, bracelets and stacking rings and has already been featured in Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar and Glamour Magazine. I love how each piece is so beautifully designed with a meaningful message. Twitter: @synergyjeweller
These bright and colourful candles really caught my eye! They are handmade, freshly fragranced British candles with an impressive 40-hour minimum burn time. Shaun and I spent a bit too long at this one smelling all the different varieties! I love the texture of the candles too, so interesting and unique. There are so many flavours too – hot cinnamon and orange spice are perfect for the festive season. Twitter: @smoothiecandles
From www.pottingonline.co.uk: The Potting Shed, based in Surrey, is owned by Lizzie Hine and she supplies high quality silk flowers throughout the UK. The Potting Shed also provides a range of unique Christmas Decorations too. I really liked these Gisela Graham tree decorations which are great for collectors or ideal for someone who just wants to add a little something special to their Christmas tree this year! So well made and beautifully designed. Twitter: @Gisela_Graham
What’s better than the Winchester Christmas Market? Sending a card to someone of the Winchester Christmas Market is what. I really loved these amazing prints by Louise Braithwaite. From www.madloupublishing.co.uk: Over the past ten years Louise Braithwaite has developed a style of painting which although expressive, is firmly rooted in her design background. Her high-impact oils on board are predominantly figurative; they encapsulate the energy and buzz of a crowded scene in a manner that is both stylised and beautifully observed. Her highly collectable paintings sell in galleries around the world. She has so many fun and creative designs, I was very impressed!
If you follow my Twitter, you will know I have a thing for inspirational quotes, so when I saw Pegasus Design with all its eye catching signs I went straight on over. These were all so bright and fun with positive and motivational messages. We spent a while in here reading the signs as there were so many we loved! Pegasus Design does not have a website but you can contact the owner via email here. Personally, I think two for £10 is a bargain!
Rhian is an incredibly talented local Winchester artist who does these beautiful, bright and vibrant paintings. From www.rhianjohn.com: I love bright colours and the amazing tones we find around us everyday. I paint landscapes, florals and a few animals too, taking inspiration from my roots in Wales as well as the glorious Hampshire countryside and south coast. Check out her website for more amazing art! Twitter: @RhianJohnArt
These cute little chaps really caught my eye. They are handmade Christmas characters which include Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, snowmen and wooden log Father Christmases. I like them as they are quirky, unique and beautifully crafted plus you can guaranteed they will bring a smile to peoples faces when they see them. You can also personalize your character too which I thought was a really special touch. There isn’t a website but you can contact the owner here.
A Christmas Market isn’t a Christmas Market without the traditional roasted chestnuts and toasted marshmallows.
I was fascinated by this intricate collection of traditional German handcrafted ceramic houses. The attention to detail on these are incredible. The ladies running the stall explained they were in fact tea light holders and you could burn incense oil out of the chimneys. Wow. Such a beautiful item to have in any home. There isn’t a website for The Nutcracker but if you want to find out more you can e-mail them here.
These birds are really interesting with an equally interesting story behind them. From www.Chi-Africa.com: Our Sculptures are predominantly made in Zimbabwe from recycled oil drums, reclaimed scrap metal and reused white goods. The material is beaten flat then panels are cut from the sheet. These pieces are brought together and welded to produce the final sculpture. We work alongside individual & co-operative artists directly ourselves. Ensuring we can bring you a quality hand crafted recycled metal sculpture whilst also bringing assurances and sustainability to the artists that we work with. Twitter: @ChiAfricaMetal
There was no shortage of Christmas decorations at the market, however these caught my eye as they were so unusual. Pollyfields is a chalet offering lovingly handcrafted bespoke botanical fruit wreaths, Christmas tree decorations, scented candles and potpourri. I really liked the creativity that has gone into making these stand out decorations. Great job! This image also features in my title photograph. Twitter: @PollyfieldsUK
I am always attracted to the arty looking stalls in the market so I went over to take a look at Claire Tarlings designs. I love her style and how she has a cute animal and wildlife theme. From www.clairetarling.com: Claire’s work is inspired by the countryside around her and the animals that pass by her window. She is largely self taught, and specialises in vibrant Watercolour & Oil paintings. Claire has had her work featured on the Guardian website, and was selected to take part in a Group project at the Tate modern. Check our her Etsy for more designs. Twitter: @ClaireT_Art
H&B is the place for unique, interesting and quirky products to make you smile. It is ran by two friends Karen Hutchings & Caroline Brant who share the same passion for style. They offer the perfect ‘something different’ gifts that guarantee a wow! H&B like to make a statement with eye-catching style for home, for her or for him. Check out their shop for more products! Twitter: @H_BStyle
Susan and Graeme Long have been working as a creative team under the name of Mouse and Moon since 2003. Since 2012 they have been developing and creating the Moonlighting range. These are such brilliant additions to create that chilled out atmosphere at home. Each bottle is lovingly up-cycled and uniquely decorated in their home studio – check out there shop for more impressive designs. Twitter: @mouseandmoon
StudioZo is created by Zoe and offers beautiful handmade glass coasters, bowls, pictures and more! I love the stylish green she uses and those sheep are just the cutest thing. As well as being at the Christmas Market, StudioZo has a stall at Winchester Art Market on the 3rd Sunday of every month (except for January and February when the market doesn’t run). She also makes jewellery pieces too – you can check out her unique pieces in real life or online here!
From www.potnotch.co.uk: PotNotch is a unique and innovative way of growing plants around the home and garden. Pot Notch can be installed in minutes, and there are endless possibilities for creating an amazing growing space. A modern twist on the hanging basket, each notch is designed to fit and securely hold a garden flower pot. To read more click here. Twitter: @potnotch
That is just a small selection of the many chalets in the Winchester Christmas Market this year. If you have been here yourself, let me know what you think! Or have you visited any markets this year which you would recommend? I love Christmas Markets and would love to hear your suggestions!