Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Top 5 UK Christmas fairs 2013

Today I'm handing over the blog reigns to my editorial assistant Pippa Blenkinsop. She has been tracking down the best Christmas fairs happening around the UK in the next few weeks. Over to you Pippa!

Ok, so the Christmas TV ads are out and it’s less than a week until advent – I think it’s safe to mention Christmas now - well, shopping to be precise! Imagine this... It’s 3pm on Christmas Eve and you are still several presents down. Dad’s easy enough to please with the usual smelly cheese and liqueur chocolates from Waitrose but Mum’s a bit trickier. You’ve seen the perfect thing for her online which you wished you’d bought at the time, but stupidly delayed in the hope that something better might turn up – however now postage deadlines are long gone! So your only option is to face the glaring artificial lights and mayhem of the high street stores as hundreds swarm to get the early sale bargains and last minute gifts. You hastly grab a M&S jumper – and despite being in the wrong size you cling to the idea that it’s the thought that counts and that anything is better than returning empty handed! 

best christmas fairs to visit in the UK 2013 - vintage, handemade, craft fairs
 It really doesn't need to be this stressful, in fact it can be enjoyable with a little bit of planning! This year I’m determined to get organised and buy personal things that people really want. (though as yet I’ve still only bought two presents!) I’m also keen to support home grown, independent makers or even make my own presents. When it comes to getting your hands on some one-off gifts, or drawing inspiration for festive makes, there’s no better place than a top quality vintage, handmade or craft fair – of which here in the UK we have plenty to choose from! In my opinion markets and fairs are one of the best ways to tick off your present list but to also have a really enjoyable day out whilst doing it! Here are a few fairs that we think are worth a visit this festive season...

Selvedge Winter fair 2013

Selvedge Winter Fair
Fri 29th Nov 11am – 5pm, 6pm – 8pm / Sat 30th Nov 10am – 5pm

Chelsea Old Town Hall
Admission £7.50

Craft lovers can look forward to another expertly curated, magazine affiliated extravaganza this coming weekend in the form of Selvedge Winter Fair at Chelsea Old Town Hall. For those that have not heard of Selvedge Magazine it’s a stunning image led, bimonthly publication that “covers every facet of textiles” - at its annual Winter fair you can expect no less! The two day event brings together a handpicked mix of the highest quality textile based sellers with antique textile stalls, talented designer makers, unique fashion designers and vintage haberdasheries set against a spectacular historical backdrop complete with its own vintage style tea rooms. For those of you too busy to pop along in the daytime there is no need to miss out as there is also a reception on Friday evening!

Spiegeltent Christmas fair, Bristol, 2013

Magpie and I Spiegeltent Christmas Fair
Sat 30th Nov / Sun 1st Dec 11am – 4.30pm
Waterfront Square, Bristol
Admission Free 

I can’t think of a better place to hold a vintage and craft fair with seasonal sparkle than in a magical Speigeltent or ‘mirror tent’, as it is literally translated. Built in Holland in the early 20th century as travelling ballrooms, these purpose built entertainment venues exude 1920s glamour and are a real treat for any visitor. This Christmas, a fine example known as ‘The Crystal Palace’ will play host to a variety of Bristol’s finest vintage and handmade sellers. As well as catering for craft lovers, the event promises to entertain the whole family with Santa’s grotto, live music + dancing, fairground, bar and eateries! 

Pretty Dandy Christmas Flea
Sat 30th Nov 10.30am - 5.30pm / Sun 1st Dec 11am - 4.30pm
The Old Vintage Warehouse Building, Hockley, Nottingham
Admission £1

Something for those of you a little further North! Pretty Dandy is an independent online interiors boutique that specialises in handmade and vintage homewares - originally based in Nottingham, but now run from Barcelona.  After a successful fair last year, owner Becky Knight is again marking the festive season by putting on the interiors focused Pretty Dandy Flea in a funky industrial warehouse venue. The event takes place over two days – the first being the classic fair - the “famous mix of art craft and fun”, and the second, a little more of a festive offering -“the usual wonderful range of goodies, with extra Christmas sparkle stirred in.” Alongside stalls there will be pop up cafe, gourmet food stalls and live DJs. What’s more, if you do fancy popping along both days you only have to pay once!

The Original Vintage and Handmade Fiar - Christmas 2013
The Original Vintage and Handmade Fair
Sat 7th Dec 10am – 3pm

Chipping Sodbury Town Hall
Admission £1

Running since 2008, this long standing fair is a must to mark in any vintage lover’s calendar. It does exactly what is says on the tin and more. Yes it does vintage and yes there’s plenty of handmade pieces but what makes this fair special is that most sellers combine the two; they are talented crafters who don’t just collect antiques but cleverly incorporate their finds - whether it be vintage fabric, buttons or trinkets - into quirky creations that make beautiful unique gifts. This year the charming Cotswold venue of Chipping Sodbury town hall will play host to over 30 independent sellers including vintage inspired doll maker Nostalgia at the Stonehouse , ultra feminine ceramicist Claire Baker and all round beautiful thing maker Christine Nulmeyers of Tales From the Sea Garden to name but a few. Also on hand for that essential cake stop will be the vintage tea room offering delicious homemade treats on chintzy china.

Crafty Fox market - Christmas 2013
Crafty Fox Market
7th - 8th Dec 11am - 5pm - Dogstar Brixton
14th Dec 12pm -
6pm - Bussey Building Peckham
Admission Free

Not fussed by vintage? Fed up of shabby chic? Then Crafty Fox Market is for you. Named “one of London’s best craft markets” by Timeout, the fair has been growing rapidly since 2010 and this year will showcase 120 of the UK’s freshest designer makers and emerging talents spanning interiors, fashion and jewellery – 50% of which are new this year courtesy of guest curators Lara Watson and Charlie Moorby of the Mollie Makes editorial team. Expect bright graphic and geometric print textiles from the likes of Kate Clarke, Ada and Flow, and Jonna x Kangan as well as the witty creations of quirky illustrators Jimbobart and Ella Masters with several locally inspired London based makers, including Lucy Loves This and Garudio Studiag, thrown in. Budding crafters can also participate in a number of workshops hosted by the likes of Lisa Levis (nee Stickley), Sew Pretty and Pom Pom Quarterly. The market spreads across three days and two locations with a completely new cast each day so I recommend you go to the website to plan your visit in advance or, if you’re as keen as me, go to all three! Organisers claim this isn’t your ordinary handmade market and take pride in “shaking up the traditional craft fair” indeed with trendy South London nightclub venues and live DJs throughout the day they sound like a far cry from the village hall WI.


Thanks for ths fab round up Pippa! I will definitely have to pop by some of these events!



  1. Oh my goodness, they all look amazing - I fear for my wallet!

  2. Thanks for the round-up Pippa, I didn't know the Pretty Dandy Flea was this weekend, so hopefully I can make it!

  3. Hi Pippa,

    This is strange.
    "spiegeltent" is a Dutch word.

    I like all the posters. Especially the one with the bear on it.

    Brigitte from Belgium


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