I visited the site of Leicester’s Christmas markets last weekend. Despite the weather being dreadful, the city went all out to celebrate Christmas. The markets were bigger and better than I had ever seen them. There were more stalls, more decorations and more activities for the kids. The atmosphere was jolly and it made me feel really welcome. After going to a few markets around England and Wales, I was excited to be in Leicester. It was a good opportunity to finally try the delicious local food as well as get to know the locals. My favourite part of Leicester is the market. It’s a great place to get some unique gifts as well as to socialise with the local community.
There were plenty of unique gifts on offer at the Leicester Christmas markets. I saw some pretty cool products on sale there, such as these antiques shop signs made of chocolate, and these wooden letter tiles that spell out ‘Merry Christmas’. At the Kids’ Stage, you could get a reindeer sandwich cake, designed to look like Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer, and a gingerbread man that matched the colour of the outfit your kid is wearing. Or if you’re buying gifts for your children, you can find a selection of wooden toys and building kits at Nuts & Bolts, a bike shop based in Leicester. They had lots of themed kits for the Winter holidays, such as a Star Wars one or a Harry Potter one.
One of the great things about going to the Leicester markets is getting the opportunity to socialise with the locals. You can usually find someone from Leicester there, whether you’re looking for a dentist, a doctor or a plumber. The city is really proud of its multicultural community and the opportunities it offers. There were lots of people from different walks of life at the markets, including a few tourists. We were able to have a good old chat with them and learn more about the city. For example, we talked to a gentleman selling handmade shoes, who told us that Leicester was the ‘bargain capital of Britain’, as well as the city’s indoor market, which is the 11th biggest in the country, and the second largest in England.
I was also fortunate enough to have my photo taken with Santa. I thought that would be the end of the excitement, but I was wrong. When I got home, I found a small gift from him, along with a sweet message. It was a magical moment. I’ve never felt more welcome by a community than I did in Leicester.
Speaking of gifts, one of the best things about the Leicester markets is the food. There were so many different restaurants there, serving different cuisines, that it was hard to decide where to eat. In the evening, I went to St. John’s Cafe, which was very close to where I was staying. The food was amazing and the service was excellent. The portions are huge and when you’re talking about food this delicious, it doesn’t feel like you’re eating much at all.
There were lots of independent cafes around the city, serving everything from fish and chips to gourmet waffles. It’s a great place to indulge in a bit of luxury, with lots of options for those on a budget. And let’s not forget about the local curry houses. They were the best in Leicester. On weekdays, I would definitely recommend visiting one of the city’s many markets, as there are usually plenty of unique gifts on offer there, as well as delicious food.