ack in the chilly medieval days of yore when the river Thames would freeze over upstream from the old London Bridge, Londoners would take to the ice for a winter fair a colourful, if perhaps dangerous, pastime! Since those days, the popularity of famous European Christmas Fairs such as the Cologne and Nuremburg Weinachtmarkts has spawned a number of similar events in the UK that last anything from one or two days to a month or more.
As Charles Dickens almost singlehandedly recreated the modern spirit of Christmas in 1843 with his evergreen fable A Christmas Carol, Burlington Bertie and I are suckers for Christmas Fairs with a Victorian Dickensian theme, such as the annual Rochester Fair just outside London, 5/6 December, 2009). I described this event, together with other fairs outside London in an earlier Christmas Spotlight . Since I wrote that, other fairs have taken root in the calendar; notably the charming Santa's Magical Kingdom which takes place in November and December on a hop farm near Paddock Wood in Kent,
London's own spectacular Winter Wonderland Fair is now a much appreciated date in the London diary. It opens this year in Hyde Park on 21 November for six weeks, with a number of new exciting attractions such as Zippo's Christmas Circus, the Palace of Grand Illusion, in addition to the ever popular skating rink, giant observation wheel and the colourful 50 chalet strong German Christmas Market; a fun addition to the attraction of Christmas shopping in Oxford Street, Regent Street and Bond street with their famed Christmas Lights.
London's Christmas Antiques Fair is another of our annual Christmas favourites, giving us a great opportunity to buy that special present for a special someone! Some 200 specialist British and European dealers pack into the magnificent Lindley Hall, (Royal Horticultural Hall) in Vincent Square, Victoria each year to offer antiques and collectibles at prices that are considerably friendlier to our wallets than at fashionably expensive Mayfair antiques fairs. A magnificent display of antiques and collectibles are on offer at often truly bargain prices.
While there, take the opportunity to join the exhibitors and donate a little bit of Christmas cheer to kids with cancer. Adam's Antiques Fair is helping Caring Cancer Trust to send a party of kids in remission from cancer and leukaemia on an Alpine snow adventure holiday, giving them back their self confidence and joy of life after the trauma of cancer and its treatment.
Another firm date for Shophound Alexia will be the Adams Frock Me vintage and retro Fashion Fair at Chelsea Town Hall on13 December. If you are looking for special or unusual gifts, and fashion with a difference, you will see me there!
Charles Dickens and Christmas.
London's Winter Wonderland 21 November, 2009 3 January, 2010.
Adams Christmas Antiques Fair 6 December, 2009.
Rochester's Dickens Fair.
Santa's Magical Kingdom 14 November 24 December, 2009.
Caring Cancer Trust Helping Kids with Cancer and Leukaemia.