Thousands gathered under the gaslamps to relive the magic of a warm Dickensian Christmas at a Sheffield market.
Beloved Dickens characters, including the Ghost of Christmas Past and Mrs Nickelby, were on hand to welcome visitors and guide them around the maze of 120 market and food stalls at Kelham Island Museum’s 21st Victorian Christmas Market.
Mulled wine and roasted chestnuts were on the menu, along with fairground rides, musical performances, santa’s grotto and even real life reindeer!
John Hampshire, museum chief executive, said: “The market gets bigger and better every year and we’re staggered by the number of people we’ve had through the door this weekend, well up on the 16,000 we were expecting.
“The atmosphere and weather has been wonderful. There are people in costume, morris dancers, buskers all over the place, music in the background and brass bands playing, which always brings a sense of Christmas. What a weekend it’s been.”
Sheffield couple Geoff Buckthorpe and his wife Gail have been bringing daughter Chrissie, now 20, along to the market every year since she was little.
Geoff, aged 49, said: “It’s an important family Christmas tradition for us, we love it.
“The atmosphere is wonderful. There’s a smell of mulled wine in the air and all the food tastes great.”
Gail, 43, said: “It’s such a lovely way to start off the festive season.”
Fellow Sheffielders Julia and Ray Slater had not been to the market for a number of years.
Ray, 59, said: “It’s fabulous. There’s a great atmosphere and everything is so lively and bustling. We’ve been listening to some fantastic barbershop singers and there’s great music everywhere.”
The market was open all day Saturday and yesterday, with stalls selling everything from ‘Sheffield-made’ products and festive foods to handmade gifts.
Judith Smith, who has worked on the museum’s events team for the past seven years, said: “This year has been wonderful, with lots of things going on – reindeers, children’s activities, stalls and music.
“I always think music is the thing that makes the atmosphere so magical and I would say this year’s market is definitely the best we’ve ever had.”