Tales of a City Girl

Is Winterville a worthy Christmas market contender?

Now is the time of year you may be considering trying to nudge your over-worked mind into the direction of Christmas festivities. Not having any children to get me in the Christmas spirit (thank God), I’m usually looking for anything to get my cynicism Christmasified. Mainlining mulled wine, having an enormous Christmas tree, staring glassy-eyed into the Libertys window trying to muster enthusiasm… and Christmas markets.

Winter Wonderland has become a bit of a muddy tourist trapped nightmare, but Winterville could offer an alternative. Trooping out to Victoria Park is a bit of a ball ache unless you live in East London, but you are rewarded with a far quieter atmosphere. Think more hipsters drinking craft beer and spending £7 on a hot dog (which I did twice last week, twice) rather than families.

There is a good bar decked out like a ski chalet for all your mulled wine and mulled cider needs and bazaar tents with vintage fashion, headwear,  and the kind of spangly Lycra jumpsuits which hot rah girls wear at festivals.

If you are going with your children, I’m not sure whether I’d bother.  There’s not much of a Santa Claus vibe.  There are really bored fairground workers offering you the opportunity to shoot a target to win a Minion though instead, though and some of your standard fairground rides (which I love).

I went twice last week to see what Winterville had to offer (look at me, what a boaster).  The first time I went to see Elf at the Backyard Cinema, a tent decked out like a woodland wonderland with branch-like chandeliers and bushes with fairy lights intertwined in them.  We slobbed out on bean bags with blankets and ate popcorn and revelled in the only time of year Will Ferrell is acceptable. It was great.

The second time I went to see the pantomime in the Speigeltent. We went to see Snow White (not and the Seven Dwarves, PC brigade) and, maybe I’m remembering the heyday of when it was all about ex-Gladiators and Holby City actors fluffing their lines but it was a bit pants. I know I’m 28 not 8, but I’d probably skip the panto if you go, even if you’re just going for a bit of a nostalgic laugh.

If Christmas markets are your thing and you’re a bit of a insouciant hipster at heart, Winterville is worth your time. Families and Santa lovers may not need to apply.

  • Find out more about Winterville
  • Image attribution: ME