Festive fun in Blandford Forum: Christmas 2016 events and things to do
PUBLISHED: 14:47 05 December 2016 | UPDATED: 14:47 05 December 2016
From its fabulous Yuletide Festival to pantomime fun, Blandford Forum is getting into the festive spirit as Andy Greeves discovers
The picturesque Georgian market town of Blandford Forum in North Dorset is a great Christmas shopping destination with a range of high street and independent retailers. The first port of call at this time of year is Dec the Halls at 57 East Street. Open all year round, the shop specialises in hand-blown and hand-painted glass decorations from across Europe. It also sells wooden Christmas ornaments including some very handsome Nutcracker Soldiers and gorgeous handmade candles from Slovakia and the UK. Find out more at (decthehalls.co.uk).
The Hambledon Gallery (hambledongallery.co.uk) at 40-44 Salisbury Street has been something of a Blandford institution since opening back in 1962. The store has a host of fantastic items, spread over two floors, including clothes, toys, glass, china, soap and body products, table linen and quilts as well as special Christmas gifts. A great place to hunt down a gift or two.
If you are planning to do some Christmas shopping in Blandford on Small Business Saturday (3 December), there’s free parking in District Council car parks. Also a number of shops across the town will have special offers on during the day. On that same Saturday the Lions Christmas Fair is at the Corn Exchange (9am - 3pm). There is also free parking in both District and County Council car parks on Saturday 10 December, giving you another great opportunity to explore this lovely town.
In the run-up to the big day Blandford’s numerous markets have an array of seasonal fayre on offer. The Indoor & Shambles Market is at the Corn Exchange every Thursday, while the Shambles and Outdoor Market takes place on Thursdays and Saturdays in the Shambles and the Market Place respectively. This month’s Farmers Market is on 9 December in the Market Place; on the same day there’s a Craft Market in the Shambles and the Friends of the Forum Christmas Craft Fair in the Corn Exchange.
Festive themed events include Father Christmas and Jamie Jigsaw at the Corn Exchange from 5.30pm on 2 December, which will also feature seasonal refreshments and live music. This is followed by the Tree Lighting Ceremony at 6.45pm and the Civic Carol Service at 7pm in the Parish Church at 7pm.
Friends of the Forum will be hoping for a full house at Christmas Bingo in the Corn Exchange at 7pm on 9 December. But if you want a good old fashion Christmas pantomime then book your tickets for Dick Whittington at the Corn Exchange on Sunday 18 December at 4pm. Bookings can be made via the Town Clerk’s Office or call 01258 454500 (Mon to Fri 9.30am -12.30pm).
The Blandford Yuletide Festival on Wednesday 14 December (5pm-9pm) is always a very special event and features a lantern procession, carols, markets, street entertainment, fireworks (8.30pm) and Father Christmas is going to be there in person too! Find more details at blandfordforum-tc.gov.uk.