Things to do this Christmas in Blandford Forum
PUBLISHED: 16:08 16 November 2017 | UPDATED: 14:52 02 January 2018
There's plenty of festive spirit in this Georgian town, says Andy Greeves
The countdown to Christmas starts on 1 December at 5.30pm with Blandford’s annual Tree Lighting and Civic Reception at the Corn Exchange, followed by the Civic Carol Service at St Peter and St Paul’s Church. The next day the Blandford Lions Christmas Fair is at the Corn Exchange (9am -3pm), this is also Small Business Saturday so there’s free parking in North Dorset County Council car parks in Blandford and on-street parking. The same venue hosts a Christmas Craft Market on 8 December (9am-3pm).
The well-established Blandford Yuletide Festival is the centrepiece of the town’s festive celebrations. The party gets underway on 13 December with shops and stalls opening from 5pm. At 6pm Father Christmas leads the Lantern Parade (featuring local schools and the Blandford Stour Valley Brass Band) from Langton Road Car Park, along East Street and up Church Lane arriving at St Peter and St Paul’s Church via Salisbury Street and Market Place. The brass band then accompanies the Communal Carol Singing outside the church from 6.30pm. There’s a selection of entertainment from 7.15pm, finishing with a firework display at 8.30pm. More at blandford-yuletide-festival.org.uk.
Family-friendly events at the Corn Exchange this Christmas include the arrival of Aladdin and his flying carpet for some panto fun on 17 December at 4.30pm (bookings via Town Clerk’s Office or 01258 454500). And if your under nines have energy to burn there’s Get Up and Bounce (9am - 4pm) on 22 December. Meanwhile music lovers should earmark the 26 November for A Baroque Christmas with Bournemouth Sinfonietta Choir at Blandford Parish Church (bschoir.org.uk).
Looking for something special for the tree this year? Dec the Halls on East Street is something of a Blandford institution when it comes to festive décor. Open all year round, it specialises in hand-blown and hand-painted glass decorations from across Europe. It also sells wooden Christmas ornaments including very handsome Nutcracker Soldiers.
My Blandford Christmas - Cllr Peter Clark, Mayor of Blandford Forum, is looking forward to sharing his Christmas lunch
The run-up to Christmas in Blandford is looking particularly exciting this year with many functions in the diary already including our Yuletide Festival and the Christmas Tree Lighting. We have lots of lovely places to eat in town, some of my favourites include the Maharaja on East Street and the excellent Paddocks Wine Bar on Salisbury Street. We also have a vast array of small independent shops that are great for finding unusual Christmas gifts including Papyrus, Gallery 1 and Horrocks & Webb - all on Salisbury Street.
When it comes to my family’s Christmas we usually attend our Parish Church on Christmas Eve, and this year we’re spending Christmas Day at The Crown Hotel where lunch is provided by the Rotary for the people of the town who would otherwise be eating alone. It’s a lovely way to say Merry Christmas one and all!
Click here to see our full Dorset Christmas guide.