Guest blog post by Sarah Payne, Tourism Officer at Newark & Sherwood District Council and co-ordinator of Shop Southwell.
With the darkening evenings and a chill in the air we will all soon be thinking about Christmas, and therefore shopping, and with it either a sense of delight or stress! Whichever way you feel Southwell offers the perfect place for inspiration, buying presents and the chance to treat yourself at the same time.
One of the joys of Southwell is that nearly all the businesses are small, proudly run independents so you can be sure to find unusual, lovingly selected items, most of which won’t be found in the typical range of national stores. Another great asset of the town is its size; everything is within easy walking distance, there is plenty of parking space, and the first two hours are free. Throughout the Christmas period there is a wonderful seasonal feel to Southwell’s streets, with specially decorated windows, festive lighting and a great sense of market town tradition.
To celebrate the season Southwell’s Christmas Late Night Shopping Evening is now considered to be one of the highlights of the town’s events calendar and this year will be taking place on Thursday 28th November, 5-8pm. It is an evening like no other, and an occasion that the whole community takes part in.
The event begins at 5pm with carol singing by the local primary schools, Lowes Wong and Holy Trinity, and is followed by a Christmas lights switch on at 6pm, by Father Christmas himself! This year for the first time the Minster will be holding a special Evensong service, so for those who would prefer a more quiet and gentle time for reflection at the start of the evening this is the perfect opportunity to visit the tranquility and beauty of this much loved place.
Throughout the rest of the evening there will be plenty to enjoy for shoppers of every kind. Whether browsing or needed expert advice on what to buy Southwell’s retailers are ready to welcome you. There are several award-winning businesses and unique expertise on offer and everything to buy from clothes, interior design good, sportswear, jewellery and crafts to edible delicacies, wine, sweets, chocolates, books and gifts of every kind.
The pubs and restaurants will be open throughout the evening providing hot and cold food to suit all tastes. There will also be a seasonal market, art and craft activities for children at the library and Riverside Church Centre, a festive film in Bull Yard and buskers to add to the occasion.
A special touch will be added by a Nativity Trail, for all ages to take part in – can you spot the 12 knitted characters hidden in shop windows around the town…?
Even if you can’t come to the Late Night the shops are all geared up to keep their special atmosphere and highest quality range of items available throughout December. Shopping locally provides the perfect antidote to the crush and pressure of overcrowded chain stores and supporting local businesses has never been more important, or such pleasure! All the retailers on King Street, Queen Street, Bull Yard and Church Street look forward to seeing you this winter and showing you why Southwell is such a wonderful place to shop.