Much-needed boost for Bath’s economy as council approves return of Christmas Market this year

February 11, 2022

Bath’s iconic Christmas Market is to go ahead this year after being cancelled for the past two years due the pandemic.

Bath & North East Somerset Council confirmed the hugely popular market, pictured, which has been ranked among the 10 best in Europe, will run for 18 days – from November 24 to December 11 – as part of its wider ‘Bath at Christmas’ series of events. 

The market was cancelled in 2020 due to strict Covid restrictions in the run up to Christmas that year.

Then, having announced plans to increase its length to 25 days last year, the council later drastically reduced its size, blaming a national shortage of logistics and security staff and rising costs caused by the pandemic, before deciding to cancel it again.

That decision sparked anger among some traders who faced a second tough Christmas without being able to trade at what is considered the UK’s best market of its kind.

The city’s hospitality sector, including bars, restaurants and hotels, also benefits hugely from the 400,000 extra visitors a year the market regularly attracts.

The last time it was held in 2019 it boosted the city’s economy by an estimated £32.5m. 

The council said this year’s market will have more than 170 chalets – down by about 30 on some previous years – which will sell a range of seasonal gifts, food and drink.

The proposed site will have a similar footprint to that of 2018 and 2019, with the re-introduction of the areas around Bath Abbey.

Fees for the chalets, which are being upgraded by the council, are being held at 2019 rates and there will be short-term lets for traders who are either starting out or are unable to commit to the full 18 days.  

The market will also feature ‘start-up’ carts for new small artisan sellers, which will be available for three or four-day lets in the heart of the market.

The council said sustainability remains important to the market, with an emphasis on local artisan, locally produced food and good quality products.

Single-use plastics are not permitted and all stallholders must use environmentally-friendly biodegradable alternatives to common single-use plastic products, such as product packaging, bags, bottles, straws, containers, cups and cutlery. 

Council cabinet member for children and young people, communities and culture, Dine Romero, pictured, said: “I am so pleased to be able to announce our traditional Bath Christmas Market is back and that we’ll be celebrating its 20th anniversary this year. 

“As we all know over the past two years the large-scale market couldn’t go ahead due to the pandemic. Despite that we worked with our partners to make ‘Bath at Christmas’ a success in 2020 and 2021 and we really want to build on that.”

She said planning was already under way to make it a very special anniversary year.

“The market gives a huge boost not just to the stall holders, many of which are local businesses, but also to our retail, accommodation, hospitality and tourism sectors,” she added.  

“It will play a crucial role in helping both hospitality and retail after a such a tough time and we hope everyone will get behind it and support Bath Christmas Market 2022.”

The return of the market was welcomed by Bath Business Improvement District (BID), which is funded by city centre businesses to improve the area, and Visit West, which runs the city’s destination marketing organisation Visit Bath. 

BID chief executive Allison Herbert said: “We are really pleased that Bath and North East Somerset Council has taken this decision and we are looking forward to working closely together, to ensure this year’s Christmas Market is one that everyone can be proud of.”

Visit West director of tourism Kathryn Davis, pictured, added: “This is a huge lift for the industry, and we are looking forward to maximising the opportunities to work with our partners locally to showcase Bath at Christmas to our domestic and international audiences.

“This sustainable celebration of local producers and artisans in Bath’s stunning World Heritage surroundings is central to a very special and unique experience during the festive events season.”


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