This post includes gifted items: two free tickets plus four free drinks’ tokens. These were not specifically gifted in exchange for created content.
A festive pastime that has fast become a favourite in the run up to Christmas is the traditional Christmas market. After the stress of Christmas shopping, rather than heading to your usual coffee shop or pub for a pint, you can instead hop along to the Christmas market for glass of your favourite tipple and something barbecued and gloriously cheesy from one of the food stalls: what doesn’t sound appealing about that?
With a little help from the Mellors Group (read: they gifted me two free tickets to the Ice Bar), I was able to check out all the spectacles that our local Winter Wonderland had to offer; and with none other than flippin’ Vogue Magazine voting the Nottingham market as The Best in the UK, I was practically jingling with excitement.
I will start by saying that I am used to seeing the Market Square looking fairly sleek with its wide expanse of open space and fancy fountains, but it had been transformed into a scene so Christmassy it felt like Vanessa Hudgens would pop out from behind a chalet at any moment reading lines. The ice rink (the largest in the UK, apparently) took up most of one end, with the bars and food stalls taking up most of the other, draped in softly glowing lights and twinkling frost. We made our way through the crowds (it was Jam Packed™, no surprise given it was a Saturday afternoon) to the entrance to the Ice Bar for our chosen time slot — because the Ice Bar is predictably so popular and also because it’s so cold (!), each group of customers get an hour in the bar to enjoy.
We swapped our tickets for two drinks’ tokens each (included in the standard price of £13 which also covers entry fee) and were offered an insulated coat and gloves to wear whilst in the bar. These are optional if you have your own, but I’d highly recommend taking advantage of this as the temperature is about -18 degrees celsius!
The Ice Bar itself is decked out like a cosy ski lodge, only it’s all made out of ice: the chairs, the floor, the bar — everything! There was a number of beautiful decorative ice sculptures dotted around the room amongst glowing Christmas trees and in the middle of the room there was a huddle of warming fire pits making it feel super snug.
Naturally, we headed straight to the bar and chose a shot of Bailey’s each (because what else, right?) , which was served in a glass made out of ice. We were glad we had gloves!
It was all so pretty and the gently transforming multicoloured lights seemed to make everything sparkle even more. The soundtrack of classic Christmas hits like Wham! and Mariah Carey in the background added to the festive feel. I only visited in November but I was already in the mood to put my decks and dig out my tacky singing Christmas-tree earrings!
When our hour was up, we left the bar/walk-in fridge freezer feeling like it was definitely an hour well-spent. If you fancy doing something slightly different and more memorable than your standard night out with your friends or family, I would recommend going along. Just make sure you book in advance online, as it’s bound to be very popular!
We had a look around the rest of the market to soak up the Christmas vibe. The outdoor bar, Sur La Piste, was absolutely packed with people all having a good time and there was cheery live singer elevated above the crowds belting out popular sing-along hits to an acoustic guitar. The food stalls smelt gorgeous; sadly, I did not sample any as I had dinner plans, but there was one stall in particular whose speciality is piling a load of melted cheese on top of anything that takes your fancy, so that sounded right up my alley.
The crowds weren’t really a bit of me, but overall I felt like I was on the front of a Christmas card. It was hard to believe I was in my local city centre in England!
Will you be visiting any Christmas markets this festive season?