Markets offer the opportunity to buy everything from antiques to organic produce and enjoy some friendly banter too. Amy Moore has gathered a selection of UK markets that offer great group incentives.
Market day still holds a special place in the hearts of many people from all walks of life, not only as a place to shop but also as somewhere to socialise. It’s a great way to support local independent businesses including butchers and bakers, and of course an excellent source of fresh produce and hand-made goods, not forgetting a good bargain or two! LANCASHIRE Four traditional markets sit under the umbrella of Wyre Markets, based in northwest Lancashire. Fleetwood Market is a busy traditional market which has been going since the 1800s. Held on Victoria Street and Adelaide Street, it has over 150 indoor and outdoor stalls with a huge variety of goods on sale. It is open Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday allyear round, from 9am until 4.30pm. Free coach parking is available at the market for group visits. Call 01253 887651.
By contrast, Poulton street market is more recently established, but you could also sample one of two rural markets, at Garstang and Great Eccleston. More details, including information for coach operators, can be found on the website www.wyremarkets.co.uk Email email@example.com BURY Voted Market of the Year 2015, Bury Market welcomes visitors every Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, with over 350 stalls to browse. Open six days a week from 9am to 5pm, the attraction’s New Market Hall with its beautiful ‘bird-wing’ roof is home to 60 stalls selling giftware, hardware, haberdashery, clothing, electrical goods, food, hairdressing, shoe repairs and key cutting, among others. It is attached to the Mill Gate Shopping Centre which houses a further 140 stores for those who truly want to indulge. Bury Market has a selection of multicultural cafés and takeaways serving local delicacies, such as the famous Bury black pudding which can be served hot or cold with lashings of mustard or piccalilli.
The market has plenty to offer group visitors including a convenient coach drop-off adjacent to the Open Market, a designated rest room for the coach driver, free coach parking and a £5 meal voucher for the coach driver. Free market maps and leaflets are available. Call 0161 253 6520. www.burymarket.com ROMFORD Romford Market in Essex was established in 1247 as a sheep market, with a charter granted by King Henry III. Today the market sees more than 150 traders pitch their stalls every Wednesday, Friday and Saturday throughout the year, with opening dates extended over the Christmas period. Traders include local butchers, fishmongers, greengrocers, tea stalls, jewellers, upholsterers, street fashions and women’s clothes, shoes, CDs and DVDs, garden plants, toiletries and perfumes, household items and much more.
Shopping arcades and malls, cafés, bakeries, pubs and restaurants are located nearby, including the recently revamped Romford Shopping Hall, which houses over 40 retail units, alongside the Liberty Shopping Centre with a further 100-plus shops. Check out the website for themed events throughout the year. Free coach parking is available, with lunch vouchers for the coach driver and hot food discounts for passengers. www.havering.gov.uk/romfordmarket LICHFIELD Lichfield Market occupies the historic Market Square in Lichfield, Staffordshire, on Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays.
Goods sold include jewellery, greeting cards, garden furniture, china and kitchenware, cosmetics, books and puzzles, liquorice, and more. A farmers’ market is held here every first Thursday of the month, selling a selection of fresh produce that has been locally grown, baked, brewed or pickled. Local art and craft stalls and seasonal demonstrations are on hand to entertain. Five coach bays are located on Birmingham Road and a further two bays on The Friary – both of which are a fiveminute walk to the Market Square.
For details, contact Groups Officer Jonathan Oates on 01543 308210 or email firstname.lastname@example.org www.visitlichfield.co.uk/groups BLACKBURN Blackburn Market in Lancashire occupies the ground floor of the newly refurbished Mall Shopping Centre, and has recently been voted Coach-Friendly Shopping Destination of the Year at the National Coach Tourism Awards 2016. Open six days a week from 8.30am to 5.30pm, foodies can buy fresh, seasonal fish, meat and game or sample some Lancashire specialities including black pudding, local cheeses or sarsaparilla (a soft drink).
There are also a number of locally sourced fresh fruit and vegetable stalls, alongside fashion, electrical and tech, health and beauty, and more. For groups, Blackburn Market offers free coach parking, exclusive discounts and free lunch, drink and pick ‘n’ mix selection for group travel organisers and coach drivers. Combine a coach trip to Blackburn Market with a visit to The Chocolate House, Blackburn Cathedral, King George’s Hall (Afternoon Variety Show) or Blackburn Museum and Art Gallery. Contact the Coach Trips’ Coordinator on 01254 669258 or email info@ blackburnmarket.com www.blackburnmarket.com LEICESTER Leicester Market is currently undergoing a massive redevelopment.
A new Food Hall opened in May 2014, replacing the former 1970s Indoor Market, and improvements are in progress for Leicester’s historic Outdoor Market, which is said to be one of the largest covered markets in Europe. Here you can browse a huge range of stalls selling everything from cds and dvds to fabrics. The market is open from 7am to 6pm, with the Food Hall opening from 9am to 5pm, Monday to Saturday. A Farmers’ Market is held at Gallowtree Gate every first Thursday of the month between 10am and 4pm, selling locally sourced food and drink direct from growers and producers.
www.leicestermarket.co.uk CHESTERFIELD Chesterfield Market in Derbyshire welcomes visitors on Mondays, Fridays and Saturdays and is one of the biggest open air markets in the UK. The authentic Victorian Market Hall was built in 1857 and was restored and reopened at the end of October 2013. On Thursdays, browse Chesterfield’s Flea Market, which sells a selection of antiques at bargain prices. On the second Thursday of every month, visitors can pop into the Farmers’ Market, selling organic vegetables, meat, fish, Derbyshire honey, homemade cakes and cheese.
The Artisan Market takes place on the last Sunday of the month. Chesterfield Coach Station has four parking bays for coaches. Parking is free, but must be booked in advance via the Chesterfield Visitor Information Centre. Coach drivers get a £10 voucher to spend in the outdoor market or the market hall and there’s a rest area for them at the coach station. Call the Chesterfield Visitor Information Centre on 01246 345777. www.visitchesterfield.info LEEDS Leeds has a diverse range of markets to choose from. Leeds Kirkgate Market is one of the largest indoor markets in Europe, which is currently undergoing a £13 million refurbishment programme.
A new area is set to open next month (June 2016) within the historic Grade-I listed building. There will be a fresh produce area which will bring together meat, fish and game, served alongside homemade pies, chocolates, speciality cheeses, organic produce and artisan breads, wine and beer, and more. Meanwhile, Leeds’ Outdoor Market has a new events space, with fixed street food stalls and pop-up cafés, and Wi-Fi. The popular farmers’ market takes place every week, gathering together cheesemongers, bakers, butchers and greengrocers, alongside independent artists and craft makers. For more information call 0113 378 1950 or email email@example.com www.leeds.gov.uk/leedsmarkets