For over thirty years, Grassington in the beautiful Yorkshire Dales has celebrated Christmas with its annual Dickensian Festival. Held over three Saturdays in December, the village treats visitors to the sights, smells and tastes of a bygone era.
Pretty stone cottages are festooned with fairy lights, giant baubles line the pathways and villagers greet you in their Dickensian finery. Wandering the narrow streets you’re likely to stumble upon Ebeneezer Scrooge or one of Fagin’s gang, while the village children take on the role of urchins and shoe-shine boys.
The traditional market has much to offer in the way of local produce, country crafts and Christmas gifts, as do the twenty or so independent stores the village has to offer. I loved the well-stocked bookshop and the pottery with its whimsical courtyard garden selling vintage garden furniture.
Back in the market, mulled wine scents the air as Morris dancers, circus performers and musicians entertain the crowds. For kids, there’s a Santa’s grotto, traditional sideshow games and Punch and Judy show. And as four o’clock approaches, a torchlight procession begins, led by Mary and Joseph on their donkey retelling the nativity.
We rounded off our visit drinking hot chocolates while warming our hands on the brazier and listening to a brass band play traditional Christmas songs. We left feeling festive through and through!
Images by Jen Chillingsworth