The Christmas Market has returned to Exeter. The familiar favourites are back, offering delicious mac n cheese, steaming mulled wine, bespoke jewellery and more all tucked under the backdrop of the illuminated cathedral. You’ll be engulfed into a sea of customers and browsers from near and far, the excitement of festive joy palpable. This year, I was also struck by the amazing diversity of the markets, such as candles from Kilimanjaro, authentic Thai cuisine, and delicious Greek gyros. You can even step back in time and grab a viking drinking horn to welcome the New Year. The markets have expanded, the festive independent wooden chalets stretching out to Princesshay square, and with this your chances of finding the perfect gifts have increased ten-fold. With student loans and morale running low, I’ve done the work for you this December, capturing a few budget-friendly and inspirational stands to satisfy all of your Secret Santa and Christmas shopping needs. I’ll be covering everything handmade, independent and local. So make it Rein(deer), at Exeter’s Christmas Market!
Some of my favourite stalls this year were the ones promising to give back. Earth Candle Co, a vegan and cruelty free candle shop, is a must-visit if you’re feeling charitable. You’ll also be giving a present to the planet, with every candle sold equating to another tree planted in the Amazon rainforest. At the moment, the Cornish company boasts 10,007 trees planted, which keeps creeping up thanks to their Christmas range. Clear customer favourites at the market this year are the Christmas selection, with Christmas Spice, Gingerbread and Mulled Wine making all the difference.
Earth Candle Co, a vegan and cruelty free candle shop, is a must-visit if you’re feeling charitable
Handmade by Holly is a locally owned jewellery shop, capturing both my eyes and my pursestrings with her budget-friendly, gorgeous designs. To make her intricate earrings, Holly uses polymer clay and liberty fabric, and stated in her interview that she has been designing and creating earrings since she was twelve, as well as trading for ten years. Holly said she ‘‘took the plunge and went full time in the business last year’’ after working at the education hub at the University of Exeter, and it is clearly visible that her jewelry reflects this time and effort. I asked Holly about her inspiration behind the business and she reported that “I’ve always been drawn to bright colours, florals and creating things you don’t see on the high street, the passion for making”. She has a section within her hut that is perfect for the Secret Santa price range, being £5-10, with studs for £3.50 to cater for most budgets.
Handmade by Holly is a locally owned jewellery shop, capturing both my eyes and my pursestrings with her budget-friendly, gorgeous designs.
If you’re looking for handmade, ethical Devonian soaps, look no further than Emma’s soap. She calls sustainability the ‘core’ of her business, with her sister business ‘Make A Change’. The value of the soap speaks for itself, with Emma using it herself even for clothes washing; she said she created the company because she ‘‘couldn’t find a soap I was happy to use’’. Her soap bars retail at £5.25, with plenty of variety such as ‘memories of the beach’ and ‘lavender rose’.
Head down to the market to find your own favourites, with over a hundred there until the 17th December, you’re sure to find one you love.