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10 reasons to visit St Albans this Christmas

Here's why you should make the historic cathedral city of St Albans your Christmas shopping destination this year and immerse yourself in festive fun, food and local culture while you're at it!

1. Jingle all the way to Tinsel Town

Feeling a bit bah humbug? Head to the Clock Tower every Wednesday and Saturday throughout December to catch local choirs and acoustic acts performing traditional and modern festive songs, organised by the St Albans Arts Team. A surefire way to warm those Christmas cockles…

2. Marvel at Winterscapes

This pop-up public art exhibition is a community arts initiative with Collective Gallery, where you can enjoy a selection of vibrant and beautiful artworks created by local St Albans artists, displayed in unexpected places around the city, including at the Museum Railings. It’s happening throughout November and December.

3. Spot street performers

Not heading into the capital this Christmas? No problem – Covent Garden’s street performers are coming to St Albans on 12 and 19 December, bringing the theatre and magic of London’s thriving arts scene to Herts. They’ll be popping up all over town so keep your eyes peeled – in particular, look out for the toy soldiers and trees on stilts!

4. Take the Nutcracker trail

One to keep the kids amused as you tackle the shopping list… look out for the 15 nutcracker dolls dotted around the city and surrounding area. Pick up a trail map from the town centre or view it here, write down the names of all the nutcrackers, then post it in the box marked on the map for the chance to win an Enjoy St Albans £250 gift card.

5. Sing your heart out at a carol concert

On 5 Dec local charity, The Hospice of St Francis is hosting a carol concert at St Albans Cathedral this winter, with local choirs and solo acts raising the roof with festive cheer, there’ll also be readings and, of course, the chance to join in – Fa la la la la! Tickets from £12, 3pm-4.15pm

6. Catch some outdoor theatre

Make sure you’re well wrapped up as you might find yourself hanging around outside the St Albans Museum and Gallery for some innovative and interactive street theatre from local performing arts companies. There’ll be fairytale fun from kids’ theatre co, Booster Cushion on 23 Dec, inviting audiences to join Cinderella’s backing band, audition to be wolves, and dance a conga! Meanwhile, look out for the Christmas walkabout characters from Trestle, known for their masked performances, on 7, 10 and 12 Dec.

7. Send some post to Santa

Keep the magic alive and bring little ones to Santa’s Post Office in the old Cath Kidston shop in Christopher Place. They can write a letter to Santa and take part in some festive arts and crafts too (Until 24 Dec, 11am-4pm). Or pop their letters to Santa in one of the special post boxes dotted around town (Find them at The Fleetville Larder, Cositas, Eyes on St Albans and The Alban Arena), between 1-21 Dec to receive a special reply from the Big Man himself!

8. Eat, drink and be merry

Whether you’re after buzzy brunch spots (or a gingerbread latte to warm up mid shopping spree), cosy pubs to settle into for the afternoon, or a special supper to end the day with, you’ll be spoilt for choice in St Albans. Try Nkora in the Market Place for a morning caffeine hit, then stop off at cool and quirky Dylans The Kings Arms on George St for a pub atmosphere and restaurant quality food, finally check out Muddy Award Winning Restaurant, Tabure, with its stunning modern Turkish menu for dinner. Fancy a tipple? Head to Must Wine Bar for a sophisticated sip, or Suckerpunch for cocktails and a lively vibe.

9. Shop ’til you drop

Photo: @klcreative_photography

From homegrown boutiques to chi-chi chains, St Albans has got you covered for even the trickiest to buy for. You’ll find tonnes of independents on French Row, George Street, and in the Village Arcade. Muddy Award-winning interiors store, Cositas, is a must-visit on Hollywell Hill, while you’ll find local fave gift shop Raindrops on Roses and high-end women’s boutiques The Dressing Room and Chloe James Lifestyle on the High Street. For local fare, check out the Fleetville Larder on Hatfield Road. And don’t forget to revisit in Jan to get in on the sale action!

10. Explore the markets

There’s nothing quite like mooching around a market, all wrapped up in your bobble hat and cosy scarf to put you in the mood for a mulled wine (ahem.. we mean Christmas, of course!). You’ll find the regular Charter Market, which runs the length of St Peter’s Street on Wednedsdays and Saturdays as well as a daily festive version from 13-24 Dec, the Farmer’s Market on 12 Dec, and the Antique and Vintage Market on 5 Dec. Check out the what’s and where’s here. Ho, ho, ho!

Wanna win a £150 worth of festive shopping vouchers to use exclusively in St Albans? Head to our Instagram page to enter before 8 December.

Find more ideas here

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