Market stalls at Nottingham castle, with trees and colourful flags hung up

Hundreds of shoppers gathered at the the newly reopened Nottingham Castle this weekend to shop independently at the castle’s first Christmas market.

The market stalls were open for the 25th and 26th of November 2023.

A first try at holding the market failed last Christmas as the castle was forced to close its gates just four days before the event was meant to take place.

But with the castle reopening in the summer, the festive event was able to go ahead with organisers hoping it would provide a boost for small, independent businesses.

It’s in Nottingham is a city centre business improvement organisation which is using events like the castle markets to help small, independent businesses make sales in what is an important time of the year in the retail calendar.

With one pound entry, the district wanted to create an event that was low-cost for families.  

Jake Epton from It’s in Nottingham, was employed by the castle last year and was part of planning the 2022 Christmas market.

“It was a really kind of dark time, but we’ve been able to plan this event this time,” he said.

He added: “It’s been a nice full circle. It’s kind of given me closure personally because I can finally see all the traders that are really enjoying it.”

According to The Office for National Statistics, approximately 60% of shoppers are cutting down on non-essential spending due to the rise in living expenses.

Emma Burford from Dragon Flame Candles was one of the traders at the market this year who paid their £150 deposit in 2022.

“It was hard, we were all prepared for the market, but after it was cancelled we lost our deposit and money we had spent on making products for it.

“People should shop independently because their supporting someone’s dreams and passion.

“When you start your own business, you can see where mass market cut corners. So it’s nice to do things properly yourself,” she said.

  •  30% of shoppers said that if the cost-of-living crisis wasn’t impacting their day-to-day spend, they’d be more inclined to shop sustainably. – American Express
  • 40% of people say they are either shopping the same amount at independent retailers and 25% say they are shopping more at independent retailers during cost of living.- superscript
  • 67% of respondents would be more likely to visit their local high street if there were more independent retailers – superscript

Organiser predicted that the markets would attract more than 15,000 shoppers over the two day event.

Business owner and mother Nadine Dhier is part of the 40% of people who would say the cost of living crisis hasn’t affected their shopping habits.

“I’d rather spend my money on independent businesses. I’m a business owner myself so I know the hard work that goes into it.

“I have a family of six so of course the cost of living crisis is prevalent but it’s still important to shop consciously,” she said.