Cathedral city to host first-ever Christmas festival

The stunning Cathedral city of St Albans is the place to visit this Christmas with the Retail Quarter, the Cathedral Quarter and the City’s Verulamium Park each offering different Christmas attractions for all the family.

St Albans has a long and fascinating history of gaming and sport that goes back thousands of years. This year, the city will be celebrating its special heritage with an incredible array of festive games, events and activities.

Festive fun seekers will be invited to start their journey of discovery at the new St Albans Museum + Gallery, where the vibrant and joyous Game Plan exhibition will be on display from 1st December until 3 March.

Originally displayed at the V&A: Museum of Childhood, this exhibition celebrates the joy, excitement and occasional frustration of playing board games, with some of the most iconic, enthralling and visually striking games on show.

Alongside the exhibition, the museum team have also planned Games in the Galleries, a family games festival, and multiple make and do craft days all with a gaming theme.

After experiencing the Game Plan exhibition, visitors can exploring the City with visits to St Albans Cathedral as well as Verulamium Museum to learn more about games played throughout the centuries by people of the past.

In the true sense of the traditional advent calendar, 24 businesses in the city centre will be picked to be part of the Living Advent Calendar. These businesses will design magnificent festive window display, and each advent window display will be revealed on a different day during December in the lead up to Christmas – just like a traditional advent calendar.

St Albans will be hosting a Christmas Festival this year for the first time, featuring a Christmas Market with 40 stalls, family entertainment and festive food and drink.

The Meraki Christmas Festival is free to enter and will run from November 30 to December 22. It is the first time the city has its own Christmas Festival, and it is the first time that Meraki, who are summer festival organisers, have put on a winter event.

The Christmas Festival will take place on the front meadow of the city’s central historic Verulamium park, named after the Roman City of Verulamium, on which it stands. And will be free to enter. St Albans is only 18 minutes from St Pancras International.

The activities on offer include a the traditional Christmas Market, which that has been running in the city for five years. More than 40 German chalets stalls will populate the fairy-lit centre of the Christmas Festival, selling stocking fillers, toys, beautiful crafts and décor.

There will also be a Maker’s Market, where local designers and craft makers will be selling their wares from Fridays to Sundays.

There will also be:

Father Christmas Experiences: A 40-minute Christmas virtual reality experience which includes a letter-posting experience, story-telling session with Father Christmas and his elves and craft-making session in the elves workshop. This activity is for ages 5 and over. For under 5s, there’s the Grotto Experience, where children can enjoy a meet & greet with Father Christmas and a gift to take away.

A Champagne and Crystal lounge – the ideal setting for Christmas parties, with bands and comedians and other entertainment

The Igloo ,complete with Silent Disco

The Snug: showing Christmas movies for everyone

Christmas Fairground, including a big wheel, dodgems and other fairground rides.

Christmas Arcade, Virtual Reality experiences at Meraki Christmas Festival for the kids

A Champagne Bus

Festive Food: from traditional German sausages, hog roast swith apple sauce, desserts or vegan Christmas treats, the Meraki Christmas kitchen has plenty of food and drink to choose from

Skating Rink, a synthetic rink alongside the Meraki Christmas Tree

The Elves Workshop where little ones can get creative.

Meraki 3-Tipis Bar, with street performers, magicians and live music, such as festival choirs, acoustic music and party DJs.

Cathedral Quarter:

Carols on the Hour, every hour: Sat, 15 December 2018 at 11.00am – 4pm.

Each carol service lasts just 30 minutes – enough time to sing some uplifting carols and to get a real taste of Christmas in this beautiful, atmospheric Cathedral. No tickets required.

Carols ’til Closing: a handful of St Albans many pubs, including the oldest one in the country, Ye Olde Fighting Cocks, will be inviting revellers to join in with an evening of carols ‘til closing time, presided over by a local vicar.

For more information, go to enjoystalbans.com

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