No craft market for Cornhill as Ipswich tries to woo shoppers

Christmas Craft Fair 2019

The Christmas Craft Fair was held under the Lloyds Arch in 2019 but it will not be in town this year. - Credit: Charlotte Bond

One of the biggest pre-Christmas events in the heart of Ipswich will be missing again this year - there will be no craft market on the Cornhill again.

The event was cancelled last year because of the Covid pandemic - and it is not coming again this Christmas.

The first was held at Christmas 2018 just after the Cornhill reconstruction was completed - it filled much of the top of the Cornhill for nearly three weeks at the start of December.

The following year it moved to the area under Lloyds Avenue Arch to avoid filling the Cornhill - and it had been due to return last year and this year.

However operators Eden Crafts are only operating one Christmas fair this year, in south London.

Ipswich council confirmed the fair would not be happening this year - and the space that had been earmarked for it is now due to be occupied by Ipswich market traders when work starts on converting the Old Post Office into The Botanist restaurant.

Many retailers in Ipswich will not be too sorry that there is no craft market in the town this year - when it did operate there were concerns that its stallholders, many of whom came from different parts of the country, were taking money that would otherwise have gone to local businesses.

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And there were doubts about how many new shoppers it actually brought to the town.

Ipswich's special events for the Christmas period are now focussed on the Saints Festive Street market in St Peter's Street on Sunday, November 28 and the December Farmers' Market on the  Cornhill the following Sunday.

Ipswich Central has also arranged street performers to entertain shoppers on the Cornhill on every late--night shopping evening on Thursdays running through to Christmas.

The lights will be switched on for the first late-night shopping evening this week - and retailers are hoping that the Christmas season will be much better for them this year than it was in 2020 with the November lockdown keeping shoppers at home.

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