Christmas at The Pantiles

Christmas at The Pantiles

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The Pantiles, a Georgian colonnade now home to many independent boutiques, bars and restaurants, is planning a host of entertainment for shoppers this Christmas.

Every weekend up until the big day, Christmas markets are being held which will sell all sorts of gift ideas plus hot and cold food. It is a perfect place to find something a little bit different to the usual High Street offerings.

Richard Simm, chairman of the Association of Pantiles Traders, explains: 'Our artisan craftsmen and women are very talented and the stalls do bring something a bit special to The Pantiles.'

And, as a real treat for children, two reindeers, Tinsel and Star, are making guest appearances on December 13, 14 and 21. 'They are with us from 11am to 2pm, which is just long enough for them,' says Mr Simm. 'They come from a local farm and we make a little pen for them, with hay, and there's a sleigh, too, so it is a lovely sight. People really enjoyed it last year.'

The fun and games culminate on December 21 and 22 when The Pantiles is going to be transformed into Narnia! With the help of Francesca Gilpin, who runs the Cake Shed and is a theatre director, The Pantiles will become a winter wonderland, with scenes from the book acted out by local actors in and around the shops, bars and restaurants.

Mr Simm explains: 'We have the theme of The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe by CS Lewis. We are creating several mini sets around the area; we're building the wardrobe, a mirror, the White Witch's sleigh, the stone table, a beavers' dam - all key scenes from the book.

'We did a similar thing last year when we created a Dickensian scene and performers acted out parts of A Christmas Carol and everyone enjoyed it.

'The street theatre tends to last about five to 10 minutes in the six areas and, as the market stalls are here, it is a busy time - it will be a great weekend.'

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Add in regular carol singing in and around the popular Bandstand, beautifully sparkling Christmas lights, real Christmas trees and late night shopping every Thursday, and The Pantiles is the place to be!

The Association of Pantiles Traders has been running for around 15 years and has just over 30 members. More information at www.pantilestraders.co.uk.