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All Posts By Leah Wimpenny

Two Holiday Destination Trends Already Set to Steal Summer

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Summer may seem like a distant memory as the winter weather continues to creep in, but holiday lovers are already planning their next sun-infused adventure.

Early holiday planning can brighten up a grey December day and the Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA) has revealed its travel trends for 2019. Bookings from tour operators and travel agents for next summer is all already up by 12% from this time in 2017, which is fantastic news all around.

Europe is always a firm favourite with travelers, and next year it is set to lead the holiday destination trends, with 61% of holidaymakers planning a trip to the continent in 2019.

The main locations in popularity are set to be Greece (bookings up by 30%) and Bulgaria (up by 6%). This could all change again before the New Year but it is unlikely, as Brit’s are expected to be taking over these two countries in the hundreds.

With a continued uncertain economic climate taking shape, the rise in popularity is thought to be down to the simple factor – Bulgaria and Greece offer fantastic value for money.

Whether it’s free beach walks or cheap nights in the local bar, the two destinations are irresistible in terms of finance, while also offering all the beautiful landscape you could want from a summer break.

Bulgaria has long since been a favoured holiday destination for its historic architecture, glorious beaches and cheap prices on food and drink. Set to be in the spotlight for holidaymakers in 2019, the ancient city Plovdiv will host the title of European’s capital of Culture. Which could bring some much-needed attention to the stunning city.

Whilst Sunny Beach, Golden Sands and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) world heritage town of Nessebar are always popular, there are also more winter suited destinations. Such as Borovets, Bansko and Pamporovo for fantastic value ski trips, which could be even cheaper if booked at the last minute – keep your eyes peeled for some fantastic deals in January.

Thessaloniki, Greece, has also been reported to be popular once again. Sought after for its cheap drinks, stunning waterfront and well-preserved scenery that makes for amazing memories and photographs.

With Brexit looming, fear for holidaymakers has been in the air, but the ABTA has highlighted that despite Brexit uncertainty, it doesn’t appear to be affecting holiday plans, at least not yet.

This stands as fantastic news, as the current holiday surge reflects the strong commitment people have to travel to new places.

Proving once again, it would take an awful lot to keep Brit’s away from a sunny beach and some guaranteed sunshine! 

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What to Expect From Manchester’s Christmas Markets

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Attracting annual visitors in the thousands, Manchester’s Christmas Market is celebrating its 20th year.

Since 1998, the festive stalls have become a fixture of the Holiday Season. With people traveling the width and breadth of the country to visit 100’s of traders selling unique gifts, and taste the best in global cuisine.

As the countdown to Christmas begins, this year is set to to be the best one yet, offering all you’d expect from the city and more. This is quite possibly your very last chance to witness the market’s central, traditional location of Albert Square. As the main hub of the market is moving to make way for a major revamp to the public plaza in the heart in the city in 2019.

Every year, the giant glowing Santa Clause – called Zippy, that sits atop the Town Hall is a firm favourite with locals and visitors alike, and this year is set to be no different – as you can already see him happily watching over the busy stalls and shoppers.

This season, the market stretches over nine city-based sites: Albert Hall, St Ann’s Square, King Street, Exchange Street, Market Street, The Corn Exchange Cathedral Garden, Exchange Square and New Cathedral Street. Market-goers will notice that Brazennose Street is missing this time around – due to ongoing developments in the area.

The prices of the market stalls are set by the individual trader, rather than the council, which could mean you could get yourself the best German Sausage in all the land for a pretty decent rate, and of course, enjoy a mulled wine or two while you’re there.

Every Christmas, the Manchester Christmas Market shows huge attraction through its collectable hot chocolate mugs that signify the day. 2018 will illustrate a new design, sporting a reindeer nose that lines up with the drinkers face while they enjoy a tasty, warm beverage. The mug has taken a comical approach to the season and already is a huge hit with Christmas lovers, hot chocolate lovers, coffee lovers and Manchester lovers.

The mugs have long since been purchased through leaving a deposit of £2 when ordering a drink, which can be returned if you choose not to keep your mug. This year, there has been a slight increase with the mug deposit costing £3 – but for a cheeky souvenir of the day, it’s not so bad.

Although you can still find the traditional German favourites, 2018 sees 70% of traders coming from more local territories, including Greater Manchester and the North West.

Expected to be a massive hit once again is the Yorkshire Pudding Wrap, courtesy of Porky Pig, trading at Exchange Square, along with old favourites like Bratwurst and Beer.

The Manchester Christmas Markets are open from November 9th – December 22nd. With December 23rd being that lucky day where some traders sell the last of their items at discounted prices.

However you celebrate this Christmas, a trip to the Manchester Christmas Markets might just be the bauble on the tree, and give you that festive feeling of holiday cheer!

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What’s Been the Food Trends of 2018?

By Posted on 3 m read

As Christmas and the new year edge ever nearer, it’s time to take a look back at the food trends that have dominated 2018.

Innova Market Insights release annual food trend predictions and realities, and 2018 has brought forth some interesting changes in the traditional consumption of what we choose to purchase and indulge on.

The current climate has created an opportunity for new, ethnic flavours to be enjoyed easily. With street food inspired meals and the revamping of culinary classics coming forwards.

Innova reported an average growth of 20% in food and drink purchases that sported global flavours earlier this year, in platforms such as chili consumption, herb purchasing and floral tastes. The plant trend is still taking charge, with consumers looking for new ways to implement a healthy diet without losing much-loved tastes.

With it being easier than ever before to enjoy and indulge in global cuisine, let’s review the top food trends of the past year:

The Chilli Kick: Bold flavours that were once unheard of have skyrocketed. No longer are peppers the staple of any stir-fry, foodies are now looking to powerful tastes to highlight home-made dishes. Intense experiences come forth through the spice that chili provides, with a 59% rise in the purchasing of Sriracha Chili, a 19% rise in the Habanero and a 15% rise in the Chipotle.

The Fresh Touch: Health-conscious consumers constantly look to the purchase of fresh produce, looking for light tastes that can compliment stronger flavours to provide a dish with that much-needed health momentum. Mint, lime and lemon have all been flavours known to provide that morning boost feeling, offering gentle refreshment to mind and health. It was reported in summer that there had been a 21% increase in annual growth of food and drinks with mint/menthol flavours.

Global Guzzling: Consumers of all ages have been taking advantage of the ease of trying new tastes, using it as a chance to gain insight into other cultures. Authentic cuisines from across the globe have been creeping into not only meal choices, but into recipes of traditional dishes for a new experience.

Intense Indulgence: Given that the largest ever variety of food choices are available at most local supermarkets, it isn’t surprising that bold, tempting and indulgent flavours have jumped to the height of consumption. With marketing strategists looking at new ways of advertising to ensure their product stands out in such a competitive age of intense food flavours.  

Herbal Harmony: Cropping up in all areas of food purchasing, from protein bars to pasta sauce, herbs have been a huge hit for 2018. Botanicals are thought to have exceptional benefits to the consumer, and have even found their way into alcoholic beverages such as cider.

Blossoming Beauty: Natural ingredients have been of huge importance this year, with real ingredients fueling floral flavours across both food and drink. Many brands have taken a no, or low sugar, approach to previously sweet foods, using natural floral flavours to remove large amounts of sugar from produce. The obsession with low-calorie but tasty meals is something that is thought to continue long into 2019 and beyond, with consumers looking to floral tastes to replace traditionally sugary foods. Earlier this year a 31% increase was reported in the average annual growth of food and drink launches that included a lavender flavour.

Innova have suggested that following this years trend for herbs and florals, 2019 could see a surge in herbal supplements for general diet taking place. While cultural cuisines are thought to continue growing long into the new year.

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Christmas is Getting a Luxurious Scandinavian Makeover

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Christmas brings with it the chance to magically transform your home into a winter wonderland, and this year’s decorating trends are taking a seriously modern turn.

Already Scandinavia is a huge part of our everyday life, whether we know it or not. From our IKEA furniture, to our favourite H&M jacket, and even that much loved box of Lego, Scandinavian style and produce is built into modern life.

Now, Christmas is getting a Scandinavian makeover. With 2018’s trends showcasing rustic vibes, teaming cosiness with clean lines, for a contemporary Christmas feel.

The styles hitting home are quite mature in terms of decorations – simple and classic, with a modern, minimalist approach to what can sometimes be hectic colourful decor, adding the ultimate feeling of luxury this season.

This year it’s not about plenty of tinsel, it’s all about that Scandinavian winter style, meaning exposed woods, white washed floors, a neutral palette and minimalist house accessories.

This isn’t to say you have to get rid of you much loved Christmas tree and decorations, but 2018 is offering something new in terms of contemporary style. This year people are turning to small pine style window forests to create a mini winter wonderland, which look particularly stunning if your view is abundant in snowflakes.

Some are even turning to framed prints of snowy pine forests – there is no easier way to bring that winter feel into the home – and its mess free. To really capture the feel of the forest, be sure to add the true essence of Scandinavia with a pine scented candle.

Festive decorations are returning to nature, with simple rustic features cropping up in interior home trends. Quirky but minimal decor that sticks to natural materials, such a pine-cones, are being demonstrated across Christmas show homes, which can add that gentle Christmas elegance to any home.

For a real minimal approach to Christmas decor, that still feels festive, white, grey and silver tones are your best friends. Offering a crisp approach to the season that couldn’t feel more like you very own winter wonderland, but that doesn’t feel cluttered in smaller spaces.

Having a white theme doesn’t have to emit a sense of coldness either, teaming crisp tones with neutral pinks and seductive blues through cushions, blankets and hides, you can really bring that cosy feeling to life this Christmas.

With new trends cropping up constantly, a Nordic palette is something that can be kept all year round. Soft pastels and greys work particularly well when teamed with one striking tone, such as a rich black. However, seen as it’s a Christmas, one flash of Santa Claus red, holly leaf green or frosty blue, can do wonders.

Christmas is the perfect time to decorate, but if you fancy moving away from tradition, the new trends of minimalist furnishings are ideal for that cosy yet clean feel.

No Christmas would be complete without candles, and even these can have a Scandinavian twist. Primarily known for its simplicity, and its admiration, and connection, to the outdoors – Scandinavian design celebrates natural light. This is all well and good until the winter months hit, but then of course, it is time to bring warming light to life through plenty of candles.

Gentle pine smells and simplistic candle holders built from simple lines and angular shapes are the idea finishing touch to a contemporary theme.

If you fancy a change this Christmas then there is no better place to look for inspiration than the beautiful winter wonderland, Scandinavia.

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A Plastic Free Future in Fashion

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Demands of the ever increasing, environmentally conscious shopper are being heard. Known as one of the world’s worst polluting sectors – the fashion industry is changing. Embracing sustainability as a core function of new business ethics.

Just as trends change over time, the conscious of the masses also adapts and develops. Sustainability is therefore no longer an afterthought, as customers are becoming ever more engaged with the brand behind the clothing.

The environmental spotlight is making sure no sector is left unnoticed, and now the fashion industry is having to prove it can become more environmentally friendly. While in general the industry seems to have been lagging behind other sectors in its sustainable seriousness, there are reasons why creating Eco-kind produce in fashion is increasingly difficult across such a mammoth arena.

Addicted to high consumption rates, the fashion industry has a remarkably messy supply chain behind it, which leads to difficult sustainable accountancy.

This is partly due to the use of synthetics across a vast variety of clothing consumed by the masses. Synthetics such as polyester and nylon make up the majority of many peoples wardrobes, easy to purchase, easy to clean, easy to wear. Not however, so easy on the environment.

When washed, synthetic fabrics leave tiny particles of plastic behind which either end up on the land, in sewerage, or find their way into the waterways, and eventually, the oceans. Micro-plastic is of huge concern at the moment and this could come forth as the tipping point that changes opinion on how we shop, and what we purchase.

It has been estimated that one 5 kg wash of synthetics could release as many as six million micro-plastics in the ecosystem. Which is astounding.

The first wash of newly purchased synthetic clothes is reported to be the worst culprit, but this doesn’t mean to say every wash hereafter is micro-plastic free.

The fashion industry is under immense pressure to find a new business model that is not as addicted, or driven, by an increasing desire to obtain the latest and greatest trends. Meaning decades of the same system need to be addressed.

This is easier said than done, and not only relies on the industry itself, but also relies on avid shoppers to consider their purchasing. Buying clothing made to last rather than throw away synthetics that come at a cheaper cost, and also taking better care of clothing after purchase.

Many establishments, both high street and high end, are beginning to implement changes. H&M are still leading the way through their sustainable fashion movement and recycling drop off points, but other industries are making an effort. Madewell have introduced a denim recycling programme which is tied into 10% of its jean sales, and Reformation is already well known for its sustainably sourced apparel.

Slashing the use of plastic is vital across every sector, and through every individual on the planet. As the saying goes: “It’s only one straw, said 8 million people.”

It is refreshing to see the fashion industry taking such a positive stance for a plastic free future in fashion, but this is not an implementation that will happen overnight.

Now the industry relies on the consumer, to also pick up the pace in understanding and implementing sustainability, for a green future, for everyone.

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Thailand Extends its Tourist Ban at Maya Bay

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Adventurers and travellers hoping to witness the stunning white beaches and towering limestone cliffs of Maya Bay, Thailand, might have to change their holiday plans.

Although due to re-open to the public this month after a temporary tourist ban, Thailand’s Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation (DNP) have announced the Maya Bay ban will stand indefinitely.

It is not unusual for the DNP to close parks and beaches off from tourists, with a variety of spaces being closed due to extreme weather impacts or the need for ecological regrowth, what has come as a surprise is that Maya Bay is still closed after its original Tourist Ban implemented in July.

The DNP expressed that Maya Bay saw as many as 2.5 million visitors in 2018, which is a rise of half a million people year on year. The majority of travellers visit from Phuket, which is less than an hours travel away from Maya Bay by speed boat.

Maya Bay, part of Thailand’s hot spots for travellers, is part of Noppharat Thara-Mu Ko Phi Phi National Park, which has been popular since the film release of The Beach, starring Leonardo Dicaprio, released in the year 2000.

The original plan for a fourth month rejuvenation period was aiming at reviving the island’s decimated corals in a bid to preserve the island’s nature. It was also discussed that the area will be installed with boat jetties for tourists, amongst the implementation of other activities.

Concerns for some of Thailand’s most beautiful natural beaches and clear blue waters being under environmental attack are great, as some areas simply cannot keep up with the flow of human travellers. Natural areas need time to rejuvenate from excessive human activity, as Maya Bay has long since been a location for young people to sunbathe, snorkel, party and take pictures, the island is in need of a well deserved rest.

Almost twenty years of heavy tourist traffic has taken its toll on Maya Bay, and the ecosystem is still suffering devastation after a four month break. Aspiring travellers are not the only people left disappointed by the news, as local citizens use destinations like Maya Bay as areas of huge financial drive.

Maya Bay prohibits overnight stays, with no hotels, hostels or housing on the island there is not one inhabitant and people tend to enjoy the islands beauty for a day long period before returning to Phuket, or other nearby areas.

The decision for extended closure follows on from the continued closure of Boracay, which is due to reopen to tourists this month although not completely. Unlike Maya Bay, which is a small isolated space, Boracay is home to around 17,000 people, many of whom are locals that are invested in the tourist industry. The DNP released information over the ongoing 6 month long closure of Boracay to stem from its once natural beauty and crystal waters becoming a cesspool.

Should both Maya Bay and Boracay re-open in their entirety, which in time it is believed they will, there is thought to be a new plan in place that manages tourist control in a bid to keep the environment healthy. In the meantime, locals can apply for financial support through the Philippines government, who offer approved funding to help local economies during tourist closures.

Travellers are reminded to ensure the environments visited are treated with care and respect, and that the natural wildlife is protected, and litter is not left behind or discarded into the sea.

 

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Zippo Circus is in Town But Not Everyone is Happy

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In a progressive society such as today, using animals a means of entertainment is something that is widely viewed as a cruel, unnecessary and outdated practice.

Zippo circus, a travelling establishment that uses animals in some of its acts, is travelling in the UK for the next month and is getting some rather serious stick over its practises.

These might not be the animals you would immediately think of when you head the word circus, there is not an elephant or lion in sight, instead, Zippo use a variety of budgies and horses during their show.

The Zippo Circus is set to be in Guildford this week and at Hampstead Heath, London, later in the month, but with the use of circus animals come serious debate.

Over 750 people have already signed a petition that started on the 5th October to see the circus banned due to implications of animal cruelty.

The argument most protesters have is that the horses and budgies are in an unnatural environment, made to perform while subjected to loud noises and bright lights that are thought to cause the animals an unprecedented amount of stress.

That being said, the circus continue to debate their case and prove the welfare of their animals is in good hands. With supporters of the circus stating that people use horses in show jumping and riding daily, and are unable to clarify the difference. It is very much a grey area.

The Zippo circus website has a large section dedicated to the care and welfare of its animals, with proof of veterinary history and animal health inspector reports.

Animal Health Inspector, Sharon Edwards, gave a glowing report of the animal care provided in 2017 and expressed no welfare concerns surrounding either bird or pony. All the circus horses have a valid passport and are a popular feature amongst children who enjoy having photographs taken with the animals after the main circus events.

While this will always remain a tricky topic of debate, as the title of: Circus Animals, has an awful lot of  stigma attached to it, and rightly so in relation to the treatment of circus animals before animals rights; Ring-Master Mr Norman Barrett insists his love for the animals and offers explanations of their living quarters, as well as openly discussing any suggestions for improvement of animal care.

Animals lovers want to be reassured of the safety and well being of animals and the recent debates are putting some animal lovers off purchasing tickets. Zippo Circus aim to offer comfort and reassurance through regular animal welfare checks.

The Zippo Circus is appearing at Bannister’s Field between the 11th & 16th of October, and at Lower Fairground Site, East Heath Road between the 18th and 28th.

 

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The Hipster Food of 2018 Has Been Proven Non-Vegan

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Veganism is something to has skyrocketed in the past two years with more people changing to the vegan lifestyle by the day.

For some, the entire change comes through as perhaps a sort of trial and error base, or as a new phase diet, but for most vegans, the whole philosophy surrounding the refusal of any food that could have negative implications for animals, is something to live every day life by.

There is however, a new catch that might have people rethinking their diet plans, as it turns out that the hipster food of 2018, Avocado on Toast, isn’t actually a strictly vegan meal.

For starters, the toast is fine, usually. Traditionally made from yeast, flour, water and salt, bread is something that can be consumed by vegans no problem, but commercially sold breads, such as ones that blanket a packet bought sandwich, contain dairy produce such as whey, a milk based protein. The Toast however is certainly not the problem here.

Shockingly, it has been revealed that the much loved superfood, the avocado, isn’t actually vegan. For the same reason the majority of vegans choose not to consume honey, as humans interference with bees during harvest can mean the health of the bee is sacrificed, bees have a role to play in avocado cultivation. With bees already becoming dangerously extinct, the devoted animal lovers don’t want to risk any more harm.

Avocados as we know and love them, cannot exist without bees, which leaves a bit of an ethical dilemma to come into play for people who choose not to consume any item of food associated with the use of animals or animal produce.

Avocados are a crop that naturally can be very difficult to cultivate, so the crops rely on bees in a sort of unnatural way. This is due to bees cultivating crops, and then these crops being transported to new locations via lorries or trucks which, whether on purpose or not, relocate the bees for further cultivation in different climates.

This is the same for a variety of fruit and veg, including broccoli, lettuce, cucumbers and even cherries. The strict ethical regulations of a vegan diet stretch far and wide and this news comes as something that could prove to be detrimental for a vast majority of everyday vegan dietary requirements.

Not all Vegans will class the unnatural farming of bees, be it direct or indirect, as something that they determine concern for dietary requirements, but it has raised an interesting discussion for both vegans, vegetarians, pescetarians and meat eaters alike.

Vegans make a huge contribution to the reduction of animal suffering annually, and it does seem somewhat impossible to avoid all types of animal farming in modern food supplies, regardless, the avocado being deemed a non-vegan product has come as a huge shock, and is certainly one that will raise debate.

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Yomdel Await the Christmas Season for Spike in Sales

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Established in 2014, Yomdel is a multi-award winning business, the first of its kind in the United Kingdom to implement 24/7 managed live chat services.

Founder Andy Soloman, an entrepreneur and catalyst for change, remains the company’s resident Business Growth Expert, hosting an enviable track record of standing up for businesses across the UK and ensuring voices are heard. With a particular focus on SMEs, Andy offers both motivation and direction at companies through a hands on, pragmatic approach.

Today Yomdel handles around 70,000 chats each month on behalf of clients and is trusted by more than 2,000 UK estate agents, including Fine & Country, Chestertons and Belvoir. It is also a trusted establishment across financial, legal, construction, automotive and events sectors as well as a variety of other industries.

The British Retail Consortium, a trade association that represents all forms of retailers, from independently owned small establishments to large retail chains across the UK have revealed their Like-for-Like Retail Sales Statistics. The British Retail Consortium is representative of 80% of UK retail trade by turnover and shows the performance of UK retail businesses based on actual sales from participating companies.

The latest figures show that in September, the retail market saw a 0-2% fall. Andy expressed: “The performance of the retail sector has been slowly subsiding since June as consumers move away from the season of summer spending and reign in the purse strings in anticipation of the festive season.”

“A Christmas spike in retail activity will be warmly welcomed by the sector, but until then there are still some tough months ahead for both consumer and retailer alike as demonstrated by the weakest sales performance in five months. Stretched household income continues to put a strain on consumer sentiment while retailers struggle to balance the inflated cost of goods with remaining competitive on price.

“A no deal Brexit may cause problems further down the line due to complications with the import and export of goods, but in the short-term, we should see a more muted level of spending as uncertainty continues to deter consumers from any unnecessary financial outgoings.”

Yomdel acquired mystery shopping in June of this year and implemented experiential customer research business 360 perspectives into its suite of available products, to enhance digital customer service experience, and extend services aimed at being a close business growth partner to its clients.

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A Christmas Party Like No Other at Winterville

There is no better time than Christmas to bring everyone together for an all new experience.

With Winterville, London, you can expect an alternative Christmas party playground, brought to you by the creative minds behind Field Day and Street Feast, Winterville is returning to Clapham Common this winter, transforming the Kingdom’s Capital into a Christmas sensation.

Expect Live DJ’s, Must-see Comedy, roaming Magicians, Raves for Kids, Mexican Wrestling, Musical Bingo and a family Christmas show held on one of London’s famous double decker buses.

Elsewhere in the pop up town within the City, you can experience ice skating on an outdoor ice rink, enjoy sensational food from Street Feast and lose yourself in the Backyard Cinema’s Christmas Maze.

If that wasn’t enough, you can catch club nights in the Roller Disco, play Crazy Golf on a UV powered course, take a ride on the Big Wheel and enjoy the finest cocktails and craft beer in themed bars, with unique gifts on offer in the Solo Craft Fair.

It’s a spectacle unlike any other, taking over the heart of London from the 15th November till the 23rd December. The ultimate Christmas extravaganza is set to be filled with five whole weeks of Christmas cheer, overflowing with unmissable entertainment and incredible food and drink.

If you fancy moving away from the traditions of turkey, stuffing and sprouts, there are plenty of opportunities to indulge yourself in some of the finest taste sensations from around the world, with festive frozen Pumpkin Spice Rum or a Hot Buttered Bourbon.  

The Spiegeltent tent offers cabaret and performances, and you can take time to fulfil the thrill seeker in you by spending time on fairground rides, a line-up of amazing activities means there isn’t a moment to lose this Christmas.

From a private tent for fifty people, to larger scale hire that can host over 4,000 guests, including private food traders, bespoke activities and much more. Winterville provides an unforgettable setting for all Christmas parties, both big and small.

Booking a Christmas party with Winterville means you’ll still be talking about it 365 days later.

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