With the announcement of Somerset West and Taunton being placed under Tier 2 restrictions, the Council is pressing ahead with a range of events and activities in Taunton, bringing some much needed festive cheer for those hoping to visit the town centre.
Extra measures adhering to the government’s COVID-safe guidance will be put in place to safeguard shoppers. These include management of social distancing by stallholders; mandatory wearing of face masks inside enclosed spaces (unless exempt); limiting the number of customers in marquees at any one time, and regular disinfection of hand-contact surfaces.
The events have kicked-off with the opening of four Alpine food huts located in the town centre, which will be in place until 10 January. The huts are selling a variety of items including cheeses, German sausages, sweets and treats, and a hot Christmas carvery!
The annual Christmas Craft Market, which has been trading for over 15 years, will be held between Saturday, 5 and Sunday, 20 December. Located in Fore Street near the Christmas tree, seasoned artisans will be offering unique handcrafted gifts such as textiles, jewellery, fused glass, preserves, ceramics, wood turning, knitted accessories, animal portraits, clothing and much more.
The Christmas Craft Market will join other high street stores in staying open until 9pm on Thursdays for those wanting to do some late night shopping.
During the weekends of 12 and 19 December, Castle Green will host the return of Taunton’s quality Independent Market, which has been on-hold until now due to the restrictions. Shoppers can expect to browse a range of food, drink, crafts, homewares, beauty and fashion all from the best local producers.
For any children who are keen to find out whether they have made it onto the ‘good list’ this year, a temporary post office has opened behind the Market House in Fore Street so they can write to Santa directly.
Letters must be posted no later than 11 December so that Santa has time to send a personal reply. Details on how to post your letter can be found on the Royal Mail Letters to Santa webpage.
COVID-safe street entertainment will also take place in the town centre, including: a Snow Queen and giant bouncy Elves on stilts (5 December); Merlin’s Magic Christmas Walkabout and Roller Skating Illuminated Christmas Presents (12 December), and; Meet Mrs Santa on stilts and giant Squirrel Nutkins (19 December)!
If you intend to visit any of the attractions on offer, remember to stick to the following COVID-safe shopping guidelines:
- Use hand sanitiser
- If possible, visit during off-peak times such as Wednesdays and Thursdays before 10:00am, or;
- plan for longer visits to accommodate queuing from social distancing
- Remember to wear a face mask
- If practicable, shop by yourself to minimise risk and to protect your family
- Use the hand sanitiser provided when using baskets and trolleys
- Shop with your eyes – try not to touch products you don’t have to
- Avoid touching your face
- Make sure you remember to wash your hands when you get home
If you fancy a bite to eat whilst out and about over the festive period, remember not to mix households inside restaurants, pubs and cafes unless it forms part of your support bubble and stick to the maximum limit of six.
Don’t forget, free car parking is available in Taunton after 3pm on the three Saturdays in the lead up to Christmas (5, 12 and 19 December), see SWT offers Christmas Parking incentive for more information.