Swanage Christmas Market bids to expand as popularity grows

The increasing success of the Christmas Market in Swanage may see it getting bigger and better in future, with plans already being discussed to expand along a second town centre street for 2023.

Swanage and Purbeck Rotary, which organised the festive event on Saturday 3rd December 2022, had a waiting list of stallholders who wanted to take part, so next year it is now considering using Institute Road as well as Station Road.


A roundabout and bungee jumping kept the children happy

Mulled wine and hot food were in order to keep shoppers warm

Bid to close Institute Road and increase stalls

The popularity of the Christmas market has grown over time and this year it was very well attended despite the blustery weather.

With wind speeds hitting gusts of 20 miles an hour as traders were setting up in the morning, stalls had to be repositioned several times and stock weighted down to make sure that things weren’t blown away.

But as the winds eased and temperatures rose a little, visitors started to flood into Station Road to browse, buy, eat and drink, while also showing their support for dozens of local charities and small businesses.

And in 2023, Swanage and Purbeck Rotary Club says it would like to increase the number of stalls invited to take part by continuing the market along Institute Road.

Rotary spokesperson Deirdre Selwyn (centre), pictured with retired florist Hilary Seal (left) and Karen Richardson (right)

Very positive talks with Swanage Town Council

Rotary spokesperson Deirdre Selwyn said that she was very hopeful that the popular event would be allowed to grow. She said:

“The Christmas Market started off as a small event to help the traders bring more people into Swanage in December. I started organising it about eight years ago during which time it has grown and continues to grow.

“We have 44 stalls here today, which is the maximum we can take, and we have a waiting list of 10 who would really have liked to be a part of it too.

“We are hoping to expand and are having very positive and supportive talks with Swanage Town Council and Dorset Council with regard to a second road closure on Institute Road from 2023 to allow us to let the market become bigger and better.”

Christmas trees, wreaths and flowers were available from Rudge’s of Swanage

All money raised goes back to the local community

Deirdre added:

“We deliberately keep pitch fees low compared to other markets in Dorset to help local traders, and all of the money we raise from the Christmas market goes to local charities and projects, so that it all comes back into the community.

“Smaller businesses have been struggling for the past few years and we would like to do as much as we can to help them. A bigger Christmas market will be better for them – although we would always welcome more helpers and volunteers to make sure that it runs smoothly!”

The closure of both Institute Road and Station Road is possible if one-way Kings Road East was temporarily reversed for the day. This would allow traffic coming into town, a through route to South Swanage.

Swanage Pier is getting ready for its Christmas light switch-on

A warm greeting and life-saving teddies from the RNLI

Durlston Country Park introduced its team from The Shed – known as ‘Sheddies’

Perfect shop window for charities

The Christmas Market is regularly supported by up to 1,500 people and about £3,000 to £4,000 is raised from the event – as well as it having a positive knock-on effect for the established town centre shops.

It is also a perfect shop window for Swanage charities to connect with their supporters and attract new blood, as well as allowing talented crafters to show off their skills.

Emma Still – also known as Cookie Raptor – makes dinosaur art and greetings cards

Hannah Ford’s Magnolia Moon dried flower business is blooming

Landscape photographer Cenk turns local views into artwork

Jurassic art from the Cookie Raptor

Those taking part in 2022 included the RNLI, the Marine Conservation Society, Durlston Country Park, whose back to nature Shed team aims to promote gardening, wood working and crafts to the community, and the Swanage Pier Trust, who will be switching on their own Christmas lights display on Friday 9th December 2022.

Talented local artists on display included Hannah Ford whose Magnolia Moon business makes dried flower wreaths, dinosaur art designer Emma Still – also known on Etsy as the Cookie Raptor – and landscape photographer Cenk, who chases sunrises and sunsets along the Jurassic Coast.

Santa was in huge demand from youngsters through the day

Kelp Shantymen had some songs of the sea to sing for shoppers

Mabel and Bertie’s handmade dog biscuits were sold by owner Roz Walters

Some of the biggest queues were for Santa

Live music was provided by the Kelp Sea Shanty Choir, the Allsort’d Choir, Andrew Cannon and the Churches Together Choir, while there was plenty to eat and drink provided by local small businesses from organic sausages to handmade gourmet dog biscuits.

There was also plenty to keep younger shoppers occupied, including bungee jumping and a roundabout, with some of the day’s biggest queues keeping Santa busy with Christmas stocking present requests.

Santa has also promised to make more appearances in Swanage and Purbeck villages before Christmas, helped by elves from Swanage and Purbeck Rotary and Crazy4Corfe.

Further information

  • Find out more about the market organisers, Swanage and Purbeck Rotary, on its website:

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