Grainger market in Newcastle was recently open for late night shopping in an exclusive Grainger Market Christmas market night. With entertainment, exclusive discounts and competitions as well as access to the secret areas of the market, it was a night not to be missed.
If you live in Newcastle Upon Tyne you will be familiar with the Grainger Market. The market has been in the centre of the city for more than 180 years. Built as part of the 19th Century redevelopment of the city centre by Richard Grainger it bought a butchers and vegetable market to the centre of the city. When the market opened it was considered to be the most beautiful in the world. It is still one of the largest market halls in England. Today the Grainger marker is a quirky and thriving market in the city centre. It brings together an eclectic selection of shops. There are second hand book stalls, butchers and fruit shops, clothes stores, artisan food stalls and many more.
I first started visiting the market when I came to Newcastle as a student. I would frequent the butchers and fruit shops as they were great value for money and good quality. Since those days the market has become more artisan. I often use Mmm.. and Glug to source specialist food products. They had fresh peppercorns for peppercorn sauce when I couldn’t find them elsewhere. The French Oven Bakery is a great place to pick up a fresh loaf or cake and sometimes even afternoon tea. There is still a range of butchers shops, fruit shops and clothes shops as well as stalls selling street food so you will not go hungry.
Recently we went along to the Grainger Market Christmas market night. For one night Grainger market was open for late night shopping on a Thursday night. As well as stalls offering discounts there was plenty of entertainment and opportunities to access hidden areas of the market. The market was making the most of the night with Christmas lights under the steel glazed roof which has been there since 1904. The original wooden roof was unfortunately destroyed in a fire back in 1901. The roof is unique and adds charm and character to the market.
When we got there the market was buzzing. Crowds were gathering round one of the bands and people were dancing. The music echoed round the stalls filling the market with a festive spirit. The stalls were busy as people flocked to see what was on offer. The entertainment was different at different times so there was always something new to see. The market at night has a different vibe to the market during the day. It should be open more often at night.
We checked out a couple of the food stalls, stopping briefly beside Fez Foods to try on a fez. The food stalls were all rather busy so we did not try the food on this occasion. We will be coming back at another time to try them out.
One of the iconic sights in Newcastle’s Grainger market is the weigh house. It was used in the 19th Century by stallholders and buyers to check the weight of the purchases and was a legal requirement for markets at that time. These days it is mainly used by slimmers to check their weight. For 30p you get to stand on the scales and a lady will write you out a ticket with your weight on. Many people go back every week to check how much they have lost. For the Grainger Market Christmas market night there was a special offer on. If you got weighed now you could come back in January and get a free go. It is a good way to see how much you have put on over Christmas. My husband and son took advantage of the offer.
The Grainger market is home to the world’s smallest Marks and Spencer’s stall. It is an original penny bazaar, the last surviving example. The first penny bazaar opened in Leeds in 1884. The slogan was ‘Don’t ask the price – its a penny!’ The front of the store is original and the lights, whilst electric, are in the fittings used in the days of gas lights. Sadly today’s prices are a little more expensive.
One of the secrets of Grainger market is that two air raid shelters survive underneath the floor of the market. You would never know they were there, the steps lead down from the floor of the market itself. Grainger Market Christmas market night offered visitors the opportunity to go down and have a look inside. Sadly the tour was running a bit late so I was not able to take advantage of it. I have put this on my to do list to try and see in the future.
It was lovely to see the buzz in the market on a late night shopping night and it is a shame it is not open more often at night. Do you shop in the Grainger Market? What is your favourite store? Let me know below.