It’s the family – friendly market with stalls staffed by local people selling things they’ve made themselves, in the heart of the country’s most inventive region.
And all indications are that the initial Christmas at Domkirkepladsen will be an annual event thanks to the creative talent behind the discs, which meets the current buyer’s insatiable demands for ‘something else’.
The mini-‘village’ is a microcosm of the means by which the city began to grow after a market charter was first awarded in 1166, about 855 years ago.
The consecration of the then parish church of St Philip’s off Colmore Row followed 549 years later in 1715.
Read more: Christmas at Cathedral Square merchants who invented their stores this year
In just 174 more years, Birmingham was granted city status in 1889 by Queen Victoria, and 16 years later, in 1905, St Philip’s became a cathedral after the formation of a new diocese.
Now, another 116 years later, it is the comfortable home of the city’s newest market.
And perhaps the start of a new tradition, where Birmingham Cathedral every year from now on will welcome Colmore BID and trade on its grounds in the time leading up to Christmas.
Since the turn of the millennium, the Birmingham German Christmas Market has dominated the city center at this time of year and is now in its 21st year.
To find out how the new market really feels, we visited some of the latest retailers to see, in the words of the late Eric Morecambe, what they have made of it so far!
This booth is run by geography and mass communication graduate Yejide Adeoye.
The 45-year-old mother was born in Edgbaston, fostered out for six weeks to lose her white foster father at the age of 7, and it took a while to find her place in life.
Now she works from Smykkekvarteret and handmade her own jewelery.
She even has a spin-off with her own brand ‘Places and Pieces’ laser-cut puzzles – one has the names of the city departments printed on each piece, another has left them all blank to make it much harder to complete the puzzle.
Her product lines include laser and digital designs for everything from custom cufflinks to home furnishings, gift items, accessories and jewelry.
Yejide, who has a 22-year-old daughter, says: “I launched the company seven years ago in 2014 – I bought a laser machine and just started creating all sorts of things.
“When I was at university, I went to Barcelona to see how the Olympics had changed that, and in Temple Bar, Dublin, I saw the impact of arts and crafts.”
She loves Christmas in the Cathedral Square market and says she has had many interesting conversations with customers.
“I have lived in Bromsgrove, Kingston, London and Nigeria, but have returned to Birmingham.
“Geography covers all the different aspects of how and where we live and how we connect. I’m at home.”
You can see many more photos from the Christmas In Cathedral Square market in our photo history here
Artist and art teacher Robert Geoghegan is determined to add something fun to everyday life, and is a familiar face in Birmingham’s craft markets, including the Moseley Art Market.
He was a regular trader in the old Christmas craft market across the Paradise Forum (as it was!) Before Centenary Square was rebuilt.
Then he tried the new City Social in doom opposite the mailbox.
Although he is grateful to be under cover there if it rains, he is now looking forward to being back outside in the open air and in a much better position than he had at a different Christmas market in 2018 in Cathedral Square, where there was located too many stalls with their back to either Colmore Row or the walkways.
“I really enjoy my time here and there has been a lot of interest in bus drawings that I am best known for – I have never ridden in my life, I have used them a lot over the years!
“People really like it with all the different kids’ characters in the window.
“And my Peaky Blinders’ range has been very popular, especially where the band has a day out at the Sea Life Center,” smiles Robert.
And if you really want to laugh, the back wall of his booth is the only place you can see a tram in the city center
West Midlands Metro suspended all services for at least a month from November 13 while trying to repair cracks on the chassis of its fleet.
The Crackling Candle Co
On the opposite side of the walkway leading from the NatWest Bank corner of Cathedral Square is a new lighting company launched in October last year.
Matt Francis works in the event industry, while Chloe is a nurse and wedding photographer.
When Covid-19 removed the fun side of her income, the couple set out to plan a new way of earning a living – and The Crackling Candle Company was born.
Matt says: “Making candles involves a lot of trial and error, it’s not an exact science, but we were inspired by lockdown and we’ve now got 25 lines and infusions.
“We are here until Sunday the 28th and would love to come back for a longer time next year.”
Summer and Silver
This jewelry store is a spin-off from a store on Vyse Street in the Jewelery Quarter.
Prices range from £ 10 to £ 120 for a neck cuff and items are stamped where required.
It’s run by designer Ricky Harvey with cousin Karen Wigley, who told us, “We used to be at the old Christmas craft market and had the best times when we were close to Paradise Forum.
“But we really like this new market and it’s good to be back in town.”
This booth is close to Christmas Carvery and is only here this week.
It sells handmade and personalized gifts and features mother-and-daughter teams of Kelly Powell and Ellie-Jo Huckvale.
Like Steve Woodham Art, who’s on the trail facing Helter Skelter, they’re coming over from Bloxwich.
Ellie-Jo said: “We really enjoyed coming to the market and hope to be back next year.”
Around the corner on the path leading down to Cherry Street are food stalls, the Birmingham Commonwealth Games outlet and … Bear Bookshop.
Like Summer and Silver, it’s a spin-off from a store designed as a cozy, family-friendly way to encourage kids to develop a lifelong love of reading.
Mother of three and former English teacher Jenny McCann opened her bookstore on Bearwood High Street with the promise of helping parents ‘Find magic books for curious children’.
Jenny, who used to teach at The Phoenix Collegiate in West Bromwich, says: “Reading is so hugely academic, it affects everything because it’s the foundation of everything they do.
“It benefits well-being, it’s a great way to relax and unwind, to help you sleep and turn off.”
You can listen to Jenny’s tips on how to encourage your child to love reading the Brummie Mummies podcast on Spotify here or the Apple Podcasts here
Christmas at Domkirkepladsen
There are 30 stalls, but not all traders are there for the entire duration – some have booked for odd weeks, changing weeks or blocks of weeks – the idea is to give more start-up traders the chance to shine and see if it’s for them.
So if you love it the first time and decide to go back, there will always be something different to see next time.
Christmas In Cathedral Square, which runs until 6 p.m. 20.00 on Sunday 19 December, is a partnership between Birmingham Cathedral, Colmore BID, Birmingham City Council and the local family business Danter Attractions.
Birmingham Cathedral Square (B3 2QB) is bordered by Colmore Row, Temple Row West, Temple Row and St Philip’s Place.
Birmingham City Council operates the nearest major car park at Livery Street Snow Hill, where prices are £ 4 for up to two hours, £ 6 for up to four hours, £ 9.20 for up to six hours, £ 12.80 for up to 12 hours and £ 15.80 for up to 24 hours. The car park closes at 23.30 except Sundays at 21.00.
Read more: The best places to park in Birmingham city center
From there, it’s only a two minute walk from Snow Hill Station (get off the front onto Colmore Row and turn right).
Most Moor Street trains stop at Snow Hill in each direction, or you can get off there, cross Moor Street Queensway and drive toward New Street via the stairs opposite with the Rotunda in front, or go directly through Primark when open.
Simply walk up New Street to the intersection with Lower Temple Street, but turn right up Temple Street.
If you arrive at New Street Station, take the Stephenson Street exit and walk just five minutes up Lower Temple Street and then Temple Street after crossing the Birmingham German Christmas Market on either side of New Street.
Danter Attractions is also behind Ice Skate Birmingham’s massive family-friendly presence on Centenary Square with the Ice Rink, 40-meter Big Wheel and 55-meter City Flyer – this site closes at the end of Sunday, January 9 (closed Christmas Day).
The German Christmas market in Birmingham ends on Thursday 23 December.
Founded in 2017, but missing last year, AllinAll Hospitality’s City Social is back with food, live music and stalls during the downfall next to the mailbox.
Open Wednesday to Sunday from 12.00 to 21.00 after launch on Thursday 25 November. Last day will be Saturday, December 18th.