One County Durham town has been transformed into a winter wonderland this weekend (November 24-26) for its annual Christmas Town. We went along on Saturday night to see what it was all about – here’s what we really thought.

Bishop Auckland’s marketplace was unrecognisable as hundreds of families and visitors crowded the town for the third annual Christmas Town, open from 10am to the early hours of the evening.

This being my second-ever visit to Bishop Auckland, I was very unsure of what to expect. I have also visited many a Christmas market before, so I really wanted to see what made this event different to the others.

I’m pleased to report that I was indeed impressed by what was on offer.

Bathed in the soft glow of warm Christmas lights and wafts of sweet treats, the town had easily over 20 food and gift stalls, an ice rink, tipis, Santa’s Grotto and even a Ferris wheel – all of which I was able to take a closer look at in my preliminary walk around.

Arranged in a Y shape across the centre of town, visitors could buy scotch eggs, chocolate-covered strawberries, wooden decorations, Acropolis Greek food, sausage rolls, pies, burgers and cheesecakes.

After some deliberation, my pick was to try some chocolate-covered strawberries with milk and white chocolate as well as a hot chocolate from Rupert Mole Chocolate – a staple for any Christmas occasion.

The stall itself was also quite a fun experience – your choice of skewer/pot is (generously) drenched in chocolate right in front of you.

The Northern Echo: Bishop Auckland Christmas Town.Bishop Auckland Christmas Town. (Image: NORTHERN ECHO)

For a pot of grapes and strawberries, a strawberry skewer, and a hot chocolate with whipped cream, the total price was £13.50. In my opinion, this was quite reasonable as the lashings of chocolate were substantial and not just a light drizzle on top.

The second port of call was to find a savoury bite, and whilst a crunchy potato stick I had seen many carrying around the market sounded delightful, the queue was very long.

Instead, I opted for a pork and caramelised onion sausage roll from Pie Demand for £2.50 which ended up being the best sausage roll I’ve ever had. Its size meant two people could have shared it!

The Northern Echo: Bishop Auckland Christmas Town.Bishop Auckland Christmas Town. (Image: NORTHERN ECHO)

My one note for the whole event, however, was that during my visit the Christmas Town was incredibly busy.

This meant queues for the more popular stands including hot chocolate, churros and chicken were nearly 15 people long and you could end up waiting for around half an hour in some places.

Of course, this is to be expected on a buzzing Saturday evening and is simply unavoidable and not something any visitor should be surprised to find.

So, my advice to anyone planning to head along this evening would simply be to put aside a large chunk of time if you want to grab items from a few of the stalls.

The Northern Echo: Bishop Auckland Christmas Town.Bishop Auckland Christmas Town. (Image: LIAM DOBINSON)

But, this business seemed to be worth it simply based on the members of the public I chatted to throughout the evening.

Janet Hilton Balmer, from Bishop Auckland, visited the market with her husband for the evening, and said: “I think the Christmas Town is really impressive, everything is great.”

She added: “There is plenty going on here and it is just lovely to see here in Bishop Auckland.”

Louise Moore visited for the evening with her young children from Crook, and was happy to see the marketplace filled with people.

She said: “It’s lovely to see something going on in the community, and it’s really nice to see such a large group of people around the marketplace.”

Overall, I would highly recommend a visit to the Christmas Town. Not only is there offerings to cater for all tastes, the event is highly family friendly meaning it’s a perfect pre-Christmas day out everyone can enjoy.

The Northern Echo: Bishop Auckland Christmas Town.Bishop Auckland Christmas Town. (Image: NORTHERN ECHO)

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The scale of the market is also magnificent and could easily, in my opinion, rival Newcastle for its sheer size and choice.

Furthermore, the event is a huge boost for Bishop Auckland and small traders. Coming off Lumiere and AGLOW, the townspeople are clearly happy to take advantage of events that boost the local economy and add a bit of festive joy to their lives.

To find out more about the Christmas Town, click here.