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Raynham Estate, near Fakenham, is set to stage its first ever Outdoor Christmas Market

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Raynham Estate, near Fakenham, is adapting to the 'new normal' by launching its first ever outdoor festive event within its spacious walled garden.

Its Outdoor Christmas Market, which is free, and designed to be completely Covid-secure, will offer visitors local produce, gifts, crafts, street food, a bar and locally-grown Christmas trees.

Tom Raynham, the estate's chief executive, said: “We’ve been asked why we’re launching a new initiative at a time when so many other events are being cancelled. We feel strongly that we need to adapt to this ‘new normal’ and give people in Norfolk something to look forward to.

Tom Raynham, chief executive of Raynham Estate (42886165)
Tom Raynham, chief executive of Raynham Estate (42886165)

"The majority of our stall holders have been hit very hard by the pandemic and cancellation of markets and events. We’re creating a new opportunity for them to reach customers in a safe and responsible way and give people the chance to buy a beautiful range of Christmas gifts and goods from local, independent businesses.”

The market takes place on November 28 and 29 and December 5 and 6, from 10am to 3pm each day.

Although free to attend, visitors are being asked to pre-book and pay online for their car parking which costs £3 per car, to monitor and manage numbers safely. Revenue from parking fees will be split between YANA, the charity for rural mental health support, and local air cadets.

The walled garden at Raynham Estate (42886173)
The walled garden at Raynham Estate (42886173)

Part of the Townshend family for more than 500 years, the Raynham Estate, includes a beef and arable farming enterprise, glamping site and events venue.

Steps taken to maximise visitor safety will include hand-sanitizer stations, controlled guest numbers, socially distanced eating area, one way system and individual gazebos for stalls rather than a central marquee.

There will be up to 75 stalls positioned around the edge of the walled garden, leaving an open space in the middle.

Lisa Wheeler, event manager at the estate, said: “We are very fortunate to have lots of space within the walled garden so we can create a layout which avoids bottlenecks. Working to a strict Covid-secure risk assessment, we will check people in and out with a maximum number of guests being able to visit at one time.

"There will be a one-way system and, apart from when they are eating, visitors will need to wear masks, unless they are exempt for medical reasons.”

Apart from a covered seating area where people can eat and drink at socially distanced tables, the market will be completely outside.

Parking spaces can be booked in advance at https://www.ticketsource.co.uk/whats-on?q=raynham A QR code will be available to assist with test and trace.

For more information, visit the Raynham Facebook page @RaynhamNorfolk.

Businesses interested in booking a pitch for the market should contact lisa@raynhamfarm.co.uk

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