Last weekend was the start of the Christmas holidays for us. Luca broke up from school on Friday and so we decided to kick our time off together in style with a visit to the Sneaky Experience Christmas Market in Leeds. Unfortunately Ant was working so we took my friend, Steph with us.
All we knew was that the market was going to be Narnia themed and hidden inside the ruins of Kirkstall Abbey. Sounds pretty magical already doesn’t it?
We had no idea what to expect as it was all kept under wraps until you literally walk through the door. The Sneaky team had released a few snippets of information but mostly it was all going to be a surprise.
As we entered through the abbey gates we had to walk through a “wardrobe” lined with fur coats. Greeting us on the other side was a flurry of snow and the Hyde Park brass band playing Christmas music. It was certainly an entrance to remember.
We were all completely blown away with what greeted us inside. It looked truly magical and very Narnia-esque. There were Christmas trees, an old fashioned lamppost and ivy strewn everywhere. Fairylights adorned most surfaces and it really did feel like stepping into another place.
Luca was completely taken with the snow falling and the lion statue. His little face was an absolute picture as he tried to catch the snow in his hands.
As we wandered through the massive marquee to the other side we found a giant walking tree. Once again Luca was gobsmacked.
Once we had posed with the tree we headed straight for The Pop Up Booth’s Glitteration Station. We had to queue a little until it was our turn but the wait was 100% worth it. After much deliberation as to what props we were going to use it was time to start throwing the glitter. I am absolutely thrilled with the photos that we got out of the short shoot. I especially love the one where Luca glitter bombed me. Pure joy on his face if ever I’ve seen it.
We then spent some time watching the entertainment on the main stage. There were drummers dressed as foxes, a butterfly ballet dancer type lady and more music from the brass band. Luca went from entranced to amazed and back again.
After Luca got bored of dancing like a loon we decided to check out a few of the market stalls. We headed to ‘Pimp my Angel’ first. Here you could buy a wooden angel to decorate. The angels were carved right before your eyes but you had to power the wood turning machine (I’m sure it has a proper name) by pedalling a bicycle. Thankfully Luca opted for a hand carved wooden penguin instead or else I would have had to do the pedalling.
After this Luca wanted to sit down for a bit so he went to find a seat with Steph whilst I went to get us a drink. I was about to order a simple orange juice when I spotted the drinks menu. Instead I ordered Luca a lemonade with rose syrup topped with popping candy and I had an orange juice & grenadine, with floating cranberries covered in gold edible glitter. They certainly had the wow factor.
Whilst we drank our drinks we listening to one of the singers singing Christmas songs but with a bit of a 1940’s twist. She was brilliant and we even got up for a little boogie. We also watched a hula-hooping pixie and Luca was thrilled to see her hullaing with 6 hoops.
Aside from the entertainment there were lots of stalls to wander around,selling all sorts of goodies, from cakes to candles. Having said that there weren’t hundreds of stalls and this market was definitely more for the atmosphere and wow factor than the shopping opportunities.
Once we were fully refreshed we found a face painter offering glitter face paint. The hula hooping pixie also danced around with scarves for a bit before a statue took over her podium.
After about an hour and a half Luca was starting to get a bit bored so we decided to grab him a hot dog to eat whilst watching the last of the entertainment. Whilst Luca ate on a table covered in giant mushrooms, Steph had a dance off with a guy dressed as Mr Tumnus. There’s a sentence I never thought I’d write.
By this point our session was over. The Sneaky Experience Christmas market sessions only last two hours but that’s plenty of time to get your festive fill whilst not long enough to leave you twiddling your thumbs either.
As we were walking to the car Steph mentioned that felt the same way she does on Christmas Eve. I had to agree. It really was very magical and definitely got us in the mood for Christmas.
I’m really hoping they run it again next year as we will definitely visit again.
I highly suggest following Sneaky Experience on Facebook to keep up to date with all the events they have throughout the year. They always have something going on so it’s worth a look.
Lastly I’d just like to thank Sneaky Experience for inviting us to the market and for starting our Christmas holidays off in the best way possible. Oh and if you want to follow my lovely friend Steph over on Instagram to see some of her beautiful photos click here.
*we were very kindly gifted our tickets for entrance to the Sneaky Experience christmas market in exchange for this review. Everything else we purchased ourselves and as always all opinions and views are honest and our own*