When you live in the same city as one of the best Christmas markets in the UK, there’s often little reason to go to another one. Why travel when you can fill your stockings at home with wooden toys, glass baubles, mulled wine and handmade decorations? But this alternative Christmas market, located inside an abandoned haunted prison, might be worth the trip.
Gloucester Prison, an hour by car or train from Birmingham, is hosting an Alternative Market. It is regarded as one of the most haunted prisons in the UK – you’ll find regular ghost tours and hunts hosted here – but is being turned into a macabre Christmas market this weekend. Perfect for those whose favourite festive movie is The Nightmare Before Christmas.
Once home to serial killers, Gloucester Prison will house over 80 alternative stalls on November 18. Promising ‘handmade oddities’ and ‘unusual crafts’, you’ll find anything from taxidermy to vintage clothes, crystals and fantasy crafts. Between 11am and 5pm, you’ll also find psychic readers and new-age masseurs. Banged up in separate cells, at this (mostly) family-friendly market, adult-only content will also be available.
This alternative Christmas market is described as “those traders who deliver a product or service which is a little different to the ‘traditional’, an opportunity to showcase their offering in an inclusive space.” Expect all things gothic, steampunk, witchy, new age, body art and tattoo-themed, and “anything else which is unique and non-standard.”
What is Gloucester Prison?
Opened in 1792, HM Prison Gloucester is one of the oldest purpose-built prisons in the country. Throughout the centuries, hundreds of public executions took place within the grounds. Notable inmates include Herbert Rowse Armstrong, the only British solicitor to have been hanged for murder, Irish revolutionary Pierce McCan, and notorious serial killer Fred West.
The prison was closed in 2013, due to overcrowding, with hundreds of individuals believed to still be buried within the prison’s grounds. Now open to the public, its dark past has seen ghost tours and hunts become very popular with locals. But the prison has also been used as a film location, events space and Airsoft site.
To learn more about Gloucester Prison head here.