A Christmas market right on your doorstep

Staff at The Boathouse, Appley Bridge, from left, director Grant Ainsworth, Laura Rogers and Nathan Jones, promote their Christmas market event with stalls, food and drink to get into the festive spirit.
Staff at The Boathouse, Appley Bridge, from left, director Grant Ainsworth, Laura Rogers and Nathan Jones, promote their Christmas market event with stalls, food and drink to get into the festive spirit.

A Wigan pub is throwing open its grounds on the banks of the Leeds and Liverpool Canal for a week-long Christmas Market.

Numerous small chalets - including Santa’s Grotto by admission ticket - will be installed outside The Boathouse in Appley Bridge offering a range of potential gifts and tasty treats from local producers between December 3 and 11.

Rent from stallholders will go to the Geoff Carr Memorial charity which remembers the hugely successful Standish Shoe Box Appeal founder.

A large Christmas tree, a brass band, high school choir carol singers and the aroma of roasting chestnuts and mulled cider will delight the senses, while strings of twinkling fairy lights hung between the holly and ivy bedecked chalets will set a truly festive scene.

The gastro pub itself will have a special Christmas menu in full swing.

Joint executive chief proprietor at the pub, which nestles between the village’s railway station and canal, Jon Ainsworth believes the festival will be the first of what will become a well supported annual treat.

It is the latest in a string of events the pub have run in memory of the tragic late grandfather Geoff Carr, 67, whose death outside Aintree Race Course trying to prevent the theft of his van stunned the community.

Earlier this summer Jon and his twin brother, fellow Boathouse executive chef Grant Ainsworth, were top five Ironman finishers on the fund’s behalf.

Jon said: “We are working really hard to bring the magic of the Manchester Christmas market back home to Wigan with a more cosy and less hectic feel.

“We are going to turn our outdoor Ice Cream Parlour into Santa’s grotto and little lodges, that are going to be the stalls, are going on the raised area behind where the benches are now.

“Two stalls have been taken so far and we have at least another five to sell via a £200 donation to the charity.

“The Boathouse will have a foodie stall there and the others are going to be crafts and specialist local producers.

“Hopefully we are trying to make it as community led as possible.

“We will be serving special mulled ciders and mulled wine to keep the cold out.

“Being right next to the railway station, people who have been out to Manchester Christmas market can stay on the train and check us out while they are about it and have a look around.”