Held around three weeks before Christmas, the market spreads around the historic centre of Lincoln including the castle and cathedral. As well as stalls selling goods there is a funfair with Ferris wheel, open air classical music and rock concerts and traditional events such as beer barrel rolling.
The number of visitors is so great that a circular one-way system for pedestrians around the streets of Lincoln is put into place. The route includes travelling through the grounds of Lincoln Castle, something not normally possible without paying an entry fee.
Lincoln Christmas Market was the first Christmas market in the UK. It started in 1982, after a group of Lincoln city councillors visited Neustadt an der Weinstrasse (Lincoln's twin town) and were impressed by the Neustadt Christmas Market. When they came back to Lincoln, they set up their own Christmas market consisting of just fourteen stalls.
During the weekend of the market, charter trains are organised from around Britain. In 2006 this included Central Trains hiring a Class 47-hauled set from the West Coast Railway Company, to provide additional and increased capacity services between Leicester, Nottingham and Lincoln Central railway stations. Hertfordshire Rail Tours organised a charter of their Blue Pullman train up from London King's Cross. A train organised by the Scottish Railway Preservation Society (SRPS) travelled down starting from the Scottish town of Linlithgow, then proceeding via Edinburgh and the East Coast Main Line.
In previous years, Central Trains had leased the use of a High Speed Train set from Midland Mainline for the Nottingham–Lincoln shuttle. Other rail tours for the Christmas Market, including stream-hauled trains, have set out from Blackpool and the London stations of Finsbury Park and London Victoria. Carriages from the classic Venice-Simplon Orient Express train have been used on some of these services.
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