The beautifully restored Thirsk Lodge Barns is launching its inaugural Christmas Market and unique Father Christmas Experience.

The Barns, which opened in August this year after a multi-million pound refurbishment, is holding a special shopping preview evening on Friday December 17, starting at 6.00pm. The Christmas Market will then be open daily until Thursday December 23.

Situated on Newsham Road, on the north western outskirts of Thirsk, the Barns has already established itself established as one of the most popular – and most spectacular - wedding venues in North Yorkshire.

Letty Hunter Bell, owner said: “We are tremendously excited and proud to be hosting our first-ever Christmas Market. The restoration of the old barns has been a real labour of love, but they now look wonderful.

“They have already proved to be a successful wedding venue, but my husband Will and I are also very keen to establish the Barns as a leading events, business and conference centre for the town of Thirsk and beyond. Our Christmas Market is a major step in this direction.

“We have managed to attract almost 70 different stalls for the market, all from the local community, which is crucially important to us. One of our key aims is to invest in, and promote, the many fine young independent businesses in North Yorkshire – and especially in the Thirsk area.

“There is a wide range of stallholders and a mouth-watering array of festive gifts at our inaugural market. They range from leading Yorkshire wine merchants Firth and Co to hand-crafted gift company Fetlock and Feathers, and I defy anyone who visits us not to leave with some wonderful Christmas presents,” said Letty.

Apart from the stalls, there will be a Father Christmas Experience, a guinea pig nativity scene, real reindeer, a charity reindeer art competition, a festive photo booth and baubles and biscuits decorating. The Reindeer competition will be held in aid of Rural Arts, Thirsk.

Letty explained: “The Father Christmas Experience is the highlight of our Christmas market for children. Children are met by elves, who take them to see Santa who – in turn - gives them a golden key to unlock a toy shop and choose a toy. It’s the ultimate Christmas treat.”

Apart from Firth and Co and Fetlock and Feathers, the stallholders include Vixen and Todd; Name on Knit; Sweet Retreat; Love That Clay; York Gin; Luna Wolf Jewellery; the Wax Lord; House of Crumbs; Richmond Brewery; Yorkshire Hive; and Badass Bakery.

Letty added: “Our Preview Evening on Friday December 17 will be a very special occasion, providing a great opportunity to buy some incredible gifts and treats before the week-long Christmas Market and Experience begins.

“Our bar will be open, so why not gather a group of friends, enjoy a drink or two and browse at leisure through all the wonderful local artisan stallholders? There will also be festive food available, including bratwurst, raclette, wood-fired pizzas and waffles. It will feel like the beginning of Christmas.”