One of the occasions where the medieval Grade-I listed Guildhall shines brightly in all its festive splendour is the biannual British Red Cross Christmas Market which usually takes place over two days at the end of November. The previous one was last year on November 25 and 26. This gives people the opportunity to get inside and gawp at the atmospheric crypt and the breathtaking vaulted Great Hall. Beautiful gifts, festive luncheons, exciting prizes, afternoon teas, fashion shows – it’s all here. At the same time this much-loved event raises vital funds for the British Red Cross which was founded 150 years ago.
The Christmas Market kicks off with the grand opening evening which offers attendees the chance to explore Guildhall at night, bid in a live auction and buy a range of festive delights from the market stalls. The following day is Market Day. Over 100 stalls transform Guildhall’s impressive Great Hall and adjacent rooms into a bustling Christmas Market. Wander through history below the soaring arches, hanging banners and Gothic stained-glass windows while picking up a range of often handmade and unique gifts ranging from clothing to antiques, home-ware and art. Visitors don’t have to go hungry either, they can choose to attend a festive luncheon or afternoon tea in the Guildhall crypt.
Another highlight is the Silent Auction which runs throughout the event with an opportunity to bid on the most amazing prizes like a week-long Bali retreat, a Chef’s Table Experience in a 5-star-restaurant, the chance to raise the world-famous Tower Bridge or a dress by royal designer Elizabeth Emanuel (the lady behind Princess Diana’s wedding dress). At the end of the auction over £24.000 were raised in 2019.
The British Red Cross website points out that the Corporation of London has supported them for over 20 years and that during this time, they have donated more than £1.8 million to British Red Cross emergency appeals.