Bideford Market is on the way up, and all because of an enterprising investment by the town council. Eight new artist studio spaces now bring visitors to the market hall every day, which has led the stalls market to expand trading days to match.
From Tuesday to Saturday there is now a daily and colourful assortment of traditional market pitches – from books, toys, selected bric-a-brac, scarves, bags, cards, to artworks and plants. With a range of prices to suit every pocket and a friendly bustle in the grade two listed Victorian hall, the busy and positive atmosphere in one of North Devon’s main attractions is a noticeable change for the better.
Add to this a popular café and pristine conveniences, all with excellent access for visitors with impaired mobility, and the venue is becoming an increasingly popular draw with locals and tourists alike.
A recent visitor, a tour guide from a well known holiday operator for seniors, agrees. “Bideford market is well worth a visit now. The artists and craft makers in the new studios have added such a lively buzz to the place – I’ll certainly recommend it to my holiday parties.”
The eight new studio spaces, housed in well-designed “summerhouse” units, are now home to a talented array of local creatives, and market patrons can see them at work daily – among them painters, a felt maker, a silversmith and a ceramics artist.
All are happy to chat to visitors, answer questions, explain or just pass the time of day – even share the odd artistic secret or two.
All of this is well and good and if that was the total of what Bideford Market now has to offer, that would be great. But there’s another very special reason to give the market a look and that is the nationally-famed Butchers Row.
This unique and elegant Victorian arcade presents a fascinating array of small shops and studio spaces, a range of services and activities that complement and add to the market’s attractions. Originally of course they were butchers’ shops – some even have the necessary hooks still hanging from the ceilings – but now it’s a vibrant and delightfully eccentric mix of traders and artists.
You can enjoy a traditional North Devon potter, a wood-carver, a bespoke jeweller, an old-fashioned sweet shop, a stained-glass creator, a wildly inventive sculptor, a wood turner and several artists, along with computer services, a hairdresser and nailbar,an horologist and a vintage haberdashery. Throw in a café where you can watch pasties being made and an outlet for fresh baked goods and soup – there really is no place like it in the whole of Devon.
The market place is also home to a blacksmith, a gluten free bakery and grocery, a toyshop and a smart ladies’ outfitters. It’s all well worth the effort of a visit, with excellent car park access within minutes’ walk.
Bideford Market is open from Tuesday to Saturday, from 0900 am, with Butchers Row and Market Place open from Monday to Saturday.
For more information visit:-
Tel: 01237 478777