FOOD and festive gifts will be on offer to shoppers at Darlington’s newest visitor attraction next month (December).

From 1 December through to Christmas Eve the town’s Market Square will play host to a Spiegeltent, which will form the focus of the town’s Christmas celebrations.

And, among the live shows, performances, crafts and activities on offer in the Big Top-style structure, will be a series of Festive Shopping events and Street Food Markets.

Every Thursday to Sunday for the first three weeks of December, local businesses will be showcasing gifts, decorations, accessories and home wares at a series of Festive Shopping Villages.

The region’s food producers will also be at hand selling everything from chocolate and chutney to sloe gin and a variety of Christmas tipples and there will a fully licensed bar, operated by Darlington company, Hole in the Wall, open every day from 10am.

And, for those keen to give a professional touch to their gifts this year, the Spiegeltent will be providing a present wrapping service on 22 and 23 December.

For food lovers, there will be the chance to enjoy dishes from around the globe at Street Food Markets, held every Thursday in the market square, just next to the Spiegeltent.

Thai cuisine, traditional Greek dishes, pizza and waffles will be just some of the treats for sale at pop up stalls leading up to the tent, which will hold a range of live shows, dancing, films and arts and activities in the run up to Christmas.

Santa and his elves will also be paying several visits to the Spiegeltent during the month to meet youngsters and hear if they have been naughty or nice this year.

“The Spiegeltent really is a theatre of opulence,” said Alex Hirst, manager of organiser Distinct Darlington, “designed to showcase everything – and everyone – that makes Darlington special.

“Our Festive Shopping Village and Street Food Markets will give local businesses the chance to showcase their wares – and shoppers the chance to snap up some gorgeous goodies.

“We’ve lined up an array of different events, both day and night through December – many of which are free – so there really is something to suit everyone.”

The Festive Shopping Village will be open on Thursdays, from 10am to 8pm and on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from 10.30 am to 4.30pm until Sunday 18 December.

The Street Food Market will be operating every Thursday until Christmas Eve from 4pm to 9pm.

Businesses, food producers and organisations wishing to take stalls on the Festive Shopping Village or Street Food Markets are asked to contact Distinct Darlington on 01325 463002.

For further information about Distinct Darlington’s Christmas schedule – including dates and times of events and to buy tickets – visit www.christmasindarlington.co.uk.