More than 5,000 people attended the opening weekend of Aberdeen’s indoor Christmas market.
Due to Covid-19, the traditional Christmas Village that has been in place for the past several years was unable to go ahead, with an indoor Christmas market organised instead.
Run by Aberdeen Inspired, the market at Bon Accord officially opened on Thursday, and attracted 5,519 visitors between then and Sunday.
Almost 50 businesses, ranging from small independent makers to high street brands such as Lush, have signed up for the event.
The market showcases products from around 25 stallholders each weekend, and will run until December 23.
The stalls have a wide array of products such as gin, artwork, jewellery and sweet treats, and is arranged in a socially distanced way with a one-way system in place to ensure it is safe for everyone.
It is also raising funds for Aberdeen-based Charlie House, with £1,500 already been made for the charity.
A further £10,000 will also go to the charity as Aberdeen Inspired plans to donate all the stall fees directly to support its work with babies, children and young people with complex disabilities and/or life-limiting conditions.
One of the stallholders Kim McConnachie, who runs drinks business From Scotland, said: “People are really supporting local businesses which is amazing, and we have had our best sales at an Aberdeen market ever this week.
“Market traders have needed this as there have not been many opportunities to sell this year. Aberdeen was desperate for something like this and the customers have loved it. It has been a relaxed atmosphere despite the current restrictions and safety measures, and I think people have appreciated being able to shop in such a safe environment. It has been extremely well run and organised.”
Meanwhile Lynne Wallace, who owns children’s clothing company Tots Gear, added: “It has made a huge difference allowing traders to be able to sell their products.
“With my products people like to look at them in person and buying online is just not the same experience.
“Sales have greatly increased on last year which gives a much-needed boost to local businesses such as mine.”
The market is open from 10am until 6pm over four Thursday to Sunday weekends until December 20.
It is also open from December 21 until December 23 for last-minute Christmas gifts, and can be found on the ground floor of the Bon Accord Centre next to Topshop.
Adrian Watson, chief executive of Aberdeen Inspired, said that although Christmas looks different in the city this year, it was important to continue to attract people to the city centre.
He said: “It’s fantastic to see so many people visiting the indoor Christmas Market and taking the opportunity to choose gifts in person while supporting local, independent traders. We are delighted to have welcomed so many shoppers over the first weekend and for many traders to have reported bumper sales is just brilliant.
“This is so encouraging and we look forward to seeing many more shoppers over the coming weeks.
“As well as offering small, local businesses an opportunity to showcase their products to a new audience, we have made sure the space is socially distanced and compliant with current guidelines to create a safe, festive shopping experience for everyone.
“While Christmas might look a little different this year, the Christmas Market is attracting people to the city centre to not only shop there but also enjoy all the city has to offer over the holiday season, including the wider retail offering, a chance to meet with friends and family in our cafes and restaurants and the festive light trail.”